In the opening scene of short film House Of Happiness, your favourite 988 deejays are busy making preparations to usher in the Lunar New Year. They are part of a bustling household making intricate Chinese paper cutouts, writing well-wishes in beautiful calligraphy and baking an assortment of cookies and cakes.
Viewers get right into the mood for CNY from the get-go. But more than that, 988 announcer Chan Fong, who is part of the short film’s creative team, says the simple scene conveys a meaningful message.
“We realise that most of us don’t really participate in the Chinese New Year preparations. Back when I was young, my mum and grandma would start baking cookies, preparing dishes and decorating the house a few weeks before. Everybody took part,” he says during a screening of the short film.
“But nowadays, I don’t think so. We just go to a restaurant to eat; we don’t even send CNY cards. We need to continue to carry out these traditions.”
Directed by Dannis Chow, the musical dramedy not only sees the 988 deejays displaying their acting chops but singing and dancing too.
“I was most nervous about the dancing part,” confesses Chan Fong who leads the cast.
Meanwhile, deejay Hao Min admits she was nervous about starring opposite Chan Fong initially, as he is such an experienced figure in the local industry.
“What came to my mind at first when I found out that we were doing this short film was I didn’t want to be partnered with Chan Fong at all!” the first-time actress says with a laugh.
Lo and behold, the 40-minute short film, broadcasted in two parts, has the two playing a recently-engaged couple. Part of its plot revolves around the relationship between the lovers and Chan Fong’s old flame – played by deejay Sam – who is plotting to win him back.
“When we host shows on radio, it’s all very spontaneous. For this, I need to remember the dialogue, word for word, that was very difficult for me,” says Sam who has only acted in cameo roles.
To complicate things, Sam has to play multiple roles in the short film: “I have to play a secondary schoolgirl, a mother and Chan Fong’s ex-girlfriend. I need to change into a lot of different looks.”
988, which celebrates its 20th anniversary on air this year, has also released a unique CNY album. Besides featuring a new take on traditional festive tunes, six of the 20-track release, are original compositions featured on the film.
“These songs have messages behind them as they follow the short film’s storyline,” says Chan Fong who also helped put together the album.
The Star Media Radio Group chief executive officer Calvin Kan commends both the radio station’s short film and CNY compilation album which, in total, took around nine months to complete.
The deejays also reveal their upcoming plans to celebrate CNY. Sam will be returning to her hometown in Seremban, Hao Min will celebrate with her family in Kuala Lumpur and Chan Fong will be spending time with his wife’s family in Parit Buntar, Perak.
Part A of House Of Happiness is now available on thestartv.com and 988.com.my while Part B will be available on Jan 15 at 8pm.
Purchase 988’s CNY album online for RM20 at thebigrooms.com or look out for 988 announcers who will also be giving out the album on these dates and locations: Jan 16, 8pm at AEON Mall Bukit Mertajam in Penang, Jan 17, 2pm at AEON Mall Ipoh Klebang in Perak, Jan 23, 8pm at AEON Mall Tebrau City in Johor, Jan 24, 2pm at AEON Mall Seremban 2 in Negri Sembilan.