How To Make Millions Before Grandma Dies touches on universal interfamilial issues almost anyone can relate to, such as sibling rivalry, favouritism, and judgments about who’s more filial or successful.

M’s oldest uncle lives far away with his wife and young daughter, and has to pay for his posh house and his daughter’s international school fees; M’s mum is a single parent with a humble supermarket job; M’s youngest uncle is unemployed and up to his neck in debt.

The tension between filial piety and personal commitments is laid bare, especially when elderly relatives become increasingly frail and need help with daily activities such as showering, or frequent hospital visits.

As M’s coolly cynical cousin Mui points out, what old people need most, is what their children can’t give them – time.

It’s something that Singapore’s sandwich generation, typically aged between 35 and 59, relate to as they juggle caring for their children and ageing parents, while holding down jobs, keeping their homes in order, carving out time for self-care and maintaining some semblance of a social life.

The movie also highlights the challenges adult children face, and the potential for disagreement among siblings, when deciding how best to approach the care of ailing parents.

Should the elderly be kept informed, or shielded from certain hard truths such as how many weeks or months they’ve got left to live? Are they better off ageing in place, moving into a relative’s home (if so, which one?), or being admitted into a nursing home? 

The movie is the perfect springboard to discuss these important issues as a family. More importantly, it’s a reminder that old folks value time with their adult children and their grandchildren. And since time is what grandchildren have more of compared to their sandwiched parents, maybe Gen Z can step away from their computers and mobile phones and step up. 


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