Monday, February 24, 2014

Wong Fu Productions:Building Homes in Kuching

Wong Fu Productions: Philip Wang, Wesley Chan and Ted Fu (Left to Right)
 Internationally known YouTube short film production team Wong Fu Productions really made an impression on me. Philip Wang and Wesley Chan, two of the three-member team from Wong Fu, were recently in Singapore not just to meet their fans, but also do some great work for the community.

For those who have never heard of Wong Fu, founders Philip Wang, Wesley Chan and Ted Fu have been behind many of the thought-provoking films on life and relationships that many young people can relate to. Some of their most popular short films include Yellow Fever and Strangers, Again, the latter garnered close to 14 million views and featured YouTube personalities such as David Choi and Cathy Nguyen. The trio also produced music videos for famous artistes like Wang Leehom and worked with companies like Subaru and Twilight actor Justin Chon.

Currently, their total viewership stands at more than 300 million, and they have over 2 million subscribers worldwide! Their work has also been recognized by the media and institutions like CNN, the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and even the White House (they met US President Barack Obama in 2011).
(Left to Right) Philip Wang, Paul Foster, Melodie Lee from Habitat for Humanity Singapore, 
Wesley Chan, and Deb Fung from Soulheartist. PHOTO: YOUTH.SG
The guys (sans Ted Fu) were previously in Singapore in 2012 to share the stories of their humbling journey to fame, and interact with their fans. They were back in Singapore, this time to raise awareness for their homebuilding project.

Partnered with Soulheartist, which is in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity Singapore, the guys lent their hands as labourers in the construction of a much needed housing on a site in Kuching, Malaysia for three days in February. They were joined by local celebrity Paul Foster together with the Soulheartist team to build a new home for a family in need.

I had the wonderful experience of meeting Phil and Wes at a press conference last week, where they shared their thoughts on the actual project at Kuching! Here’s what they had to say:

What did you guys do to prepare for the field trip?
Wes: I built a lot of Lego and Ikea furniture (Laughs). My dad is a woodworker, so you could say I’ve some building background. I also did some research on Kuching just to get to know the culture better. Coincidentally, we met someone who was born there before we departed for Singapore, Zee Avi, and she had some recommendations for us. So, yeah, you can call that preparation.

Phil: I got a tetanus shot and that’s about all. It was late, too. They said it would take around two weeks to kick in. I had the shot the day before we came to Singapore.

Have you guys done any sort of community work before?
Wes: Well, I did volunteer work when I was in University, but nothing like this. I want to make sure we make something good, something that stays up.

Phil: This is my first time working with Habitat and I too, want to make sure it's good.

Do you have any fears about the trip? Are you worried if the locals can’t understand you?
Wes: Well, for language, I don’t think it will be much of a problem because they (the locals) know why we’re there, and I think that transcends language. Our purpose is to help, and I guess that doesn’t require much communication.

Paul Foster: I think when we work, the language and cultural barrier will be insignificant, since we are building walls for their home. As the boys mentioned, the first thing is to actually build something that stays up and gives them proper shelter and warmth. When we do that, everything else is secondary.

Will you be inspired to do a short film on the lives of these people in Kuching?
Phil: Well, we will be filming everything documentary-style. And we’ll put it on our YouTube channel. Hopefully it will inspire people to get involved. I believe documenting it like this will make more impact than doing a short film about it.

Where’s Ted?
Phil: Ted’s still in the States busy handling the company's affairs. We’ve recently launched a fundraiser on Indiegogo for our first feature film, so Ted is managing that. But he really wanted to come, though.

So apart from the homebuilding project, I asked Wong Fu about their new and upcoming films.

Apparently, they will be producing their first-ever movie, and are currently raising funds via the crowdfunding platform, Indiegogo. So far, they have raised more than half of their US$200,000 goal. To find out more about their movie, check out this site.

If successfully funded, the film would take shape in a story about two couples faced with different challenges in their relationships. Ultimately, the couples will learn how love changes over time and how to love again after being hurt.

Wong Fu has definitely paved the way for a better society, and I would definitely consider being a part of all their causes. How about you, fellow readers?


If you want to support Wong Fu in this social movement, you can do so by going to Soulheartist’s website and subscribing to one of Wong Fu & Habitat for Humanity’s (WFHH) plans. There are different plans, and you can choose how you want to financially help the boys make better lives for underprivileged families. Not only will you support Wong Fu’s cause, you will also receive a Wong Fu Productions Soulheartist Pack, which includes a signed poster by Wong Fu and other exclusive goodies.

If you would like a slice of the action, volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Singapore! There are many similar projects you can physically help out with.

By Ho Khin Wai, Year 3, Diploma in Banking & Finance

Khin Wai started writing for NYP Portal in 2011 out of interest and was soon "addicted" to it. He has also written book reviews for Straits Times YA Classified. Besides writing, he loves singing and has performed for various events in NYP under NYP Soundcard.

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