Still, what was going through Sinchew's mind? Wouldn't it have made more sense to release the article on the day of the release of the film itself (instead of two days before)?
Anyway, the following is my (very quick) attempt at translating the article, which you can read after you've seen the short and come up with your own interpretations of it. As far as translations go, it's not 100% to the mark, but I think it will suffice. It didn't help that the article seemed to be hastily written, as it seemed to contain grammatical mistakes and lots and lots of repetitive phrases. First, the actual article:
KHAIRY: IN PRESENTING NAMEWEE WITH THE KERIS AS A SIGN OF FRIENDSHIP, 'METER' DEMONSTRATES RACIAL HARMONY
(Kuala Lumpur) Two controversial figures, UMNO Youth Leader Khairy Jamaluddin and Namewee who once re-arranged the national anthem both appear in the 15Malaysia short film 'Meter', which contains a scene where a keris was presented as a gift. But Khairy stated that they have long buried the hatchet, and the purpose in appearing together in the same film is to send out a message of different races dropping their distrust towards each other and being capable of living together harmoniously.
This short, which is to be released this Wednesday (9th September), is highly-anticipated, and sees Khairy acting as a grassroots level taxi driver, criticising a number of major national issues, with unexpected consequences.
Khairy indicated during an interview with Sin Chew Jit Poh that, in fact, he was the one who suggested to director Lim Benji to get Namewee to play the character who receives the keris at the end of the short.
He said, people might naturally just see the labels when seeing him and Namewee together: that he is the UMNO Youth Leader, while Namewee is the young man who once caused an uproar with his rendition of Negarakuku; that one is Malay-centric and the other Chinese-centric.
"In the short, Namewee remarks that the keris is beautiful, so my character offers it to him as a gift, and he willingly accepts. This indicates that there is no more mistrust between the races – Khairy and Namewee, representing the Malay and Chinese youths, are actually able to offer mutual respect and co-exist harmoniously. We set this example for the rakyat."
When asked whether the act of gifting the keris might potentially cause controversy, Khairy said, in fact the keris is a symbol of Malay culture; in offering the keris as a gift to Namewee, it is to signify greater friendship and interaction.
"It is true that the keris has been politicised in the past, and thus became an object of controversy. But what we are trying to show is that if the keris is not politicised thus, it can actually become the bridge between us, something we can share."
He also emphasised that, although Namewee was once heavily censured by UMNO due to Negarakuku, but since Namewee has publicly apologised, that should be the end of the matter.
"I don't believe in punishing a person forever. Since he has already apologised, why should we still continue to harp on it? Should we continue to condemn him? Do we want him to feel that there is no one big-hearted enough to pardon him? If we keep harping on this, how long will it take before we can see the entire rakyat united?"
He said, the Negarakuku incident was something that happened a few years ago; after all, this was something Namewee did when he was younger, maybe he thinks differently now. He also said that, while interacting with Namewee during the shoot, he didn't feel that the young man was particularly radical, just someone who has his own set of thoughts, and he hopes that their performance can bring a message of unity to the people.
Khairy said, Malaysian politics is too stilted, so he hoped the usage of parody in 'Meter' can bring across the themes in a humorous manner.
"Sometimes we need parody in politics; as long as we can get the message across, what's wrong with that? In truth, many countries, and not just Western countries, have a tradition of self-parody. Parody is an art form, but not necessarily a political one."
He said, the message he wanted to bring across in the short, is that everyone have their own thoughts and opinions, that everyone should respect that and not use aggressive, radical or deceptive attitudes to deal with it.
"I believe the Malaysian public will be able to see it for what it is - a comedy. For me personally, this can be part of the education process of society, to know that sometimes we don't have to take a narrow-minded view over certain things."
He said, initially he decided to take part in 15Malaysia because he approves of Pete Teo's anti-racism themes in the MAFU (Malaysian Artistes For Unity) movement, and he hopes to use this as a platform to impart this message of unity, in particular to youths.
He has already seen most of the shorts that have been released so far. He recognises that each short imparts a different message, but he particularly likes 'Potong Saga' and 'House'.
"'Potong Saga' humorously shows the misunderstandings that non-Malays have about Islamic banking, thus representing that sometimes we don't really understand each other's cultures; on the other hand, 'House' has a humanitarian message to impart, that we should take care of those among the rakyat who have been sidelined. Of course, cinema is an art form, and it shouldn't be seen as something that insults or separates a particular group of people, but art can serve to comment on things that happen within society, and invite the audience to reflect on them."
When asked whether participating in this project might cause the disapproval of the conservatives, Khairy said that this project is done for the youths, who possess more open-minded and liberal mindsets, and are more able to accept differing viewpoints, so the discerning public who understands contemporary art will surely understand where we're coming from; as for the more conservative sectors of the public, they would have found fault with anything.
"I did not think that my participation in this project will bring any adverse political consequences; I did it because I believe in it."
About acting, Khairy joked that if he does retire from politics, he wouldn't mind turning pro as an actor.
Those who've seen the short may be pleasantly surprised at Khairy's performance of a ranting taxi driver; even Tian Chua, PKR's Information Chief, has praised him as one of the better actors.
But, Khairy has said, that he is just a tool of the director - the story and dialogue are the result of a collaboration between the director, producer and the actors.
He hopes that the audience will understand the message of the short; as for his performance, well, it is up to the audience to appraise.