It’s A Girl (2014) – Documentary Review

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

My Rating : 4.5/5
My Rating : 4.5/5

You don’t want a girl of your own,

Yet you crave one for your son,

Oh lord, what a twisted world that I live in.

                        This sentence suddenly popped out of my head when I was watching this documentary. Why this kind of unfair treatment boys over girls did still exists when we are on the peak of world’s modernization still bothered me a lot. We even witnessed how mankind first took a first step on the moon. We applauded when every single achievement that man and woman did regardless of what are their fields because any success are meant to be celebrated. First car, hand phone, television and every single thing that you can think of were first invented. Unfortunately, this means nothing when some part of the country still think that girl’s value less worthy than boy. Some of you may ask ‘Is there any relevancy to this?’ Just think when a girl in this particular country got treated the same way as boy, she may one day become successful and in a long term can contribute to the economy of the country just like a man in her own country. It really is saddening when some of the mothers that confessed has been killing their daughters and didn’t felt any remorse at all. It was disturbing. I didn’t like kids (mostly because they are annoying but it doesn’t mean i can kill them) but seeing how those mothers proudly demonstrated how they end their daughter’s life made me cried so hard.

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                        One of the social workers went to Tamil Nadu, India to interview some of the mothers and was shocked by their reaction. They are willing to share the method to kill their daughters without any hesitation. I seriously asked where they all leaved their humanity. For 9 months, those mothers carrying their baby and have bonded the relationship ‘mother-children’ yet when it comes to the delivering the baby, they rather killed the baby when they knew it’s a girl. For those who didn’t kill the baby, the girl might not even have a chance to live. That’s because those mothers live in the extreme poverty. They wanted a son because of the whole dowry thing. If you gain a daughter in law, you get a big payment and gifts. However if you gain a daughter, you have to give a big payment and gifts to your in law family.

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The social worker is demonstrating back the killing method told by the mothers around him.

                        This whole dowry thing sickened me to death but I am in no place to criticize it because it is not my culture. People often say, they are not yours so shut your mouth. India already banned it (the dowry) yet it is widely practiced in the country. When the burden (dowry) is being put on the daughters, nobody wanted to have one. I wanted to say we can change this via education but first, we have to let this daughters live first. Statistic shows that the gap between boys and girls population in India is increasing steadily driving the country on a verge of where the scarcity of girls might be possible.

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Powerful Image but it is a sad truth for both countries, China and India.

                        China on the others hands, would be a whole lot different story. Their country are widely known for a policy of 1 child 1 family which right now has been increased to 2 child 1 family (if their first children is not son, they will be given another chance to have another children to get a son). The problem arises when your second children is still a girl. You can choose to keep the children but you may lose a chance to have a son. Forced abortion is permissible by China Government. If there is any family that has been found out try to have more than 2 children ( in many cases, they are expecting their third children) , forced abortion will be done right away. If the children did survive, he/she will not have any access to any government facilities and services. They are considered as Illegal citizen, up to some extent. This documentary showed China as one of the major contributor in the feticide cases.  Social worker in China interviewed one couple who had to run away to hide from the family planning enforcement officer. They are having more than 2 children and all of them turned out to be girls. They have been pressurized to abort the third children by their relatives but both of them didn’t want to do that. They separated their children and given to their relatives. I wonder how people look at them for making this decision. They both went into hiding.  The income that they earned, they send it back to relatives as a source to feed their children. I remember when one of the relatives commented that they should abort because it is a burden but the mother of those children said that it will be her burden to carry not yours. Listening to her answer made me feel so touched.

