Created for Festival Filem Meowlaysia 1, Malaysia’s first Cat Video Festival, which premiered at Art For Grabs on 24 Sept 2016. Here is the story in BM and English, with notes and tips at the end (in case you want to make your own).
Ini kucing belaan kami. Nama dia Mini-PSB.
Bulu hitam, bontot pink. Ekor pendek sahaja. Seperti udang yang dikupas kulitnya, sudah busuk lalu ditumbuhi kulapuk beroma.
Boleh kata kami berdua manusia belaan si dia.
This is a cat’s butt. So pink!
Sometimes – because our cat is so black – when she has her back to us her butt is the only detail we can pick out.
This is our cat. She is black, and has a stub-tail. Her tail is like a fishhook, or a cooked prawn, that has gone busuk and sprouted black fungus fur. When our cat is nervous her cooked-prawn tail twitches-twitches-twitches.
Our cat is called Mini-PSB.
Rumah kami sering dikunjungi kucing liar. Banyak sangat, sampai kena guna nama kod.
Yang ni adik kepada yang tu. Yang tu, boyfriend kepada yang ni. And so on. Ada yang seekor tu, nama kod dia PSB: Penyu’s Sister’s Boyfriend.
Kucing hitam. Dia ni selalu resah gelisah. Gementar. Kalau nampak kami intai dia, dia cemas. Cepat-cepat lari.
Explain for you, okay? Our house in Port Dickson attracts a lot of strays. We name our strays after cats we used to have.
This is Penyu’s Sister. She was a white cat with a grey-stained face, and she looked like a cat called Penyu, a cat we used to have.
Penyu’s Sister had a boyfriend. We called him Penyu’s Sister’s Boyfriend, or PSB. He was a tail-less black cat, quite small.
He was a very, very shy cat. He only ever came to visit at night. We’d see him creep up the driveway – and then he’d see us, spying on him. He’d freeze. And then he’d zoom off.
Nama Mini-PSB sebab rupa dia bulat-bulat macam PSB. Tapi saiz mini sedikit.
Dia ni pun cemas-cemas. Dah bersama kami setahun. Dari kecik lagi. Tapi masih takut manusia. Baru hari tu I jumpa dia duduk kat depan pintu.
Rasa macam nak bermanja dengan dia. Jadi I sentuh kaki dia. Dia panik! Kuku dia keluar. Dia cakar kaki I, calar sampai berdarah-darah.
Mini-PSB looks like a miniature, female version of PSB. We used to feed her mum, and her mum abandoned her here.
She is just as shy as her namesake. She is scared of humans. She’s lived with us for more than a year. But sometimes, if we aren’t careful, aren’t mindful enough to announce our presence, we spook her.
She jumps! Her hook-tail puffs! Her claws come out and scratch-scritch-scratches the floor as she runs.
More than once she’s run in between our feet and sliced open our toes.
Sebelum Mini-PSB kami ada bela kucing lain. Tiga sekawan, adik beradik.
First sekali, Pingu: kucing hitam-putih, macam burung penguin. Dia ni suka duduk dalam pasu, dalam tong sampah.
Yang kedua, Prospero: dia ni suka panjat kat dapur. Habis pecah botol, pecah gelas semua.
Ketiga, Lord Nelson: yang paling cool sekali. Bulu dia panjang, perangai dia zen. Suara dia kecil: iu iu~
Before Mini-PSB, we had three cats, our catly trinity:
Pingu the silly, with his tuxedo and propensity for sitting in rubbish bins; Prospero the fat-bellied, who loved pushing glass things off shelves; and Lord Nelson, coolest and fluffiest, tufts of fur between his fingers.
Lord Nelson teman Sharon tiap malam apabila bekerja di studio. Dia ni baik hati. Steady. Tapi mati diserang anjing liar di kawasan sekolah, belakang rumah kami.
Satu hari Pingu keluar rumah, tapi tak balik-balik.
Prospero yang first sekali hilang. Bila dia hilang, kami ada buat notis, lekat kat serata taman. “ADA NAMPAK KUCING KAMI?” Kucing kesayangan kami. Masih rindu kat dia.
HOW WE LOST THE CATLY TRINITY
Once, Pingu got stuck up a tree. He wandered off and never came home.
Lord Nelson would sleep in the studio, keeping Sharon company as she worked through the night. He died to a pack of straw dogs living in the school next to our house.
Prospero was the first to go. We printed out “HAVE YOU SEEN OUR CAT?” flyers. Somebody called us, saying they saw her. It wasn’t her.
Kucing kami yang keempat, nama dia Chicken. Sebab jumpa dia kat tengah-tengah main road kat pekan Port Dickson. Nasib Sharon tak langgar!
Chicken ni gila. Betul! Perangai dia ada dua mode. Mode pertama: tidur, tak bangun-bangun.
Mode kedua: gila degil nak mampus. Cakar-cakar, gigit-gigit. Teruk I diseksa. Sampai tahap rasa macam nak buang dia.
Our fourth cat was called Chicken. She was a dirty calico with crazy eyes.
She was called Chicken because we found her as a kitten in the middle of the main road. Sharon almost ran her over. When Sharon stopped the car Chicken climbed into the engine. We had to see a mechanic to get her out.
Chicken was legit crazy. She had two modes. Murderous – to toes, fingers, soft-toy mice; and dead-to-the-world asleep.
