Homegrown director Royston Tan surprised members of the media with a live concert, complete with dry ice, lights and costumes at the 3688 press conference held at the National Museum on Tuesday. Seeing that 3688 is his comeback film after a seven-year hiatus, it was no wonder that he wanted to make a grand entrance.

Michael Tan, Joi Chua, Royston Tan, Liu Ling Ling and Shigga Shay.

Michael Tan, Joi Chua, Royston Tan, Liu Ling Ling and Shigga Shay.

Shigga Shay, a 23-year-old Singaporean rapper, who makes his film debut with 3688, warmed up the stage with his kopitiam rap. Malay veteran singer Rahimah Rahim also took the stage with local getai singers Piao Piao and Bao Bei Jie Mei, singing Fong Fei-Fei’s 《巧合》(A Coincidence) and Lee Pei Fen sang 《一道彩虹》(Rainbow) solo.

Shigga Shay can take your orders in rap, yo.

Shigga Shay can take your orders in rap, yo.

Joi Chua takes centrestage with Bao Bei Jie Mei to sing 《敲敲门》(Knock, Knock).

Joi Chua takes centrestage with Bao Bei Jie Mei to sing 《敲敲门》(Knock, Knock).

Rahimah Rahim, Bao Bei Jie Mei and Piao Piao sing 《巧合》(A Coincidence).

Rahimah Rahim, Bao Bei Jie Mei and Piao Piao sing 《巧合》(A Coincidence).

The best was saved for last at the grand finale, where Chua reprised 《掌声响起来》(The Sound Of Applause), her theme song in 3688.

Joi Chua in her element.

Joi Chua in her element.

Check out the press con mini concert on video.omy.sg.

Director Royston Tan revealed that he had approached Chua to play the role of Fei Fei due to certain similarities between the role and and herself. Both of them lost their mother in their teens, and both of them participated in singing competitions as students.

Chua sharing how she came to be an actress in 3688.

Chua sharing how she came to be an actress in 3688.

At first, Chua thought that Royston Tan was joking, and turned him down. It was only later that she realised that he was serious, and took up his offer after some persuasion.

Tan’s 3688 is a first for many of the actors he cast in this musical comedy. It stars silver screen newbie Michael Tan, who delivers a convincing performance as Uncle Radio. Rahimah Rahim, who regularly performs in English, Malay, Japanese and Chinese, sung Feng Fei-Fei’s songs for the first time for her role. Most noticeably, leading lady Joi Chua, has attempted acting for the first time.

Xia Fei Fei wants to be like Fong Fei-Fei in more ways than one.

Xia Fei Fei wants to be like Fong Fei-Fei in more ways than one.

Chua, 37, plays the role of  38-year-old parking attendant, Xia Fei Fei, who idolises Taiwanese songstress Fong Fei-Fei and is named after her. She can sing well and secretly dreams of following in the footsteps of the Queen Of Hats, but when she fails, Fei Fei settles for the next nearest thing: Become a hat-wearing parking attendant. When she actually has a shot at fame, an obstacle stands in her way – her father (Michael Tan), a dementia patient. Set against the backdrop of Dakota Crescent, 3688 will get nostalgia junkies laughing and crying at the same time.

By the way, getai doyen Liu Ling Ling, a regular in Tan’s films, revealed two tidbits during the press con. Firstly, that Royston Tan has a stern side and that she has been scolded by him on set before! And secondly, he made Shigga, who plays her son in the movie, call her on the phone every day for two weeks – he was to call her “mum” so that the two of them wouldn’t feel like strangers when they met on set for the first time. The two of them shared “random stuff” with each other in their five to 10 minute conversations, talking about their favourite colour and favourite food.

Brandon Wong, Michael Tan, Joi Chua, Royston Tan, Liu Ling Ling, Rahimah Rahim and Shigga Shay.

Brandon Wong, Michael Tan, Joi Chua, Royston Tan, Liu Ling Ling, Rahimah Rahim and Shigga Shay.

3688 is showing in theatres.

Catch the trailer here: