In the song Bangau Oh bangau, the animals were asked why, and the answers are always resulting in finger-pointing others and never about self-critics. The bangaus blames the fish for not coming out from the water, because the grass is too high. Since sindiran (innuendo) in Malay literature is the name of the game, it is not the bangaus or the fish the song is directed to.
IKAN is a kid who tells the story of incest and abuse of his older sister, SALOMAH by his father, PAK DE. It resulted in episodes of buang bayi and murder. The convenience of channelling everything to takdir (fate) and taubat (repent) for mere selfish redemption, while there is little steps to eradicate this social illness.
Taboo? Can’t talk about it?
Well here’s a film about it. The play of gory images and nightmarish sound, happy old Malay songs turned dark like Bangau Oh Bangau to Haruan Oh Haruan, Lompat Si Katak Lompat, Jari-jariku Sakit Semua done with alternate morbid lyrics.
It is done in a visual fashion of the wayang kulit, complete with the intro of IKAN as the Tok Dalang telling his story, the singing and dancing of bangsawan play, even a black and white flashback near the end.
The ending brings more question and it made me to go through all the filth again for the second time, just to have the reason to go through it again for the third time. And fourth and fifth. Yes. I’ve watched it five times.
Enough for it to adequately fill my head with looping whisper of DJAHAT, the cries of SALOMAH, the classic film fury of her mother and the tunes of Paduan Budi. What a way to get a message across.
Like in the style of Mamat Khalid’s Kala Malam Bulan Mengambang and also addressing inter-racial relationship in Malaysia in Teck Tan’s Spinning Gasing, although in it the taboo was tackled in a more realistic context.
Disturbed? As disturbing as the issue at hand.
BANGAU OH BANGAU
In the film, PAK DE sings it to himself justifiying his own crime. IKAN stands on the table in front of PAK DE singing and dancing to the tunes, giving out the real answers (to which falls on deaf ears) The “old” IKAN sings it again to herself and even then IKAN still does not know the answer.
Whos fault is it? The rumput? The Ikan? or the katak? PAK DE breaks the fourth wall and throw it at the audience (society) near the end. Ouch. Point the fingers. Play the blame game.
The victim always going to be the SALOMAHs, the TOY BABY DOLLS and IKAN, climbing up the stairs dressed in white. Even after PAK DE’s repent and self redemption.
Everthing could’ve been avoided if he lowered his gaze to silence the ‘haruan’ in him. Like that NIETZCHE’s quote at the beginning of the film;
“But for every man there exists a bait he cannot resist swallowing”.
There are lines in PADUAN BUDI by Zubir Said which plays when PAK DE getting himself ready
“...Jangan lah lupa,
Ada yang belum selesai,” (So says one mamak roti once.)
“...Belum di petik, Belum di sentuh,
“...Sungguhpun cita (merdeka?) telah tercapai”
My version of Bangau Oh Bangau now will sound as this
Melayu Oh Melayu,
Kenapa engkau _____?
Macam mana aku tak_____,
< insert excuse >
Can I call this a dark satire in commenting the Malay-Muslim community in Malaysia in handling issues especially the one addressed in this film? So do bad deeds always begets badness? Karma or the hereafter?
There is so much in Haruan : The Snakehead by Dr. Razli Dalan than what meets the eye. Thank you for making it to the end of my Noob Review!
Selamat Hari Kebangsaan yang ke-62 !