I only got to know that this film "Change", is uploaded on Youtube, after a Malay boy told me about it. We met by chance. He recognised me at a bus stop near my home. He was very shy in the beginning, stealing a gaze at me, then followed by a quick smile. However, after I had returned his smile, he rushed into asking if I acted in the film. It is surprising how even a relatively obscure film like this one is being watched and remembered by some people. And somehow, some sharp-eyed ones will remember you for acting in it. Therein lies another good reason not to pick my nose in public. :)
This film was made some three years ago with Leon Tai and his team from Temasek Polytechnic. The story is about the unlikely friendship between a little boy and the local tissue-paper selling vagrant. A friendship that is developed with the boy's generosity, to the dismay of his mother.
Here is the short film:
We shot many of the scenes again as their lecturer felt that I was not tattered and dirty enough in the first round. So in the reshoot, they made sure I look really bad. :) It was quite an experience in itself hanging around the busy parts of Chinatown dressed dirtily. Some passer-bys that didn't know we were in a shoot gave me some uneasy stares.
Vagrancy isn't that common in Singapore anymore, though we do find quite a few old folks and disabled people going around selling tissue paper pads - 3 for a dollar. Isn't there something wrong when this happens in one of the richest country in the world? One local politician even said that old folks who collect cardboard boxes to sell for whatever meagre returns, are doing it for some (physical) exercise. haha.
The boy actor's name is "Horsey". It is his nickname because he loves horses. He speaks immaculate
English, unusual for a boy his age, in a country where Singlish has almost taken over. For those that are unaware, Singlish is English mixed with all the other languages and dialects spoken in Singapore.
Crowd control and clean sound was a problem, as it was a busy location. So, we had many retakes. The director told me that he chose Chinatown for its 'ambience'. But what is 'ambience' when he shot the scenes amid modern looking background in Chinatown? It would not be much of a difference had he done it in the suburban centres of Tampines, saving us lots of time and effort.
As a result, the shoot overran and we all got tired. Horsey, for all his immaculate English and good diction slipped into 'child-mode' of short attention spans.
That is why it is always prudent to shoot it quick when there are children in the cast, even when you have good actors.
Lastly, did you enjoy the film? :)
What do you think is the moral of the story?
Mine is that: "Everyone is important in the society and no one is more important than others."
What is yours?