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Like to listen to what goes on behind the scenes in film making or acting straight from an actor? Click here.

A Reunion Dinner with a secret to hide. Click here.

Have you taken all the modern comforts for granted? Behind every modern device there is the technology and with them comes the management and risks. Interested to find out what goes on below the hood? Click here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My Rather Morbid Year To Cheer

This was 2016 for me, a mix of sweet, sour and bitter:

The Next Plot,
a short film about: "A grieving old man struggling against religious stigma to be buried next to his late wife," was released. I wrote, produced, directed and acted in this gig; collaborating with Red Dot Film Makers.

I was enduring an excruciating pain on my neck and my arms during the production, but the show must go on.

For more, click here.

The Next Life
I recovered from the crippling and excruciating pain through meditation and help from an Osteopath. This after seven months and numerous futile trips to mainstream doctors, alternative medicine, self medication, massages, spiritual healings and conmen healings.  For more, click here.

This seven month saga has changed my life forever. It was so painful that at one stage, I thought I was going to die. I really did. No exaggeration. It was so painful that I didn't know that such pain was possible or even existed. 'Health is wealth' rings very loud and true to the bone for me now. When I am in trouble now, I ask myself if I am in pain.  If not in pain, then I won't sweat it.

The Next Bank,... 
Soon after recovery, I joined a team working in a bank that was acquired by another bank. There was so much to learn working on the handover.  Virtually, I was going through a crash course in banking, spending long hard hours going through the tediums of merger. Despite that, it was a harmonious and happy environment, one that I was sad to see go after the takeover.

I congratulate the managers who have created this little sanctuary. Not easy being in an industry that is in the cut-and-thrust of the market economy.

On a different note and in the wider picture, there are currently a lot disruptive technologies changing the banking world that may even result in the demise of banking itself, as we know it.  To read more about it in 'Digital Banking', click here.

Pulau Ubin
This is where my favourite short film for 2016, "More than Words that Touches" (sponsored by Ogawa) was shot. It has been sometime since I have been there, but it remains as the same sleepy tropical isle. The 'uncle' selling coconut juice and cold drinks is still around, busy and healthy as ever. For more about the shoot, click here.

The story is about a daughter who returns to Pulau Ubin to visit her father after living in the mainland for many years. This is a reminder that we should spend more time with the people we love.

Here is the video:

Devil Revealed
A film maker whom I trusted, ran away with my money. I lent him some money, in the orders of four-figures to pay for a movie premier in a theatre. Another person I know of lent him another four-figure sum of money. But that is a paltry sum compared to his investor, who put in a six-figure sum of money and getting nothing in return. Not even a copy of the video.

He has since vanished. He is not in his home, with his family and had left the country. I don't know where he is now. I have previously persuaded him numerous times to return the money, but it was futile. He went the way of the Devil - really silly to ruin his reputation and nail his career to an early death, for a mere few thousand dollars. This is a pity because he is young and talented!!!  But without integrity, everything amounts to naught.

There is still time to surrender and repent. If not, he can be arrested and stained with a criminal record, upon returning to Singapore.

For more about the movie, click here.

Bloodline Blues
I directed an action genre for the first time. It is about a young heir to a noble family escaping from his obligations to reconcile with his lover in Asia, after the death of his father.

I realised that I had to decide on how much fantasy to allow in the fight choreography. In other genres, I work to make the film as close to real life as possible.  

Real life fights are different. They are brutal, bloody, ugly and fast. Few people would like to watch them. The audience will cringe at the blood, gore and brutality.

A major lesson I learned is that when there is a critical demand in a production for more moving parts, more actors, more locations, more props and higher criticality for editing continuity, there will be more noise (with a capital 'N'). Be wise enough to separate the signals from the noise - stay calm and know what matters and what don't; and what you can change and what you cannot. And...

"God, please grant more people with this wisdom."

RIP Mum... 
My mum died after succumbing to cancer. Weeks before that, she started asking for hugs. Surprising, as traditional Chinese parents don't hug their children after they have become adults. In her last days, however, my mother defied traditions and customs to hug us.  It was her way to express her love for us. She chose to go to where love is.

I have lived in the West for many years and now have problems adjusting to a culture of no-hugs. Some people still looked at me with suspicion when I hug them. Some Singapore guys who are badly constipated by this cold culture of no-hugs scorned at me when I hugged other people, especially women. They think that it all amounts to an excuse for sexual molestation. How sad when a hug is viewed from fear and distrust.

Let's free all hugs from taboo and sexualisation.

I walked the red carpet for the first time at the 4th Hanoi International Film Festival (2016), where "Certified Dead (2016)" was premiered. Click here.

We were treated as VIP for 7 days with gala dinners, award ceremonies, a trip to Halong Bay, ...etc. It felt surreal, as I have never dreamed of being an actor, let alone as one that was now walking down the red carpet with reporters and fans snapping photos at the sidelines.

It is easy for actors to be carried away and believe that they are larger than life under such conditions. Though, it remains that the crux of acting will always be about telling stories and making the emotional connections with the audience.

RIP Jackie Liong
An actor friend died instantly in a tragic car accident. He was on the way to work with his wife on the highway when another car came from the opposite direction, hit and toppled his car, killing him instantly. His wife seated next to him survived and was warded in hospital.

This above picture is one of Jackie (far right) and me at the "Back Alley Bulls" movie shoot. RIP Jackie.

Fore more about "Back Alley Bulls", click here.

Here is what happened during that tragic day...

The human journey is fragile. Live everyday to its fullest, as if it is your last,... or first.

Film Award...
"Certified Dead" won the Best International Film Award at the 14th Royal Bali International Film Festival (2016).

That brings the year to a happy end. Something to cheer about.