Company bigwigs make guest appearance in movie

SINGAPORE - When Mr Bennett Neo was invited to make a guest appearance as a serviceman going to war in Jack Neo's new army movie, Ah Boys To Men, he agreed readily.

He did so even though it meant shuffling some work appointments and taking two days of leave for the filming.

In a recent interview with The New Paper, the regional director of Asia Pacific Breweries said he wanted to play a part in the film that commemorates 45 years of national service.

To Neo, it doesn't matter whether you are a salesman or a chief executive officer, you have to fulfil your national service and reservist duties as long as you're a Singapore male.

Interestingly, filming was done, literally, on his grandfather's road.

Mr Neo's grandfather, Neo Tiew, was a landowner and developed the area in Lim Chu Kang in 1914.

The abandoned Neo Tiew housing estate was where some of the war scenes in the movie were filmed.

Mr Neo, 43, told us he lived in the NeoTiew area as a child before his family moved out in 1976.

Going back to his childhood home was a great and interesting experience, he said.

Besides Mr Neo, the managing director of, Mr Ryan Chioh; the chairman of Sakae Holdings, Mr Douglas Foo; the managing director of Ebenezer NDT Services, Mr Lawrence Kim; and the director of Jaz Lai, Mr Jaz Lai, were also invited by Neo to make guest appearances in his film.

They played reservists called up to defend Singapore when it comes under attack from an unknown military force.

Their participation in Ah Boys To Men came about when Jack Neo asked Mr Foo, 43, and the executive chairman of Qian Hu Corp, Mr Kenny Yap, to be in the movie.

Mr Foo and Mr Yap then sent an e-mail to their friends in the Young Business Leaders network and got MrNeo, Mr Chioh and Mr Kim on board.

Mr Yap was unable to go for filming subsequently.

In the name of fun

Mr Chioh, 42, told TNP in a separate interview that the filming was all in the name of fun.

"We wanted to relive our national service days together," he said.

"I think the audience won't be able to spot us because we had camouflage paint on our faces."

Mr Chioh added: "When the men were younger, they probably think national service is a waste of time, but it instills discipline and initiative in them."

Mr Foo said all of them didn't want to be paid for their work in the film.

"You can't put a dollar value to our friendship (with each other) and to the purpose of the movie," he said.

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