The headline on my Facebook news feed last week said: “This viral Mother’s Day video by Jurong Point may leave you in tears.”
Another clickbait that could “leave me in tears”?
Haven’t I shed enough tears for you, Facebook?
My computer keyboard is already stained with so much body fluids. I don’t need more tears.
But like a Pavlovian human, I reflexively clicked on the clickbait headline and watched the video.
It showed shoppers at the mall being coaxed to call their mothers to say how much they appreciate their mums.
I’m such a sucker for this sort of thing that I immediately started tearing up once I heard the gentle acoustic guitar soundtrack.
By the end of the 190-second video of people saying “I love you” to their mothers, I cried more than when I watched Fast & Furious 7 last month.
I felt so manipulated.
Remember, this video was produced to promote a SHOPPING MALL.
And Mother’s Day is just this fake holiday co-opted to guilt you into buying gifts for your mum and taking her out to eat at a SHOPPING MALL.
Then I watched the video a second time and cried all over again.
The video isn’t even promoting a mall in a fashionable area like Orchard Road or Marina Bay.
It’s in Jurong, which is in the unglam part of Singapore referred to in the West Sucks Stories Tumblr blog.
It’s not even one of the newer Jurong malls like JCube, Big Box, Westgate or the incident-prone Jem, the first place on Earth that will be destroyed once the apocalypse finally arrives.
It’s 20-year-old Jurong Point, which opened years before Amos Yee was even born.
But with the success of the Mother’s Day video — it was so popular it was shared by both Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and former megatroll SMRT (Feedback) Ltd — the Jurong area seems to be on a roll lately.
On Tuesday, it was announced that the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail terminal station would be in Jurong East (as if the Jurong East MRT station isn’t overcrowded enough during rush hour).
This comes after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced plans for a new Jurong Lake Gardens in last year’s National Day Rally speech.
The new Genting Hotel Jurong opened at Jurong Town Hall Road last month. The new Ng Teng Fong General Hospital will open in Jurong East at the end of next month.
The Straits Times speculated: “Who is to say Jurong East won’t be a city centre of the future? In fact, by the time the line is up and running (possibly nearer to 2030 than 2020), the entire Jurong Lake District might rival Singapore's present downtown.”
More importantly, The New Paper ran an article online unsarcastically headlined “Six reasons why Jurong is cooler than you think.”
The reasons include an ice-skating rink, Singapore Science Centre and Jurong Bird Park.
Take that, West Sucks Stories!
If I seem a little defensive about Jurong, well, that’s because when I think of Jurong, I think of my mother.
And it’s not just because of the Mother’s Day video by Jurong Point.
I lived in the area for more than 10 years before moving to Choa Chu Kang in the late 90s after I got married.
But my mother and sisters still live in Jurong. So I still feel attached to the place. In a way, you can call Jurong my motherland.
I wish I could take my mother out for a meal at Jurong Point for Mother’s Day, but she’s in Singapore General Hospital after a knee operation on Thursday.
I visited her in the evening after her surgery and basically spent 20 minutes watching her vomit into a barf bag — apparently the side effect of anaesthesia mixed with morphine.
It was a long way from the Jurong Point video.
Maybe a gentle acoustic guitar soundtrack would’ve helped. Or at least cover up the wretched sound of my mother regurgitating the contents of her stomach.
I guess I should visit her again today, you know, especially since it’s Mother’s Day and all that.
Or can I just call her on the phone like those people in the video?
That should leave someone in tears.
- Published in The New Paper, 10 May 2015
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