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Royston Tan directs film on dementia awareness

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Homegrown filmmaker Royston Tan has directed a short film to raise awareness of dementia.

He was commissioned by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) to make the six-minute film for its dementia awareness campaign, which is in its second year.

A two minute version of the film will air on Channel 8, Suria and Vasantham on September 26, while the full-length six minute version can be viewed on Youtube on the same day.

Entitled Ah Kong, the film tells the story of a grandson seeking to understand and reach out to his grandfather who is diagnosed with dementia.

Royston said he was inspired by his friend’s grandfather, who used to sell chickens but now suffers from dementia.

He said, “I went to the place (home) and what happened was (that) I saw them feeding the chickens in HDB (flat), I mean invisible chickens. When I first saw it, I felt it was very, very touching, because rather than trying to correct the grandfather, he was actually partaking and joining in the whole experience of celebrating his life.”

A National Mental Health Survey for Elders in 2003 showed that there were 22,000 dementia sufferers here who made up about 5.2 per cent of those aged 60 and above.

The HPB said that it is expecting dementia to become a serious concern here in the next decade as the population ages.

Some 20,000 DVDs of the film will be distributed free to the public at outlets of video retailers Poh Kim and VideoEzy, as well as at public talks on dementia.

The teaser for the film can be viewed here.

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