Sunday 13 December 2015

Force-fed the Force: I find their lack of interest in Star Wars disturbing

So are you with the light side or the dark side?

Because I don’t tan easily, I would say I’m more on the pale side.

But the question could also refer to your preferred mall to shop for IT stuff.

If it’s Funan DigitaLife Mall, you’re with the light side.

If it’s Sith Lim Square, you’re in the former domain of Darth Jover and his apprentices.

The ex-dark lord of Mobile Air was sentenced last month to 33 months’ jail and fined $2,000 for cheating 26 victims out of $16,599 last year.

Due to the bad publicity, business at Sith Lim Square has reportedly fallen like Boba Fett into the sarlacc pit.

But like the resurrection of Boba Fett in the non-canon Star Wars Expanded Universe, business at Sith Lim Square could be revived after Funan closes for redevelopment next year.

Actually, I don’t know why Singaporeans still go to Funan or Sith Lim Square. Can’t they just wait for the next IT show? There’s literally one every three months.

If Star Wars fans can wait 10 years between Revenge Of The Sith and The Force Awakens, you can wait three months.

The new Star Wars movie will finally open in Singapore on Thursday, but I would understand if you’re not aware of this as I don't think there has been enough hype about it.

Apart from the Star Wars displays at Changi Airport, VivoCity and Ngee Ann City.

And the Star Wars clothes at Uniqlo, H&M, Cotton On, Bossini, Hang 10, Under Armour and Celio.

And the Star Wars sandwich combos at Subway.

And the Star Wars Crocs. I sense a disturbance in my foam resin footwear.

Kylo Ren has replaced Santa Claus this Christmas. Old white guys with beards don’t seem to last very long in these movies. (RIP, Ben Kenobi.)

Like everyone else, I too am caught up in the excitement of the impending release of The Force Awakens.

Well, perhaps not everyone.

As hard as it may be to imagine, there are people in this world who don’t care about Star Wars (and are not getting any of the Star Wars references I’m making in this column).

Shockingly, some of these people are living with me. I find their lack of interest disturbing.

My wife, the mother of my children, has lived on this Earth for five decades and has never seen a Star Wars movie.

I’ve asked her why and she said: “Because of the monkey.”

What monkey?

When I realised what was she talking about, I said: “That’s not a monkey! It’s Chewbacca. He's a Wookiee.”

She didn't care. “I just don’t buy a monkey as an alien,” she said.

I decided to let her live anyway and turned off my lightsaber.

So because of the “monkey” issue, my wife will never be a Star Wars fan.

But like Darth Vader, I still have a son and a daughter to turn to the dork side — I mean, into Star Wars fans.

So a few years ago, I showed my son the original Star Wars movie, A New Hope, the one that spawned an international cultural phenomenon and multi-billion-dollar industry nearly 40 years ago.

That was a mistake.

A New Hope was made in the 70s (though at the time, it wasn't called A New Hope, just Star Wars) and let’s just say the pace of storytelling in those days wasn't exactly light speed. It was closer to bantha speed.

I loved the movie when I first saw it as a kid in the cinema, but now watching it on the TV screen through my son’s eyes, I was getting as bored as he was.

He stopped watching even before we left Tatooine and I don’t blame him.

I could never get him to watch another Star Wars movie again even though I have the complete saga on Blu-Ray. Telling him “These are the movies you are looking for” didn’t work.

Years later, avoiding the mistake I made with my son, I showed my daughter The Phantom Menace, which was made in the late 90s and seemed to be more aimed at kids with short attention spans.

That was another mistake.

Although a lot is happening in the movie (compared to A New Hope), you don’t really care what is happening in The Phantom Menace because it’s like a cartoon aimed at kids with short attention spans.

Was I going to lose my daughter like I lost my son to indifference about the Force?

Desperate to have at least one member of my family other than myself like Star Wars, I eventually managed to Jedi mind-tricked my 16-year-old daughter into watching the other five Star Wars movies last month by letting her believe that Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker have a secret gay relationship.

Is that so wrong?

Perhaps I’ve gone to the dark side after all.

Call me Darth Smong.

Where are my Kylo Ren clogs?

Actually, I’m more of a Trekkie.

- Published in The New Paper, 13 December 2015