What Agent Orange did
second time, blues outfit Rollin’ Sixers set a chilled mood for the night with a mix of songs, including a few from their forthcoming album.
In the crowd was Aida Ramli, 31, who didn’t want to miss her second outing to the fest.
“I almost couldn’t make it, having a wedding to attend earlier,” she said, adding that she was happy that she made it. “My friends are with the EcoKnights (the NGO organising the event) and I think what they’re doing to educate the students is really important.”
Picking up the pace after Rollin’ Sixer’s slow-burning set was the Eco Drum Circle crew. The enthusiastic teenagers drummed the liveliness back into the audience, performing in near-darkness, the only light source being trippy neon-bright glowsticks tied to their recycled drums.
The crowd’s energy levels were lifted ... just right for the next set by Monoloque which, oddly enough, had a reinterpretation of P. Ramlee’s classic, Tiada Kata Secantik Bahasa Aizat Amdan provided acoustic bliss in a stripped-down set. that the crowd had no problem singing a long to. Loque sheepishly asked the audience to excuse his band for being plugged in despite being on the X Plugged stage.
Rounding out the night’s performances THE Eco Film Fest in Universiti Malaya showcased a solid line-up of environmental short-films over the course of the week-long festival. The documentaries covered subjects ranging from the impact of livestock production ( Meat The Truth) and global warming ( Everything’s Cool) to closer to home topics like the plight of turtles in Penyu Menangis.
One of the movies that stood out was Agent Orange: 30 Years Later, directed by long-time Disney digital artist, John Trinh, 54.
Not to be confused with the Amazon.com short film of the same name, Agent Orange touched on the disastrous effects of the herbicide Agent Orange that was used in Vietnam during the 1960s.
Trinh first heard of Agent Orange when reading about the lawsuit filed by Vietnamese victims in 2004. He spent the next three years and more than US$96,000(RM297,600) of his savings to produce the documentary.
“I managed to keep the budget small by being a one man crew. I was the director, John Trinh, the director of were solo acts by indie jazz sweetheart Amirah Ali and rising star Aizat Amdan. Aizat, with a lone guitar to light up his performance, sang the enviromental tune Sungei Lui and his big hit Pergi. He was truly cameraman, and even janitor,” he joked.
It was a subject close to Trinh’s heart, as he had lived in Vietnam till he was 30, before moving to Los Angeles. “Seeing the victims gave me goosebumps, it made me think ‘that could have been me’.”
Trinh attended both days of the Eco Film Fest weekend, giving the UM students in the audience a chance to interview the director after the film. He was very encouraged by how passionate they were, saying “they care more about the environment than my generation did. This awareness is important, ‘ cause if you kill the environment, you’re killing yourself.”
He added that the fate of the environment rested in the hands of the youth, and it was up to them to reverse the damage caused by their parents’ generation. To achieve that goal, campaigns like the Eco Film Fest were invaluable tools to educate them. “Ultimately, people cannot separate themselves from the environment, just like Agent Orange cannot be separated from those affected by it,” he said. a crowd favourite despite an acoustic twopiece set (accompanied by a percussionist). The lights went out for the last time that night, leaving many at the Eco Film Fest with smiles to take home.
Rollin’ Sixers dipping into the blues rock pool.