STOP10 Jun 2017: 'Army Daze' the movie (the one and only)



This year, Singaporean playwright Michael Chiang wiped the dust off a local theatre relic and dropped his ink into a new set of chapters for this seminal local play. Army Daze 2, the sequel to Army Daze, will be staged this year, 30 years after its first staging in 1987. Army Daze is Singapore’s original army story, a tale of friendship between BMT recruits, set in the late 80s/early 90s. There have been several theatrical re-stagings but only one movie rendition. In fact, Army Daze the movie, released in 1996, marked the return of the Singapore cinema after a drought that lasted close to 20 years.  


There is so much about the movie that is dated as much as it is timeless. Different camouflage prints aside, when was the last time you heard a pager beep? And over the years, labels for boys who have extensive skincare routines went from homosexual to metrosexual to just basic. Of course, the most glaring time-marker is its CMIO application to its motley crew of 5 blokes. There is Ah Beng, the uncouth Hokkien-spewing Chinese who is a walking Sim Lim Square. There is Johari, the chubby and gregarious Malay whose ‘relak’ attitude is always unfazed. There is Krishna, the knowledgeable Indian who always gets into a Bollywood-esque theatrical trance when he meets his girlfriend Lathi. There is the effeminate Kenny Pereira, complete with all the ‘Ah Kua’ antics you can think of, who also conveniently falls into the ‘Others’ race category. Lastly, there is also the film’s mummy’s boy-narrator, Malcolm Png, who is Chinese. Today, we are more diverse than could be fitted into four neat categories and the sight of a PRC-born or an ‘Ang Moh’ soldier would not be an oddity.

Yet, watching Army Daze the movie, almost 20 years from its general theatrical release, reveals that some jokes are evergreen and that the same punchlines are just as funny as they were 20 years ago, such as:

Corporal: Recruit, my grandmother can do better than you! (ordering to do his push-ups)
Recruit: Then you ask your grandmother to do lah.


Essentially, it is not just the bullet-proof coating of relatable universal humour, it is also the palpable collective energy from the cast (and crew), probably excited that they are making Singapore’s first commercial movie in a long time, that has helped the film make an indelible mark from the 90s till today. We swear there are people who will still say Army Daze is their favourite local movie of all time.

You can now relive all the camp (pardon the pun) on Catchplay.com. It is available as Video-On-Demand. You can rent it one-time or watch it under a Catchplay subscription. It is also available on iTunes.

Here is something fun you can do if you intend to click on that button to watch Army Daze again. We have a quiz of 20 questions. See how many of these questions you can answer! The person with the most correct answers is a real dinosaur. No, just kidding! We are giving away three prizes, kindly donated by Warner Brothers Singapore. They include:

1. A War Dogs A4 hard case organiser/folder (looks like a really nifty laptop bag)
2. A The Accountant Thermos Flask (It’s really huge, will come in handy when you go camping or simply in the office)
3. A Live By Night sound speaker

 
So here goes...

1. There is a rapper among 5 cast members in Army Daze. Who is he?

2. Which military camp was Army Daze shot in?

3. The person who played Malcolm Png's mum was best known for playing a matriach in a 90s Channel 5 drama serial. What’s the name of the serial?

4. Who is the barking enlistment centre sergeant whom Malcolm's mother tries to impress, and refers to as Uncle?

5. Which of the 5 recruits did not have family members visiting him on the first visit day?

6. Giving way to pregnant ladies started way back in the 90s. Who was the gracious gentleman who offered his taxi to a pregnant woman?

7. This local radio deejay was almost synonymous with the 90s and he had a very popular breakfast show with his Ang Moh bro. You can hear his radio voice in the film. Who is he?

8. Bet you can’t get this one! If you look closely, one of the actors playing a commander in the movie is a successful and critically acclaimed filmmaker today. Who is he?

9. Which famous local song went on to sell more than 50,000 copies?

10. In the light of the Shrey Bhargava-Ah Boys To Men audition saga, this is pretty ironic. Khrisna, one of the recruits, loves to dance around bushes with his lover. What’s her name?

11. What did Ah Beng do when the corporal asked him to drop 10?

12. ‘My ambition is to be a housewife in Hougang!’ Who said that?

13. Which actor went from playing a captain here to playing a Prime Minister in 2015?

14. Malcolm Png’s mum had high tea with her tai tai friends at this hotel? Which hotel is it?

15. This sporty-looking ex-Channel 5 actress was born from the era of Triple Nine and VR Man. You can’t miss her face but you may have forgotten her name. She played Sergeant Wendy in the movie. Who is she?

16.Which theatre veterans had cameo roles in the movie and became husband and wife in the same year as the movie's release?

17. Let’s cut the producers some slack for this: if you look closely the boom mike appears on top of the frame three times. Which scenes were they?

18. First time movie director Ong Ken Sen has moved on to become the artistic director of which theatre company?'

19. The 5 Army Daze actors recently appeared in a Netflix commercial with a mega Hollywood star. Who is this star?

20. Who has gone from Bollywood to Hollywood?

Give it a shot and and send us as many answers as you can to our email address at sindie@sindie.sg The top 3 with the most correct answers (you don’t have to answer all if you can’t) wins the 3 prizes!

Written by Jeremy Sing and Ivan Choong

For the full list of June 2017's 10 films under STOP10, click here

p.s. Speaking of the Netflix commercial starring the grown-up Army Daze cast and that mega Hollywood star. Here it is!

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