7 Letters

Last post for the week!!! (God bless)

I caught this film finally at Singapore Heritage Festival. In fact, I went to Caldecott and skipped work solely for this. I would not say it was worth it (or not) but I spent time with my sister who was great company so I’m not complaining.

7 Letters was a film done for the Singapore Film Commission in 2015. It is a Singaporean drama film directed by seven different directors, comprising of seven short stories celebrating Singapore’s 50th anniversary. The seven directors are Eric Khoo, Jack Neo, Royston Tan, K. Rajogopal, Tan Pin Pin, Kelvin Tong and Boo Junfeng.

My favourite were Bunga Sayang by Royston Tan and Grandma Positioning System (GPS) by Kelvin Tong. Both featured a child about 7-10years old and a grandmother. The former was about a chinese boy whose parents are hardly at home and forgets to pay the utilities bills. As such, the water supply gets cut off whenever he is bathing. He then seeks help from this Malay grandmother who is his neighbour. Speaking different languages but feeling the same loneliness and earning for connection, this film is heartwarming and quite comical, with insertion of song and dance.

The latter was set during the Qingming festival, where a chinese family of two kids, mother and father and a grandmother visits their late grandfather/father/husband in Johor Bahru. Despite everybody rushing home to settle their day to day worries, grandmother took her time to talk to her late husband, describing to him the way home. Listing how things in Singapore has changed, and how his road home changed, the audience is reminded on how much Singapore’s geography has evolved. The second time around when they visit, grandmother has passed away and is buried with grandfather. The family cleans the burial site quickly and leaves. A distance away in the car, the boy rushes out and runs back to the burial ground. He starts to recite to his grandmother and grandfather the way home, telling them that they moved house. The family, chasing after him, sees this and joins in poignantly. In the last scene, we see the grandparents slowly making their way towards the railway and possibly to their grandchildren.

This made me think about the traditions that my own grandparents hold on to, and the fears that they could possibly have. How some traditions are kept simply because it comforted some people, not necessarily making sense or having scientific reasons.

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