Sarah has always been in the shadow of her mother, Celebrity Chef Siti. When she tries to make her mark in the baking industry, she is unexpectedly caught between two men yearning for her affections. Imran is the perfect gentleman any Malay-Muslim parents would approve for their daughter, while Edwin is an earnest Chinese vlogger who, as Sarah's brother blatantly declares, isn't 'halal'! To complicate matters, Edwin comes from a Taoist family that runs a popular roast pork hawker stall. And being the filial son, he is expected to marry a Chinese girl and take over the family business. Will Sarah be able to navigate through their differences? Or will she succumb to family and societal expectations?
REMI M SALI
I have a confession.
I was brought up to think that we Malay-Muslims were 'purer' than the Chinese. Why? Because the Chinese eat pork and touch dogs, both a huge no-no in Islam.
When I was in secondary school, I once freaked out during my lunch break at the school canteen. My Chinese classmate had innocently put a chicken dumpling onto my plate for me to try. I yelled at him, saying it wasn't 'halal'. All eyes were on us, teachers and students alike. He was embarrassed by my outburst. I felt bad, but also flustered that my lunch was 'tainted'. No amount of 'Bismillah' could salvage it, I felt.
Looking back, I wish I wasn't so judgemental, self-righteous and uptight.
To that Chinese classmate of mine, Wenyao, please accept my sincere apology!
NOT MY MOTHER'S BAKING is my love note to address some sensitivities pertaining to race and religion in Singapore. We push ourselves to carefully weave in issues that might have otherwise been swept under the carpet or left unspoken, especially in local films.
Working on this romantic comedy was itself an eye-opening journey. There were many instances where the cast and crew got concerned at how far we should push the boundaries. For instance, our Malay producer wondered if we should substitute the roasted pig at the hawker stall with a styrofoam one! As the director, I was mindful to only capture actions that I could personally justify and fight for.
We are proud to feature a lot of firsts in this indie movie.
It is the first Singapore movie to feature an English-speaking Malay family as leads. We are blessed to have real mother-and-daughter Celebrity Chefs Siti Mastura Alwi and Sarah Ariffin to play as themselves. They were joined by real father-and-son talents Zack Zainal and Benjamin Zainal, who flew to Singapore all the way from Dubai.
Singapore is the first country in the world to allow Ustazahs (women religious leaders) to lead conversion to Islam sessions for men. This role is traditionally reserved for Ustazs (male religious leaders) only. We are privileged to showcase this momentous breakthrough for gender equality in Islam in this movie.
NOT MY MOTHER'S BAKING is a movie meant for all the Malay-Muslims and the non-, the Wenyaos, and everyone else in between.