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Published: Thursday July 23, 2009 MYT 4:37:00 PMUpdated: Thursday July 23, 2009 MYT 10:56:03 PM
By RIZAL JOHAN and ALLAN KOAY
Yasmin Ahmad admitted to hospital
PETALING JAYA: Internationally-acclaimed movie director Yasmin Ahmad, also renowned for her advertisements capturing the multiracial essence of Malaysia, suffered a stroke while attending a meeting at Sri Pentas here Thursday.
The 51-year-old creative director at Leo Burnett Kuala Lumpur was immediately rushed to the Damansara Specialist Centre where she underwent brain surgery.
At an emergency press conference at about 7pm at hospital, Yasmin’s brother-in-law Datuk Dr Zakaria Zahari, a paediatric surgeon, said that Yasmin was in stable but critical condition.
He appealed to those present to respect the family’s wishes and leave the hospital as there was nothing left to do but for doctors to monitor Yasmin’s condition and the rest to pray for her.
Yasmin had previously suffered a stroke about five years ago.
Her husband Tan Yew Leong, who was in the Intensive Care Unit ward with her, did not speak at the conference.
At press time, Yasmin’s parents were on the way from Langkawi to be at her side.
A host of media representatives and personalities congregated at the hospital on Thursday night, including pop diva Datuk Siti Nurhaliza and her husband Datuk Khalid Mohd Jiwa, Mercy Malaysia president Datuk Dr Jemilah Mahmood, songstress Jaclyn Victor, Suria FM’s Engku Emran Engku Zainal Abidin, Group CEO of Television Networks, Media Prima Berhad Datuk Seri Ahmad Farid Ridzuan, and indie filmmakers James Lee, Ho Yuhang, Pete Teo and Liew Seng Tat.
Yasmin had earlier met with TV3 officials and Siti at Media Prima’s Sri Pentas premises to pitch a potential commercial.
Siti had told The Star that during the meeting, Yasmin said she was feeling unwell and looked ready to collapse.
Siti, a former ambassador for the Malaysian Red Crescent Society, administered CPR.
“We tried to move her and didn’t get a response. Then we laid her on the floor. She was having difficulty breathing.
“A panel doctor from Sri Pentas came to assist and while she gave Yasmin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, I helped with the chest compressions until the ambulance arrived,” Siti said.
Even before she started making feature films, Yasmin had long been known for her ground-breaking TV commercials for national oil and gas company Petronas with their themes of racial harmony and familial ties.
In 2003, she broke into movies with her first feature film, Rabun, a TV movie produced for TV3.
But it was 2004’s Sepet, her first cinematic release, that won her international accolades and awards such as the Grand Prix at the Creteil International Women’s Film Festival in France. Later that year, the film also picked up the Best Asian Film award at the Tokyo International Film festival.
Since then, she has made four other feature films, all of which had been screened at international festivals.
Her biggest moment came in 2007 when Mukhsin (2006), her ode to childhood love, garnered two awards – the Grand Prix from the Kinderfilmfest International Jury and a Generation K-Plus Crystal Bear Special Mention at the 57th Berlin International Film Festival, one of the top three film festivals in the world.
Her latest film, Talentime, has been selected for this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival, which will be held from Oct 17 to 25.
Yasmin had just embarked on two international projects, a Japanese film called Wasurenagusa (Forget Me Not) which will feature a Malaysian-Japanese cast, and Go Thaddeus!, a Singaporean production about the short but inspiring life of the late Singaporean triathlete Thaddeus Cheong.
Last November, she was inducted into the inaugural Malaysian Advertising Hall of Fame by the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia.
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