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Come sit in the company of wisdom. Now playing at the Singapore Night Festival!

About
the Project
ENG | 华语

AND SO THEY SAY is a documentary project featuring an honest narrative on life constructed from interviews with 25 seniors, of whom the oldest is 95 years old.

Driven by the idea of a good conversation, this youth-led project allows an intimate glimpse into the legacy of Singapore’s pioneer generation.

While sharing one’s story and thoughts on topics ranging from childhood and the Japanese War to mahjong and Lee Kuan Yew, the senior is encouraged to explore and celebrate his or her life philosophy in a safe space, no matter how ordinary it might seem. In the process, the narrative shared enriches all parties involved.

It also highlights the simple, yet purposeful tradition of oral storytelling, an ancient and accessible art form that is very much a part of everyday life.

The films are screened through a motion-triggered installation. Inspired by the hand-crank film projector used in cinemas in the early 1900s, it encourages the public to take the initiative and get the conversation going.

AND SO THEY SAY is a gentle reminder of the seniors we love, whose hands and hearts have built the place we call home today.

《长者遂曰》是一部由25名年长国人对生活的如实叙述组合而成的纪录片,受访者中最年长的已高龄95岁。

由青年人主导的制作团队受让不同世代之间展开良好对话的想法所启发,希望国人通过这一制作一窥新加坡建国一代的精神。

受访长者们分享的故事主题不拘,既有童年回忆和二战经历,也包括麻将、已故建国总理李光耀等。无论理念令人称奇或看似平庸,受访者都在安全的空间里探索和分享自己的生活哲理。在这过程中,各参与方的经验变得更充实。

口述历史作为日常生活一部分,是一种古老却容易接近的艺术形式。这一具意义的传统在纪录片中也得到体现。

影片需靠手动装置播映。这一概念取自20世纪初影院里的手动影片投影机,意在鼓励公众采取主动“亲手”让对话延续下去。

《长者遂曰》提醒我们,我们今天的家园正是由这些我们所爱戴的长者们倾心尽力打造而成。

AND SO THEY SAY is a documentary project featuring an honest narrative on life constructed from interviews with 25 seniors, of whom the oldest is 95 years old.

Driven by the idea of a good conversation, this youth-led project allows an intimate glimpse into the legacy of Singapore’s pioneer generation.

While sharing one’s story and thoughts on topics ranging from childhood and the Japanese War to mahjong and Lee Kuan Yew, the senior is encouraged to explore and celebrate his or her life philosophy in a safe space, no matter how ordinary it might seem. In the process, the narrative shared enriches all parties involved.

It also highlights the simple, yet purposeful tradition of oral storytelling, an ancient and accessible art form that is very much a part of everyday life.

The films are screened as part of a motion-triggered installation. Inspired by the hand-crank film projector used in cinemas in the early 1900s, it encourages the public to take the initiative and get the conversation going.

AND SO THEY SAY is a gentle reminder of the seniors we love, whose hands and hearts have built the place we call home today.

About
the Team

LOGUE

Team members:

Jean Qingwen Loo, Yang Huiwen, Lam Xinying, Ong Boon Kok, Liquan Liew, Marvin Tang, Liu Ying, Amelia Tan

Logue is a content creation studio that creates social dialogue through building strong narratives across the mediums of documentary film, photography and the written word. Logue works with organisations that share the same ideals as joint advocates for a social cause, as well as directly with participants through art. Our recent work include Superhero Me where we partnered the Lien Foundation to raise awareness for early childhood education in Singapore and First Homes, a gathering of stories to celebrate personal histories as part of the Singapore Memory Project.

RAFFLES PHOTOGRAPHIC SOCIETY

Team members:

Amanda Chang, Gabrielle Jeyaseelan, Gary Huang, Jarrod Lee, Li WenQing, Tan Rui Xuan, Yang Yang, Rachel Tan, Keane Chua, Abdul Musawwir, Nadya Ang, Joel Lim, Hoong Li-Ann and Xie Xueying.

We are a group of young photographers from Raffles Institution (Junior College) who believe in the power of photography and memories, because behind every photograph lies the power to evoke feelings and empathy. It is a way to glimpse into another's life, to bridge differences and connect people.

SHANG LIANG

Shang graduated with a Masters in Bioinformatics from Nanyang Technological University. In 2009, he began exploring interactive installations with computer programming. His first art installation “Reactive Wall” was exhibited at Singapore Art Museum in 2010. He runs his own interactive media studio WE/WEAR/GLASSES

Acknowledgements

 

We would like to thank the following parties for their support:

The SG50 Celebration Fund

for empowering us to work on this project and the opportunity to build community and play a part in Singapore’s golden jubilee.

