Singapore Dreaming

We watched Singapore Dreaming yesterday. Overall, it was a good local movie with some stereotypical aspirations that Singaporeans would be familiar with – the 5Cs (cash, car, condo, credit card, country club) and an extra one thrown in for good measure: coffin.
It was fascinating to see how even in death the Chinese burn paper cars with chauffeurs, laptops and bungalows in the hope that their dearly departed will have a luxurious afterlife.
The main theme of the show, as you may gather, is aspirations. It shows what some people do to get what they want. How the manifestations of success are only skin-deep. It’s what’s inside that matters.
Underlying the film, to me, were common communication problems that Singaporeans experience in their relationships – unreasonable expectations, not listening when others are trying to express themselves, or listening but not wanting to understand. And of course, having outbursts at loved ones who are good to you, while trying to be nice to bosses who abuse you. Isn’t it ironic how our priorities get misplaced?
The casting was generally fine, though I wasn’t comfortable with the actors playing the sister’s boss and his wife. They appeared too young and didn’t really act convincingly. It’s easy to look flustered and go into hysterics but even then it felt overdone.
The film has subtitles which translate Singlish into proper English. I was mildly amused at that. But I guess it is required if one wishes to garner international acclaim – we need to be understood by the rest of the world. I’m concerned that Singlish will become a problem for us. Those who get too comfortable speaking this mix of English, Chinese dialects and Malay, will have difficulty communicating naturally in proper languages.
After the movie, it was nice to have the producers saying a few words to us. Let’s support good homegrown films like this one. Go watch it with family and friends!