Friday, August 24, 2012

Yasmin How You Know: An unfinished tribute to Yasmin Ahmad.

I've only had a brief encounter with Yasmin.  Okay, no, make that TWO brief encounters.  The more memorable one was when I was a junior planner and was so smitten by the Petronas ads she wrote, I couldn't resist but hunt her email down and wrote to her.  I did not bother with classy opening paragraphs.  I immediately jumped into my curiosity.  I told her how amazing I think her ads were and specifically: How do you write like that?

To which she replied (after a very polite Thank You): From the heart.  And perhaps that was one of the single most career-changing perspectives I've ever experienced.  The thing is, it's such a simple truth that in retrospect, it just seems stupid for anyone to NOT know.  Well, I was stupid then.  And complicated.  If you have experienced a tiny spark of brilliance in pulling something simple out of your innocent advertising mind but crossed it out because you feel someone would ridicule you or try to back-rationalize it till it sounds complicatedly intelligent, then my friend, you're like me.

And sometimes, honest truth, I still do that.  This is a vicious industry because it isn't like sales nor production where calculations are tangible and goals are in black and white.  This is an industry that needs to not just make money for ourselves but for the clients we are accountable to, using highly intangible emotional play.  Truth be told, no one in the boardroom will ever know the exact outcome till it's out, isn't it?

I've never met or heard or read or come to know a person quite like Yasmin.  Leafing through pages and pages of her tribute from her colleagues, friends and families; one thing for sure about this woman is her genuine consistency.  She has no second approach to anything.  Just one: Love.  With a dash of humour, just to lighten tense situations up.  And a LOT of logic.  I can't name and/or recall any figure in the industry as important and pivotal as her.  And it ain't just coming from me, as you may account in everything everyone says about her in this imperfectly perfectly bound pages.

So, fast forward a decade now.  I realised that that one email has impacted my life more than I thought it would.  Because since then, I've always written from the heart.  Maybe not for everything.  But for everything that has meaning to me.  Writing to friends, family, loved ones, writing my heart out, campaigns that matter, work that matters, projects with high resonance of personal passion.

And I will be an observer of humans, sensitive to emotions and keep writing.