The New Paper,
Sunday, Mar 30, 2014
I had mixed feelings when it was reported last week that Jack Neo’s follow-up to his highly profitable Ah Boys To Men movies would be a movie about naval divers called Ah Boys To Frogmen, to be released next Chinese New Year.
But judging by Facebook comments I have read, I know of at least one former frogman whose feelings aren’t so mixed – he outright hates the idea. He is my friend, Patrick, who was a full-time naval diver for seven years.
Here’s a sampling of his online rant (edited slightly for language): “Now we’re well and truly being ****ed over – again! They did it once in the 80s and we’re bending over again for this idiot to make money and attract more wannabes.”
He is referring to the Channel 8 drama starring Zoe Tay called Navy Series which aired in 1990.
As for the new movie, Neo reportedly said the navy is not financially backing the film, but will “provide support”.
Pat’s tirade continued: “I cannot express enough Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese swear words at my disappointment with this arrangement to collaborate on this misadventure… We’ll end up looking like Ah Kwa Peng like the rest of his *****y movies. This ******** has no clue as to what directing a movie requires. We watch his **** only because it’s made in Singapore and he has always disappointed on every occasion.”
Clearly, my friend is no fan of Neo’s body of work but I still couldn’t understand why he was so dead set against the movie.
Pat explained: “Remember back in our day how little we had to work with but still accomplished the mission? Our mindset cannot be expressed by some toyboy actors over a weekend of pretend training.”
Pat was apparently so incensed that he even messaged Neo directly on the film-maker’s Facebook page: “Stay away from NDU!
"We’d rather remain ‘the silent professionals’... We’ve worked too damn hard to earn our status for you to stuff it up. You cannot imagine what we’ve endured physically and mentally to earn the privilege to wear a piece of steel on our chest. You really want it, then you go through the whole course first YOURSELF!”
Yeah, 54-year-old Neo in a wetsuit. I don’t think anyone wants to see that.
The message continued: “I’m an old-school NDU diver from the days before NSF divers came through and even did a small part in the original series with Zoe. What a waste of our time.”
Pat ended his message to Neo with these parting words: “So STAY AWAY FROM NDU. We’re not here for you to make money and mockery of.”
Neo hasn’t responded to Pat’s message and Pat doesn’t expect him to. But I should warn Neo that Pat is into martial arts and has a scary fascination with big knives.
Get The New Paper for more stories.