‘The Violin’ is a journey through the different stages of Singapore’s incredible history – from WWII to the tumultuous political times that led to Singapore’s separation from Malaysia, right up to the modern, vibrant city-state that Singapore is today.
It begins in the late 1930s. A boy sat in Boat Quay, which looked nothing like what it is today, and listened with wonder as a foreign trader played a soulful tune on his violin.
Before leaving, the kind trader gave the fascinated boy the violin. The overjoyed boy treasured his precious possession and taught himself how to play it over several years.
Unfortunately, he lost it when he had to flee with his family during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore.
After the war, the violin was found by a man working for the British Military Administration. He gave it to his young daughter, who learnt to play it and became a renowned violinist over the decades.
She eventually passed the instrument on to her grandson, an accomplished violinist himself. He restored it and performed in a concert by the Singapore River — exactly where the violin started its unexpected journey nearly 80 years ago.
It’s a beautiful, incredible journey. What a life, what a tune.
‘The Violin’ was written, directed and edited by Ervin Han. It was featured at the Rewind/Remind Film Festival, organised by the Singapore Memory Project as part of the country’s 50th year of independence celebrations.