White Egret focuses on the Orang Seletar, an indigenous people who lead a life afloat in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Focusing on Ain and Nasir, a couple, the documentary draws out how their move from the sea to a coastal village has affected their lifestyles and livelihoods. The couple describe both the resilience their community has shown, as well as the uncertain future they face, in a period of rapid social transformation.
Loh Yoke Ling (Malaysia)
Loh Yoke Ling is an independent Malaysia film director and made short films and documentaries for alternative channels. She has 7 years of experience in the drama and film making industry in Malaysia before she went on to further study in the field of screen studies. She is passionate about the power of storytelling through aesthetic media.
Chee Wei Hsing (Malaysia)
Chee Wei Hsing is a student who graduated with a Diploma in Journalism and is current studying for a Bachelor Degree of Mass Communication at the Southern University College. She has participated in student projects such as the publication of newspapers, documentary filmmaking and event organizing and worked as a photographer. She is passionate about filmmaking and spreading stories through media.
Produced in Malaysia
What were your reasons for making your documentary and how did you come to focus on the topic?
In March this year, I moved to Johor Bahru from Kuala Lumpur another big city in Malaysia. I would always see a couple selling fish beside the road on my way to work. I asked my sister who are these people who selling fish and sea products just beside the highway. She replied that they were Orang Seletar an indigenous people living nearby our house in Masai. I was so surprised that there was still an indigenous people in this big city. This became the impetus to discover what is the life beside the highway.
In urban Johor Bahru, there is a group of people who still relies on the sea for their livelihood. This is something unique and uncommon in the 21st century. The lifestyle of the Orang Seletar, an indigenous people on the coast presents a very big contrast to urban life in Johor Bahru City. Yet, no matter how much technology advances, they insist to live on their own terms in the present. Although they are facing oppression in life, they are still content with it as they are with their family and that’s enough. They ask for little, but the only one thing they need is that their family is by their side and that they can have a healthy life free from misfortune. This film aims to present their unique lifestyle in the urban life of Johor Bahru to the audience and also to embody the carefree life they have. This film was by no means made for people to pity an indigenous people, but merely to reveal how they use a very optimistic mind to overcome difficulties in urban living which totally different and contrasts to the lifestyle they pursue.