"Acting is the ability to live truthfully under imaginary circumstances." -- Sanford Meisner


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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mediacorp TV Drama Mata Mata Ep 2, Behind the Scenes

Singaporeans call their policemen "mata mata" ('eyes' in Malay) and this TV series specifically depicts the formation of the first Singapore Woman Constabulary in the 1950. It was a time when 'the police wear shorts', as we call it, and this phrase now used to express that one shouldn't romanticize about the past too much and live life by the practice of today.

I acted in episode 2 as Officer William and trainer of the women mata mata. I allowed my voice to hit the high decibels too much, forgetting that I was on set, and unlike real life had to repeat the same commands and yells many times. So, just before my voice cracked, I paced myself not shout my lungs out too much.

Singapore is a linguistic oddity. The marching commands are in Malay, the National language, and the dialogues are in English. If it were in real life during those days, the Chinese girls would likely be speaking to each other in a cocktail of dialects like Hokkien, Cantonese, Teochew...etc. But that will be too confusing for many today I think.

Here is the official TV trailer:

And here is a short clip I captured secretly on my phone.

It was a fun production. There were quite a bit of improvised dialogue for my role, much of which was of Officer William's motivational speeches or announcements to the trainees. Off-reel, the action didn't stop as these young  actors have too much  spare  energy and needed release... You will see what I mean...

On my last day of shoot, the assistant director handed me a small gift left by one of the mata mata girls. It was two bars of chocolate and a note, saying that she recognised me from "Hentak Kaki", as Warrant Officer Lee Teck Hong and that she was delighted to work with me.  What a pleasant surprise!!!

Thank you so much! You made my day! :)

Do support Episode 2. Watch it on Mediacorp Channel 5, at 8pm tonight (Monday, 12th August 2013). At the time of writing, I haven't watch it myself.

To help you catch up, this is episode 1:

For those of you who have missed it yesterday, here is episode 2...

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