Death, Time, Love. Such ephemeral concepts. If we ever met these entities in person, we would no doubt treat them with respect… unless we’re Singaporeans, of course. Then we’d be asking them for discounts and trying to get some good deals from them. I mean, we’re Singaporean. Of course we’d interact with them in the most utilitarian way possible.

So here’s what we’d ask them if we could write letters to them.

Wait a minute, why can’t we e-mail them?

To Death

Howard (Will Smith) has a chat with Death (Helen Mirren) in Collateral Beauty. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Howard (Will Smith) has a chat with Death (Helen Mirren) in Collateral Beauty. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Do we have to pay CPF in the afterlife?

Dear Death,

I have been a hardworking member of society and I have diligently put aside 20% of my income every month. I now have the Minimum Sum in my Central Provident Fund (CPF), which means I can draw $1,200 a month once I retire. If I die without using up my CPF, the money will go to my next-of-kin.

But once I die, do I still have to pay CPF? Do I work in the afterlife? I mean, I worked my whole life so that I could retire. It would be horrible if I worked hard, retired, died, then found out I had to work again after I died so that there would be enough money in my Medisave.

Wait, do I need Medishield after I die? How about accident insurance? Do I need to write a will? Please see Appendix A for the list of queries I have about the afterlife.


(to the Grim Reaper) Isn’t your cloak hot?

Dear Grim Reaper,

I have an emo nephew (I think he’s going through a phase) who always wears a jacket. It’s thick (so it retains heat) and it’s black (it absorbs heat) and I always ask, isn’t that jacket hot?

Your cloak looks similar – it’s thick and black. It would be really hot, right (not the sexy kind of hot). And you wear it everyday too? I know you don’t always work in Singapore, but isn’t it very hot for you every time you come here?

We have Uniqlo and H&M if you would like to buy other clothes when you come to Singapore.

To Love

Howard (Will Smith) and Love (Keira Knightley) in Collateral Beauty. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Howard (Will Smith) and Love (Keira Knightley) in Collateral Beauty. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Got baby bonus?

Dear Love,

I’m confused – are you the Korean drama kind of love or the make love kind of love? I hope you are the second one, because I prefer that.

So anyway, I proposed to my girlfriend the other day by asking if she wanted to buy a Housing Development Board (HDB) flat. She put on a black face after that and accused me of being unromantic, but hey, marriage is a big commitment. Getting married and having babies is expensive – you need to buy milk powder, Smiggle pencil cases, and those table corner protectors that I keep losing – and I could by buying Golden Village Gold Class tickets with that money! Also, she wants many babies, so that’s a lot of Gold Class tickets.

So since the Singapore government gives us a Baby Bonus for making babies, do you have a similar scheme?

Please let me know soonest.


Don’t need love to buy a HDB flat right?

Dear Love,

I finally qualified for a BTO flat! I had to take a pay cut so I wouldn’t hit the $6,000 ceiling and I already booked my ROM date and I also applied to stay near my parents. There are so many requirements to buy a HDB flat!

I’ve already arranged to ROM with my girlfriend, but you know and I know, marriage doesn’t always mean love. I mean, love isn’t one of the requirements to buy a HDB flat. Besides, if my girlfriend is in a bad mood that day, I think she’d fail any test for love. It usually happens after I’ve been out partying too late.

I just wanted a written confirmation of this. I don’t need love to buy a HDB flat right?

Thanks much!


To Time

Howard (Will Smith) meets Time (Jacob Latimore) in Collateral Beauty. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Howard (Will Smith) meets Time (Jacob Latimore) in Collateral Beauty. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Can we have extra time?

Dear Time,

I wrote a letter to Love asking for more love, and she consented. She said I could make as much love as I want, and it would be completely free, depending on my girlfriend.

I wanted to enquire if there was a similar offer for time. Could I make as much time with my girlfriend as I wanted to? Would you happen to have a referral fee if my girlfriend wrote in as well?

I really need more time to make all that love.

Sorry for any inconvenience caused.


Can I get a discount on wasted time from MRT breakdowns?

Dear Time,

I’ve written many forum letters to ask SMRT to fix the trains, but it doesn’t seem to have worked – there’s been a rise in major breakdowns but they say that the trains are more reliable now, whatever that means. And the breakdowns can be horrendous, especially during peak hours! You don’t know how many man hours we’ve lost thanks to some brilliant person’s idea to use cable ties in the train tracks.

Like I said, there’s been so much time wasted that could have been used on better things. Since you are Time, could you offer a discount on the time wasted? Or a refund, perhaps? A partial refund would be appreciated.

I look forward to your favourable reply soonest.

Collateral Beauty. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Collateral Beauty. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

If I were Time, Death, or Love, I’d be awfully irritated to receive such letters. Fortunately in Collateral Beauty, the three entities receive more insightful questions. The film sees Howard (Will Smith) writing letters to all three to get over a tragedy – and meeting them in person after that!

No, they don’t really appear – they’re actually actors who are hired to play a role. So who’s paying for this? Why are they doing this? And will Howard get the answers to his questions?

Don’t ask me, Time, Death, or Love. Ask Collateral Beauty.


Credit: Golden Village Cinemas