After racking up almost 5.3 million views for its pre-Christmas ‘sadvertisement’ on how phubbing almost ruined ‘Ah Ma’s Christmas‘, Singapore telecommunications company Singtel is back pricking the social conscious of Singaporeans again with ‘Mr Lim’s Reunion Dinner’.
Revolving around ‘Mr Lim’, a widower with a son and a daughter who both live and work overseas, the almost six-minute-long ‘community service message’ focuses on preparations he is making for the traditional Chinese New Year reunion dinner.
Following the same predictable theme as its December 2017 ‘sadvertisement’, ‘Mr Lim’ remains dignified and stoic as his two children individually inform him just days before the scheduled event that they won’t be home for the traditional family reunion — the demands of 21st century work and life and all of those sort of day-to-day things conspiring to ruin their best intentions.
As with its previous tear-jerking production, just as people start reaching for the tissue box (toilet roll) as ‘Mr Lim’ sits alone and desolate with a table full of food before him and overlooked by a photo of him as a young man on his wedding day, ‘Mr Lim’s’ Chinese New Year dinner is saved when, while shoveling food into his mouth like a man who hasn’t eaten for a week, the children and grandchild arrive. Good cheer and happiness fill the room like a ray of sunlight penetrating a crack in a roof and everyone can feel warm and fuzzy, instead of choked up and angry at the self-centred Singaporean ‘children’.
Singaporeans acknowledge self-absorbed message
Now whether the decision to repeat a similar themed ‘sadvertisement’ so close to the earlier one is a result of Singtel mining the vast data that crosses its network every minute and finding children aren’t phoning or visiting their parents often enough; purely because the last one racked up so many views; because somewhere inside Singtel there’s an elderly person whose children never come to visit; or because Singtel have a lot of lonely elderly customers who phone operator services when their children don’t come home for special occasions therefore stopping them from going home to visit their parents we don’t know.
But the casual Singapore observer will be forgiven for thinking that the average Singaporean Millennial is a self-centred, uncaring, self-absorbed, inconsiderate, narcissist with little regard for their elders. And they wouldn’t be the only ones. Singaporeans apparently see a lot of themself in the production too.
According to the company, ‘Mr Lim’s Reunion Dinner’ has set a record for its branding videos, racking more than one million views on Facebook in its first two days, and more than 150,000 views on its YouTube channel.
Lian Pek, Singtel’s vice president for Group Strategic Communications and Brand said ‘Mr Lim’s Reunion Dinner’ had been shared more than 20,000 times in the first two days after uploading.
“I think this is testimony to how, despite being swept up by the digital age and a faster-paced lifestyle, we all still hanker after the simple things – the warmth of traditions and slowing down to be with family. You could see from the comments, there was a real outpouring of feelings not just about going home for reunion dinner, but treasuring dad and mom, and just general longing for family traditions and good old times.”
Borrowing from the time-honoured message of telecommunications globally on special occasions of ‘phone home for [insert your favourite event]”, Singtel’s latest ‘sadvertisement’ trails out with the message ‘Family matters. Stay connected to home’. The ‘festive’ short film will be aired on Singtel TV and various social media channels from January 19 to March 2.
If you are feeling depressed help is at hand. In Singapore phone Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) 24-hours per day on 1800 221 4444
To all of our readers who celebrate it, we wish you gong-sshee faa-tseye / gong-hey faa-chwhy
Update: This story was last updated at 11:33 on January 25, 2018:
Contact details for Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) were added.
Feature video Singtel
- Singtel Jumps on Phubbing To Preserve Ah Ma’s Christmas Joy (HD video) *Updated (AEC News Today)
- Singtel once again tackles elderly loneliness with Chinese New Year campaign (Mumbrella Asia)
- SINGTEL: MR LIM’S REUNION DINNER (The Drum)
- Singtel creates in-house ad to promote family bonding this CNY (Marketing-Interactive)
This is the second time in two months that Singtel appear to be trying to guide the social conscious by taking a swipe at the younger generation.
More regimenting of Singapore society, and this time it is not the government leading. What ever happened to “phone someone you love this Christmas”, etc?
It would seem to indicate that someone at Singtel doesn’t have a very high opinion of Millennials who, unlike their parents who may have spent their entire life in the city, are busy with families and careers often far removed from their homeland — generally sending money home each month for their parents.
It almost amounts to a shaming campaign for those who are not able to get home for CNY or Christmas or any other occasion.
The message to Millenials is fairly clear: If you do not go home for Christmas/ CNY — even if you have to go into debt to do so — you are a bad offspring.
I really object to being depicted as self-centred and uncaring if I am unable to go home for CNY. I send my parents half my salary each month. It makes it hard for me but make a big difference to them. To go home for CNY will cost me $3,000. If I can’t afford that what right has Singtel got to paint me as an uncaring child and be embarrassed in front of my friends?
Enough with the motional blackmailing Singtel. You are not LKY. Not my mother or father. Why don’t you look at the other side and if you really cared then make phone calls home on special occasions free?
This is unfair la. Why I have to feel guilty if I can not afford to go home for CNY? I feel bad enough la.
Like Goh, I send my ma money every month. This year I can not go home. Now I feel more bad. What if ma cooks like Mr Lim expecting magic and then there is none? Now Singtel have every parent thinking their kids will make a magic return even if they told them they can not. #Fail Singtel
What if their plane is delayed? Shouldn’t this have a warning about where to get help for depression?
Oh not funny. According to the Singapore Mental Health Study conducted in 2010, 5.8% of the adult population in Singapore suffered from Major Depressive Disorder at some time in their lifetime.
Institute of Mental Health.
Coping with depression