The Goonfather shares his thoughts on Royston Tan’s movie, 12 LOTUS

Much has already been said about Royston Tan’s 12 LOTUS. Some bombs but mostly raves.

Me, I’m a raver. I loved the movie so much I couldn’t write a review of it immediately after watching it. I had to go in search of clamps to close my jaws back.

I don’t even know how to start saying it. Almost everything about the movie is good. 12 LOTUS is thankfully nothing like 881, Royston’s previous film. It is miles better. It is more than miles better.

Now, the danger in having me review the movie is that I won’t be able to stop gushing like a giggly teenager, especially since Qi Yiwu is looking better with every film he makes.

So I decided to make the Goonfather do the job. Haha. He’s getting to watch a lot of free movies through me, so I need to make him work a bit.

I managed to sit him down for 10 minutes to interview him on his thoughts about the movie.


What do you think of 12 LOTUS?

I think it’s not too bad. There are 12 lotuses, not 7 lotuses, not 6 lotuses. 12 is a great number for lotus.


At first, I thought it was a movie about 12 ah lians forming a gang. You know how secret societies and gangs like to play with numbers? So it’s like 12 ah lians. But it turned out to be a song with 12 chapters, and each chapter of the song represents a part of the character’s life.

What kind of movie would you say 12 LOTUS is?

It’s a drama. Maybe almost like a docudrama because it gives you an insight into a getai singer’s life. It shows you how people live their lives based on their different circumstances. And it’s interesting because those are lives I’ve never been through before.

So you liked the movie?

The songs were great. The filming was good, compared to Money No Enough 2, which looks like it was filmed by some cheap handycam running around the streets. But 12 LOTUS was a bit grainy for my liking cos I’m a high definition guy.

I think grainy movies look better. I hate high def. It looks fake and plastic.

Nooooo. Everyone should switch to HD. That’s the only way to go.

Never mind. Did you like the musical format of 12 LOTUS?

It’s something unique which I didn’t expect from a locally produced movie.

So, does that mean you like it or not?

Yes, Mindee Ong is very cute.

What has that got to do with what we were talking about??

What were we talking about?


Okay, okay. 12 LOTUS is a Singapore movie like never before.

How do you mean?

It’s a Singapore musical. And it’s like Greased Lightning meets Taiwanese drama. It’s a Singapore produced Hokkien musical, so it’s very saat, okay?

What about other aspects of the movie?

The staging is nice. The costumes were hilarious, especially the feather guy.

Did you like that it was dominated by Hokkien speech?

I had trouble with the Hokkien. I was struggling to read the subtitles because the only words I’m fluent in Hokkien are words like *CENSORED*…


Okay, okay. My favourite part of the movie was that they managed to get a few packets of Kaka as props.


It’s damn cool okay! I’m impressed with the director!

Oh, but they were not able to get the bird series $50. They were using the Yusof Ishak $50 in the movie.

What would you say to someone if you’re trying to convince him to watch the movie?

Watch the show. If not I dowan to talk to you.

*roll eyes*

Haha, no. I would say 12 LOTUS is better than The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

That’s a totally different genre lah! You can’t compare apples with oranges.

Yah, but I’m saying it’s a better movie than a supposed Hollywood blockbuster. Don’t waste your money watching The Mummy. Watch 12 LOTUS instead. More worth it.

Can you compare with something more relevant or not?

Okay, it’s better than High School Musical and Hairspray. Those are musicals. Can right?

Why is it better than those two movies?

High School Musical because I slept through it.

Hairspray because it’s not realistic, it’s a fairytale. 12 LOTUS is a realistic insight into the lives of very real people.

So how many stars would you give it?

4 or 5 (out of 5).

Nice. Thank you very much.

Do I have a choice?


For a guy who is usually very opinionated and would talk your ears off if given half the chance, the Goonfather sure hates being interviewed or being asked his opinions.

He’s difficult that way.

Next time I feel like interviewing him, I should just say, “Don’t tell me about such and such,” and then have a tape recorder rolling in secret.

But go watch 12 LOTUS if you have a chance. It will leave you beautifully haunted.