SINGAPORE NIGHT FESTIVAL

for believing in our work and enabling us to share the life lessons we’ve learnt with a wider audience.

EPSON SINGAPORE

for your generosity in supporting us with the projectors. And So They Say is powered by world-class projectors, specifically the EB-Z9900W, EB-Z10000U, EB-Z9800W and EB-G6900WU.

PARTICIPATING SENIORS

Ang Siew Tian, Basrun bin Baksin, Benjamin Henry Peter, Chong Kim Lim, Constance Singam, Chua Chwee Whatt , Dorries Yeo, Ho Hock Khim, John Martens, John Tan Ong Ah, Lau Soon Siang, Lina Lee, Lee Mong Chiang, Lian Yong Liang, Moslimah Binte Haji Abdul Karim, Ng Gek Eng, Pauline Ong, Rosalind Leong, Tan Chor Teo, Tan Geok Eng, Tan Lian Kiat, Tan Puay Boon, Tang Chun Tuck, Wong Swee Yin, Yeo Pan Kee

Our Seniors

Basrun bin Baksin is an amiable and chatty man who will readily share his opinion on current affairs. He was an active member of the Workers’ Brigade and held the position of Camp Commander. After which, he decided to form a family and married on 9th August 1965, coincidentally a year before Singapore’s independence day.
Tan Geok Eng is a simple-minded, yet lively and enthusiastic elderly. Despite her old age and seemingly repetitive lifestyle, she never fails to keep fit by exercising every morning and even sustains her hobby of cooking and singing at the karaoke. In the family, she is the caring senior mentor.
Chong Kim Lim is lively and always eager to share her extraordinary life experiences. Even though she says that she is easy-going, she is actually very picky especially about the food that she eats. Coming out of the Japanese Occupation, she began working as a clerk in her father's grocery store, where she met her husband who frequents the store. These days, she regularly goes to the elderly centre, watches Korean drama and sets up the mahjong table ahead of her grandchildren coming to visit her every weekend.
Ang Siew Tian is always recognised by her signature high bun-- a hairstyle she has retained for decades. She is cheerful and easy-going, remembering her childhood fondly as a time where life was simple and worry-free. Upon graduating from school, she became a teacher, and that is the sole profession she has known for over 40 years. These days, she spends her time at home reading the newspapers, watching dramas and occasionally whipping up a hearty dinner for the family.
Ho Hock Khim lives life simply, believing that good health and family are the greatest things in life one could ever wish for. Living in Singapore for almost her whole life, she took on the challenging job of being a stay-at-home housewife, devoted all her time to raising her two children and gave them the best she could. Nowadays, she enjoys sleeping, going for Sunday dim sum with her children and grandchildren, and watching television dramas in her free time.
Ng Gek Eng is a caring and humble lady. A person of few words, she finds joy in the simplest of things, and is always exceedingly thankful for everything she has. A devoted Christian, she sees her faith and her family as the pivotal things in her life and constantly emphasises how blessed she is having both. Now, she enjoys her time watching television and eating meals with her grandchildren.
John Martens is witty, humourous and loves a good dessert. He has represented Singapore in numerous sports such as hockey and cricket and has been actively involved in both the local and international sports scene. He went on to work in the public service and currently enjoys spending his time amongst family and friends.
Lee Mong Chiang is a prideful and meticulous person. Having lived in a now demolished area, he has marked his past neighbourhood onto a modern day map, annotating various streets and places he often frequents. Accompanied with a set of photos, he aims to preserve his story and tell it to his grandchildren.
Lian Yong Liang is a cheerful, good-natured man who may sometimes act too young for his 77 years of age. His childhood years were marked by memories of the Japanese Occupation, during and after which he worked as an odd job man. In his 30s, he picked up the cello, which gave him the opportunity to find a stable career as a cello teacher. Up to today, he finds great joy in his cello and plays it daily.
Benjamin Peter is a friendly, chatty man who maintains a cheerful demeanor despite difficulties and pain faced in the past. He used to work as a housing agent, earning a decent income, until he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and had to undergo treatment. He is proud to have been be able to overcome the mental illness and found a job as a security guard, which he enjoys with a sense of duty, and being able to appreciate little moments in life.
John Tan is the grandfather of two cheerful children, Kate and Caleb. He devoted all his time to them, from picking them up from school to preparing dinner for them, but he never complains. Unlike his grandchildren, he experienced a very different childhood which he remembered swimming in the sea with two coconuts and going fishing alone.
