The Popspoken Roundtable is a series of opinion pieces by the Popspoken Curators. In line with our site’s focus, this fortnightly series will discuss issues surrounding youth, art, and culture in Singapore.

An average Singaporean goes to the movies 8 times a year. According to ExpatSingapore, Singapore has the “highest movie-going rate in the world”.

Moviegoing is perhaps the most popular leisure activity among Singaporeans. Whether this is a recourse to the humdrum entertainment landscape here is uncertain, but Singaporeans sure love their movies.

While this statistic is something we can be proud of, there are also negative points to note when it comes to the moviegoing culture that we Singaporeans have adopted. Aside from the exorbitant ticket prices we face on weekends, one typical Singaporean behaviour in particular can cause much annoyance.

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1) Be Smart About Using Your Phone

Almost everyone in Singapore owns a smartphone, and that leads to the inevitable use of smartphones in the cinemas. When the lights go out and everything else is dark, the last thing anyone wants to see is that bright, glaring light and the all-too-familiar green interface of WhatsApp on your phone. So please, put it away.

Need to call or text urgently? Use “Power Saving” to dim that screen brightness and speak softly.

A little advice: Turn off your mobile data. That will stop the WhatsApp messages from coming in. Need to call or text urgently? Then be nice to your eyes and use “Power Saving” to dim that screen brightness and speak softly. Your fellow moviegoers will thank you for being considerate.

2) Expand Your Palate

It would be great to see more interest towards films that don’t have Spiderman and Superman in it.

Moving on, this next point is less of a complaint and more of a casual discussion on moviegoing in Singapore. The words “movies” and “films” refer to the same medium, yet we are all geared towards using the former, mostly because the latter tends to refer to photography.

But that is not always true. Movies have come to embody what we watch for entertainment and pleasure, and “big” movies almost always come from Hollywood. However, there is a reason why festivals for movies are called film festivals, and rarely movie festivals. 

Like how mainstream music exists for the masses and indie music for the interested, there are also indie films. And yes, these are shown in the cinemas as well, just not so often. (You can always take the road less travelled, you know, away from GV) Of course, it is unfair to expect every Singaporean moviegoer to be interested in such “less famous” films, but it would be great to see more interest towards films that don’t have Spiderman and Superman in it.

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3) Filmmaking As A Career In Singapore

Should we improve awareness about filmmakers and filmmaking?

This brings me to my final point: there are movie directors other than Jack Neo, and making movies is a viable career option in Singapore. Known as filmmakers, there are enough movie directors in Singapore to form a small community, except their work do not make it to our cinemas.

Why not and what we can do to improve the situation can be saved for another discussion. However, the bottom line remains: Should we improve awareness about filmmakers and filmmaking? If so, how?

But for now, let’s be considerate and just… enjoy the show.

Edited by: Jovi Ho

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