Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sharifah Amani, Nothingness, and Kiki Sugino.

nani, ozu, and kiki

While looking at locations for "Wasurenagusa" and meeting with investors in Japan a couple of months ago, I asked our Executive Producer, Kousuke Ono, to take us to Ozu's grave.

So off we went, the four of us. Sharifah Amani (who is to play the lead character Inom), Kiki (the producer who will also play Yukiko), Ono-san himself, and I.

We took a long train ride from Tokyo to Kita-Kamakura station, walked to Engaku Temple at the edge of it, and climbed steep paths and steps to the tomb of one of my favorite filmmakers of all time.

Written on his tombstone was the Chinese character "Wu" ("Mu" in Japanese).

In my opinion, along with the term "Zen", "Wu" is perhaps one of the most frequently misunderstood words in history. It literally means "Nothing", and herein lies the first hint of its hidden meaning.

No one is truly able to understand Nothingness or the figure Zero, any more than they can comprehend the concept of Infinity.

So what does it mean when we say a Thing is in a state of Nothingness? How can Nothing (No Thing) ever be a Thing at the same time?

Perhaps, and I stress perhaps, it has something to do with Lao Tzu's concept of emptiness.

"The True Way is empty
yet it fills every vessel with endless supply
The True Way is hidden
yet it shines in every corner of the universe"

Five times a day, a Muslim is asked to face what some people would describe as The True Way.

He begins by standing upright.

At some point, he lowers his head and torso and bows.

A little later, he finds himself at an even lower position, kneeling and pressing his forehead against the ground.

All the while, as he reduces himself physically, he expresses obeisance and utters words that concede absolute subservience to a Greater Power.

In other words, he drops all manners of arrogance, and sheds any belief of self-importance.

Is he, in fact, approaching the state of Nothingness?


Kris Law said...

The state of Nothingness is very close to science. Science claimed in space, nothing exists, therefore it's empty. It's up to us, as individuals to believe whether in that empty space, there is matter or not. The choice: either to believe that there is actually "something" in that space of nothingness or to regard it as it is: nothing. I believed in the first.

But you are nothing really. :-)


yasmin said...

kris, i hope to achieve that state someday, inshaallah. it is the hardest thing of all!

Sylvia Lim said...

“無” on the tomb is mean:-

Before human come to this world, this world is without his existence; so when he died, this world is also without his existence. So in this world, “空Empty” and “有to have” can’t be separate. ( How can a Nothing (No Thing) ever be a Thing at the same time )

The meaning of “Wu” , it means “無我”。無=Nothing, 我=Myself
“無我”that take out the “persistent”, then it brings to “大” 。大=wide, like the sky.
When comes to “大”, everything becomes “平等equal”
Then it will brings to “空Empty” and “有to have” 。
After that, what we have to do is “利他” = altruistic.

無我 → 大 → 空/無 → 平等/利他

In a part of Buddhism, we also pray like muslim “He begins by standing upright. At some point, he lowers his head and torso and bows. A little later, he finds himself at an even lower position, kneeling and pressing his forehead against the ground.” It means to throw up the ego “ego=我执” , to make somebody becomes “humble”.

Mr & Mrs Lai

yasmin said...

when we are nothing, we can become a part of everything.

mrs lai meet everybody, everybody meet mrs lai.

mrs lai came to watch muallaf at my office today. she thinks it's our best film so far. (she has seen rabun, sepet, gubra, mukhsin, muallaf, and talentime.)

Qaisy Jaslenda said...


(I'd like to give a comment about this. But I know nothing, really)

the Razzler said...

Dear Kak Min..

Just my personal take on `Emptiness'..

It's always been emphasized when we wanna relax...

1. Clear our mind of all thoughts
2. Focus on the energy within our body & soul
3. Feel the peace/emptiness that's everywhere

I think `nothing'ness can be described as the ultimate form of peace & tranquility.

It's the hardest `form' to attain. said...

tongue-in-cheek indeed,Kak Min.

i read this somewhere :

"if a tree tumbang dalam hutan
and nobody's listening... there actually a sound?"

perhaps sound actually is...nothing.

yasmin said...

haha, yes!

what is the sound of one hand clapping?

NANA said...

Nothing is everything else except a thing and its so so so very much more said...

Would like to share a very good book with all : "Knowing The Truth" by Harun Yahya.

Can't help...but silently laugh at myself after reading it.Because it is stated clearly in the book...that sound,sight...actually is what we receive through the nerves in our ears and eyes.

