5 reasons to watch Royston Tan’s ‘Provision Shop’

Take a trip down memory lane and relive memories of time spent at your neighbourhood provision shop 

The main cast of Provision Shop, Marcus Chin, Sora Ma and Li Yinzhu
The main cast of Provision Shop, Marcus Chin, Sora Ma and Li Yinzhu
11 Jul 2016

The main cast of Provision Shop, Marcus Chin, Sora Ma and Li Yinzhu

Photos: Chuan Pictures

Before the advent of the internet and online shopping, when provision shops and mamak stalls were still easily found a few blocks away—or right under—our homes, a trip to these shops, as kids, would leave us giddy with excitement. It was akin to visiting the candy store (albeit a less fancier and rundown version of it) with a plethora of sweet, snacks and small toys.

Time was spent carefully perusing and deliberating over its goods and wares, before we decided what to spend our precious budget of 50-cents (or less) on – would it be spent on a stick of Chupa Chups, a packet of Hiro cake, or some red coloured tin foil chocolate biscuits?

Local auteur Royston Tan’s latest 45-minute telemovie, Provision Shop, aims to recapture and charm and stories behind these fast-disappearing shops and does just that with the help of detailed props and a kampong-style setting. Starring familiar faces such as Sora Ma, Marcus Chin, Li Yinzhu, Siti Khadijah and Brandon Wong, the short film has a tinge of comic factor to it too and is bound to bring out the “feels”.

We share 5 reasons you should watch this telemovie. Read on for more!

For its nostalgia factor
For its nostalgia factor
11 Jul 2016

For its nostalgia factor

With new and fancier malls and buildings sprouting like mushrooms all over this little red dot, small shops like the store featured in Royston’s telemovie (fun fact: it is an actual provision shop located in Rosyth Road and has been operating for more than 50 years!) have become more precious  than before. Props to the team for going the extra mile—and across the causeway— to source for the necessary materials to help make the retro set appear even more authentic. We counted at least five childhood favourite snacks, toys (and even machine rides) in the telemovie. How many do you spot? 

For its pop culture spoofs
For its pop culture spoofs
11 Jul 2016

For its pop culture spoofs

Hallyu icons Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo’s characters in hit Korean drama series Descendants of the Sun get their 5 minutes of fame in this telemovie through K-drama-obsessed female lead Gao Ling Ling (played by Sora). Ling Ling’s fantasies are played out in real life through a Korean cutie-lookalike, Peter, (played by Aden Tan) who is a frequent patron of the provision shop she works at. No prizes for guessing what drama she’s “watching” at the moment. 

For veteran actress Li Yinzhu
For veteran actress Li Yinzhu
11 Jul 2016

For veteran actress Li Yinzhu

A few months ago, we bawled our eyes out when we watched Li Yinzhu’s stirring performance in a Medishield Life promotional video which talked about the love story between two elderly folks. The veteran actress moves us, again, with her turn as a harsh “Empress Wu”, or Mdm Goh, in Provision Shop. She may be tough on the outside, but Empress Wu’s a real softie inside and her helper Theresita (played by Siti Khadijah) has a special spot in her heart as much as the elderly woman refuses to admit it.

Damn it, who’s chopping onions?

To celebrate the ‘kampong’ spirit
To celebrate the ‘kampong’ spirit
11 Jul 2016

To celebrate the ‘kampong’ spirit

Despite the humour (we’re not joking, it even has a spoof on The Ring), Provision Shop is very much about the stories and interrelationships of its patrons. It is the place for neighbours of all races, nationalities and walks of lives to meet and interact, as seen in the telemovie, which successfully recaptures “the strong community spirit” that is still very much alive and pervasive in our urban city.

Said Royston, “A provision shop came to mind as an ideal setting for bringing out this rich kampong spirit, as it was a favourite hangout for neighbours to chit-chat and catch up with one another in the old days. I grew up in a provision shop. To me, it is not just a place for transactions, but also where we build relationships and deepen ties.” Word.

#SupportLocal
#SupportLocal
11 Jul 2016

#SupportLocal

As local as local gets, Provision Shop is directed by Singaporean filmmaker Royston, acted by a cast of reputable local actors such as veteran actress Yinzhu and award-winning Siti, and its theme song is sung by The Freshman, a local singing duo who have also lent their voices to local dramas, such as The Queen.

Support local, need we say more?

Watch Provision Shop on Toggle. 

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