SIFA 2017: Of Couples and Children (Open Homes Week 2 Review)

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Week 2 of Open Homes brings a new set of houses and homes to visit, and we decided to head on down to Eunos and Toa Payoh this time around to visit two seemingly ordinary families, whose love sees them through darkest of times and gets them past the nastiest of naysayers. Check out our review of this week’s Open Homes below!

History and Herstory by Nur Sakinah and Lim Zhi Wei, Eunos

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Interracial relationships have been a surprisingly hot topic in the theatre scene this year, but the relationship between Nur Sakinah and Lim Zhi Wei is no fictional script; it’s genuine, real and the two are absolutely adorable together. One of the most casual Open Homes, Sakinah and Zhi Wei played off each other’s good humour very naturally, and we felt increasingly relaxed as we settled easily into their humble home.

Sakinah and Zhi Wei are the type of couple who would rather trade (playful) insults with each other rather than kisses, but each dressed in a WWE T-shirt (each supporting a different wrestler of course), their love was plain for all to see. Tracing their history from when they first e-met each other via Facebook, the couple fell in love after a couple of dates, eventually getting married and even moving into their own house, along with their rather active cat. The most amazing thing? Both of them are only in their mid-twenties, and Zhi Wei is still in university, pursuing his love for history, even showing us his library of history books and album of old coins and bills.

As with most interracial relationships, Sakinah and Zhi Wei have had their fair share of cultural clashes, and Sakinah emphasised the ineptitude of various counsellors they met trying to dispense ridiculous advice mired in outdated ideals. But still, everything came together for them in a gorgeous wedding ceremony that combined the best of their backgrounds, as seen in a beautiful photo album we were allowed to flip through. History and Herstory is an immensely comforting story that proves love is well and alive in this day and age, and can and will conquer all.

Bao Bao by Joan Lee and John Sng, Toa Payoh

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Warned by organizer Jeffrey Tan that this was one of the more emotional pieces in Open Homes, we headed over to Toa Payoh to check out Bao Bao, meeting the six members of the Sng family who all share one thing in common – the first letter of their names.

Each clad in a navy blue t-shirt with a J sewn over their chest, we were welcomed at the door by three of the four children with packets of Ribena, and as we moved into the living room, each of the children introduced themselves, along with a unique talent. The Sngs were the very image of a perfect, happy family, and one no one would have expected to have gone through some dark times.

Both coming from broken homes, Joan and John vowed to always put their family first after they got married. But it hasn’t always been easy, as Joan and John described the process of losing their first child in a stillbirth, where birth and funeral took place in the same day. Even though they were successful with their next child Julian, Joan suffered another blow when her following pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage. But through sharing their stories and gaining strength by interacting and sharing with families with similar experiences, the Sngs began their healing process through a combination of hope and love, resulting in the beautiful family they have today.

For the Sngs, this will be the last time they’ll be staying at their place before moving out to Punggol, and the family ended off the session with a children’s party, celebrating their first child’s birthday even in his absence. An immensely moving story of strength and perseverance, Bao Bao truly paints a portrait of a stable family that treasures each other and every moment they have together, and emphasises the sheer joy of parenthood and the comfort of a happy household.

Performances attended on 13/8/17 at 2pm and 4pm respectively.

Open Homes plays across three weekends in August (5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20) at various timings in various ‘living room theatres’ all around Singapore. Each ticket entitles the holder to one 30 minute show. Book tickets via SISTIC and then pick your time slot on the SIFA website Strictly no door sales on the day itself. 

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