Archive for December, 2008

Everybody has a lost childhood and mine happened on the day I left Lim Chu Kang.  I will never forget those days spent in this lovely village, a farming village full of coconut and rubber trees.  I remember hearing the sound of rubber tree seeds hitting the ground making the “cracking sound” in a quiet afternoon.  My cousins and I would race to the rubber tree near our houses to look for those rubber tree seeds.  We collected them to make them our toys.  Such as rubbing the seeds against some solid surfaces to make them real ‘hot’ before we placed them on someone else’s skin to give them a shock! hehee :p And then we will play fighting games.  We would pick some tree sticks from the ground, straight ones, to be used as swords.  My brother and I would rehearse some fighting moves before we do it for real.  It was fun! J  He was normally the one who will win though. haha :p 

 

My father was the only wooden load lorry carrier carpenter in Lim Chu Kang.  He built wooden lorries for the farmers to transport animal feed in the area.  So mum would send us (my brother and I) to collect pieces of odd sizes wood from my dad’s workshop near our home.  I love doing so as I will be carrying a basket around, choosing and picking up woods that I like.  Mum will then ‘set fire’ to the woods that we collected to do her cookings and I always wondered why were there more than one colour in the flames?  There seemed to be some blue colour outlining the orange colour flame and it dances in the air like a wave!!

 

I do not remember studying much when I was in Lim Chu Kang. haha… maybe because I was only in primary one and two then but maybe because I really did play more than studying!  We have huge compound of our own at the sides, at the back and in front of our house.  My siblings, cousins and I love to cycle around in our own compound and when we couldn’t control our bicycles, we would drive them towards the bush and crash! It didn’t hurt much at all but bruises and scratches were always common.  Every time we fell down, we cried, stood up and then play again! 

 

Everyday, we looked forward to 2pm.  It was the time when a bread man would drive a huge red van past the road track just outside our compound.  My cousins, brother and I would run to the track that was connected to our house and we would wait.  We want to be the first one to spot the red van coming and the first one to open the ‘back door’ of his van.  The bread man did not only sell lots of bread but tibits and sweets! J  It was already an enjoyment to be able to look at those goodies even though we couldn’t have them.  Occasionally, mum would reward us by allowing us to buy some sweets from this bread man.    

 

We did not only play in the day but at night too!  Living in a village with huge area, we often organised gatherings and parties!  I particularly enjoyed the Moon Cake Festival as we would carry paper lanterns around lighted up by candles, and it was fun because it was really dark at night in the village.  The nights were so dark which made our walking trips even more exciting and yet scary.  We didn’t know what we would ‘run into’ as we couldn’t see very far.  However, the glow from the candles went a long way in guiding us home.  I see no more fun carrying lanterns in the HDB area today as the glow from the candles can never be as bright as those in the villages.  I started to appreciate those very dark and ‘scary’ nights.  In fact, I missed them.  :p

 

Anyway, during those days we didn’t have many toys.  But we have lots of bicycles in all shapes and sizes.  I had one that looked like a scooter and my brother had one that looked like a racing car. :p My brother’s ‘race car’ is still around today and it belongs to my nephew now.  Although time has changed, my nephew enjoys the ride as much as we did.

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I knew Diminishing Memories I & II have a larger audience than the film-goers.  I knew, it could and should connect to audience from the general public, especially those in my generation and above.  True enough the audience who came for The Arts House screenings range from as young as 4 years old to the 70s/80s.  This surprised me though, as this range is wider than what I expected. Many came with their families, with members of two or even three generations.  Others were students and teachers, as well as our fellow citizens and non-citizens of other races.

 

I have finally done what I felt obligated to do as a producer- to allow my films to meet their audience.  Although I knew it would mean that I would have to put in more money (in the cost of publicity & distribution), more time and more effort.  Both Diminishing Memories I & II took a total of 30months to complete with personal investments of an estimation of S$70k.  I knew there’s absolutely no way for me to break-even the amount of time, money and energy invested in both films but still, I knew I ought to do it.  I ought to complete the films and screen the films. People ought to watch them.

 

I was there at The Arts House for each and every of the screening sessions. It’s funny people came up to thank me for my efforts, but I thought I should be the one thanking them for coming.  Then I realized why. From their eyes, they were telling me that someone has done something to speak for them.  Of course, the films speak to them but they were grateful that the films were made.  Those were the local Singaporean audience.  The expressions from the audience who came from overseas were different though.  They show a different type of appreciations, the appreciation of an opportunity for them to get to know the Singaporeans, the Singapore history and culture more.  You know, these are essentially the kind of things friends from overseas would like to find out.

 

I find my audience very cute as well.  They sent or hand over gifts to me.  Thank you all for the bookmark, books, food, little notes and VCDs. 😉 And of course, some friendships developed.

