November 13, 2016
By Amrit Pal
W HEN Jerome Lau and Stanley Yap found out that the daughter of someone in their social circle had taken her own life earlier this year, they decided to make a film to raise awareness about teen suicide.
The owners of Splash Productions and their team put together a 25-minute short film, titled Juanzi2: PSLE-GO, aimed at educating
parents and teachers about the stress students face from the many expectations placed upon them.
“We got to hear some very touching stories and both of us were very saddened by (them). (We) actually asked ourselves, as brand
communication specialists, as designers, writers, editors, what can we do about it?” said Yap, 42, who also directed the movie.
Both Yap and Lau, the film’s producer, were at a private screening of the film held at The Projector on Thursday (November 10) night.
Juanzi2 is the second installment in the Juanzi series, with the first being “on’t Leave Me, Sunshine, which was released in 2012.
Spotlight on education system
Juanzi2 focuses on growing up in Singapore’s education system, which is often been described as a pressure cooker. It explores parent-child, inter-parent and parent-educator relationships.
“We know that (the film) will not give (a) direct solution, but what we hope is that it could kickstart some conversation,” said Lau, 39, who recruited his family members to act in the film.
The Mandarin and Chinese characters for Juanzi are similar, referring to “tired child” and “exam paper” respectively.
The Pokemon Go game, and in particular the its Magikarp creature, are heavily referenced in the film. In the game, the Magikarp starts off as a seemingly weak and “useless” creature. But if players are patient, they can evolve it into an extremely powerful Pokemon.
The filmmakers used this idea as a metaphor for how some children may need time to manifest their potential.
“Allow (children) a bit of time and they might blossom at the later stage of their life,” said Yap.
The film, which is mostly in English with English and Chinese subtitles, is free to view at www.juanzi.sg.