Many things can happen on a bus, regardless its a spacious or a squeezy one. I said so because I used to take buses to travel between my hometown Johor and Kuala Lumpur. During my university years, twice a week, back and forth. Does this sound familiar to you?
The layout of the space in the bus is highly related to the interaction between the passengers, the bus conductor, the bus driver, and...the bus. Some people name this 'feng shui'. The bus driver always sits in the front with his back facing the passengers. Through the rear mirror, his voyeuristic gaze creates an almost detached relationship from the passenger. He gets to know what the passengers are doing but we know nothing of him. To break the speed limit or not, he has the choice. Isolated in the front and staying in his own bubble, he plays his favourite song list and sings on top of his lungs while taking charge of 40 people's lives.
The bus conductor can probably be a more approachable person compared to the bus driver. Sometimes he flirts with the passengers, sometimes the vice-versa. He walks past each row and checks the number of passengers who board the bus and whether or not any of them is left out at the R&R. I was once left at the R&R and the bus departed without me. This experience taught me how to spot a dutiful bus conductor.
Who will be your neighbours on the bus, that's definitely a matter of luck. The passengers sitting next to you, in front, and behind of you can either brighten up your day or destroy it. I call them 'neighbours by chance, once in a lifetime'. Some neighbours smell good. I call this the best luck you can have. Some treat you as invisible so they push their seat really far behind or squeeze you to the side to confine you to your own warm corner. Some kick your seat while listening to the music with their headphones. Some love, really love to speak on the phone loudly on the bus and everyone gets to know their intimate or cheesy conversations, or kids get to learn a lot of swear words.
There are times too when you board the 'right' bus with loveable neighbours and wish that the bus will never reach the destination. Eye candies, cute toddlers, people with a heart who embrace the space given to their seat and respect other people's territory. They make the bus driver happy and the bus conductor less difficult. The whole bus sparks with a positive vibe. Yes, this kind of happy bus does exist. Rarely.
SeaShorts team has been brainstorming to 'design' a happy bus for festival-goers who will travel to George Town from KL on Ayuh BerSeaShorts, with several protocols in mind:
1: No authoritarian bus driver. Song list will be meticulously picked by different Southeast Asian programmers who (some of them) will be riding on this bus too. Everyone can sing along on top of their lungs.
2: Someone friendly, good in maths, and not a flirtatious must be present to make sure no one will be left at the R&R.
3. Festival-goers who hop on Ayuh BerSeaShorts will probably get to know about the organizing team better than anyone else. While wondering what is the significance of your attendance at this festival, you will know what is the significance of having this festival in the first place, at least from the organizing team's point of view.
4. This ride from KL to George Town isn't a sight-seeing bus but a journey to discover some dark secrets the festival programmers have. Chloe Yap (one of our festival programmers) and occasionally with the presence of our publicity manager Elise Shick, have conducted several private interviews with the festival programmers. With tender and ruthless cuts combining dedication, Chloe comes up with a session called 'Confession of A Programmer'. You can watch this on the bus first before really start talking to the programmers, only if you really want to.
5. Anyone who hops on Ayuh BerSeaShorts can participate in the 'What Is Short Film To You' challenge, in which a team (individual or collective) is challenged to make a maximum ONE-MINUTE short film. Content is free for you to explore. 15 short films (on first come first served basis) will be screened during the closing ceremony. You can talk about short film, filmmaking, your experience during the festival, your dark secrets too as an exchange for 'Confession of A Programmer', or something else that surprises us.
6. Once you join Ayuh BerSeaShorts, your seat will be secured at opening and closing (award announcement) ceremonies.
For some neighbours (passengers), I met them only once in a lifetime on the bus. For Ayuh BerSeaShorts, we hope that this 'once-in-a-lifetime neighbour' can develop into something more. Be it friendship, mentorship, love or enmity (at least you know whom you don't want to be with on the bus next time).
Click here to join Ayuh BerSeaShorts!