Yasmin Ahmad, a prolific storyteller well established in the Malaysian cinema, engaged with the discourse of ethnic relation through her work and searched for the Malaysian identity in a way few before or since her have explored. In the “I Lup Chew” sharing session, her former colleagues in Leo Burnett and her sister revisited her kindness and exceptional talent with The One Academy students.
Tackling the issue of multi-culturalism head-on, Yasmin tried to carve out an alternative understanding of the Malaysian society. As the Creative Director of international advertising agency Leo Burnett, she did the same for the festive advertisements commissioned by Petronas, highlighting the need to return to the roots and not forgetting our values.
The former colleagues of Yasmin in Leo Burnett KL who shared fondly their memories of her have worked alongside her for years. Iska Hashim (Group Creative Director), Eaide Jasli Asmon (Creative Group Head), Jovian Lee (Creative Group Head) and Yasmin’s sister Datin Orked Ahmad took turns to inspire the young creative aspirants by walking through the her legacy, in this event titled after the way Yasmin pronounced the words “I Love You” playfully.
Jovian remembered that when the agency was pitching for an account, Yasmin would asked everyone in the office, from artists, designers to front desk executives and cleaners to craft the lines, as everyone was equally endowed with creativity. Since she cherished authenticity more than anything, it didn’t matter whether one had a high command of languages.
“Yasmin believed that the best way to write a script is from your own life experiences,” Eaide Jasli recalled. Hence, Yasmin wanted everyone to reproduce the actual lines when interesting scenario popped up, instead of polishing them with bombastic or flowery languages. In line with the Masters Train Masters philosophy, the creative experts conducted a workshop, where students conjured ideas and crafted creative lines in accordance to Yasmin’s tested ways.
Born of a musician father and theatre director mother in Muar, Johor, Yasmin received her degree in arts and psychology at Newcastle University, United Kingdom. After a stint as marketing representative at IBM, she ventured into advertising as a copywriter at Ogilvy & Mather, and finally in 1993, she joined Leo Burnett.
Since her touching movies such as Sepet, Gubra, Mukhsin, Muallaf, Talentime have deeply provoked the hearts and minds of many, a special screening of Sepet was also held for the students. The nostalgia of her has certainly inspired our young creative aspirants to strive for excellence!