Points Of View
MEN 'S FOLIO Singapore|April 2021
Tan Bee Thiam, director of Tiong Bahru Social Club recounts his ethos of world-building through the design and diversity of the film.
Tan Bee Thiam
The film industry — especially Hollywood — tends to be risk-averse and sticks to winning formulas. This is why there are so many movie sequels today. Films made in Singapore can be broadly divided into two eras — the predominately Malay language films made in the 1950s and 1960s, and the predominately Chinese language films made since the 1990s that target the Chinese audience in Singapore and overseas.

The racial and ethnic demographics in Singapore have not changed much but why have we not seen a more inclusive and accurate representation of the society on screen?

Diversity in movie-making can come from who we bring in as collaborators (including the cast), the stories we choose to tell and the way we tell them. For diversity to work, we need to empower the different voices we bring together, invest time and take creative risks so collaborations can be fruitful. Hopefully, this will result in works that give us a glimpse of the world we wish to live in — a more diverse and inclusive one that promotes conversation.

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