Growing up, I'd hear my father's stories on his life as an Orang Pulau, inhabiting the beautiful Pulau Semakau. Hearing him describe his way of life on that island was a significant source of inspiration for this film. His experiences, as well as those shared by Mr. Firdaus Sani of Orang Laut SG, have supported me in constructing the flow for this film.
When I first started scripting this film, I had a tremendous urge to unify the Indonesian and Malay Culture. My Indonesian origins were heavily ingrained in the manner I was reared and the culture I had the opportunity to experience as a child. The use of Javanese features like the song and clothing is a personal interpretation of my ancestry and is not intended to represent Orang Laut in any manner.
The substance of the poem, the choice of location, the dance genre, and, most significantly, the context of the whole film all contribute to the distinct portrayal of Orang Laut. This film also addresses the effects of erosion and cultural dilution, as well as depicting how Orang Laut manages to keep traditions alive today.
My goal was for each scene to elicit a unique response from the audience, and I genuinely hope that when the film concludes, one could ask themselves - Have we really progressed or have we just succumbed to removing traditions to focus on creating a modern society?