01. In reality, Malaysia has a very strict homophobic law regarding gay-themed films. All gay characters in Malaysian movies are required to meet two kinds of end by law: death (implying that gays suffer from so-called God’s punishment) or repentance/turning straight (implying gays must repent if they want to escape God’s wrath). It sounds like stupid law but that’s the reality.
02. Faizal Ramlee mentioned a gay Indonesian movie named ‘Arisan!’ It was the first Indonesian film with a gay theme and also the first Indonesian film to include two men kissing. Both actors (Tora Sudiro and Surya Saputra) received Best Actor and Best Suporting Actor at Festival Film Indonesia (FFI). Despite being populated by Moslems, Indonesia does not have any silly homophobic rule, like Malaysia’s, regarding gay characters in movies.
03. In my story, Malaysia’s Prime Minister is Yusuf Azahari, a gay man who married a woman for 24 years. In reality, the Prime Minister of Malaysia is Najib Tun Razak, an out-spoken gay hater. In 2012, Najib proclaimed gay and pluralism as the enemies of Islam! He even explicitly stated that Malaysian constitution did not protect gay people!
04. Mohammed Puad Zarkashi, Malaysian Deputy Education Minister, is mentioned in the scene when Miza Kamal reads a newspaper. The news in the story is real. In 2012, Zarkashi made headline news when he published error-full guideline on how to spot gay kids, including boys wearing tight colorful clothes are gay, girls playing with girls are lesbians. In January 2013, Zarkashi proclaimed that gay was social illness which needed to be stamped out like illegal drugs.
05. There is a scene when Abel Hamid watches news about a female Malaysian politican named Mashitah Ibrahim condemning gays. The news is real. In late 2012, Mashitah warned Malaysian Moslems to stay away from homosexuality, responding to the opening of gay mosque in France. She also said that gay was sinful and that using human rights as justification for the legality of homosexuality was wrong.
06. Yusuf Azahari’s wife speaks out against gays and accused them as the culprit of HIV/AIDS epidemic. In reality, it was the real Malaysia’s Prime Minister (Najib Tun Razan)’s wife – Rosmah Mansor – who said that during the signing of ASEAN’s Human Rights Declaration in Cambodia (November 2012). Rosmah Mansor said if gays were not stopped now, it would be too late to stop HIV/AIDS later. She stupidly believed homosexuality was the sole cause of HIV.
07. In my story, Malaysia’s conservative party UMNO accuses the fictitious Yusuf Azahari as the one who legalizes homosexuality. In reality, during December 2012’s national conference, UMNO accused the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim as the one who wanted to legalize homosexuality. Ironically, Anwar Ibrahim, who was acquitted of sodomy, had already stated in July 2012 that homosexual people must be discriminated!
08. The big demonstration against gays during the movie award night is inspired by a real event. In April 2012, approximately 3,000 people gathered at Universiti Putra Malaysia – UPM (roughly means University of Malaysian Sons) to condemn gays. It was organized by Jaringan Melayu Malaysia JMM (Coalition of Malaysian Malays). The protest was aimed at national laureate Abdul Samad Said and Bersih chairperson Ambiga Sreenavesan for allegedly rallying behind the gay movement in Malaysia. “Reject Free Sex, Reject Bisexual Leader”, “Gay and Bisex, Mad Dog Disease”, “Bar Council Out of Mind”, read some of the banners strung up in the stadium.
09. The anti-gay condemnations from several demonstrators are actually taken from the real hadiths. The most notorious hadith states “When a man mounts another man, the throne of God shakes.” Another states, “Kill the one who sodomises and the one who lets it be done to him.” However, Omar Kuddus, gay Moslem from UK, declares that Koran never stated gays had to be killed.
10. Details about the suicide bomb are taken from the real events. In Marriot Hotel bombing in Jakarta, only the bombers’ heads discovered intact while their bodies were destroyed.