(God,rupa-rupanya,..I've been living in The Matrix itself...since the day I was born!)


kruel74 said...

Were you the one who said the thing about the empty cup needed to be filled at TED? I attended too many talk this weeks I forgot who said what but yours was memorable as a lot of it I seen from this blog but you skip about the last haiku you posted here which was quite memorable too

Kris Law said...

When a script is given to me, in my head I switched off everything around me, rendering me a clean canvass (thanks to the book Unlimited Power by Anthony Robbins, all actors should read this and learn how to control the mind). I became nothing, in order for me to emulate the character. People's disapproval and disbelief in my capability, is gone. An actor has to always be in that state of Nothingness, in order for the character to come alive.

The position of a Film Director, is to be always embroiled in issues and awards (fear and pride), all for the success of a film. Even these are nothing, but a fleeting moment of heated passion.

It's harder (almost impossible) for the Film Director to achieve this state, as opposed to the Actor. An Actor is a traveller, goes where the work takes him, therefore has to leave nothing in order for him to move on. Rejection and false acceptance are a norm, he learns to move on, forever shedding the pain and disappointment from the people around him, and forever nothing in state.

You can never achieve this state. It's the hardest thing of all, you're right. :-)


yasmin said...

hehe! sounds like you don't undestand the tao, kris.

Kris Law said...

People like you got all the time and luxury in the world to think and debate about ambiguous concepts.

People like me don't. Maybe because I'm not as famous as you..... yet.


yasmin said...

presumptuous twerp. when i was your age, i couldn't reach for lofty ideas like ACTING because it wouldn't have made enough money to put food on my parents table or pay for my sister and brothers college fees.

who do you have to support, kris?

Anonymous said...

The state of nothingness.

0 x 0 = 0
0 x 10 = 0
0 x 100 = 0
0 x everything = 0
0 x infinity = 0
Infinity x 0 = 0

0 is eternally changeless.
In its perfection, nothingness is everything.

Like God, Allah, Yahweh or 'Eternal Buddha/Enlightenment'.

To Buddhists, the state of nothingness is attained by enlightenment (in meditation, you stay out of mind and body - no thoughts no ego).

Kris Law said...

My mother and my sick elder step-brother.


yasmin said...

shouldn't you get a proper job then?

Kris Law said...

I got other "jobs" besides acting, yo. Acting is a hobby I DETERMINE to make legit, get it? Those other "jobs" are not bringing in the dough. Baby, you're asking me as if you got something to give. Better say it, and mean it.


Kris Law said...

This baby here can do casting, writing, assistant directing, traffic control (and acting, of course ya know that). On the front screen and behind, whatever you name it. Ya baby here is full-throttle gungho for filming. Just give me a call and we're game on. Signing out.


Arvin said...

presumptuous the war is on.......its funny too

I belive this all means death......or when human reach orgasm......

when we are nothing, we can become a part of everything. but when we dah enter something then we cant b another thing....unless back to nothing......sounds like yin yang

dont plan to noe about anything like dat, cos i heard somewhere we couldnt understand it till now im heading for a PARTY!!!!!!!!

kamal said...

we are close to nothingness

Anonymous said...


Love from Amsterdam. I hope you are well.
Nina xxx

Anonymous said...

get a job kris.
a proper one.
be responsible.
and stop wasting your time on blogging.

nik amir said...

nothing can be bought. tak tipu. check it out.

Kris Law said...

Delete all my comments on your blog. Don't want any pity or false sympathy from your so-called "fans" and their hurtful comments.

Yasmin, next time please don't ask personal questions to show like you care and in the end make that person loss their dignity, then post them on your blog for them to view. You don't know how CRUEL that can be.

Again, proven why the state of nothingness you can NEVER acquire because indeed YOU ARE A CRUEL HUMAN BEING.


Kris Law said...

Delete all my comments on your blog. Don't want any pity or false sympathy from your so-called "fans" and their hurtful comments.

Yasmin, next time please don't ask personal questions to show like you care and in the end make that person loss their dignity, then post them on your blog for them to view. You don't know how CRUEL that can be.

Again, proven why the state of nothingness you can NEVER acquire because indeed YOU ARE A CRUEL HUMAN BEING.


fadz said...

kak min, love the analogy, never thought of it!

yasmin said...

hey, fadz! nice to see you here again!

adee said...

err kris.

I think you ought to think again why you're here in the first place.

