The Great Singapore Movie

In my previous posting, “Welcome to Singawood,” I argued that Singapore had failed to produce any form of artistic expression in the film arts because it relied on a single script writer, namely the government. I also mentioned that the most compelling movie stemmed from an event in which the government had no control over. I am of course, referring to the trial and subsequent acquittal of Parti Liyani, the Indonesian maid who was accused of stealing from the home of the former Chairman of Changi Airport Group.

This incident had all the elements of a good drama. It had the poor heroin being bullied by the rich and powerful and assisted by the heroic actions of the pro-bono lawyer and non-government organization (NGO). To add to the drama, you had the story of government collusion with the rich, thanks to the police bungling the investigation. In any other country, aspiring authors would already be bashing our chapters in their books with dreams of selling the rights to the movie.

This, however, is Singapore. Shakespeare’s analogy of “All the world is a stage,” is perhaps the most apt when it comes to describing the system of governance. The powers that be, are the studio executives, script writers, producers and directors of the system. The rest of us are supposed to be the “extras” on the set, grateful for the roles assigned to us.

One only needs to look at the type of books and TV series that get produced. The only real author was Lee Kuan Yew, who was under the impression that he was writing the Quran (well, ok, that’s probably unfair to the Quran – in Islamic tradition, Prophet Mohammad took dictation from the Angel Gabriel. In the Singapore system, LKY was the one giving dictation). Everyone else limited themselves to writing ghost stories and pouring out romantic ideals of life in the kampong (Malay for village). As for our movies, well the only ones that get produced (or at least the ones that can be watched) are cute little comedies about exams and national service.

The system worked for many years. The guys who wrote our scripts, actually got round to helping us produce the movie of our individual lives. When the government said that the best thing, they could do for us was to send us to school and we’d get better jobs, we really got better jobs. Sure, a few of us (myself included) fell through the cracks, but by and large there was some sort of follow through on the script they were writing and things could work. In a way, the Great Singapore Movie produced by the Istana was both aspirational and relatable.

However, somewhere along the line, the powers that be forgot that you can’t repeat the same script over and over again. More importantly, getting the script to movie stage actually required them to produce and direct. For me, the most noticeable came in 2007 when the so called “worst terrorist,” Mas Selamat strolled out of a highly secured facility and could only be caught by the Royal Malaysian police.

Instead of admitting to an error, the script writers in the government proceeded to try and jam through more meaningly propaganda about the great job that the government was doing on the security front. Suddenly, we had a government we generally trusted, telling us things that were neither believable or relatable. I mean, how can you be doing a good job on security yet you can’t even get the security cameras to work in the prison for the worst type of criminals?

Somehow, what was a “boring” family drama was turning into a comedy of farce. Take the constant break down of MRT trains around 2017. Yes, we slowed the trains down but the general running the train system continued to collect a high salary and insist that everything was fine. In fact, when the general decided it was time for him to bow out, the casting directors in Singapore decided to find the man’s successor as Chief of Defense Force as his successor of the train system. Despite his inability to get to the route of the problem, the man was hailed as a hero for rescuing the system. How did he rescue the system? He sold the problem to the government, was hailed as a hero to his shareholders of which the most significant one was the government.

Somehow the great Singapore movie has staggered on despite the lack of production. In part, it’s been helped by the fact that the producers in other parts of the world have been more incompetent or rather their incompetence’s have been harder to hide. Whatever is said about access of our ministerial salaries, our Prime Minister has not been found with a billion in his personal bank account. Whatever is said of our handling of Covid-19, at least our Prime Minister is not proclaiming the good job he’s done as doctors struggle to get protection equipment in hospitals.

Having said all of that, it doesn’t mean that we’re doing well and Parti Liyani has helped exposed how the studio producing the Great Singapore Movie is has failed to produce a movie that we can relate to and believe.

What we are believing is the script that the script writers have lost control over. Ms. Liyani has just got leave of court to go after the police and prosecutors. We, the extras and audience on the set of the Great Singapore movie can’t help but believe that there is something rotten in our system and that this Indonesian maid is somehow going to force us to clean up. We sit riveted by what happens next. In the meantime, prominent figures having warning us not to prejudge Mr. Liew and reminding us what a great chap he is, despite the fact that what the evidence says. It goes without saying that the case has made the powers that be neither believable to relatable. If we had a choice about what theater we visit, we would walk out of the place showing us a movie that we cannot relate to or aspire to and move onto the place showing us something that we can watch.

The government needs to take action and change course. Slapping PORFOMA orders against people who say things they don’t like is not going to solve the problem. While it may be sometime before Singapore’s more liberal minded can “Parti,” the government will need to act in order to clean up certain things that are in danger of exploding.