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Their parents went into hiding fear of the retaliation and the punishment by China Government

                        One of the most unforgettable scenes in this documentary is when one couple shared their experience that their daughter has been a victim of a bride kidnapping. Yeah, I thought it happened in Kyrgyzstan only but turned out China also had this case. This couple told the horrible story when their daughter has been taken from them. After a few months looking for the girl, they got information claiming that their daughter has been kept hidden in a different city, a few miles from their home. They got back their daughter (safe and sound) but what made me feel so uncomfortable is the intention of kidnapping the girl. The kidnappers (both husband and wife) actually wanted to have the girl as the bride to their son. It is a true story but yet it made my jaw dropped because the girl is so young. This is one of long term effects faced by China for a huge gap between the population boys and girls.

                        Overall, if you wanted to know the serious issues behind the gendercide, feticide and infanticide, this is one of the documentaries that focus on the listed topic.

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Documentary Review: The Invisible War (2012)

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

My Rating: 5/5
My Rating: 5/5

What is it to live in the country that is so called ‘free’ and uphold their democracy so highly but when it comes to standing up and fight for the plight of rape victims, everybody just gone ‘shushh’. I know it is not my country and i am not going to badmouthing anybody but if you watched this documentary film, you know exactly how i feel. All of this poor woman entered the military with the idea of serving for their country. Some of them are the top recruit and served in the army for more than 5 years. Some of them came from the background of army family so the idea of wanting to do for their country running proudly in their vein. Who can blame them though? Both my parents are retired police officer. They served in quite high rank before officially retired. If my parents did encourage my brothers and i to be a police officer, we all may be one. However, my parents said no to us. They said be anything you like but not the police. I dont know what caused them to do it but i know they had a reason.

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Kori Cioca

In the beginning, all the rape victims is being introduced one by one to the audience. Some of them served a quite bit high rank in the military and due to the rape incident, they are being demoted and had to leave military earlier. It is hard not to cry if you watched this film. There is one victim named kori who attempted suicide more than one due to Post traumatic stress disorder. She was raped more than once and at one event, she was being slapped by her rapist and it cause her jaw  to dislocate. Since then, Kori in the massive pain as she could not chew a solid pain and even change in the weather would caused some minor ache to her jaw. Kori told the story of how she called, applied and enquired army office to claim the compensation of her jaw injury. The red tape shown is no joke. She called over and over again only to be dismissed or wait in the other line like bloody forever. Next thing, when Kori received the claim letter officially, they said she’s not qualified to claim it due to her incomplete service in military. Kori’s rapist is not being harmed or prosecuted since the evidents against him is lacking and instead, Kori is forced to leave. Is this justice? i dont know you tell me.

Hannah Sewell and her father.
Hannah Sewell and her father.

Hannah sewell is among the victims that had a military background. Having a father that served in military, she looked up to him and wanting to be him one day. She did it eventually and enlisted in the army. Next thing you know, she called her father when in her base camp telling her dad that she is no longer a virgin. Her father asked with a concern ‘why is that?’ Hannah answered ‘I was raped’. Her father cried during the interview. Her father who have been proudly served in the army would not have thought that her daughter will be treated like that. Hannah faced many assault and even raped by the same rapist so many times. At one particular trauma event, Hannah talked about how she was tied to bed and the rapist touched all of her body and said ‘i owned all of this’.

Ariana Klay and her Unit
Ariana Klay and her Unit

Ariana klay is considered the top recruits and went to be promoted in one of prestigious unit of Marine located in Washington DC. Ariana reminisce the story of how she was happy and could not wait to go there. It all changed after she herself went there. She was being insulted and being verbally abused by senior officer saying that how female marines are just the object of them to fuck. They even said to those who wear a make up in marine are sluts and showing an interest to sleep with everybody. Ariana was raped by her senior officer and his friend after the drinking event. She does not want to go to the drinking event but it was expected of her. It is a command given after they all finished performing the ceremonial drill. After the traumatized incident, Ariana reported the case and marine claimed that there are 2 sides of the story and indicating that Ariana may consent to what happened to her. Her rapist also threatened her if she opened her mouth and reported the case, she will be killed. Ariana appeared in the interview with her husband. Her husband who also served in the marine cried while told the story of how Ariana did try to kill herself because of PTSD. He told how Ariana gave her 9 years of life to serve in Iraq only to be back and treated like a nobody in her unit.