 

Some of the comments were heart-warming too.  One of them came, telling me that she came as she was impressed that a young lady like me has shown concerns in the kind of topics featured in the films.  Most of them reminded me to eat more and were concerned if I had really let go. haha! (Of coz I have) And I also found out there were audience who had not been to the cinemas to watch any films for more than 20years, and there she was sitting in the screening room watching my films. I was really glad and grateful that all of them made an effort to book their tickets and come for the screenings.  Really sorry for those who couldn’t get hold of the tickets though.  The only way I thought I could thank my supporters is that I should take good care of myself and when the time is right, I will be able to meet them again with my new work.

 

Thank you once again- to the media, sponsors and the public who supported!

昨天经过克兰芝蓄水池,发现那里的所有游乐场已经统统被拆除掉。几乎不留痕迹地那样,不太容易被人发觉。我有发现是因为我知道它们的位置,所以我有意识地在寻找它们。于是,我看到地面上分布在不同位置的白白的沙,平坦的地面,就是曾经伫立各式旧游乐场的所在地。

 

真的不见了。我的童年游戏场,真的不见了。即刻在心理骂了一句三字经后,心想:“又是这班家伙!” 只是,我的心里一点都不觉得痛了。其实,我早有心理准备。前阵子在报章上看到报道说克兰芝蓄水池一带将被发展成一处休闲的地点,包括很多年以后,这个点将跟其他的人行走道连接上,成为可环岛走一圈的道路之一。我就知道。

 

童年游戏场早就不见了。这次真的不见了。我一点都不觉得伤痛。只是,那些被拆除的都是那些很旧式的游乐场,在新加坡已经很难找到了!为什么发展就一定要翻新?

 

I happened to pass by the Kranji Reservoir yesterday and realized all the playgrounds which used to stand there were all gone! Now, my childhood playgrounds were really gone.

 

You wouldn’t take noticed if you did not know there were playgrounds there before as it was not obvious.  I could spot it simply because I knew where the playgrounds were located exactly, and when I tried to spot them, I could only see some white-coloured sands on the very flat ground.  White patches of them here and there, exactly on where those old playgrounds used to stand.  Yes, those were the very old-style playgrounds which can hardly be found in Singapore nowadays. And they were all gone.

 

I wasn’t heart-broken but I couldn’t help but gave those “whoever” who did it a good scolding in my heart.  Although I was mentally prepared that one day, they will all be gone when I saw the media report on the master plan of turning Kranji Reservoir one of the spots where they could connect the human walk-ways to make it a full circle round Singapore.  A pretty cool concept I thought, but why does development always comes with a face-lift?

 

放下了

Posted: December 3, 2008 in Column 专栏

早报副刊:翁燕萍《四方八面》专栏

刊登日期:03/12/08

 

是时候放手了。友人在我第二天的放映会时这样提醒着。一个半月后,就在我最后一场放映会中,我看着自己在大荧幕里的最后一个镜头,就这样走出镜。实际上,在看着自己走出镜头之前,我在心里面大声告诉自己一定要释怀了,不然,还真对不起自己在第二部作品——《悄逝的记忆2》里面的精神。

  感谢梁海彬先生在1121日刊登的专栏作品《给记忆一个葬礼》。谢谢公众,包括梁先生友人的关心。翁燕萍释怀了吗?当然。

  这是不少观众在看完《悄逝的记忆2》后忍不住要问的问题。不难理解。因为在制作影片的最后期,燕萍还真没能放下呢。也难怪从影片中,观众能看得出来,所以有所疑问。在剪片室里剪完最后一个镜头,在录音室里录完最后的一句旁述,还是有很多的不舍,没错。知道必须放下,再要自己放下,跟是否已经放下还需要点时间。没有那个过程,也就没有放下的结果。能和自己的作品一起成长是种幸福。

  20年的心灵创痛,终于贴上了膏药布。四年前回去林厝港拍摄第一部影片《悄逝的记忆1》是回去在伤口上撒盐。那伤口当时还淌着血。皮开肉绽的。尘封多年的记忆开启后,一发不可收拾。压抑了18年的一把从心底发出来的声音终于得到了释放。记忆跳出来后发现一部分早已在不知不觉中悄然逝去了,我仓皇失措。我要把它抓得更紧,所以注定《悄逝的记忆》有续集。

  面对了,原来还需要接受。《悄逝的记忆1》的第二个镜头,经过坟场。《悄逝的记忆2》的结尾是在坟场。我不是故意的。原来我早就知道他(旧林厝港)已经死了。只是,还没接受。某一种情怀要释怀,它需要时间。

  影片放映的那阵子,发现原来有比我想象中还要多的人还没释怀呢。借着自己的经历边疗伤,边挑起别人的记忆。记忆被唤醒后,也是时候面对它了。恭喜你,那是放下的第一步。衷心希望有更多的心灵创痛得以逐渐愈合。

  制作影片的煎熬过去了。心情的最低潮也过去了。从那一片忧闷、黑暗、潮湿的森林走出来后,有生命力的小动物、小花、小草出现了。还有一道暖暖的阳光,习习凉风。我正坐在小石头上休息呢!有力气后,站起来我想看看远方。往前走的当儿,我也不会忘了享受一下四周的美丽风景,还有闻一闻空气里的清新。