Tan Puay Boon is a 85 year old lady who is more fondly known as Mama to her grandchildren. She is a smilely grandma who treasures her family and dotes on her grandchildren. Mama has always been an excellent cook and enjoys frequent mahjong sessions with her family. Although age has caught up and she may not be as alert, Mama's love is always felt so strongly.
Tang Chun Tuck’s journey as a volunteer began when he was a teenager. The retired civil servant was a recipient of President’s Award for Volunteerism (Individual) for his work with the Singapore Red Cross. This year marks his 50th year of volunteerism. He continues to serve as senior advisor to Red Cross youths.
Described by her best friend as fearless, elegant and kind, Wong Swee Yin (left) is a trained graphic designer and art consultant who enjoys the company of nature. Together with her husband, she leads a life of adventure, including sailing, scaling Mt Kinabalu, trekking to Mt Everest base camp and authoring a book on saving corals in Indonesia.
Yeo Pan Kee is a happy-go-lucky septuagenarian with the energy of someone half his age and a trademark boisterous laugh. While still a baby, he was almost bayoneted by a Japanese soldier but was saved by his mother, who told him he is 命大 (lucky) and would then live to an old age. Having had to quit primary school to support himself, he became an electrician, servicing British military soldiers at Tanglin Barracks and eventually built a business selling Tecnogas and Tecno brand gas cookers and appliances. Once an avid water-skier, he now enjoys golf and cooking. Growing old has also probably cured him of his severe motion sickness.
Constance Singam is known for her work at AWARE, where she served for more than two decades and was its President for three terms. She played a pioneering role in the effort to end violence against women, in particular, violence in the home. Apart from her contributions to civil society as a social activist, she has also been a writer, teacher, restaurateur and blogger. She describes herself as a ‘late developer’ who obtained her first degree in Literature at age 46 followed by a Masters degree at age 60.
Known as the face of Founder’s Bak Kut Teh restaurant, Chua Chwee Whatt started his career as a pig farmer in Choa Chu Kang. When the government phased out pig farming, he went with the flow and experimented selling pork ribs soup for a living. Though he is grateful for modern Singapore, he wishes there was space to plant vegetables and rear livestock like the good old days.
The things that make Dorries' eyes light up are the mention of her grandchildren, when the Pleats Please catalogue arrives in her mailbox, and fresh produce at farmers' markets. A retired go-getter with an infamous head of silver, she now happily spends her days with her mosaic art and family.
Rosalind Leong is a Peranakan woman who grew up loving music under the influence of her mother. She only fulfilled her dream of becoming a singer at the age of 62 when a visually-imparied pianist was looking for a vocalist to form a two-piece band. She is happily married to her husband
Described by his granddaughter as a tenacious man who teaches her how not to 纸上谈兵 (rely on armchair strategies) and 空口说白话 (be unreliable), Tan Chor Teo is a charming 90-year-old who takes to technology like a fish to water. He is adept at whatsapp, photoshop and spends most of his time learning new computer software..
Tan Lian Kiat is a sprightly 83-year-old grandfather of nine and great-grandfather of two who thrives on routine. His weekday mornings are spent at the office before heading home to be with his wife. This aspiring crooner also enjoys collecting souvenirs and has visited countries spanning four continents.
Moslimah Binte Haji Abdul Karim grew up in her greatgrandmother's Javanese-style shophouse on Bussorah Street with a big extended family of 28. She spent most of her childhood selling kueh kueh with her mother in the Arab Street area. Her wish is to make people happy and is an active volunteer at the Sultan mosque, where she helps the less privileged.
Pauline Ong was the 'Duchess' of Guardian Pharmacy as its General Manager from 1978 to 1993 and grew the firm from a single pharmacy to a chain of 63. She is enjoying herself now in a pleasantly different way. As an active vounteer guide at a number of museums, her energies now go into increasing the awareness of the Singapore's history and different cultures.
Lau Soon Siang is a strong and independent 95-year-old Teochew woman who still cooks for herself. On most days, she enjoys hanging out at at the Seniors Activity Centre with her friends, located a short walk from her flat in Toa Payoh, as well as watching Teochew opera on television
Lina Lee was born in a big family in China and arrived in Singapore in 1958. To her, love is caring for the family and happiness is watching her grandchildren grow up as independent adults. She enjoys cooking, sewing and working on patchwork projects.