Michael Matthews
Michael Matthews

The victims featured in this documentary is not just a female officers. There is a male officers appeared in the interview to talk about this dark and hidden event happened back when they served the army. One of the them is michael matthews. He said he could not talk about this thing and he kept it for so long that it caused him to attempt suicide a few times. Until one day, he said he cannot held it any longer and decided to tell her wife. He is expecting that he will be be dumped by her wife after telling the story. Instead, her wife remains as his strong pillar of emotion and moral support. Matthews told the story of how he was struck from behind, being held by 2 persons while the other one sodomized him. He told how the burden has been lifted from his chest after told the truth to her wife. They started the campaign together to warn the public that there are sexual violence occurred in the army and to try to put an end to this injustice.

There are other stories that touched my heart to the core. This is a must watch documentary. It was heartbreaking to see how such an optimist and ideal person, eager to serve their country but returned with a story that cannot be erased from their mind and the trauma lingered for god knows how long.

Documentary Review: Saving Face (2012)

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

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My Rating : 4.5/5

I am speechless when I watched this documentary. My eyes are swollen just because I can’t stop crying. This documentary is featuring 2 women named Zakia and Rukhsana who has been a victim of domestic violence. They are facing the disfigurement of their entire face by acid attacks committed by their husbands. Is this an act of cowardice? That is what I called it. Zakia who is 49 years old woman suffered a vicious acid attack by her husband. She stated her husband did it out of temper and his addiction to alcoholism and gambling had driven him to do so. Rukhsana, on the other hand, said it happened so fast and her acid attack also involved her own sister and mother in law. Her husband threw acid on her face and body while her sister in law poured a gasoline on her body and her mother in law lit the matches and burned her.

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Zakia
Rukhsana
Rukhsana

It was so touching seeing their member of parliament especially women MP fight for the rights of these acid attack survivors. They argued and presented their bills in the parliaments and eventually, passed the bill. The perpetrators might not get a death penalty as they suggested earlier but they get a life imprisonment sentence for what they did to those poor women. It might not fair (for me at least) but it is one step at a time. By sentencing this fucking bastard (sorry, I can get emotional sometimes), it showed that you will not get away from the crimes that you did to your wife. It will be the lesson that they will not get away with it.

One of the Parliament's members is discussing about the bill.
One of the Parliament’s members is discussing about the bill.

Zakia is the first woman among of possibly thousands of acid attack survivors that wanted justice for her. Her lawyer applauded her bravery saying that it is rare to see these survivors coming upfront and demanded a punishment to be imposed to their criminals. Due to Zakia’s courage, Her lawyer fight for her case without any charge and hopefully, she can use this case to set a precedent in other acid attack’s case. It was heartwarming seeing Zakia’s son and daughter stayed by her side and gave her a moral support. They knew Zakia is innocent and their father should be punished for the crime that they did.

Dr Mohammad Jawad and Zakia
Dr Mohammad Jawad and Zakia

This documentary also featured some interview clips of Zakia’s Husband and Father in Law. Zakia’s husband did not confessed to his crime and claimed that he was indeed innocent. He told the interviewer that someone else did it and he doesn’t know his name. Her father in law on the other hands, blamed Zakia’s Infidelity and she was punished for it. One thing that bothers me is how Zakia’s husband said ‘Whatever happened, it did happen’. What the fucking fuck are you talking about? You just destroyed your wife’s face and future. You already scarred her face and make her suffered for it. While watching this, I suddenly remember one documentary I watched last year. The documentary film of ‘Dancing boy in Afghanistan’ told the story where some of the owner of dancing boy lived a double life. They have their own family, did pray 5 times a day and never ditch it but when the night came, they cheered seeing an 8-12 years old boys dancing and swaying their hips in front of them. At some point, those poor boys have to serve and please them. Seeing Zakia’s husband and father in law acting so pious and blaming the poor woman instead reminded me of them.

