Some claimed it to be the best movie made in Singapore, ever. A story close to the hearts of many, well, heartlanders. Of reality and spiritual worlds, of rich traditions and colourful splendour.

I went to catch 881 and left the cinema teary eyed but sorely disappointed.

No, don’t get me wrong. I am sure the movie brings a lot of meaning to many of those whom seem to enjoy the show much more than I did.

I am sure my zero knowledge of Hokkien language and the lack of “getai” culture in Malaysia contributed to my lukewarm response to the entire show.

In all fairness, I must commend Royston Tan for a job well done. The subtle yet creative introduction at the beginning was a classic touch. The scene where Little Papaya slowly lose her hair while hugging and singing with Big Papaya was the best of the show.

And of course, Aunty Ling’s performance was heart wrenching (just imagine a perpetually happy, bright person croned a sad piece and end up sobbing in silent). Qi YuWu’s stony role was perfect for the deaf-and-mute Guan Yin.

Beyond these, little left much impression on me. And I am I the only one who found the incessant reference to “techno” and the cheesy duo Durian Sisters a tad annoying?

Oh, the soundtrack is pretty good. Worth checking out.

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