[For Rent] A Video Documentary about a Forgotten Community

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Click Image to watch the trailer.

Living in an HDB flat has become commonplace and many in Singapore take home ownership for granted. Within their well developed housing estates, many do not notice their lesser counterparts who are unable to afford home ownership. Instead, they rent subsidized one/two room rental flats from the government. Some even struggle to pay the seemingly small monthly rental fee for their small living spaces. They have become the forgotten community.

[For Rent] is produced as a final-year project by four students from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, and started out as a quest to delve deeper into the lives of a seemingly forgotten community in Singapore’s society of today. The inspiration for the project had materialized while the filmmakers took a moment to pause in the hectic pace of everyday life, taking a closer look at the little things that surrounded them.

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“Living in a HDB all my life, we tend to take home ownership for granted,” said the director Goh Moy Yen. “It never occurred that under the façade of the familiar HDB landscape, there are many who struggle having a roof over their head.”

The journey they embarked on was not an easy one, as can be seen by the many challenges that they faced. The director of photography, Serene Thong, remembers “hawking our equipment in the van outside our profile’s home, waiting for something to happen”; only to be met with disappointment as “most times, nothing does.” This sense of helplessness is compounded by the collective chorus of how
“mentally and physically exhausting” the process was from the entire team.

Even so, producer Alicia Lim feels “(no) regret (for) all the wrong turns we have taken down the road, as it made us stronger as a team and also, as individuals.” She muses that “the film would not have been this rich without all the tears, sweat and blood; and the well of both good and bad experiences behind it.” Now that their stories have been told, editor Ong Kai Wen hopes that it will help to “raise awareness about this unknown group of people, as well as to show that there are loopholes in the system, so that more help can be given to this group of people.”

It is the team’s common dream that the film will now “make its rounds across the film festival circuit”, and in some way, become a force of hope for these people. The filmmakers are hoping to be able to create a longer piece in the near future, so as to be able to deliver fully the story of these people.

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