 

Tang Li

*Although I’ve been based mainly in Singapore for nearly two decades, I’ve had the privilege of being able meet people who have crossed borders and cultures. I’ve befriended ministers and ambassadors and worked on projects involving a former head of state. Yet, at the same time, I’ve had the privilege of befriending migrant labourers and former convicts. All of them have a story to tell. All of them add to the fabric of life. I hope to express the stories that inspire us to create life as it should be.

 

 

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21 Responses to “The Great Singapore Movie”

  • Any cronies:

    Nobody has talked about the great sale of The Farmer Rd Hudc at $2MILLION a piece!

    If the script was written correctly, each resident owner had a windfall of $2 MILLION from liew’s CAPITALAND!

    So did ANY CRONIES own a unit at FARRER RD? to hav3 this great BENEFIT?

    Any grandmas or great aunt who live in this Hudc to benefit from this great buy out from CAPITALAND!

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  • oxygen:

    @ Tang Li

    Maxim Gorky, renowned Russian playwright, has this for education of the politics of crisis management.

    Gorky said that the difference between mundane and brilliant drama lies in the ability of the playwright to present his drama in such a way that the audience is UNAWARE this process is taking place.

    If Gorky is right, Parti Liyani “call to accountability” of those actors who tenaciously prosecuted her, will be blessed with ointment of clean innocence which the audience (the dumb peasants) won’t get to see at all i.e. a whitewash helped by a thunderous chorus of media orchestra from PAPpyNews.

    We already seen exertion of claims that “justice has been served” when Ms. Parti Liyani has not receive an apology, much less financial compensation offer of 2 cents for all the pain and suffering she went through of four years.

    Such is the windy happy contradiction and shameless layering of lies IN EXACT OPPOSITE OF THE TRUTHS known to the audience.

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  • TheLaw:

    Just take a good look at bala Vivian, and his joy. One who purportedly knows the “author of life” but could mouth or say the most unimaginable or perverse/twisted things on the international stage.

    Once he steps into the shoes designed by the author of the “knowledge of good and evil”, he becomes servant of the reptile.

    The reptile writes the script, it became law.

    Who is not afraid of the law? Police, military, judges to ministers are well paid to…love the law.

    The law of Sin and death.

    Heb 5:13-14 KJV 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

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  • kDrama STRANGER:

    now season 2 on Netflix.

    plot is pure kDrama. prosecutor corrupt. roped in police. they help each other to avoid being exposed to public angst. they do all they can, in cahoots, to pRotect the agc and police face.

    is this any wonder why when liew mun leong maid is asking for justice from the 2 prosecutors the dy agc is trying so hard to pRotect the 2 clear as day culprits?

    such a shame really.

    liew mun leong lying to fix maid is even worse than kDrama evil. worst of all, the dy agc coming out with all manner of spanners to halt the proceedings to indict the 2 prosecutors.

    really corruption knows no shame especially the pap S$m kind.

    INSIDE 200m is not within 200m.

    INDIAN is malay for the purpose of selecting a jaga president.

    now, with liew mun leong, England twisting pap dy agc, once again is trying, as soon as it can, to say it’s an honest mistake let’s move on.

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  • TumasikPatriot:

    Fantastic,Tangfastic…The world is our Stage and we are merely actors so say Shakes…but we are not even that the people, we are merely stage hands and props leh!!!…I believe that Dick Lee & Eric Khoo if they dare cross the OB marker F…the POFMA can come out with a Good Script and Movie

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  • liew mun leong must be jailed:

    in kDrama, when that good prosecutor and that good police nab the culprit, the culprit’s father, a political elite, told the son, don’t answer anything to these people because they are nobody.

    the culprit’s father proceeded to work the corrupt machinery ensuring no warrant is issued to arrest his criminal son.

    the message in the kDrama was, the connected get a free pass.

    another message in the kDrama was, as long as there is this oNe honest prosecutor or oNe honest police who fights the corrupt system, in the end, the culprit goes to jail.

    of course in the kDrama saga, the prosecutors higher up try to pRotect its own and the police higher up try to pRotect its own.

    we saw that kDrama not too long ago shaking our head at the level of corruption and the you scratch my back I scratch yours setup.

    then we notice in pap Singapore, it is no different.

    if pap goh chock tong, pap tony tan, pap clown are caught, as they were caught, the agc came out with INSIDE 200m is not within 200m language twisting nonsense to exonerate the wrong doers.

    now that liew mun leong maid is proven to have been fixed by liew mun leong and his gang of 2 prosecutors, the dy agc is coming out with all manner of spanners to thwart the indictment of the 2 wrong doing prosecutors citing, we pRotect our type.

    market bets are it is S$1,000 to S$1 the 2 prosecutors who assisted liew mun leong to fix the maid shall escape without a scratch, liberated by dy agc nonsense of there is nothing wrong.

    market bets are it is S$10,000 to S$1 the liew mun leong who lied to pap judge to fix his maid shall escape without a scratch, liberated by the pap it is an honest mistake let us move on nonsense.

