Friday, November 13, 2015

SG50 Documentary Film ‘Hunt for the Red Lion’ Media Launch on 28 Oct 2015

SG50 Documentary Film ‘Hunt for the Red Lion’ suggests ancient Singapore had a tradition of multi-cultural communities 

I got the opportunity to be one of the privileged few to watch the SG50 documentary film during its media launch on 28 Oct 2015.  The handsome Emcee, Dennis, did a welcome speech, before inviting  Mr Eric Ng, to take over the stage.

SG50 Documentary Film ‘Hunt for the Red Lion’ hopes to convince Singaporeans that our nation’s history is not dull, but a dynamic and interesting subject with various possible versions. 

This 30-minute film, which is initiated by two Singaporeans Eric Ng and Elango s/o Athiramulahi Letchumana, hopes to present different interpretation of history of Singapore. The film suggests that ancient Singapore had a tradition of multi-cultural communities. 

‘Hunt for the red Lion’, produced by Oak 3 Film Pte Ltd, will explore the possible alternatives to what Sang Nila Utama could have possibly seen when he first set foot on Temasek Shores. The film compares and contrasts the various versions of history from the Malay Annals, Chinese source materials and even Indonesian source materials. 

Recent studies indicate that lions have never lived in Singapore. Some historians believe that the beast seen by Sang Nila Utama was probably a tiger, most likely to be the Malayan Tiger. More astoundingly, this film further suggests that it could have been a Chinese lion dance instead. This interpretation hence implies that there were both Chinese and Malays living in Temasek before Sang Nila Utama arrived.

Eric Ng, the researcher and initiator of this film said ‘The Malay annals described the animal as a ‘Lion’ with a red body and black head.  However there is no red lion anywhere in the world.  One Possibility is that it was a Chinese lion dance. It fits the description of a creature dressed in red coat, its head decorated with large black balls (eyes) and long black tassles (eyebrow, eyelashes, beard and mane).' 

Eric Ng added ‘Every year, our National Day displays a Sang Nila Utama who spied the white beaches across the sea and was told that it was Temasek.  I felt that majority of Singaporeans find it difficult to identify with this legend as it focuses on a spoilt rich kid out to idle his time away.  Our investigation explores whether Singapore had a mixed community of Malays and Chinese (and perhaps other races), prior to Sang Nila Utama’s arrival. I hope such open ended journey of enquiry will enable more people to find a version of history that they can identify with’. 

So what exactly did Sang Nila Utama see when he first arrives at Temasek shores? A Lion? A Tiger? A Chinese Lion Dance or Indonesian Barong Dance? Or was it matter of hallucination?  

I tend to lean towards the possibility that Sang Nila Utama saw a Chinese Lion Dance instead.  How about you?

Photo taking time with all the bloggers who attended the media launch together with Eric Ng and Dennis.


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