Review: Tiong Bahru (Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy)
The biggest problem of Civic Life: Tiong Bahru was something that could not be ignored – the excessive Mandarin voiceover that framed the entire narrative (why Mandarin?).
Dramatic tension in the film is not so much situated with the community’s relationship to their space, but within the characters and their lives.
It is questionable that the personal struggles are to portray the idea of transition and change, or at least if true, are weakly portrayed
The narrative is at its strongest due not to what it posits about Tiong Bahru, but what it reflects. It mirrors what the Tiong Bahru residents view – the communality of food, the sense of belonging to a place rich with history, heritage, and well, a great amount of food.