Experienced film AD shows love to migrant worker through six-language video

Tiffany Ng, who was part of the Crazy Rich Asians production crew, wanted to do something meaningful with the skills she has despite being stuck at home during the circuit breaker.

Nigel Chin

Published: 13 May 2020, 7:46 PM

“We know it’s worrying and fearful. But please, don’t give up this fight. You are a part of our country which you helped build, and we’re here to fight this together, with you.”

Those were the words in a short video created by Tiffany Rileigh Ng, in six languages – English, Mandarin, Tamil, Punjabi, Hindi and Bengali – for the migrant workers in Singapore.

The experienced freelance first assistant director, who was part of the production crew working on Crazy Rich Asians, was inspired to make a video after reading an article on the surge in COVID-19 cases among the migrant workers in April. With work coming to a halt due to the circuit breaker, she had plenty of free time and wanted to do something meaningful.

She initially planned to create an instruction video to help migrant workers better understand how to keep themselves safe, but she found out that the government had already done such a video for the workers. So she thought about what else she could do.

“I truly believed that even if (anyone) couldn’t contribute financially, you can always chip in [with] a skill/gift that you already have,” said freelancer Tiffany, 34.

So she reached out to a friend, Nicholas Chee, who subsequently posted about her initial idea in a Facebook group of creative professionals and freelancers. The post blew up, as people started volunteering their help. With input from others, the idea turned into creating one that aimed to comfort the migrant workers.

The volunteers also helped with the voice-overs, translations, storyboard and even the post-editing of the video.

It wasn’t just individuals who stepped up to help. A few organisations also kindly allowed Tiffany to use their footage in the videos, which took about a month to create from scratch.

“During the initial stage, I spent about eight hours a day brainstorming on the idea, thinking of how I could keep it concise for the intended community,” Tiffany told Youth.SG. She added that she lost count of the number of people who were involved in the project.

As to how she plans to get the videos across to the migrant workers, she said: “I have been in touch with a few organisations who allowed me to use their footage in the videos so I’ll email them the links. Also, I have a few friends who are connected and work directly with the workers, so I’ll likely have to get them to help spread the word.

“I would really want this video to reach out to the migrant workers community as they are the very reason why this whole idea came about.”

In creating the video, Tiffany has had the opportunity to reflect on how Singaporeans have been willing to do what they can to help the migrant workers too.

“I personally believe that Singaporeans are kind individuals and are usually more than willing to lend a hand but somehow it may not really seem that way at times, because we don’t outrightly exhibit or show it,” she said.

“I really think the volunteers who’re on-ground, tangibly volunteering, they truly deserve a shout out. I do hope that the willingness to extend a helping hand will extend beyond this trying period. “It should be a trait that we all adopt and practice towards one another.”

Apart from this video, Tiffany is working with two friends on videos to help the workers pick up English too. Called The English Noobie, lessons are released weekly on YouTube.

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