'Girl Off A Leash' by Amalia Yunus - NYU Tisch 2nd Year Works In Progress

That standard blue SIA bag carried by their stewardesses screams at me when the film opens. It seems to stick out from the overall pink uniform of the flight attendant who’s just disembarked from her flight. Hair still as coiffed and make-up still completely untampered with, she glides through he HDB corridors like she was still strutting down the aisle. That is until she gets home and finds herself immediately embroiled in yet another confrontation with her father. Cornered by hostility at home, she takes a walk out. But at he void deck, she notices her neighbour, Max, a little girl, who is on her way out with her mother. What startles her is the leash that encircles her torso and being tugged around by her doting mother.

I almost became too quick to dismiss this piece as an exaggerated manifestation of HDB living running on a trite topic of parental control. But it turned out to have more heart than I thought. In a ‘tug-of-war’ kind of struggle, the mother loses her balance and her consciousness as well (how convenient!). This allows the Max to ‘runaway’ with Sarah. With the initial clues that Max likes aeroplanes, it is easy to guess what will bring the two half-strangers together, almost too deliberately.

But in a more liberated and breathable setting under a tree, I found there were moments when there was a gush of tenderness seeping through my heart. Perhaps it speaks to a common desire – to escape and fly away (not like a flight attendant!). Layering the issue, Max asks Sarah why she does not ‘flyaway’ from her job if she was not happy in it. Not that Sarah could find an answer. Not that we could find an answer ourselves. But through asking someone else, we often answer our own questions, like Max did. And she got us all a happy ending.

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