Kok Pin, Boon Hock and Terry are classmates in "EM3" stream. In Singapore, that means that at the age of 12, the government has decided that they are not as academically inclined as their peers. Kok Pin is creative and a born artist but his parents would rather he focus on his Maths and Sciences. Boon Hock comes from a low-income family and needs to balance school and helping out at the food stall. Terry, a spoilt brat is just too lazy a student. While the three children suffer from the pressure of school, their parents have another set of problems - their jobs and careers ...Written by
L.H. Wong <email@example.com>
At one point, someone says that "Chinese New Year is coming soon" (the date of Chinese New Year varies, but it is always in January or February), but later Jerry Khoo receives a text message and says that "terrorists flew a plane into the tallest building in the US" (September 11, 2001). Since Chinese New Year occurs at the end of the movie, perhaps the filmmakers added the second line as a memorial to 9/11 but forgot that it was the wrong time of year in the movie. See more »
At the begining of the show, you will see Chinese words telling you to turn off your mobile phones and to applaud for the movie. At the end of the show, 3 of the cast will ask you to applaud for the movie See more »
Reviewer's background: a nearly 40 mum of 2 girls (8 and 3) from Hong Kong.
At first, I wasn't keen to watch, because this was touted as a kid flick in Hong Kong, and also "must be seen by all parents with their children" -- to me, this sounded hard-sell.
My elder daughter had earlier watched it (English version), and hadn't commented on it, so this added to my speculation that it must be boring.
I was recently recommended to watch it by an un-married female ex-classmate, which was surprising, considering she doesn't have kids of her own.
Her reason -- if you have Singaporean colleagues, please watch it, it's funny.
So I finally watched it (Mandarin version) on video -- and yes, it's well worth a watch.
Here's why -
1. for parents (especially Asians) -- tune in to the hardship of trying to get your kids excel academically (after I watched this, I stopped forcing my elder to get 100% in Chinese dictation ... only asked her to do her best, and enjoy what she's learning ...)
2. for people with Singaporean friends, colleagues, relatives -- you'd understand how / why / what Singies act the way dey do, and why dey dalk like dat ...
3. for people who are wondering / interested to know how Singapore is governed -- an eye-opener that this movie was censored by the local, since it had so many obvious jabs at the government!
4. for Singaporeans -- enjoy your home-grown movie, a well documented dramatic piece
5. for movie-goers -- the kids CAN act! Better than the majors on Potter movie, especially Shawn Lee, he really acts hurt when whipped by his mum
Since I was watching a video version, I was able to pause (and have to pause) many times during the show to attend to kids, so didn't find the themes choppy, tho there are some gaps and the cohesion could be better improved. Maybe Neo was trying to cram as much information in the film, so many parts might had been edited out.
I give this a 6.5 out of 10. (My 10's are for pieces like LOTR, 6th sense...)
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