Say it in broken English...
"Say it in broken English..." Film Movement

Boo Junfeng's Apprentice is set in contemporary Singapore and concerns a young man who becomes a prison guard with the goal of meeting and (it seems) confronting the man who hanged his father in the 1990s. This is a human story, in the sense that no one is really wrong or the "bad guy." The prison's hangman is not just doing a job but is deeply concerned about those he has to kill by law. And the hero's motives are not at all pure. That is the film at the level of the story; but there is also lots of interesting things happening at the level of the film's language, which is primarily a mix of English and Malay.

The thing to keep in mind when watching this movie is that Singapore is a racially and culturally complex city. There are three main groups—Indians, Malays, and Chinese. But the business and government language is English—the language of the colonizer of all three groups. But when out of these official contexts, English has another and more vital life. It is splattered all over everyday Malay. And not just as words but as whole constructions. Imagine if we, as American English speakers, constantly used complete French expressions in almost every sentence ("Ça roule? Comme d’hab!" — “How’s life? Good?” or "Laisse tomber..." — “Never mind that...”). Then you will have an idea of how English bubbles in the Apprentice. Yes, the movie's story is powerful, but this aspect of English will be very interesting to those who speak it as a first language.

Apprentice opens on March 10 at the Grand Illusion.