Premiere Screening of Yellow Ribbon Project Movie to be a Community Affair
SINGAPORE, 7 October 2004 – The plight of Singapore’s ex-offenders is the topic of a big screen movie starring a line up of celebrity actors. Coming Home which is set in the Bishan heartlands features Moses Lim, Irene Ang, Melody Chen and Aaron Aziz. It focuses on three ex-offenders preparing to re-integrate into the community after serving prison sentences and is part of The Yellow Ribbon Project to encourage Singaporeans to accept ex-offenders back into the community.
Guest-of-honour at the movie premiere will be Mr Heng Chee How, Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Mayor of Central Singapore District. The movie will be shown on Saturday October 9, at the open field opposite the Khatib MRT station (Block 838), at 7pm. Central Singapore Community Development Council and Nee Soon South Citizen Consultative Committee are the movie premiere’s co-organisers.
Coming Home is a collaboration between Gateway Entertainment, The Community Action for the Rehabilitation of Ex-Offenders (CARE) Network and the Media Development Authority (MDA). It will subsequently be screened in the heartlands in a series of mobile screenings and aired on television in March 2005.
The movie follows the difficult and emotional journey of three ex-offenders who have done their time in prison but who find that coming home is not as easy as they imagine. Iggie Chan, 28, a previously successful copywriter struggles to reconcile with Muz the friend and business partner he stabbed and crippled in a drunken rage. James Wong, 38, millionaire entrepreneur and family man comes home to find his ex-colleague moving in on his wife and daughter as well as his business, and Julie Low, 20, a rebellious substance abuser struggles to be independent from her mother but finds her recent past catches up with her.
The movie premiere caps a number of inaugural events and activities that have taken place during Yellow Ribbon Week when Singaporeans across the country have displayed a yellow ribbon as a symbol of their acceptance and support for ex-offenders who sincerely want to change but have to struggle to re-establish themselves in society.
Mr Jason Wong, Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE) and the Chairman of the Yellow Ribbon Project Organising Committee explains, “Every year, 11,000 men and women are released from prison to face the challenge of overcoming the social stigma that is attached to them. We aim to help them earn the community trust and acceptance that is necessary for them to lead normal lives.”
Adds Director of Prisons, Mr Chua Chin Kiat, “Rehabilitative and aftercare programmes can only go so far in facilitating the reintegration of ex-offenders. On release, they face discrimination and strained family ties, which in turn can lead to other social problems. Ultimately it is the social environment that is of the most importance in helping ex-offenders stay out of prison.”
Explaining the MDA’s involvement, its communications director, Mr Michael T H Lim says, “We sincerely believe in giving people a second chance and this project lets us express our support in a way that’s also in line with our mission to promote the growth and development of the local film industry.”
Yellow Ribbon is a reference to the popular 70s hit in which the performer, singing as an ex-offender, returns home from prison and asks for a show of forgiveness from his wife by tying a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree.