Intellectually Challenged Presenters – BOH Cameronian Arts Awards

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The late Benjamin McKay captured the festive mood of a typical Cameronian awards ceremony. I served as a judge for theatre category for a couple of years – an onerous task considering the multi-lingual character of the scene. This tongue-in-cheek description perhaps subtlety underscores the uncomfortable position of the arts writer/ critic in relation to practitioners in the local arts scene.

Most Intellectually Challenged Presenters of the Night

Introduced to us as the ‘ebony and ivory’ of Malaysian intellectuals, the two presenters that had the most trouble engaging with their audience were my fellow academics Sharaad Kuttan and Ray Langenbach. Why? Well they came out on stage and did what most intellectuals always do – they lowered the tone of the night. They ruined whatever accumulated glitz and glamour that may have been accrued by being the presenters that had to announce the horrid news about Amir Muhammad’s film being banned. While we all wanted to know, of course, did we need to know so mid way through the night? Luckily the boos and jeers weren’t meant for them – such anti-intellectual behaviour being unknown amongst the arts community here of course! At least they looked suitably crumpled in a way only an intellectual can achieve with any true conviction. So the Matt Salleh Award for crumpled intellectualism and ersatz behaviour has to go to Sharaad and Ray for their magnificent cross over attempt at award show Vegas-ness from their otherwise boringly important academic and creative lives. Go guys! If l died suddenly can you both speak at my funeral?

Saddest Moment

This award has to go to the announcement by those erstwhile intellectuals, Sharaad and Ray, of the banning of Amir Muhammad’s film. The announcement took place while the film and its filmmaker were simultaneously being feted by the global film world in places as far away from Mandarin Oriental KL as Los Angeles and Toronto. [11 May 2006] … more at and Benjamin McKay’s “Janganlah Stress, Its Only Cameronian”.

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