|Photo Courtesy: MediaCorp Singapore|
The TV documentary series produced by The Moving Visual Co. and hosted by author Neil Humphreys:
1. Sexy Property
2. Sexy Nightlife
3. Sexy Gardens
4. Arts and Entertainment
5. Transport in Singapore
6. Expat Paradise
In the final episode, Neil Humphreys finally arrives at the epicentre of new Sexy Singapore. Nothing epitomises the dramatic changes that have taken place like Marina Bay. In the 5 years that Neil left, the area developed with high-end skyscrapers and resorts. The Sail, Marina Bay Sands, the Singapore Flyer, Marina Barrage and more - all appeared in a very short space of time.
This episode on Channel News Asia "catchup" is available here .
Singapore’s seamless infrastructure, cleanliness, safety and gleaming outlook provide an irresistible lure for many seeking to live here. In this episode, a committed expatriate goes in search of the Singapore Dream, and shines a light on our westernised appeal. What is the “Singaporean Dream”? Is the love of Singapore ultimately in the eye of the beholder?
Return to a Sexy Island is ostensibly a travel guide with humorous commentary and reflections running throughout. Seen through the eyes of a “ang moh” (Caucasian). Beginning at, where else, Marina Bay Sands, he journeys around the island to see the sexiest bits of New Singapore. Forget the heat, mud and rain, Neil gamely walks, cycles and takes the bus and MRT.
Singapore got sexy and the country s best-selling author got jealous. After five years chasing echidnas and platypuses in Australia, Neil Humphreys returns to Singapore to see if the rumours are true. Like an old girlfriend getting a lusty makeover, the island transformed while Humphreys was away.
Singapore is not just a sexier island, it s a different world. So Humphreys embarked upon a nationwide tour to test that theory. He went in search of new Singapore, visiting only locations that either did not exist five years ago or had been extensively rebuilt, renovated or revamped in his absence. From the cloud-topped heights of Marina Bay Sands and Pinnacle@Duxton to making ill-advised bomb jokes at the subterranean tunnels of Labrador Park, Humphreys walks, cycles, kayaks and swims across a rapidly evolving country, meeting Guinness-swigging aunties in Resorts World Sentosa, eccentric toy museum owners in Bugis, political activists in Aljunied and a security guard at Marina Barrage ready to tekan anyone who crosses his path. In new Singapore, Humphreys discovers a country still grappling between the economic rewards of progress at Biopolis and Fusionopolis and the historical cost at Bukit Brown Cemetery. With Humphreys characteristic honesty and wit, Return to a Sexy Island provides an insightful account of new Singapore; its best bits, it ugly bits and, most importantly of all, what it s really like to pee in the world s best toilet.
Taufik Batisah, "Singapore Idol 2004" said:
"The rock star of authors in Singapore. His never-run-of-the-mill quips on this little red dot will either make you boil or chuckle like a little boy on nitrous oxide. A rebel with a cause you may call him, he explores and documents facets of the Lion City that you may find taboo or plainly refute to acknowledge. Despise or embrace his coherent perspective, I am one of the lucky ones to have found a friend on this "Red Haired" man. Or, more accurately, he should be referred to as 'Sir' Neil Humphreys.
Shaminin Flint, author of the "Inspector Singh Investigates Mystery Series" said:
"It is often said that an outsider sees truths that a local cannot. Neil Humphreys' witty, insightful, warm-hearted take on life in Singapore (warts and all) proves that point over and over again".
Chew Gek Khim, executive chairman, The Straits Trading Co. Ltd said:
"Singapore is lucky to have Neil Humphreys - an ang moh visiting places we have never been to, recounting histories we are unaware of and, most importantly, showing us how to laugh, love and forgive all the imperfections of this little island we call home."
Neil Humphreys said: "When I left Singapore in 2006 and returned 5 years later, everything has changed."
His catchy book title "Return to A Sexy Island" and the TV documentary series of the same title could not describe Singapore as a "sexy island" before he was born.
As a blog to express on this topic, I would like to share nostalgic memories of the Singapore skylines over 50 years ago when few filmmakers were attracted to Singapore for location filming for outdoor scenaries.
《风雨牛车水》 "Stormy Chinatown," the film will not be unfamiliar among nostalgia friends who grew up in Singapore in the 1950s or earlier.
The Chinese film starred by director Yan Jun (严俊) , Li Lihua (李麗華), the main filming location in Singapore. This film was released for the first time on September 18, 1956, creating a sensation.
Chinese New Year atmosphere in the Chinatown area: decorated in the entire region, and a variety of shops, miscellaneous shop are newly renovated and there are a lot of holiday goods and snacks.
Very wide range of real Chinatown district, north of the Singapore River, south to Maxwell Road, east to the Cecil Street, west of New Bridge, about 2.6 square kilometers. Basically, this range is where the center of Singapore.
The early years of no running water facilities in Singapore, the city's drinking water mainly by ox cart as from the countryside to the city center, and then transferred from the city center around the city. Chinatown is located in a central location, the supply of water to the cattle-cart area called " 牛车水" (Bullock Cart Water).
In 1954, the Chinese film 《馬來亞之戀》 was produced by a Hong Kong film company for location filming at Chinatown, Singapore.
Selected photos of Chinatown included in the film "Moon Over Malaya".
Another old film for tourist promotion and publicity for Singapore in the 1950s was "Moon Over Malaya."
Moon Over Malaya, also known as 椰林月 or The Whispering Palm, was shot in Singapore and Malaysia. It was produced by Kong Ngee, founded by the Ho brothers (Ho Khee-yong and Ho Khee-siang). Shaw Brothers, Cathay Organisation and Kong Ngee were the three major studios in Singapore in the 50s. The Nanyang Trilogy by Kong Ngee in 1957, was shot in Singapore and Malaysia. Moon Over Malaya, the most acclaimed of the three films, was in Cantonese and starred Patrick Tse, Nam Hung and Patsy Kar Ling. The other two films of the trilogy were Blood Stains the Valley of Love and She Married an Overseas Chinese.
|The publicity poster of "Moon Over Malaya"|
It is noticed from the video clip that the tourist spots in the film "Moon Over Malaya" were the places of interest in Malaya in the 1950s. There were too few tourist attractions in Singapore in the past. Most foreign filmmakers did not find it worthwhile to include the scenes of Singapore in their films.
Singapore wasn't a "sexy island" decades ago. Neil Humphreys could then not help to show the world the things to see, to do, to eat, to enjoy exciting new stuff as a tourist destination for everyone. Singapore as an unique and fun place to remember for everyone today.