Ninie Ahmad: Off her yoga mat.

Her affirmations of staying optimistic especially when she's (upside) down.

‘I am optimistic and sentimental to the point of being annoying, especially to people who think that being cynical and cold is cool.’ ~ Yasmin Ahmad

with 8 comments

I meant to write another lenghty entry on my recent quest of becoming an Ashtangi but I was distracted by a lousy tribute show for the late Yasmin Ahmad on Astro Ria. I had to stop writing what I intended to write because the show (and other ‘tributes’ done by different channels) just did not do justice, not even close to what Yasmin had contributed to Malaysia and how she changed us all!

I, for one, chose not to blog nor Twit about her passing last month because everyone else was doing it (I thought I was playing Yasmin Ahmad’s faux-cool bit :(, read again post title).

But recently, especially tonight, especially now – I suddenly feel the urge to.

At first I thought I was furious at this pseudo-THS: Yasmin Ahmad show for using disappointing AF has-beens that do not live up to Yasmin’s contributions and for not being able to capture the ‘loss’ emotion and tragic sadness from the people they interviewed BUT then I realized:

I was mostly angry for it startled me – if Yasmin had directed this, I would have cried, teared up and most importantly, moved by now.

I am just angry for all of us wouldn’t be able to appreciate another simple yet most powerful masterpiece from an incredibly talented and from what I gathered, insanely humble human being we all knew as Yasmin Ahmad.

I have personally met Yasmin only once, during the media premiere of Mukhsin (2007) but we did communicate when Leo-Burnett (the ad agency whom she was their beloved Creative Director) contacted me to conduct yoga sessions at their firm and when I left a comment at her blog in which she took her time personally replying:

Ninie Ahmad commented…

Dearest Yasmin,

I love you.
And love is an understatement.

I admire you for making me not ashamed of having been going to the cinemas again to watch Malay movies (although I had to walk out on Senario The Movie and Jangan Pandang Belakang after 15 minutes. God knows, I tried).

I thank you for portraying Malaysia beautifully in your ads, for capturing beautiful Malay values in your movies, that I am not proud to say – most of the time more beautiful on silverscreen than what we know happening and for making lines from Malay movies memorable again.

I am a Malay Muslim (soon to be banned?) yoga teacher in KL that’s having the trial time of my life by MY own people that can’t seem to stop keeeeeeep telling me (in my blog) ways to ‘be a good Muslim’ by listening to our Muftis, to cover up, to not live with non-Muhrim when all I am trying to do is, to ‘be a good person’ with big dreams to make Malaysians look better and live longer.

(I am) On the brink of giving up ‘blogging’ (before I become the words they have been putting in my mouth), I thank you for lending me some strength from the meaningful quotes you often paste here, for your lovely words and wonderful insights and for many more inspirations you never know.

Thank you.
May God bless us all and forgive all cruelty we have done to each other.

Peace, love and light.

November 20, 2008 9:21 AM

Yasmin Ahmad replied…

gosh, ninie. i don’t know what to say. i wish i knew what rasulullah s.a.w would have to say about your yoga and my films. someone wrote on my blog that i had no right to utter the words “alhamdulillah” because i don’t wear the hijjab. i told them if i can’t say those words, than i can’t recite the fatihah, and if i can’t recite the fatihah, then i can’t do my solat, and if i can’t do my solat, i’d be very, very sad and lost.

why do they judge people so easily? do they think they will gain allah’s pleasure by condemning a fellow muslim like that? and why do they always comment anonymously?

oh well, allah knows best.

i read in al-baqarah that there will be many who will say they believe and worship allah, but in truth, they don’t. and they don’t even know that they don’t believe! na’uzubillah. was the koran referring to these people?

allah knows best.

November 20, 2008 9:46 AM

That very reply of hers lent me the strength to keep on fighting for my yoga when it faced the thoughtless tribulation late last year.

I am reminded and kept borrowing her last line of advice “Allah knows best” whenever I get asked, “How dare / come you are still doing yoga?”

For that, I am still here.

For her haunting & beautifully-written and love & kindness-laden movies, I am inspired to keep feeding my yoga classes with beautiful poses and love & kind words.

For her success of having proved (brilliant) Malaysian movies do not have to have Mat Rempits or Datuk’s second wives in them, I aspire to prove to the world that not all Malaysian Muslims do not exercise (BBC London reported ‘Malaysia bans exercise for Muslims’ on November 24, 2008).

Everytime I repeat reading her blog posts, I feel like quitting blogging altogether (in a good way!) for I will never be able to share and write as beautiful, as articulate, as honest and as humble as Yasmin did.

