Did you find parts of the new Jack Neo Movie Take 2 familiar? Well it might be because the film took inspiration from a real life story that happened right here in Singapore.
The film Take 2 follows the story of a group of ex-convicts as they try to leave their criminal pasts behind them and decide to sell Japanese Ramen in a coffee shop to get by and start a new life. The characters faced a great deal of difficulty and prejudice from others because of their crimes but they were able to push past these and become successful.
The fun and comedy aside, some parts of the film are based on the story of the TRS Couple. Miss Ai Takagi and Mr Yang Kaiheng, the former owners and editors of the now defunct socio-political website TheRealSingapore.com were in the news a lot last year after they were arrested and subsequently jailed for sedition. The case created quite some controversy at the time and the Australian Government even released a statement expressing that they regret the decision by the Singapore government to jail the couple.
Despite their impending jail terms and both holding a bachelor degree in Law & Environmental Science, the couple decided they wanted to start afresh and so they opened a couple of Japanese Ramen stalls in a foodcourt in NUS and a coffeeshop in Ang Mo Kio.
The similarities between the film Take 2 and the Takagi Ramen story don’t stop there. In fact, according to a Facebook Post by Takagi Ramen, they supplied the ramen used as props in the actual filming of the movie:
The couple are now out of jail after having served their sentences and are continuing to run their ramen stalls. Like the main characters in the film Take 2, they have left their pasts behind them and are conducting good, clean business now.
The Takagi Ramen couple said that they are heartened to see many positive food reviews online about their food and they are hoping to expand soon so that they can reach out to more average Singaporeans and sell Japanese Ramen at affordable prices.
Their story was quite famous in Singapore last year and now with a movie partially based on their story, it seems the couple won’t be able to avoid the lime-light for a while yet. Hopefully, they won’t face the same discrimination that the characters in Take 2 faced when others found out about their criminal pasts.
With welfare organisations such as the Yellow Ribbon Project and now the movie Take 2 championing the story of ex-convicts rehabilitating successfully, we hope Singaporeans will be more willing to give ex-convicts a legitimate “Take 2”.