Chinese Lunar New Year 2024 is just round the corner, a few weeks away from ushering in the Year of the Dragon 2024 on 10th and 11th February 2024. Singtel launched its latest Chinese New Year (CNY) festive film titled, “A Date With Spring”, which celebrates the power of technology to change lives. A heartwarming and touching three-minute film that tells the story of “Uncle”, who reminisces about his younger days, roller-skating days with his wife.
Singtel CNY Film Series
Singtel CNY film series are heartwarming and fun to watch, starting back in 2020 with “His Grandfather’s Road“, “My Grandmother’s House” in 2021, “The Hunt For the Lucky Tiger” in 2022, “Don’t Worry, Be Hoppy” in 2023. Now in 2024, the next Singtel CNY film, “A Date With Spring”, is here for everyone to watch, reminisce, gather and bond together as we gather for our extended family gatherings during Chinese New Year 2024.
A Date With Spring
When Uncle is watching the younger skaters at East Coast Park one day, he is inspired to look for his old roller skates and take up the sport again. When his initial attempt to skate proves unsuccessful, he turns to the smartphone to video and review his own performance as well as renew his skills by watching videos of young skaters executing their last moves.
Technology has the Power to Inspire and Empower
This film “A Date With Spring” is a testimonial to how technology has the power to inspire and empower – not just the younger generation, the older generation like Uncle as well. With Uncle’s newfound skating prowess, he can be seen exploring modern Singapore and revisiting old haunts. Very soon, Uncle’s skating antics at various iconic landmarks such as Marina Barrage and Chinatown go viral, with onlookers recording and sharing his extraordinary moves. Even his family is surprised by his newly acquired abilities.
“This film isn’t just aspirational,” said Mr Yuen Kuan Moon, Singtel Group CEO. “We drew inspiration from the real life of 70-year-old mechanic Tan Teck Hung who stars in the film as he had indeed gone viral due to his amazing skating skills. Stirred by his personal story, we decided to turn it into a tale of empowerment for the new year which is what Singtel’s purpose is all about – to empower every generation. Technology is not just the purview of the young. It is inclusive and enabling. People of all ages can use it and we’ve made it our mission to help everyone reap its benefits.”
From Real to Reel
“Uncle Heng”, who plays Uncle in the film, was played by Mr Tan Teck Hung. He himself was once an avid skater in his youth, starting at age 16! It was not until he was 59 years old that he chanced upon a pair of roller skates at a second-hand store in Toa Payoh, found that it fits and picked up the sport again. The rest as they say, is history!
He has become a regular at the East Coast Park skating ring near Carpark 3, where he likes to skate while blasting Canto pop music on loudspeakers. Uncle Heng mastered difficult moves that can rival skaters decades younger than him – like skating on one leg or executing what’s known as the Arabesque spin, both of which are featured in “A Date With Spring”.
All this made him something of an online celebrity with a Facebook community called the Lion City Roller Skaters, posting videos of him which has attracted the adulation of many netizens who have become his fans. Uncle Heng has also formed close friendships with other regular skaters, some of whom are above 60 years old. He is now attempting to choreograph skating sequences of his own.
“The power of this film lies in the fact that it is not fiction,” said Ms Lian Pek, Singtel’s Vice President of Group Strategic Communications and Brand. “Uncle Heng is the real thing. In real life, he’s adept at using the handphone and other technology. He’s 70 years old and skates like a dream – a classic example of ‘age is just a number.’ He’s pursued his passion and it doesn’t look like he’s going to stop. We think this is a worthy message to spread this festive season, whether its skating or technology – it is never too late to try.”
Brand Building through Stories
“A Date With Spring” is the latest addition to Singtel’s lineup of brand stories that seek to express what they stands for.
Ms Pek added, “We find that storytelling helps create that central narrative around our brand and evokes emotional responses from customers, which helps them make personal connections to us. We hope that this film, loosely based on Uncle Heng’s skating journey, has allowed us to communicate our core values in an authentic and engaging way.”
This short film is conceived in-house, Singtel worked with Akanga Films to produce the film which airs on Singtel TV and various social media channels from 25th January to 24th February 2024.
Having watched and shared Singtel’s previous Chinese New Year’s offerings over the years, revolving around heart-warming antics of two Singaporean families – the Angs and the Huangs, who went from fierce rivals to fast friends over the years. In case you missed it, do check out and watch “Don’t Worry, Be Hoppy!”, “His Grandfather’s Road”, “My Grandmother’s House”, and “The Hunt For The Lucky Tiger” garnered over 50 million views as the theme of strengthening family bonds resonated strongly with viewers.
In 2023, Singtel was named Singapore’s strongest brand across all sectors for the second year running, according to Brand Finance’s ranking of the country’s top 100 brands. Brand Finance also named Singtel the world’s 6th strongest brand in the telecoms sector that same year.
Happy Chinese New Year 2024!
Here’s wishing all my readers a Happy Chinese New Year 2024! May the Year of the Dragon be a year of good health, wealth and prosperity in the Year 2024!
* Information and pictures courtesy of Singtel *