In less than a month, we celebrate our nation’s 55th birthday. Besides chorusing the national day parade theme songs—new and old—and reciting our timeless pledge, what a better way to celebrate this national milestone by revisiting shows on Netflix by Singaporeans, for Singaporeans.
Coincidentally these shows echoes how far our nation has progressed in the arts scene and reflects what makes us “uniquely Singapore”—is it the Singapore dream, our dogmatic education, our multicultural society, or simply the culmination of everything into our DNA?
‘Shirkers’ is a documentary produced by Singapore-born filmmaker Sandi Tan. What makes the movie enchantingly mysterious is the story behind the movie because the director, Georges Cardona—also the mentor of the young filmmaker—went missing together with the film footage for 19 years. The mute (soundless) reels were only rediscovered after his death.
The long lost fictional film is later digitised and recreated into “Shirkers” documentary centred around the filmmaking process and an inquiry on Cardona’s disappearance through interviews with his closest family and friends. Besides recounting the stolen dreams and friendship betrayal, be blown away by the colour-rich filming of Singapore’s landscape in the 1990s—simply breathtaking with a tinge of ruminative mood.
Who should watch it: If you enjoy narrative documentaries and appreciate some thriller element in your show, you will enjoy Shirkers.
Shirkers | Watch Here
2. Gone Shopping
Do you know there are more than one hundred shopping malls spread across the island? Just along the shopping belt of Singapore—Orchard Road—there are at least 40 retail malls.
Gone Shopping is a satirical short film that showcases three parallel lives—a wealthy “taitai”, a latchkey girl, and an aimless angsty young man. Though their lives are disparate, they find commonalities in the shopping centres of Singapore. As the film gradually deconstructs the glamorous appearance of the shopping centres, it delves into deeper themes like material escapism, personal values, and human relationships. The show premieres on Netflix 1 August 2020.
Who should watch it: If you are a shopaholic or love window-shopping, this show might shed some light on the obsessive behaviour. Peace out!
Gone Shopping | Watch Here
3. The Maid
Due to the dual-working parents and aging grandparents phenomenon, domestic helpers are often employed in a Singapore household. CNA reported that over the last decade, the hire of foreign domestic helpers has increased by 27%.
In a similar light, The Maid tells the story of a Filipino maid, who works for a Teochew Opera family and arrived in Singapore during the Chinese Ghost Month. However, beneath the wealthy and polite façade of the family lie dark secrets and sinister forces at play within the household, which the maid unknowingly unveils through the film.
Who should watch it: If you love horror films and enjoy a good plot, this show has bagged multiple film festivals awards and recognitions worldwide, we trust film critics and it will not disappoint.
The Maid | Watch Here
4. Fakkah Fuzz: Almost Banned
Almost Banned is a Netflix comedy special by homegrown comedian Fakkah Fuzz where he uses cross-cultural humour to rant about politics, social stereotypes, and some of his anecdotes growing up in Singapore.
While some critiqued that the one-hour standup comedy is too Asian-centric and his jokes can tend to be too one-dimensional, humour is subjective so watch and decide which camp you belong to.
Who should watch it: Suitable for anyone who doesn’t mind jokes that tread on lines of racial stereotypes and a standup comedy filled with mimicking.
Fakkah Fuzz: Almost Banned | Watch Here
5. I Not Stupid
Education is a big part of every Singaporean child’s life. The highly exam-centric and syllabus-based teaching is, ironically, consistently ranked as one of the best education systems in the world.
‘I Not Stupid’ is a Jack Neo comedy film that aims to reflect the education climate in Singapore through the lens of three primary 6 students who are less academically inclined. Besides their misfit in the elitist system, they constantly face mounting pressure from their ‘kiasu’ parents who are equally stressed by the societal stigma placed on their children. It eventually boils down to the realisation that all children are unique and should not be defined by the education standards. The show premieres on 1 August 2020.
Who should watch it: The rigour of the education climate portrayed makes it relatable to every Singaporean child. If you are new to Singapore’s education system, this show is a telling glimpse into our world class education.
I Not Stupid | Watch Here
6. Festive Foods
What makes Singapore unique is the multi-racial society that contributes to a colourful cultural heritage including that of food.
The multi-part documentary series, ‘Festive Foods’, visits the prominent cultural festivals in our calendar and the special delicacies dedicated to these occasions. Buckle your seatbelt, grab your pen and paper, and get schooled on the festivals and food from the Hungry Ghost Festival, Deepavali, to Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
Who should watch it: For anyone keen to learn about the heritage of different racial groups or as a nice throwback to their nostalgic Social Studies lessons.
Festive Foods | Watch Here
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