Tapi dia mati dulu. Jangkitan Feline panleukopenia virus, atau FPV.
Virus ni menyerang sistem pencernaan. Usus-usus dia lebur dibaham penyakit itu. Muntah-muntah, mati kesakitan.
Jenazah Chicken dibalut pakej empat segi, tapi ada satu kaki terkeluar, macam drumstick. Doktor kata sebab kaki dia ni degil sangat. Oh, Chicken.
HOW WE LOST CHICKEN
Chicken died of feline distemper. She caught it, fighting other strays.
The virus attacks a cat’s digestive tract, dissolves its intestinal lining. A cat dies starving, and in pain.
We cried when Chicken died. We buried her underneath our mangosteen tree. I dug her grave myself.
Penyu kucing kami yang kelima. Pagi itu, Sharon jumpa dia dalam rumah. Mengiau lapar. “Hello,” katanya. “I lapar. Makanan di mana?”
Lepas makan, dia akan mengorek-ngorek keliling mangkuk. Macam nak menyimpan makanan yang berlebihan.
I ada baca: perangai ni sering dilihat pada anak kucing yang kebuluran.
Penyu was a kitten who Sharon found indoors, one morning. “Hello,” it said. “I’m here now. Please feed me.”
Sharon tried to kick it out, but it kept re-appearing. “Hello,” it’d say. “Please feed me.”
It was mangy and starving. After eating at its bowl of kibble, it’d paw around the sides, as if trying to bury the food. Later, I read that this behaviour is common in strays, when food is hard to come by.
So Sharon fed her, and we named her Penyu, and that was that.
PENYU MASIH ADA
Satu pagi Penyu hilang. Entah kemana, tak pulang-pulang.
Tapi roh dia masih ada. Tiap malam sebelum tidur, di ruang antara bantal kami, tempat dia selalu lelap. Semangat dia masih di ruang itu.
Pingu dalam pasunya. Prospero di rak dapur. Lord Nelson di dalam studio. Chicken pengsan tengah-tengah lantai, tak bangun-bangun.
One morning Penyu left, and didn’t come home.
She is still with us, though.
Whenever we go to bed, we look at the gap between our pillows, that little nook in the middle there, and we see her white furry body. Her head, heavy-lidded, slowly nodding off, as she always did. Purring, purring.
Lord Nelson in his corner, Prospero on her shelf, Pingu in his bin. Chicken, conked out, belly up, sleeping.
KEMANA KUCING MATI PERGI?
Syurga untuk kucing macam mana?
I rasa tempat itu penuh dengan flora berbentuk tangan manusia. Jadi bila kucing lalu dia akan sentiasa dibelai.
I rasa tempat itu ada tikus, burung dan serangga kecil. Ada tupai dan cicak. Takut-takut, tapi tak mati-mati. Dijadikan mainan si comel. Sebab kucing ni memang haiwan kejam.
I rasa tempat itu mesti ada hasil-hasil laut yang disediakan atas dulang emas, ikan dan udang yang berbau tapi tak pernah busuk.
THE CAT AFTERLIFE
What is the heaven for cats like?
There must be rows of catnip, and fields to frolic in, with green grass shaped like human hands. The grass will scratch you behind your ears if you lay in it.
There must be stocks of mice and hopping birds; insects, squirrels, lizards. These must be afraid and immortal. Because cats are really quite evil.
There must be wet kibble served on silver spittoons that never goes dry and stinky.
BONTOT PINK LAGI
Mini-PSB sudah lompat atas meja, depan komputer, atas papan kekunci. Dah memanggil-manggil, mengiau-ngiau manja.
Jadi kami berhenti di sini, okay? Sorry. Faham-faham la kan? Si kucing ni tak boleh ditidakkan.
Mini-PSB has climbed on our keyboard, a sign we should stop now, and pay attention to her.
So we have to, you know? Sorry and bye-bye.
NOTES & TIPS
1. I saw these two animations on the internet. Both times, I turned to Zedeck and said: let’s make something like this, give ourselves 3 – 4 days limit, see what comes out!
The first is by master Iranian animator Noureddin Zarrinkelk:
The second is ‘Bat and Hat’ by Becky James:
2. Hazri Haili and Amanda Nell Eu asked us to be part of Festival Filem Meowlaysia, so we decided to make something about our cats. Zedeck wrote a script, and I did a rough storyboard:
3. For each scene, I drew the background first, then the moving elements, or ‘assets’, which were cut out. The backgrounds I did in color pencil, and the assets with crayon so they would stand out.
4. I did everything freehand, no sketches. This was hard, because I am a perfectionist. But I like the result of my imperfect hand making imperfect marks.
5. This is the DIY lightbox we made. We taped Zedeck’s Samsung phone to the the top of the box which had a hole cut in it. To animate, we moved the assets a little, took a picture, and repeated until we got the motion we wanted. Afterwards we put together the photos in Photoshop and made animated GIFs. Here is a simple tutorial on how to make animated GIFs in Photoshop. If you don’t have Photoshop, you can use Gimp, which is free and open source.
6. Some advice from our friend Choen Lee: use LED bulbs instead of normal fluorescent bulbs, and you won’t get the different coloured stripes you can see in the GIFs above.
7. Here is Zedeck performing ‘Bontot Jambu/Pink Butt’ at Festival Filem Meowlaysia 1. He read the story in BM while the animated GIFs played on screen.
Can’t believe we made this silly thing. So happy we did.