Everytime I repeat watching any of her movies, I immediately feel like I am already a better friend, a better family member, a better lover, a better Malaysian, a better Muslim and a better me.

For that, I will remember Yasmin Ahmad as a familiar stranger that has the biggest impact in my life  if not a cool big ‘sister’ (anak-anak Ahmad) I never have.

An excerpt from Muallaf (2008) that ‘Malaysia may never get to see’ and learn a lot from (I hardly get angry, but when Malaysians / Malays get generalized from some ignorant minority, my fuse blows):

“Did you forgive anyone that hurt your feeling today?”

LET’S DO THAT. Everyday.

LET’S SCAN AND FILTER OUR SYSTEM. Every night. So we would wake up the next morning feeling lighter and not hating the gift of living another day.

I am sure Yasmin meant that, for everyone to at least have thought of doing so – while she wrote the movie (I plead our government to uncensor Muallaf like how Yasmin would have preferred and begged for it to be shown in cinemas HERE).

‘It is in forgiving that we are forgiven’ ~ YASMIN AHMAD (1958 -2009)



Written by Ninie Ahmad

September 18, 2009 at 2:39 AM

8 Responses

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  1. […] Ninie Ahmad wrote an interesting post today on'I am optimistic and sentimental to the point of being annoying <b>…</b>Here’s a quick excerpt […]

  2. My friends and I were just discussing Kak Yasmin yesterday, and how from this Raya onwards, we won’t have another meaningful and heartful advertisement from her for CNY or Deepavali or Aidilfitri.

    I’m not a film-maker but I am a Malaysian and she was one of my heroes and she will always be missed.

    Thank you for sharing this, Ninie.

    Life for Beginners

    September 18, 2009 at 7:49 AM

    • She is one incredible soul, isn’t she? Having touched our lives and million others, making us appreciate and love each other more with only seconds of ads and hours of movies instead of wars or leading a political party?

      Unlike P. Ramlee and Michael Jackson, I hope she knows she’s loved and did live the life the deserved.

      I thank YOU for acknowledging this. It takes a beautiful soul to be able to the gem in others (and vice versa), I think so 🙂

      Ninie Ahmad

      September 18, 2009 at 8:53 AM

  3. sis, beautifully written. If she is alive, she would have been proud to read this too. To the lives we’ve touched or the lives that have touched ours, its always always a gift that we have lend out and most importantly bring each other through survival in life’s toughest ordeals. Love you. Selamat hari Raya, Maaf Zahir dan batin to you and family and your Mr Supertall too.

    -The other Anak Ahmad-

    Dona Ahmad

    September 18, 2009 at 2:56 PM

  4. Ninie- that was an amazing post
    U could not have said it better.
    I love Yasmin’s works.
    I wished her movies and productions had made its way on the big screens here – all of them.


    September 18, 2009 at 6:22 PM

  5. She once said;

    ‘Go out.Go and fall in love’

    Simple words that could change our perspectives about life.To me,it means,disregard hatred.

    Ms Pame

    September 19, 2009 at 12:36 AM

  6. Dear Ninie,

    I have not forgotten her. Not one day since she passed. I have been wanting to work with her/act in her movies but I’d never got the chance to. I was coincidently there when she was in ICU. My mother was collecting her client’s report(as she is an insurans agency manager). I then saw loads of press in front of the lift. I walked up to one of them.

    “Bang, story Kak Yasmin ka yang you semua cover?”

    “Ye. Dik.”

    “How is she?”

    “Dalam ICU pasang oxygen”

    I hold my tear when I was in the lift.
    I have not known her, and yet I felt I’ve known her for a very long time.

    My friend Elza (anak kak Azean Irdawaty) worked with her in TalenTime. I told her someone was criticizing me in my blog because I mixed with loads of Malay and was in Top five in Anak Wayang.

    She quote what Kak Yasmin said:”Tak pe sayang, kesian dia tu. Dia sakit perut.”


    I feel I have lost direction in who and what I want to achieve as my dream was to act in her movie. Not fame, but feel as if I am a true Malaysian to be a bangsa Cina yang dapat berbakti dalam filem Kak Yasmin.

    May God Bless Our Souls.


    September 24, 2009 at 6:54 PM

  7. […] most familiar faces on Malaysia entertainment industry Siti Nurhaliza, Mawi, Estranged, Nabil, YASMIN AHMAD, Atilia, Mila paired with selected personalities from interesting fields. I was paired with one of […]

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