The iconic words, “This is Home”, will never have the same meaning again after ‘Another Home’ was released on 28th July.
The parody music video, created and produced by local independent film website, SINdie, features ‘The Noose’ star Chua En Lai, as well as a platoon of other actors, including look-alikes of young politicians Ms Tin Pei Ling and Ms Nicole Seah as well as a ‘bear’ who plays a double role of Danny the Democracy Bear and the Ulu Pandan Bear, dancing to a remixed version of Dick Lee’s iconic ‘Home’.
The currently trending video has sky-rocketed to favourable reviews with many commenting that it is a “fantastic effort and extremely funny”, with others joking that “Lady Gaga would approve”.
Excerpts of a tête-à-tête with Jeremy Sing, the founder of SINdie and director of ‘Another Home’, exclusively for The Online Citizen:
The Online Citizen (TOC): What is The Other National Day 2011 Video all about? What inspired you to create and produce this video?
Jeremy Sing (JS): The idea of making a National Day music video was born out of an attempt to do another one of our many film-community outreach activities, since SINdie is supposed to be a champion for local filmmakers and talent. But underneath that rationale was also really us itching to have some fun and give our annual National Day songs and videos a fresh daring twist! After 46 years of nation-building, We feel we should be mature enough to laugh at ourselves as we say ‘Happy Birthday Singapore!’. Singapore in the past year has been nothing short of dramatic in terms of the social and political happenings. Month after month, we had things to make us laugh, cry and comment about. The peak of this was seen in GE 2011 when many average Singaporeans stood up to contribute to the political rhetoric. It is almost like saying after seeing how Singaporeans have proven themselves to more politically engaged than we thought, this National Day cannot be the same again. So the video was our little contribution to a nation that’s awakened a little from political apathy. After what happened at GE 2011, this National Day cannot be the same again, we decided to make it different.
TOC: What do you hope to achieve by releasing this video?
JS: To be honest. Fun. And to test the ability of Singaporeans to laugh at ourselves. If you read some of the comments going on about this video on YouTube, It is heartening to know that most people take it in good jest. One of the funniest exchanges I saw was when a viewer responded to another viewer’s comments by cutting and pasting the dictionary definition of the word parody into the comment box. Ouch! Then there were the other set of comments that discussed or even listed the socio-political references. One viewer got ALL the references correct and even added in his own unique interpretations (that did not cross our minds) – that the swimming pool was a visual reference to the reservoir, a much talked about thing in the news given the recent multiple cases of dead bodies found floating in reservoirs. While having fun, we were also hoping to stir debate about artistic or even political expression. This video underneath the song and dance, definitely has the potential to provoke some reactions. And we were prepared for some backlash from the public. But coming out from GE 2011, we believe if we really wanted to see change, we needed to be part of it as well, in some small way.
TOC: When was this video conceptualized and how long did it take in preparation for shooting this video?
JS: Our journey to making this video started with an exercise, to interview more than 30 local filmmakers (plus some artists and writers) on what they would have if they directed their own National Day music video. The people we spoke to covered familiar names like Boo Junfeng, Tan Pin Pin, Glen Goei, Neil Humphreys and Ris Low (as a wild card). We then picked some of the best ideas and put them into one music video. But you know, GE 2011 came along and added a huge amount of fodder to our material. So the GE talking points went into the script as well.
TOC: What kind of preparation was undertaken before shooting began?
JS: The most important things to the video were the actors, costumes, props and the availability of a swimming pool. The actors (in their costumes) were central to the video. The toughest roles to cast was of course the lead, who had to be able to keep the energy of the video up. We auditioned several people and also approached some professional actors. The tricky part was this was a pro-bono project and anyone coming into it had to be in it for the fun as there was not much a budget. Sponsors just would not support something politically incorrect like this. A casual catching up at Screen Singapore with Chua Enlai, whom I knew from years ago, pointed me in his direction in terms of casting. After some negotiations with him and Fly Entertainment, we got him on board! The other roles that were challenging (initially) to cast were the domestic maids. Several auditionees did not appreciate it when we offered them the role of maids until we convinced them it was a really fun dancing role. Along the way, a few bonuses landed on our laps and they included a Tin Pei Ling and a Nicole Seah look-alike. When the cast stood together, they looked like they were attending a uniform party. That was generally the visual theme we went with. The difference was the uniforms each represented an unsung hero with a tinge of controversy. Hence, we had characters like the YOG volunteer, the casino staff, the foreign construction worker. There were also the not-so-usual unsung heroes like the carpark attendant, the tuition teacher, taxi driver and the fishmonger! Some of the more interesting costumes were worn by Enlai and bear (which we hope SDP would be fond of). Enlai’s costume was a half-handmade kebaya fabric pair of pjyamas which we thought looked quite comical. Generally, the props, costumes and locations went hand in hand and the wardrobe and art department had to work closely together. Thank goodness for the availability of the swimming pool as well. It not only lent a very different ambience to the video but to the shoot as well. The cast enjoyed themselves so much they started a Facebook page right after the shoot to share memories!
TOC: Where did you shoot and how long did it take?
JS: The bulk of the shoot took place at Republic Polytechnic Swimming Complex. The other place we spent a long time at was Old School at Mount Sophia. Otherwise, it was all over the island! The shoot was 3 days.
TOC: Any interesting incidents while shooting?
JS: Of course, we hope the interesting things that happened are actually within the video itself. But there were some. Our pro-democracy bear (whose name is not Danny), won a number of kid fans everywhere he appeared. Maybe next time, he should appear together with Danny whom I heard has a huge fan club. Also, when Mint Leong (who played a certain feet-stomping MP) and the crew went to a HDB neighbourhood, with a garland of orchids around her neck, some of the uncles came forward to ask if the real Ms Tin was doing her rounds. It was at Race Course Road, still quite close to Macpherson la!
TOC: Any last words to the readers of TOC?
JS: We would like to think that celebrating Singapore is not just about celebrating the glossy and the immaculate. It’s about loving the quirky things that make us uniquely Singaporean as well. If this video sings with you, do spread it on and make Singapore’s 46th birthday a little different!