More gossip than action in Mata Mata

More gossip than action in Mata Mata

SINGAPORE - The best thing I can say about Mata Mata is that it provides quite a bit of eye candy.

The local drama set in the 1950s and 1960s features three officers from the first Women Constabulary in Singapore.

The title is from an old Malay term for the police. There is plenty to please the eye in policewomen Elizabeth Lee (played by Cheryl Wee), Tan Siew Lan (Daniella Sya) and Hani Rahmat (Nadiah M. Din), policeman Henry Ridley (Jason Godfrey) and hunky gangster Lim Seng Hock (Daren Tan).

And then, I know a television drama needs some kind of drama, but there may be a smidge too much gossip and emo-ing here. So much focus is placed on the women's personal relationships that crimefighting takes a backseat.

The action sequences are few and brief and the police officers at times seem clueless.

They poke their noses into cases not assigned to them. They jump at the slightest opportunity to go undercover. They disregard protocol and gossip constantly about their cases.

The show is supposed to be inspired by the life of the first female Assistant Superintendent here. But it is hard to imagine these characters to be positive representations of policewomen.

I wish the creators did more to show how women can be good, respectable crime-fighters.

Especially since, in a publicity piece, they were trying to bring out the story about women choosing to work in an era "where they were looked down upon if they chose to go out to work".

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