I don't think yasmin ever wanted to hurt you. I'm not saying this as a fan, just another human being seeing things from a bigger picture.

calm down.:)

and to you the inspiring one, we here in singapore waiting for your talentime to touch down in our humble town.:D

Le-Anne said...

Hi Yasmin,

In Buddhism we're taught of Wu(Nothing) and Kong(emptiness), sometimes I believe it's one and the same. My teacher (in dharma classes) says that nothing doesn't necessarily come from nothing, and nothing might not go to nothing. Does that make sense?

I think when a man prays he can actually approach the state of Nothingness, though I don't think I can. hehe. The mind is wild, and it's really hard to empty one's mind, even when in prayer. But I believe great monks can.

A random thought: Reading your post reminded me of a line that my dad loves very much, and it goes like this: A cup is not a cup, but it's called a cup.


Anonymous said...

Kak min,
Kalau nak jurubahasa jepun kontek I ya...ada di Jepun sekarang..bila shooting tu?


Azmi Danuri said...

i think Wasurenagusa will be your best film yet!

miss you already!

Rantong said...

Salam ziarah. Such a great blog.

View Profile: Rantong™

Anonymous said...

Hmm...interesting line, this is: A cup is not a cup, but it's called a cup.

What is a cup? It's clay, moulded into shape, fired and burnt.

But is clay a cup? Or fire a cup?

A cup is created through the conditions of 'pottering, mixing of clay, moulding it into shape with water,
then fired in kiln and burnt'.

A cup, like everything else (including humans)is created
by a series of causes and conditions and everything disappears by the same rule; everything changes, nothing remains constant.

That's "Causation".

Rain falls, wind blows, plants bloom, leaves mature and are blown away. These phenomena are all inter-related with causes and conditions, and are brought about by them, and disappear as the causes and conditions change.

One is born through the conditions of parentage, the body nourished by food, the spirit nutured by teaching and experience.

Therefore, both flesh and spirit are related to conditions and are changed as conditions change.

As a net is made up by a series of knots, so everything in this world is connected by a series of knots. If anyone thinks that the mesh of a net is an independent, isolated thing, he is mistaken.

It is called a net because it is made up of a series of connected meshes, and each mesh has its place and responsibilities in relation to other meshes.

Blossoms come about because of a series of conditions that lead up to their blooming. Leaves are blown away because a series of conditions lead up to it. Blossoms do not appear independently, nor does a leaf fall of by itself, out of its season. So everything has its coming forth and passing away; nothing can be independent without any change.

shahariah said...

Brilliantly interpreted K.Yasmin.

yasmin said...

ah yes... impermanence... hakaanai.

SpidEy d'lEfty said...

Dear kak min.
1st of all, salam to you.

I m a big fans of your movies, and ur writings, and again, this post impressed me for the n-th time.

Thank you for the post.. being a Chinese-Muslim, we'd feel rather touched to see how chinese cultural merges Islamic thought in such a wonderful way..


ps..I have to apologize cuz I've never got a chance to watch Muallaf and Talent Time..

razif said...

Assalamualaikum Kak Yasmin,

Would love to have your email so i can email you an invitation as a speaker to an event.

You can reply me via mail or just hmm.. how ahh ???

here pun can kan ?


there you go.


yasmin said...



aki said...

Hi Kak Yasmin,

You went to Ozu's grave.. I love his works, too :) Tokyo Monogatari (Tokyo Story) is one of my favorite. I also think that Zen and Muslim prayer have something in common in a way that both calm down oneself to face the inner self. interesting..

yasmin said...

aki, the truth is, while i was there, i was more spooked than anything else!

shahariah said...

Why are you spooked? Something happenned? I would have thought that the cemetery is modern and nicely lined up and clean. Not like the Muslim cemetry esp the JB ones which is all haphazard with tall large pontianak like trees. THAT, I think is REALLY spooky

yasmin said...

oh, shahariah, you've no idea how spooked i was! something big and black flew over my head, landed on a branch of a tree next to ozu's grave, and stared coldly at me.

Kim Ong said...

Kak Yasmin - you, I truly admire.

Through Nothingness, we embrace our inner peace. That's why I believe in prayer - shutting my eyes, I see Nothing n pitch black and speaking to God when I can see nothing but I could hear His voice.

And based on what you said earlier @ Ampitheatre, I feel ya... scary ya... *mata terbeliak* :X the trials and tribulations of a Blogger.


MoMoKz said...

