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15 Shorts: The Buddy
Hidayat is an 8-year-old boy tasked to be a buddy to his classmate, Tam, and finds that he is frightened by Tam's erratic behaviour. Despite having Tam's parents and teachers dismiss him as reclusive and "weird", Hidayat chooses to accept Tam as different and tries to understand his behaviour and the two develop special relationship.Although Tam's condition is not explicitly stated, the film addresses the topic of autism, and the lack of knowledge behind this disorder, especially in the 90s. Delivered in the spirit of acceptance, the film aims to portray the innocence of childhood, and centers on Hidayat’s dilemma in doing the right thing for his friend.The director dedicates this film to Autism Association (Singapore).The Autism Association (Singapore) is one of the Social Service Organisations in Singapore dedicated to supporting individuals with autism and helping them lead meaningful and quality lives in society. It provides a broad spectrum of services for people with autism in Singapore, encompassing education, vocational and life skills training and residential care. Since 1992, they have impacted the lives of over 1000 clients and students.Director's Statement:No two autistic persons go about things in exactly the same way and it is incontrovertibly unjust to label them as a mere category. Just like any other individual, they have the ability to experience emotions and to give affection. In 'The Buddy', we see Tam, a primary school boy, who builds a friendship with Hidayat, his classmate-buddy. The friendship is innocent, pure and genuine.