The personal blog of a Melbourne University Law & Arts(Asian Studies)graduate...my thoughts, opinions,and life experiences...
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Singapore Dreaming...美 滿 人 生 (2006)
I heard about this movie from a friend back in 2007/08 but never had a chance to watch it...until now. Someone uploaded it on Youtube with Chinese and English Subtitles.
It's one of the best South East Asian Films I've ever seen (and I watch many!!!!) and definitely can squeeze into the top best 15 South East Asian film list of mine. It uses alot of Singaporean English (Singlish), Hokkien Dialect, Mandarin Dialect in the conversations and is really very very authentic with its characters, their conversations and the setting. Coming from Malaysia myself, the entire film felt very homely given that Singapore and Malaysia share a common history, culture, language, and people despite being two different countries since 1965.
The opening song is a famous Taiwanese Hokkien Song from 1933 called 'Ban Chun Hong' and its used as a background theme throughout the film which I really really like. The idea of using the song came from one of the director/writer's mother as the Director had called her mother and asked her which songs were popular during her times, and the mother's first suggestion was this song.
The Taiwanese and many Southeast Asian Chinese share a common dialect background of Minnan/Hokkien Chinese dialect and thus many Taiwanese Hokkien songs and popular culture were very popular with the older generation of Southeast Asian Chinese, especially in Malaysia and Singapore. I still remember my own now deceased Grandfather on my mother's side renting vhs tapes to watch Taiwanese Hokkien Chinese Operas at home.
The film has many themes and issues covering a wide range of topics such as the traditional egoistical man of the house, the docile housewife belittled by the husband from the generation now in their 50s and above, class aspirations, sexism in the family in favouring the son over the daugther, materialism,etc. It also has many well written and clevely emotional moments. My personal favourites include the scene where the elder father gives the wife pearl earrings but she isn't that happy and you find out why which was very clever writing and true too.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%C4%81ng_Chhun-hong)