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Rukhsana’s husband, on the other hands, told the interviewer a completely different story. He claimed rukhsana had a mental illness and all the burnt scar on her face is caused by her own act. She poured the acid and gasoline oil on her face and body and she herself lit the fire. Nobody did it to her; her husband said it with smile on his face. The interviewer then asked about the burnt scar on his hand, he stated that he got it when he tried to save rukhsana from being burnt alive. Can you believe it? I don’t know how the journalist can handle Rukhsana’s Husband without being angry or enraged. I know they are supposed to be fair and not bias, but still, I was shaking like crazy, held my anger when I saw Rukhsana’s husband said it without any remorse.

Zakia's face after surgery.
Zakia’s face after surgery.

Dr. Mohammad Jawad, a plastic surgeon who lived in UK returned to his homeland, Pakistan just to help those victims to recover back what is left on their face. He did say he was angry but he try not to think about his anger and try to help them instead. He said that mostly those victims are very young and in the age range of 12-40. The perpetrators usually are their husbands, relatives or someone who is jealous and wanted to have revenge. There are series of interview clips showing that the victim told their story of how they got attacked and why the perpetrators did it. I still am in shock seeing how petty and coward those perpetrators are. Just because, she rejected your proposal or does not follow your order, you poured the acid on her. I just can’t believe it.

Documentary Review : Blackfish (2013)

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

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My Rating: 4.5/5

Few of us knew that orcas and dolphins are among sea creatures that blessed with intelligence and aptitude almost like us, human. Orcas, often shown in National Geographic, Discovery Channel, BBC and other channels always displayed their wits either in hunting, mating, communicating or playing. There are many discoveries made by scientists confirming orca is the smart animal. The capture of orcas or known as killer whale begun in the early 1980s. Those who involved in this horrendous activity will gather their ships to trap the killer whale’s mother and her infants in the inescapable perimeter, using the specific equipment made for the activity, they took the infant from its own mother. This infant whale then will be put in the container and shipped off to the marine park.

Among those infants of killer whale that widely captured at that time, one of them is Tilikum or known dearly as Tilly. The initial part of this documentary comprised series of interviews from the person who involved in the orca captivity, the eyewitness at the marine park and the former SeaWorld (the famous marine park at U.S.) trainer. The fisherman that being interviewed expressed their regret for involved in the unspeakable act, on why he should never separate the killer whale’s mother with her infant and by doing so, he knew he’s committing crime against the nature. Then, the eyewitness told their story of seeing orcas in action in the marine park. However, there are more than seeing orcas in action. Some of them confess of witnessing odd behavior displayed by the orcas. They remember how the trainers being pulled by the orcas in the water and some of them even encounter the trainer in action being collided by the whale itself. On the other hands, the former trainers of SeaWorld spoke fondly of Tilikum or Tilly, and explained that they never predicted Tilly would snap one day.

Dawn Brancheau
Dawn Brancheau

They also talked about Dawn Brancheau. Who is Dawn Brancheau? She’s one of the victims that died because of the impulsive act exhibited by Tilly. One of the former trainers at SeaWorld said that she was shocked knowing Dawn is the victim when she first came to know of it. She said Dawn is one of the most careful and alert trainer. She always reminds her colleagues to not forget the rules and remain vigilant all the time. The question is, who should we put the blame on? The killer whale who should not be put in the marine park at all because they belong to the sea or the trainer who failed to see the consequences of working with orcas or the marine park who hide the secret that Tilly already showing the sign of being dangerous to human, especially trainers itself.

