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4 Long Nights of Filming to Recreate 1969 Flood in Jack Neo’s 'Long Long Time Ago'!

By Flora  /  01 Feb 2016 (Monday)

Back in 1969, Singapore was hit with one of the worst flood in Singapore’s history where heavy rain caused many parts of the country, with flood waters reaching waist high in some areas. In Jack Neo’s SG50 film Long Long Time Ago, one of the key highlights for the auteur is to feature the historic flooding event in his 2-part film series. 

To do that, Neo constructed a 30m by 30m large pool that is 1.5m deep, ‘coloured’ the $10,000 imported fresh water to make it look murky and dirty, and scattered twigs and leaves in it for authenticity.

“Due to safety reasons, we chose to build a pool instead of filming at reservoirs. Although CG (Computer Graphics) helped a little (in recreating the flooding scene), there are still many elements that had to be real,” said Neo. 

Aileen Tan, lead actress of the Lunar New Year movie was one of the cast members who had to be soaked in the water for days. She said: “Our eyes were red because it (water in the pool) was rather murky and dirty. We shot for more than 10 hours each night, for four days!”

Another actor who couldn’t escape the wrinkled skin and sore eyes is actor-comedian Suhaimi Yusof who plays Osman, Zhao Di (Tan’s character) Malay neighbour and best friend who set up food stalls at a factory. 

“This fat man, jumped off the boat 24 times in one night,” he joked at the press conference. “Mark Lee was busy counting at the side…. 24 times overnight just to create that perfect shot. I never knew I could do that!”

“So after that I think I told Jack that I am ready for Ah Boy to Ah Pui (fat in Hokkien).”

In addition to the flood and kampong days that are highlighted in the movie, Neo wants to give focus to another important aspect of the 1960s of Singapore - gender inequality between men and women.

(Don't miss the 'Long Long Time Ago' Kampong Night Sing-Along Sessions!)

“Women were treated very differently in the past,” Neo explained. “Not only do I want to show that the set and costumes are old, I also want to show that the mentality of people are old too.”

“I could relate to Zhao Di a lot because I had a very similar childhood to hers. My mother was biased towards my brother and I will always remember that time when my father won the lottery and bought a Mickey Mouse watch for only the boys in the family,” shared Tan, adding “Therefore, when I was in Ipoh for two-and-a-half months filming this movie, it brought back a lot of memories of my family.”

“A lot of things seem very new to me. Playing Zhao Di, this role makes me feel like a newcomer. ”
Long Long Time Ago opens InCinemas 4 Feb 2016!
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