Love Really Matters

23 Jan

SINGAPORE: Barely half a year after the release “Money No Enough 2”, comes another film by Jack Neo – together with director Gilbert Chan – exploring topical issues flavoured with a dollop of Singaporean humour.

“Love Matters” explores the lives of three guys: 52-year-old Tan Bo Seng (Henry Thia) who leads a routine life and seeks to revive the passion with his wife Jia Li (Yeo Yann Yann). There is the playboy Jeremy (Jack Lim) who proudly proclaims his motto for love as “Never to commit”. Lastly, there is Benny (Alex Leong) who has a huge crush on his classmate’s girlfriend Jennifer (Natalli) who typifies the Y-generation going through puppy love.

“The topic of love is not something that is openly discussed in the Asian society, but it does not mean that people don’t ponder about it or see it,” says Neo.

The subject of sex seems to be considered a taboo in Asian cultures, and perhaps it can be seen by the NC-16 rating, a first for Neo’s films, that has been slapped on by the Media Development Authority (MDA).

“I was surprised to hear that the movie had been rated as NC-16,” says Neo who insists that “Love Matters” does not carry any sex or nudity scenes.

Like all his films which probe, and urge for reflection, what Neo wanted to portray with his latest film was the power of love.

At the risk of sounding clich
, “Love Matters” provides an entertaining look of love in a straight-laced society.

The movie which was filmed entirely in Kulua Lumpur, Malaysia, is about the happiness that is intrinsically tied to the notion of love that has the ability to heal and connect humans, shares Neo.

And on his blog, Neo mentions a quote that rings true in his latest movie, “Those who are not in love yearn for love; those who are loved don’t know how to love; and those who are in love for too long no longer feel the love.”

The lead stars of the film, funnyman with his trademark deadpan expression Henry Thia and Yeo Yan Yan, star of Royston Tan’s “881” were also engaged in a friendly banter about the distinct differences of “Western love” and “Asian love”.

“Western love is all about the speech. To them, saying ‘I Love You’ seems to be at the tip of their tongues, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I hear an Asian stuttering it,” jokes Yeo.

Indeed, Asians are more inclined to display small acts of affection.

For one, Yeo – who is currently single – admits that she is an easy target for simple acts of love. After all, actions speak louder than words!

“You can buy me just one stalk of flower on a random day, and I would be over the moon!” Yeo exclaims.

And more often than not, underlying these simple acts is how practical love is in nature, a distinct characteristic of ‘Asian love’.

Both Neo and Thia recounted personal incidents where they had been gently rebuked by their wives for “wasting” money on flowers during Valentine’s Day.

“I have since learned my lesson, and every time a special occasion rolls around, I know that the most fool-proof gift to my wife would be a red packet!” jokes Thia.

Laughter aside, Thia describes his long relationship with his wife, “Honest communication and being able to give whole-heartedly, without expecting anything in return are the keys (to a successful marriage). Of course, if (the act) is reciprocated, it is a bonus!”

Acting together as an on-screen couple came easy for Yeo and Thia, despite the former being the same age as Thia’s daughter in real life!

“Being a couple on screen was so natural, to the extent that it was scary!” exclaims Yeo.

And the telepathy and connection they had were obvious. Both of them were wearing the same colour shade (pink!) – which the duo maintained that they had decided on individually and it was just all a coincidence!

“Love Matters” is now in theatres.

Channel News Asia

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