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  • DeLorean:

    Yes, you’re right to correct yourself. LKY did not write the Singapore Quran. There was no Angel Gabriel dictating to him.

    He wasn’t a scriptwriter though. He foundEd his Church. He even promised he could resurrect himself if we went wrong. And today we have his Gospels and the Letters of his apologists, not to mention the his clergy and laity to continue his work. Therein lies the Singapore problem. Doubt equals apostasy. Singapore is in danger of becoming like the Iranian theocracy behind a first world facade.

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  • Harder Truths:

    The problem with totalitarian states is freedom of information; If they always control the narrative you will only have their story all made up like ColdStore. The old dead despot used propaganda and fear as his two main tools of control.

    His plan failed because he was unable to combat social media. Making such media illegal would have destroyed his open leg policy and $G would not be the social hub of Asia he envisioned. Once people know the facts the regime has lost it credibility and support.

    The current group is depending on security laws such as ISA & POFMA to control information. They fail because information flow is instant and available to everyone.

    Stealing someone’s laptop and mobile phone is a sign of desperation against a future that threatens the disclosure of every dirty secret they have hidden. When that happens – like in the USSR, there is no more fear – only anger.

    This is the way every tin-pot dictator and his gang of money-grabbers finally end up. By that time, though, it will be too late for this tiny island.

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  • BERNARD:

    ISN’T THIS SIMILAR TO COMMUNIST CHINA?

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  • Alibaba's sleight of hand:

    (RE: The government needs to take action and change course. Slapping PORFOMA orders against people who say things they don’t like is not going to solve the problem.
    ** While it may be sometime before Singapore’s more liberal minded can “Parti,” ** the government will need to act in order to clean up certain things that are in danger of exploding. **)

    Don’t disguise your “sheeple are free-riders shit” lah! We can run the government without your Crony condescension any day oi ….

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  • xoxo:

    The GREAT WAYANG must carry on…
    POFMA ACT is just one ACT of so many ACTS AND SCENES?

    THIS IS LOONGER RUNNING than any Broadway shows.
    Maybe JINX HO WILL DO A SUN HO ACT soon?
    Scanty clothes and all?

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  • Tracey Ching:

    Tang Li is an pap IB, I suspect. He utilized repetitive psychology by inserting and asserting idiocy into his sentences. He asserted that the pm does not have a billion dollars in his bank account. How does he or anyone in Singapore know how much the pm and his second wife have in their portfolios either in Singapore or overseas? We still do not know the renumeration package of the second wife despite tang Li claiming that Singapore is a democracy. Tang Li should considered quitting his convoluted writing and stick to F&B waitering or bartendering.

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  • TumasikPatriot:

    Tracey Ching:
    Tang Li is an pap IB, I suspect. He utilized repetitive psychology by inserting and asserting idiocy into his sentences. He asserted that the pm does not have a billion dollars in his bank account. How does he or anyone in Singapore know how much the pm and his second wife have in their portfolios either in Singapore or overseas? We still do not know the renumeration package of the second wife despite tang Li claiming that Singapore is a democracy. Tang Li should considered quitting his convoluted writing and stick to F&B waitering or bartendering.

    Tracey Ching:
    Tang Li is an pap IB, I suspect. He utilized repetitive psychology by inserting and asserting idiocy into his sentences. He asserted that the pm does not have a billion dollars in his bank account. How does he or anyone in Singapore know how much the pm and his second wife have in their portfolios either in Singapore or overseas? We still do not know the renumeration package of the second wife despite tang Li claiming that Singapore is a democracy. Tang Li should considered quitting his convoluted writing and stick to F&B waitering or bartendering.

    Tracey Ching:
    Tang Li is an pap IB, I suspect. He utilized repetitive psychology by inserting and asserting idiocy into his sentences. He asserted that the pm does not have a billion dollars in his bank account. How does he or anyone in Singapore know how much the pm and his second wife have in their portfolios either in Singapore or overseas? We still do not know the renumeration package of the second wife despite tang Li claiming that Singapore is a democracy. Tang Li should considered quitting his convoluted writing and stick to F&B waitering or bartendering.

