11
Aug

881 and 42nd National Day

881Finalposter800Royston Tan is a bastard – make me cry on National Day! But congratulations Mindee and Yann Yann – Papaya Sisters rock!

I’ve said before that if we get one good local movie a year, we’d be lucky. Last year we had Colin and Yen Yen’s Singapore Dreaming and then Tan Pin Pin’s Singapore Gaga, so that was pretty much a bumper crop by our standards.

Last night, we paid good money to watch our first Royston Tan film, 881, and damn it was good money well spent. This film alone makes for a bumper year.

I’ll have to admit an earlier aversion to his debut, ’15’, even though my friends told me it was really not a bad piece despite its run-in with the censors (‘aiyah, rebel film wannabe’, I thought), and we thought we’d watch 881 because the subject was interesting enough (hungry ghost getai), we knew the actors personally, and we’d already watched Harry Potter V and Simpsons wasn’t playing at the hour we wanted to watch a movie.

It turned out to be a happy conspiracy of factors, because, dammit, if you have no other plans this weekend, go buy tickets now and watch already. And even if you had plans, cancel them and go buy tickets and watch already.

It blew us away, this bloody Royston Tan film, and that’s really ’nuff said, unless you take pleasure in knowing that the token Mediacorp-contracted actor has no lines in the film because his character’s a mute, and his voiceovers are done by Royston himself anyway.

What’s not to like about a film which if you were to summarize in a summary sort of thingie, you’d call it a ‘Hokkien Musical Which Is Something Like Moulin Rouge‘?

Don’t wait for 881 to make its rounds on the European festival circuit. Go watch now, and tell the Ang Mohs you watched it at your local cinema first.


One half each – title track music video from 881

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Mindee Ong and Miyagi circa 2000: Lookee you now, Mindee, we is so proud of you! Naomi says, basket, make her cry on National Day! Well done!

So taken by Royston’s film we were that I’m writing this blog post back to front, because we had planned to make an evening out of National Day – going out to eat, skipping the parade because we’d already seen two rehearsals, and then catching the movie before heading home and to bed.

OK, where was I? Ah, yes, we started the afternoon out at Tanglin Mall, because a good coffee was needed to kick-start our day, and there still isn’t anywhere else (or anywhere convenient) that serves as good a coffee as Caffe Beviamo. Just check out the crema:

Crema e gusto!

Then we looked around at the new furniture/lifestyle/dunnowhat shop that had been making us curious because it’s predecessor ‘Barang Barang’ had several months ago suddenly closed shop at both Tanglin Mall and Great World City, boarded up, and all we could hear were sounds of renovation. Called ‘iwannagohome‘, this shop is tons brighter than Barang Barang because of the huge number of lights they use. It’s worth a look or two before you decide, hmmm, I don’t have so much spare cash to buy these things which I can probably find in Thailand or Indonesia if I had the time and spare cash to fly there to buy.

Sometimes, warped shoppers’ logic can save you a bit of money.

Then it was off to the Straits Kitchen at the Grand Hyatt for dinner, which we thought was pretty apt because it’s a buffet, and how much more Singaporean can you get at a buffet? Actually, you can, when you realise the price is not bad either – $42 per person, to commemorate the 42nd National Day. This is also where I get to say that for that price, it’s really really worth it when you can eat as many bowls of the “Mini Buddha Jump Over The Walls soups as you can manage:

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Mini Buddha Jump Over The Wall – or is it Buddha Jump Over the Mini Wall?

A meal like that was always going to make on feel downright patriotic, wherever you may hail from. A jumble of cuisines, fresh fruit and desserts, brisk service. The only thing that was lacking was the horrible, horrible choice of music. We know it’s called the Straits Kitchen and you’re trying to recreate a ‘Straits’ ambience. But Canto and Mando pop tunes, and maudlin Malay slow rock ballads do not make for a good digestive accompaniment. That was probably the only salah thing about dinner, though.

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Quick, dude, they’re not looking. Pour the rest on the floor!

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When I eat chili crab, I need two finger bowls because I’m messy like that

For the rest of National Day, I hear people enjoyed themselves, and we saw a couple dressed in red and white waiting for a cab to probably take them to the floating platform. So patriotic, so Singaporean, we thought. Then we saw another couple, also in red and white, and walking ahead of the other couple so that they’ll get a cab faster. More Singaporean, we thought. And no better day to display that.

National Day
Unbeknownst to Auntie and Uncle, another Auntie and Uncle have just walked 20m up the road to snatch a passing cab. Majulah Singapura!

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