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Monday, Oct 13, 2014

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Lim Kay Tong right for LKY role

The Straits Times | Monday, Oct 13, 2014

Casts of 1965 (from left) James Seah, Joanne Peh, Sezairi Sezali, Lim Kay Tong and Mike Kasem.

I join the chorus of approval on the choice of actor Lim Kay Tong for the role of former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in the film project 1965 (Overcoming Cowardice To Play LKY, Life!, Oct 9).

I have followed Lim's acting career over the years and have admired him for his dedication to his craft and consistently fine performances both on stage and screen.

He will be an asset to the film project, which is destined to leave its mark - for better or worse - in any future studies on the making of Singapore.

There are other elements, besides casting, which contribute to making a memorable film in the eyes of an increasingly discerning audience.

At the risk of riling local sensitivities, I would like to raise a few points for the project team of 1965 to consider.

First, the script. Even though the film is going to be part of the SG50 project, it is conceivable and desirable that it will reach more than just the local audience.

I would therefore advocate good taste and objectivity in script-writing, in preference to jingoism and self-propaganda.

Excessive chest-thumping is likely to turn off the wider audience, including people here.

It is also unnecessary as the substance of the Singapore story will speak for itself.

Second, the acting. In the age of easy access to quality global films, local productions have to level up in terms of acting craft.

There is now a greater appreciation by a global audience for subtlety and nuances in emotional scenes.

The inclination towards over-dramatisation and exaggeration in local films may not achieve the intended effect.

Finally, the language. This has often been the bugbear in locally produced English films.

While Singlish may be unavoidable given the background of this film, I hope it can be minimised in favour of standard English.

Many of our older-generation politicians spoke English well. I hope they will be accurately portrayed.

The 1965 film project has to be handled with the respect that it deserves. I have no doubt the project team has every intention to do so.

Yeoh Teng Kwong


This article was first published on Oct 11, 2014.
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