Salam Kak Yasmin,

I thought that was an interesting analogy. :)


Oh. Kris Law. I seriously think you shld cut some slack.
You are not welcome here. You are nothing. Dun take it as a compliment. It's not. The state of nothingness you are in is comparable to zilch. Like, empty vessel. And obviously you make the most noise here.

Sought solace. It's time.

- Ayu (Singapore)

yuhana said...

Yup kite ni mmg xde ape yg ade Allah je ^_^


YJ said...

Miss Yasmin,

I would like to drop you an e-mail to invite you to a Famine Camp that is coming up soon (in August, specifically). Would that be okay?

Thank you and have a fantastic day!

yasmin said...

famine camp, yj? will there be anything to eat? ;-)

shahariah said...

Arghhh! Now that's spooky!

yasmin said...

see, shahariah, that thing looked like a crow. but it was so big, that it couldn't have been just a crow. its wing span spread wider than the span of my arms outstretched. it flew as if in slow motion, the sweep of its wings making regular "fffoooh! fffoooh!" sounds.

and i swear, as soon as it landed, it turned its head and looked straight at me, its gaze fixed and unmoving.

YJ said...

Lol, cheeky as always Ms.Yasmin. I'll take your reply as permission to send the e-mail. Dropping it off soon.


p.a.k.w.e. said...

im so into ur work
so gud n will never b forgotten
hope u will always there

::@FiQ said...

btol ker muallaf finally akkn ditayang?
2 julai~!!
i am sooo freakin' excited...

SarjaN yO said...

Everyone the best...

nik amir said...

hi kak min,

dah tengok 'aruitemo aruitemo' by hirokazu koreeda? i just saw it just now. it's really good. some say its like 'tokyo story'. i haven't seen that though.

yasmin said...

nik amir, is the english title for that "still walking"? if so, then no, i haven't seen it yet. i HAVE seen tokyo story about 5 times, though.

nik amir said...

yea it is 'still walking'. i think you would like the film. its a story about a family (koreeda is a master of this). its very natural, honest and funny. even if some might say its a bit plotless.

i don't know how to get my hands on these foreign films (tokyo story). my local DVD store takde la pulak. maybe beli DVD online or something.

man said...

mmg semua benda takde apa2 pun
in islam
thats the basic n the core of lailahaillallah
except God

Kris Law said...

Dear God Almighty, I pray that you bear witness and read every evil, merciless comments here against me being published intentionally by the blog owner, Yasmin Ahmad.

Identify the source of the writers whomever they are, wherever they may be and repay them the same extreme pain they had caused me, for my problems are real.

Grant me the inner strength to close this dark chapter so I may start anew, peace that I am always honest with my words, courage to leave this blog in your hands so I may never see it again and faith that the pain will heal. Amin.


yasmin said...

kris comes here, endlessly promoting his blog, sometimes slandering me on his blog, insults me on my blog, and then acts like he's the victim.

god almighty sees you for who you are, kris. may your vicious energy return to you, leaving us untouched. ameen, ya rabbal aalameen.

RUSH said...

i luv u..

Anonymous said...

What is your problem, Kris?? i haven't seen any hurtful or mean comments about you. you mean people actually waste their energy and time on confused, pretentious beings like you? don't flatter urself.

man said...

maafkan aje la budak hingusan tu kak yasmin
menggelupur je
biarkan dia je
when we wish other people well
we'll get back the wish we have for them
kris, pooodahhh citt

adee said...

laillah.he's done it again.*smack forehead*

yasmin said...

adee dear, i think you meant lailaahaillallah. laillah means there is no god!

(nothingness) said...

kris, it is rude to write your own blog posts on others' blogs.

seorang setiausaha yang brutal said...

dear yasmin, may i have your email address? i'm working on to inviting you into a meeting with the goverment but yet i don't know how do i can contact you. please do email me at or for further details. thank you.

*cosmic freak* said...

the only thing that comes to my mind reading the last line is ...

encik faiz.

yasmin said...

haha! yes, dwells in nothingness!

yuhana said...

diorg nampak cam adik beradik kandung je
sweet !! ^_6

yasmin said...

interesting observation, yuhana! however, in the film, they play two girls in love with one boy.

yuhana said...

w0o0o -_- owh i thought they are sibling in that film hahaha

i wish good luck n Gambatte!!

Fitri Che Musa said...

Yasmin, i've been frequenting your blog since forever...but never actually left any comment, as far as i can remember.....but now i'm so tempted that i have to say this to KRIS...

GET A LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
will ya???!!