My article on Wednesday was not exactly the version that I submitted. Call me biased, but I liked my original better. Here is it.
KUCHING: Equator Media creative director Alwyn Tay could not put his finger on what felt wrong about the production of Go Bald’s video ‘Hope’.
In an exclusive interview with The Borneo Post, Tay said he had a few sleepless nights before he figured out the problem.
“The standard industry rate for productions such as this cost at least RM20,000. Since this is for charity, we only asked the Go Bald committee to cover the expenses,” he said, citing a nominal sum.
As a business owner, Tay said that he managed to reduce the expenditure to something less than what the organisers paid him, which will enable the company to pocket a small profit. But something about that decision kept him up at night.
“In the end, I decided to give the balance back to them,” he said.
Tay, who directed ‘Hope’, added that he felt it went against the spirit of the campaign if he was only interested in the business end of the project.
“I want the children who are going through cancer treatment to have the confidence and the faith to continue fighting,” he explained his conclusion. “We need to tell children that they are not alone in this journey. This is what Go Bald is about.”
The short film, which ran at just under five minutes, depicted Sarawak Children’s Cancer Society (SCCS) vice president Wong Kok Ping hiking through a jungle to get to a longhouse while reminiscing about the daughter he lost to cancer.
Upon his arrival, Wong was faced with a new challenge. The child he came to collect for treatment refused to budge from his hiding place, ashamed to be seen because he was bald from chemotherapy.
The film was shot in Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) and on a jungle trail somewhere on Mount Santubong.
Tay said that it was a challenge hiking through the jungle while burdened with heavy equipment.
“Wong was also very cooperative, even when we told him we’re cutting his hair for the video!” Tay said, adding that their 30 cast and crew members included multimedia students from Cosmopoint who volunteered for the experience of working in a film production.
Tay, who worked his way up from the bottom of the film industry, said that filming is supposed to be fun work.
“I don’t want anyone working with me to be unhappy. I don’t use ‘coolies’ in my production. Everyone is treated as a professional,” he said, adding that little things like three meals a day was provided for all cast and crew.
The shoot also benefited from the expertise of two respected members of the film industry, who also donated their time and services to a good cause.
Josiah Chieng, who produced award-winning film ‘Great Day’, also produced ‘Hope’. Also lending his talent to the production was Ma Chiau Ran, location manager for ‘Great Day’. Ma was the Director of Photography (DOP) for ‘Hope’.
Tay said that their biggest problem was tracking down a child actor to play the sick longhouse child.
“A lot of parents refused when they found out the child character has cancer. It was ‘pantang’,” he said. “If they were okay with that, it’s the shaved head that puts them off.”
As a last resort, they tried the Boy’s Home and found their young actor in seven-year old Thomas Henry. Permission was obtained from the Home and Thomas’s parents and filming began.
The full video can be viewed at www.gobald.my.
On the campaign itself, Tay stressed that more people need to think about making a more substantial commitment rather than a single contribution and forgetting about the cause.
“Charity work is not a one-time thing,” he said. “I decided I want to work with Go Bald because they are committed and have been able to sustain this campaign into its third year.”
He added that while moral support is high and it’s easier for people to accept bald heads, Kuching still needs to rally up and dig deep into their pockets so SCCS can finally fulfill what they set out to do – complete their new centre at Taman Desa Wira.
The centre will offer improved amenities, facilities and resources for the treatment of young cancer patients. This will include specially designed accommodations for visiting patients and their family, some of whom have to make a long journey to Kuching from rural Sarawak.
“The response is more active than before. Many people are talking about Go Bald but talk alone isn’t going to meet the donation target,” Tay said, with his trademark candour.
The main event is this Sunday at The Spring, where the Go Bald campaign hope to hit their maximum target of 500 heads and hopefully, their monetary target of RM1.5 million.
Those who wish to support the cause can still sign up to Go Bald. Members of the public can collect pledge cards from the Go Bald booth at The Spring.
For more information on, call Nancy at 012-8071668, Jodie (016-8005013), Cheryl (019-8981907), Genevieve (013-8112907) or Lucia (013-8628907).
You can also email to email@example.com; or visit the website at www.gobald.my. Go Bald also has a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/GoBald.
For specific information on SCCS, call 012-8073131.