    I felt the same way too in the beginning…worse in fact until he started to blend into the local flavor…he writes well but at times go over the TOP…we do need more writers and contributors @TRE and definitely NOT IBs

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  • James Tang:

    Tracey Ching:
    Tang Li is an pap IB, I suspect. He utilized repetitive psychology by inserting and asserting idiocy into his sentences. He asserted that the pm does not have a billion dollars in his bank account. How does he or anyone in Singapore know how much the pm and his second wife have in their portfolios either in Singapore or overseas? We still do not know the renumeration package of the second wife despite tang Li claiming that Singapore is a democracy. Tang Li should considered quitting his convoluted writing and stick to F&B waitering or bartendering.

    very well said bro.

    we agree.

    1, tang is obviously a pap IB or a pap tripod hoping to be noticed by pap gang so as to be admitted into the pap S$m clan.

    2, tang is obviously trying very hard to paint a good picture of pap clown and wife. our reliable source says their wealth is way past S$1billion. someone in coffee shop gave this off the tissue paper calculation. S$99m pa. pap clown has been in office since 2004. the lower end of the estimate is that pap clown and wife has already made S$1,485m from their ownself promote ownself offices.

    a declaration. the coffee shop someone used S$99m since pap has made a lot of noise about NOT S$100m, so as to avoid being POFMAed.

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  • Subliminal Indoctrination:

    Tracey Ching:
    Tang Li is an pap IB, I suspect. He utilized repetitive psychology by inserting and asserting idiocy into his sentences. He asserted that the pm does not have a billion dollars in his bank account. How does he or anyone in Singapore know how much the pm and his second wife have in their portfolios either in Singapore or overseas? We still do not know the renumeration package of the second wife despite tang Li claiming that Singapore is a democracy. Tang Li should considered quitting his convoluted writing and stick to F&B waitering or bartendering.

    @Tracey Ching

    Nowadays paid “influencers” are getting more sophisticated. They use tools usually used by psychologist called “subliminal indoctrination” on those unwary readers. Ever seen those demonstration on stage where 7 out of 10 audiences follow the instruction of the hypnotist after they woke up from their hypnotic sleep? So need to be careful. It works on those weak-willed individuals.

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  • PAP mandate strong:

    U people must acknowledged that Maid vs LML case only depicts that PAP is right that foreigners do help and teach singaporeans.

    It take a maid to ” lecture ” sg locals how to do , what to do , no half measures , stick it all the way.

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  • NS have its merits:

    Sg soldiers dont kpkb anymore ?

    Just look at China olympics athletes need to pass 10 physical fitness test before they can be approved to participate in the games.

    Just look at running , our ippt only 2.4 km . China athletes 3km and within 11 minutes. Chin up or pull up for highest score 35 and lowest score at least a 13. And thats for woman.

    What ! Ippt gold is just 12. If u can do is already damn solid.

    Not sure if they overset the bar ?

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  • Tang Li:

    Being accused of a being a PAP IB would be more fun if I actually was on the payroll of the PAP and in the elite circle of being paid a big salary to influence people into the PAP way of thinking. Hey, I could be sitting in some tropical paradise with my pick of beauties living the high life, far away from the stress of paying off my HDB mortgage. So, rather than accusing me of being a PAP mole, please let me know where the openings for such a high paying job can be found cause I would definitely like to apply.

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  • Tracey Ching:

    Tang Li, well for a starter, volunteer at the community centers and RCs. You must perform a lot of fellatios with the pap MPs and pap staff like the managers and etc.. Then after they are satisfied with your performance and noticed your baldness, they will invite you to join the pap. Got it?

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  • uselesstankl:

    Tangli,

    From the start I don’t read your crap.
    You seem to think by writing long essays ppl think you are smart….

    But then, lies will be lies, when ppl lie too long in essays.

    Even TRE is under mossad, KGB, Cisco the router, server, switch makers..

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  • TREisINcahootsWITHpap:

    NS has been loser for sinkues…..

    Defence in billions is a LOST CAUSE !!!

    STUPID SINKIES KNOW IT….

    War with indonesia, malaysia, cannot be fought.
    Once the bombing starts, Stupid sinkies dont have anywhere to hide , dont talk abou rebuilt.

    You think America, UK , has WILLED to fight a losing war ?

    Dont talk about defence pact,
    Its all bullshit.

    Send our planes BASED IN USA, AUS, SA, BRUNEI, TO BOMB KL, JARKATA ?
    ARE YOU SERIOUS ???

    DRONES ???
    HI TECH WARFARE ???

    MY MY, THE PROPAGANDA NEVER STOOP THIS LOW…

    only stupid sinkies brains are between their legs.

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