THIS is Hari Raya week - a happy week - but the TV stations made it to be a very morbid week indeed. Well, that's my conclusion after having had to endure several Malay dramas these past few days.
Since I was playing house nurse, I had to sit through several dramas shown on various channels. There were a few repeats as well.
Almost all the dramas had deaths in them. Either the parents die, or the children die. In one drama, father and son died. And all these deaths take place on the eve of Hari Raya or on Hari Raya day itself.
The central theme of these dramas is filial piety, and the balik kampong phenomenon. There was an episode where three sisters whose parents are blind returned to their kampong in Perlis only to be greeted by their father's death.
Yes, you guessed right - the siblings had not gone back to their kampong for several years, having left the blind parents to fend for themselves while they found fortune in the big towns.
The one shown earlier tonight showed the death of a daughter who was trying her best to get back her estranged parents together. She died on the eve of Hari Raya. When her mother came to visit on Raya morning, she came smack into her daughter's dead body in the hall of her father's big mansion.
I also concluded there's a lot of guilt in the Malay community. Almost every drama depicted guilt on the part of the lead and supporting roles - guilt for neglecting parents, for neglecting children, for living a life of sin.
And inevitably, on the eve of Hari Raya, they all came to realise they have erred and frantically made their way to the kampong to seek forgiveness from their loved ones. And very, very few succeeded.
However, one drama stood out. Produced by Sheila Rusly and her husband, Hanya Aku was shot in a drug shelter home managed by Pengasih. With well-known singer Hattan playing a lead role, the drama showed how several addicts tried to kick the habit, and how their efforts were made more difficult by uncaring family members such as parents and spouses.
I thought the dialogue was realistic too, and the acting better than most. I must admit that I'm not a drama critic, but Hanya Aku is worth seeing for those who missed it on Astro Ria.
Of course there were deaths - a girl addict on the road to recovery went back to her bad ways when her uncaring parents surprised her with their divorce plans; and Sheila's husband was found dead in an alley of Aids.
When will we see these dramas graduate to become outstanding good movies, such as HBOs 'Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee' shown earlier today? Never you say?