Saturday, July 24, 2010
To those who don't know - this is Robert De Niro - the legendary Hollywood icon..
As reported by the Daily Express, a local newspaper based in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia on 20th July, 2010.
Kota Kinabalu: Hollywood icon Robert De Niro is coming to Malaysia at the behest of the wife of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Rosmah Mansor.
Rosmah told Daily Express in an exclusive interview that De Niro, who has won Academy awards for Best Actor (Raging Bull) and Best Supporting Actor (Godfather 2) had expressed a desire to visit Malaysia to see for himself what the country was all about.
According to her, people outside Malaysia have an information misconception about Malaysia, especially in New York, and this needed to be addressed.
Rosmah said the opportunity to do so came when she and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak met De Niro at a Malaysian function there.
"He came as one of our guests and saw the other side of Malaysia.
He said, 'You are very progressive, you are very engaging. I would like to come to your country.'
"I said, 'Please come because otherwise, you listen to all the wrong things about Malaysia. It is very important to put things in the right perspective.
I told the people in New York that we are not destroying our forests,' " Rosmah said.
Rosmah said they also think that Malaysia is a breeding-ground for drugs, middlemen for human trafficking and terrorists.
"I told them it is not trueÉto come and visit us and judge for themselves what we are all about. So, it is very important that Malaysians invite them so they can tell the whole world that we are completely different from what they have heard."
She said some of the people even asked her whether they could do this or that and if they might get caned while in Malaysia. "I said 'No, you are not subjected to Syariah Law. Only the Muslims are subjected to Syariah Law.
But you are subjected to Civil Law.
"I said, 'Like in many other countries, if you break the law, then you have to face the consequences. People like us, Muslims, we have to observe the Syariah Law as well as the Civil Law.'
"And they said 'Oh, we didn't know because nobody ever explained that,'" Rosmah added.
She felt that it is the duty of all Malaysians to say the right things about Malaysia. "You have to help the Government to promote Malaysia."
Chief Editor James Sarda presented a copy of the book "Spirit of Borneo" about the travels to the Kinabatangan in Sandakan by Hollywood's pioneer documentary filmmakers, Martin and Osa Johnson, during the interview.
The full interview will be published this Sunday.
Rosmah was pleased to learn about the important role that the Johnsons played in documenting life in early Sabah (then British North Borneo).
The book was co-authored by James and Universiti Malaya history professor Dr Danny Wong.
The pioneering Hollywood couple made two trips to Sabah - in 1920 and 1935 - that produced two movies. On both occasions they took stunning priceless pictures of the people, wildlife and landscape in the inner Kinabatangan with logistical support from the British Chartered Company.
These images formed the first introduction to Borneo to cinema audiences in US and the west and helped establish Sabah (then British North Borneo) as an exotic eco-tourist destination.
More importantly, their 1920 documentary, "Jungle Adventures" made Sabah and Malaysia the subject of the world's first wildlife documentary.
Those on Africa, also done for the cinemas by the Johnsons where they spent 17 years detailing equally memorable African big game safari and tribes in the Congo, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, followed much later.