The fact that the marine park is proven for not taking a good care of their animals worrying me a lot. I love zoo and Marine Park. Malaysia may not have many of Marine Parks but if I ever had a chance to go, I would go without any hesitation. After I watched this documentary, something bothered me. I don’t know whether I wanted to go there anymore. Knowing that these animals craving for freedom and prefer their natural habitat than being confined, this notion troubled me. As for Tilly, what’s driven him being so mad and spontaneously attacked Dawn? Many trainers fail to understand  that as Dawn and Tilly are so close to each other. The former SeaWorld Trainers who ever worked with Dawn described Tilly and her are like best friend. It was obviously spur of the moment, Tilly just can’t take it anymore and decided to attack Dawn who’s unfortunately at that time is very close to Tilly. The incident ended when Tilly ripped her arm apart and causing some other fatal injuries on Dawn. Dawn died at the scene.

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There are many commentaries made by the scientist who studies orcas and their behavior in this documentary. One of them told that orca has emotional complexity greater than the human. Thus, the feeling of orcas possessed maybe more heightened and intensified. This would tell us why orcas in the captivity may lose it or may act impulsively someday. They are being deprived from freedom, from natural habitat and from their own off springs. They are also sometimes are badly injured by other whales. Killer whales are proved to socialize among each other in the hierarchical order. Thus, when killer whales are being put in the same container without proper observation, some of the whales could died due to the attack. All of this could contribute to the stress and sending those captive orcas into the depression. That is what deduced by the experts in the event of recent attack made by Tilikum.

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Some of the protests been held infront of the SeaWorld.
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True That!!

OSHA, Occupational safety and Health administration sued Sea World and demand a court order to ensure all the trainers who worked with Orcas to remain safely behind the wall that separated them with Orcas. While SeaWorld keep their defenses that Tilly is not dangerous animal, OSHA keep fighting by revealing many hidden facts and cases by SeaWorld. Court made a decision to grant the demand made by OSHA. Since then, SeaWorld has never give up pleading to the court to remove the order. What happened to Tilly? He remains barricaded in the giant aquarium only to be display at the SeaWorld aquarium. The SeaWorld never intended to release Tilly into the open sea because they use Tilly for other profitable activity. They sold Tilly’s sperms to other Marine parks that own female’s Orcas. As this documentary released in the early of 2013, there are various movements and a group of people who did a protests and demonstrations in front of many SeaWorld parks at different states in America demanding them to release Tilikum back to the sea.

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The director of Blackfish (2013) informed that SeaWorld refused to take any part in the documentary. Well, it just proved how they are guilty and responsible in series of incidents occurred upon its trainees.

Documentary Review : The Cove (2009)

By the Gorgeous Palah Chingu

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My Rating: 5/5

The Cove (2009) is the documentary film about dolphin mass killing and hunting in Taiji, Japan. Almost 23000 dolphins has been killed every year in Taiji. It was pretty disturbing though. When you entered the Taiji City, you can see everything has ‘dolphinized’. That was my term for saying that they are displaying in their tourism aspect how they adored dolphins, they got a lot of dolphins and whales statutes in it, and they had a whale museum, a marine park for dolphins and…. Wait for it, even the shops where they sold dolphin meats. Taiji have been trying to keep the activist out of the city for so long especially at the area near the cove. When any activists appeared with the cameras and any recording equipment in the cove area, their guard is up. The fishermen (more or less, the dolphin killers) called their colleagues to come and basically, ganged up and prevented any recording to go further. If this occurred right in front of you, you damn sure knew that something is not right happened there. It is a cliché but fuck yeah, something fishy occurred. Why did they get so angry when a bunch of people came to that area with cameras?

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Ric O’Barry

Ric o’barry is the former dolphin trainer. He is now has been fully committed being a dolphin advocate and has been tried to shut the multi billion industry that grown on by captivating this animal. Ric said in his interview that he held himself responsible for the development of marine parks that increase in a large number after he took part in the show called ‘flipper’. In the show, Dolphin named flipper is portrayed by 5 wild dolphins (they took turns as flipper in the series) that Ric himself caught and trained by himself. Ric had a wakeup call that what he did was wrong when one of his dolphins, Cathy (if I’m not mistaken that‘s her name) killed itself by closing the blowhole resulted its own suffocation. I don’t know how Ric felt at that time, but judging how close he was with his dolphins, that must felt like losing one of his close friend. Since the incident, he has been detained for so many times due to the unconventional works he did. He illegally released dolphins in the marine parks and even dare to do so at marine national parks. He knew the risk of getting caught by the local authority and willing to do anything so that the dolphin can get back to their natural habitat.

