=319= Reflections: 起飞

I figured I should start writing a post about the great 30 episode drama that Singapore had recently put out to educate(kinda) young people about the legacy of xinyao.

For those who do not know, xinyao is basically, Singapore’s music. It started in mid 1980s, where Taiwan songs were getting popular, but we as Singaporeans find it hard to relate to these songs, for the words and melodies aren’t from us. Hence, xinyao was created. Some people claim that xinyao died in the 1990s, others simply believe that xinyao is simply Singaporean music, that it has never died, that it simply changed over time.

It saddens me to see so many of my own people being unhappy with my own country. I said this and I will say this again, I love Singapore. I observe around me and I just give thanks for the place I live in. It is such a beautiful place with so much to give thanks for. The water is clean for drinking. The air is clean for breathing. There are trees everywhere. The transport system is great. The people knows how to live with each other despite SO many differences in race and religion. We have so much peace it is so easy to take for granted. Whenever I see someone old/injuired/pregnant/with a child walk right into the bus/MRT, people automatically stand up to offer up their seat. This may seem insignificant, but it really is something. I look around me and I just prayed, “God, thank you for this mini-paradise you have placed me in.” 

I remembered Mr LKY said something about racial differences. He said that the way to approach racial harmony is not by pretending that there are no racial differences. There are! But it is by accepting racial differences and learning to live with it. Tolerate it. Compromise. There is so much wisdom in this man that I just wished I could have seen him in his prime. 

Ok ok, back to xinyao. Well, my generation doesn’t seem to care about our own culture and music. Claiming that Singaporean songs/dramas/production doesn’t have any standard; claiming that it will never be as good as other countries. To a certain point it is true. Singaporean arts cannot compete with other countries NOW. However, how is it possible to compete when there is so little support?

The death of a culture is the death of its people. The idea isn’t to copy other countries’ dramas and music, the idea is to make our own. I mean who knew KPop would be as popular as it is? Did the Koreans copy other countries’ music? No, they made their own and it grew popular with other countries. Well, of course, easier said than done.

However, I still like to rebut my point, it has been proven with time that with great production/great artistes, Singapore products can be amazing. We are living in the era with Gentle Bones, Charlie Lim and The Sam Willows! And those are just three names! Productions like 起飞 is really great! Just to prove that with great casting, great directing and great storyline, we can produce something as great or even better than overseas production!

Ok, now I am gonna talk about 起飞 entirely, so <SPOILER ALERT>.

First of all, what exactly is 起飞 about? 起飞 is a drama about the Singapore music scene(duh). 起飞 is the name of the music label company that these three good friends founded together. It was named after their band when they were young and was still writing and singing xinyao.

Hence, from the start to the middle of the drama, they will interweave between the current time to the past. It was quite interesting to see how things unfolded to the present. From YaFang being together with ChuFan, to YaFang being together with YiWei!

Ok let me talk about the casting for the drama! They nailed it! For dramas like this, the actors play a VERY huge role! It needs to be heartfelt and yet not too heavy! They needed young actors to act for the past and older actors to act for the present. It was just incredible!

Here are the casting:

Christopher Lee(present) and Brian Ng(past) as Yang Yi Wei.
– You can’t get any better than Christopher Lee for this kinda show! His acting is heartfelt and solid. The scene where he was overseas trying to rush back home to see his daughter, only to receive news that she had already passed away, was just wow… “I want to go home, I want to go home” was said when he was reduced to blubbering mess. At the start, I just wondered why he wasn’t the music genius instead of the business man of the group, but I came to love his character more and more! He really encapsulated “Yang Yi Wei”‘s character.

Brian Ng is not too shabby too. He made a wonderful young Yang Yi Wei. He portrayed him to be a humble young man that though he is poor, he made it up by having a tenacious spirit! Though he was poor, he wanted to play guitar, but he doesn’t know how to; he doesn’t even know that his guitar was out of tune! He then improved to a point where he sang for an audition and got in! Then later on, he wrote a song himself and actually won the competition! Brian Ng actually looked really comfortable when he sings(like the dubbing for him isn’t as bad as the other characters)! The story between Yi Wei and Ya Fang was such a beautiful one too! 🙂 Brian Ng should act more now!

Tay Ping Hui(present) and Xu Bin(past) as Jiang Chu Fan.
We’ve seen Tay Ping Hui as a Math genius before, but now as music genius, he actually isn’t too bad! He has that slight awkwardness and yet brings out a certain stature as someone that knows music very well. The parts where he starts to write songs was quite funny! However, apart from that, Tay Ping Hui is a very good actor for that role! 🙂

We all know Xu Bin can act! Him being a music genius here fits him very much! To be slightly arrogant and yet still caring, Xu Bin nailed the role! It was great!

Darren Lim(present) and Fraser Tiong(past) as Luo Da Wei.
I have found a new favourite actor, “Darren Lim”. I never did noticed him for good acting until his drama. I was so surprised at how good his acting was. His role allows him to let loose and be the joker of the group and yet when there is a need to be serious, he performed spectacullarly. His whole drama with Xue Li just made him such a relatable character. My favourite actors are the ones that aren’t popular for their looks, but popular for their acting. So far, the list goes, “Christopher Lee, Calvin Soh, Chow Chor Meng, Darren Lim, Xu Bin, Carrie Wong, Jessica Liu and Cynthia Koh”

I just love how Darren Lim portrays Da Wei. He is my favourite character in this drama!

Fraser Tiong is not bad too! He managed to capture the playfulness of Da Wei pretty well! In fact, they almost seem like the same person. 

Cynthia Koh(present) and Bonnie Loo(past) as Ya Fang. 
The personality of young Ya Fang was this quiet girl that is bubbly and cheerful. Bonnie Loo managed to capture that down! Really quite good! She should act more too!

Then the old Ya Fang is this housewife that always puts her family in front of everything. The transition from young to old for her was very good! The acting was really top notch!

Jacelyn Tay(present) and Erika Tan(past) as Irene.
As usual, Jacelyn Tay just produces results! I’ve seen her as a villain in the previous drama, Game plan, and she was a really good bad guy! In this show, she managed to be pure evil for a good part of the drama. Then, because of her love for Chu Fan, she started becoming more bearable and human. Near the end of the drama, she totally converted from a bad to a good character. However, in the last episode, she went back to being bad. You wil really pity her when she decided to give up her relationship for her career and who can blame her? Being good just got her hurt. Well, I can sympathise with her.

OK, I think this post just got WAY too long! So yeah! Go watch! It is A+++ apart from the bad dubbing of music and singing and horrible effects when Da Wei got hit by that car… Still good! 😀