Interview: Ken Kwek

When I was a kid, I wanted to be in a rock band. Not as the lead singer, but the keyboardist. As it turned out, I couldn’t even play the piano properly because of a missing ligament in my right thumb. Maybe I’m genetically doomed to mediocrity.

I am inspired by Shakespeare, not only because of his poetry but because he wrote some of the great blockbusters of his time. Some of his characters were also incredibly foul-mouthed—something I deeply f**king empathize with.

The funniest thing I ever heard was a friend speaking Malay in a cockney accent. You’ve got to hear it to believe it.

The last time I was truly happy was the day before the MDA banned my film.

The ban was unfortunate and a little ridiculous. Maintaining social harmony is one thing, pandering to those with the thinnest skin and the lowest threshold for humor is another.

The film has since been passed R21 with edits, but that’s not a great outcome either. I think the MDA needs to trust its system of classification and implement it with conviction. Censorship is a ham-fisted tool in this day and age.

I collect stories, naturally. For most writers, no experience in life is wasted. An accident, a bad date, an embarrassing rash, joy, fear, humiliation—any emotion or quotidian incident may contain the seeds of good drama, comedy or both.

I relax by spending time with my son, who at the moment is going through the Terrible Twos, which any parent will tell you can be a very stressful time. So I guess there isn’t much relaxation in my life at the moment.

Breasts turn me on. On women, preferably.

Religious fundamentalism makes me sick in the stomach. Even plain religion without the fundamentalism makes me uneasy.

Between love or money, I live for food, mostly. But seriously, the choice between the two is a spurious one. I don’t think a person can be very happy if he’s shit poor. More to the point: do you know how much a ticket to an IMAX movie costs, even on a weekday?

The last time I committed a crime or a sin was this morning. Personally, I’m more into crime than sin. There are more crimes than sins that a person can be arrested for. Also, speaking as a filmmaker, I think “crime thriller” might be an easier sell than “sin thriller”.

I’m an atheist and a humanist. I also like red wine, and thinking of wine as blood, as the Christians do, is disconcerting to me. Having said that, drinking too much wine—just plain red wine—can also make me sick to the stomach.

What’s the meaning of life? You ask the big questions at I-S Magazine, don’t you? Seriously, man. I’m a filmmaker. You want an answer to that question, go talk to the Dalai Lama.