Let’s talk about Japanese people for a moment. I knew they ate whale, dolphin and other cetacean creatures. I also knew that there are other aboriginal people in some countries like native Alaskan community hunting and eating them are part of their culture and tradition. No judgment is made since I eat cow and sheep and they chose to consume whale and dolphin. They all are the same except whale and dolphin live in the sea and well cow and sheep live in a land. Am I being sarcastic enough? Or other crazy people who seem to agree with the above point. For god sakes, they are not the same. Cow, chicken and sheep can be bred, their number can be increase according to the demand and supply of the market and the number of industrial production of meat is huge. Unlike them, Dolphin and whale are caught viciously in the open sea, in the certain period of time, and those fishermen kept coming back for more next year. Since they are mammals, they are not breeding in the large amount. We usually happened to see, one adult female whale mothering one baby whale. The growing number of whale consuming in Japan , Norway, Iceland and others alarmed the world and forcing the International Whale Commission to issue a moratorium or suspension on the commercial whaling activity. Since then, Japan has been given aid to the poor or developing countries to join the International Whaling Commission and vote for them. For more information, you should read more about International Whaling Commission in the internet. I was astounded on how Japan buying votes from those countries and for those votes, they exchanges it with foreign aid to those countries.

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They chased out the activists who tried to swim across the shore in the attempt to save the dolphins from being slaughtered
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They use a very loud sound to scare the dolphins and cause the dolphins to swim right to the shore area.
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Can you see that? how many dolphins they have killed?
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if you watch the documentary, there are some alive but injured dolphins being treated cruelly, the picture above show it all.
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the cove area filled with blood right after the dolphin slaughtering activity ended.

I cried, dude. I really cried my heart out. Dolphin is one of the intelligent sea creatures. They did not deserve to be treated like that. When dolphin made the sound of screeching, squealing and crying in pain, you really don’t want to listen to it. You will fucking know that they are in pain. Dolphin interacts with each other using whistle like sounds. How Japanese fishermen in Taiji did to capture them is by using the loud noise to confuse them and drove them using more than 5 boats to force them to swim to the nearest shore. After the net has been held against the dolphin, the dolphin trainers will come down near sea shore, picked the bottlenose dolphin that can be sold to many countries particularly those who had the marine park. After the dolphin selection occurred, the fisherman then will be left to do the last work which is killed the rest of the dolphins. Why did you have to kill it? Why can’t you let the rest of it go and live the rest of their life at the sea? Then, their answer befuddled me. They considered dolphin as the pest and they have to get rid of it. Apparently, dolphin has been consuming a lot of fish and cause the decline in number of fishing industry. OBVIOUSLY, the only thing that eats fish in their fucking mind is dolphin. They don’t even considered HUMAN (who eats it in on daily basis) as the reason for the depletion number of fish. Not even once. The sea pollution also could be the factor for it. Astonishingly, they put the blame on this poor creature.

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The team that worked hard to retrieve of evidences on the Taiji Activity.

I applaud the efforts Ric and the rest of the team who are willing to risk their life in saving the dolphins. They may banned from recorded the atrocious activity, but they got the footage anyway and can proved it to the world. The creative cameraman who concealed the cameras in a thing that shaped like rock, you totally rock. The Passionate Divers who swam across the shore to put the camera and sound recorder under water and the rest of the teams who made all of this possible. Thank you so much for what you guys have done in saving the dolphins especially in Taiji. I am so ashamed of myself that I don’t get to do nearly anything that you guys achieved so far. I can only say thanks.