Sunday, October 08, 2006

Chinkapolean Chweem (part1)

To me,
it was a tragic stereotypical cynical social commentary
cum reality-tv-drama-serial-cross...

Lurking within my subconscious, the ugly pessimistic views of life surfaced while watching Singapore Dreaming. I found myself being challenged, apalled and scared at the issues that were brought up in the film. pain, heartbreak, angst.


Some dark issues that stuck with me:
- overly image-conscious, materialistic nature of some of the characters - a case of misplaced values.
- being the disillusionment/disappointments that dawns upon some of the characters - a case of unrealised aspirations/dreams.
- stereotyped but painfully "real" portraits of average Singaporeans(SGeans) in their vernacular state, so kitsch, so cliched, emotional, in want, noveau-riche*, self-conscious, naive, submissive, whiny.

Still, there were also flashes of idealism, optimism; forward-looking, courageous, tenacious, tolerent, bite-the-bullet spirit that somewhat countered the negative character traits portrayed. We got to have at least some of that make it this far since 1965 don't we?


How does a film depicting 1st/2nd generation SGeans produced/directed by a 2nd gen SGeans connect with a 3rd Gen SGean like myself?
It all stems from my childhood years I suppose, where I spent quite a fair bit of time staying with my maternal grandparents. My grandparents raised me and my younger brother in a 3room flat where a few of their own children(my uncles and aunties) were still living in then.

Clothed in my sky and sea blue pre-school uniform & waiting at the living-room 3-seater**, I remember seeing my aunts(who shared a room with double-decker bed inside) and uncles(who shared the other bedroom with Grandpa) getting ready for work at daybreak. They took turns to use the bathroom or toilet. The ladies had a collection of make-up accessories waiting for them at dresser in their room. Grandpa would be doing his morning exercises at the spacious lift lobby area. Grandma would be laying out the breakfast fare on the dining table. (Milo and half-boiled eggs with Jacob's square-crackers were my favourite! Apart from You2 Tiao3{longish deep-fried fritters that comes in pairs})

Amidst the rush of all those hazy hasty mornings, I recall aunties or uncles encouraging me to "do well in school so you can find a better job", or telling me "I never study further than sec4, so now like that. you must do better ok!", "your papa and mummy work so hard, because they got to support you and your brother(and the house) so you must work hard also"
Better... Further...
Had I been a little older to know, I might have guessed that life was meant
to be lived like the Olympics - faster, higher, stronger.

It didn't make much sense to a boy who only loved drawing early then.
Okay, and maybe his tricycle with the sqeaky-horn too, I admit.
*noveau-riche: characteristic of someone who has risen economically or socially but lacks the social skills appropriate for this new position -
**living-room 3-seater: This wooden-framed sofa was what Grandma slept on at night during those days.


chelsea5manutd0 said...

wow...surprised that this comes some time after the movie, it must have left an impression in ur mind. anyway, i think dat's a v good description of the characters and what they go thru. as christians, we must lift ourselves beyond these aspirations. the aspirations that the singaporeans have are not narrow, neither are they invalid, but they are insufficient, cos God is not in the picture, and they are chasing after what is temporary and earthly. i don't come from a poor background, but even if i did, i would want to chase after more than just these.

Pope @ David said...

Yes, i guess the movie resonates a certain bleakness in a viod that only God can fill. Thanks for your feedback (",)