Thursday, September 30, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
|A happy father and son get-together - a scene from the movie Singapore Dreaming|
Poh Huat (Richard Low), the father of the Loh family, works as a lawyer's clerk. He is married to Siew Luan (Alice Lim), a housewife who brews liang teh (herbal tea) for the family. Poh Huat has a habit of buying lottery tickets in hope of winning and enjoying a better life. He also keeps newspaper cuttings of car models and condominiums and stores them in a box in his room.
The family has one son, Seng (Dick Su), and one daughter, Mei (Yeo Yann Yann). Despite Mei's superior academic performance, the family has consistently shown favouritism for Seng. Even though he was ostensibly the academically poorer sibling, dropping out of school in Secondary 3, his parents still chose to fund his overseas polytechnic education instead of furthering his sister's education. Seng is due to return after two years at Idaho Polytechnical University. To fund his overseas studies, he had to borrow extra money from his fiancée, Irene (Serene Chen), who stays with Seng's parents.
Mei works as a secretary who maintains a friendly working relationship with her boss. She is due for delivery in two months' time, and for maternity leave in a month's time. Her husband, Chin Keong (Lim Yu-Beng), quit his job in the Singapore Armed Forces a month before and is now selling insurance, though unsuccessfully. He is therefore belittled by Mei. Even though they cannot afford it, they frequently go to a condominium showroom to take a look, revealing their aspirations for a more luxurious lifestyle.
Seng returns from the United States. Tensions escalate in the family between Mei and Seng, due to the family's apparent favouritism for Seng. Seng goes for several job interviews, but is unsuccessful. He becomes immensely disappointed, and lies to his family about the sanguinity of his job prospects.
Poh Huat strikes the Toto lottery, winning S$2 million, and the family is ecstatic. Seng decides that he wants to try starting a business. He gains his father's approval, who gives him effectively unlimited funding through a credit card. Seng also buys a car, without Irene's knowledge. Irene is infuriated when she learns Seng has been overspending without working first.
Initially thrilled by his sudden elevation to the higher social class, Poh Huat dies suddenly of a heart attack while he was at a country club for a membership interview. Siew Luan goes into shock. At the funeral, Seng quarrels with Mei over the funeral expenses. Mei vents her anger on Chin Keong, who shows his displeasure by throwing the carton of drinks on the floor and storming off. Mei is called back to work one afternoon, even though she is still managing the funeral. Chin Keong expresses his outrage at this unreasonable request, but Mei says out of frustration, "Singapore is like that, everywhere is like that, do we have a choice?" and returns to work. At work, Mei's boss, frustrated at the incapable temporary secretary, vents his anger at Mei and demands her to photocopy a stack of documents and brew coffee for him. Mei flips at the triviality of the task.
Back at the funeral, Mei realizes that S$500 has gone missing from the pek kim,[c] and wrongly accuses her Filipino maid, Pinky, of stealing the money. Chin Keong reveals shortly after that the money is actually with him. Pinky, indignant at the wrong accusation, spits at Mei. Chin Keong goes to a nearby coffee shop for a drink. A beer girl from Mainland China approaches him at his table to talk to him, and Chin Keong ends up confiding his worries about life. The girl notes, "You Singaporeans are always complaining. Do you think your life is tough?". During the funeral wake, Seng reveals to his family that he did not graduate. Initially unbeknownst to him, Irene is standing nearby at the door, and hears his confession. Irene is greatly disappointed with Seng, and resolves to leave him.
A few months later, Chin Keong, Seng and Mei, with her newly-born son, are called to a lawyer's office. It is revealed that Poh Huat's will has been found (made before either of them are born): he had left all his assets to his wife Siew Luan. However, the family has chalked up a debt of S$1.2 million in sending Seng overseas. Siew Luan is absent from the meeting, so the lawyer announces that, of the remaining S$800,000, Mei is getting S$300,000, while Seng is getting S$1,000. At the movie's end, Siew Luan hands some money over to Poh Huat's mistress and illegitimate son in a show of benevolence, and leaves Seng to stay in rural Malaysia. Irene decides to go abroad to pursue a degree in photography.
1. Which is the scene which you find most moving? Why?
2. From her actions, thoughts and the way she interacts with the various members of the Low family, what impressions do you form of Irene?
3. How would you specifically comment on her love for Seng?
4. Singapore Dreaming has its fair share of ironic moments revolving around the characters in the movie. Can you identify and discuss their significance briefly?
5. Which one of the characters wins your sympathy? Explain your choice.
6. How does a person become trapped by the environment that he is in? Explain.
7. How does irony translate into conflict?
8. What is one single thread of human condition which connects all the characters in the movie?
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
Operation begins after 9:15 a.m.