IT WAS a simple way to get Singaporeans to tell their mothers that they love them, but the experience brought some participants, adults included, to tears.
A video, capturing the heartfelt emotions of the participants and at times hilarious responses from their mothers, was uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday.
The three-minute clip, part of an initiative by Jurong Point Shopping Centre to mark Mother's Day, featured shoppers giving their mothers a surprise phone call in a makeshift booth set up in the mall.
Some participants expressed their love, others thanked their mothers and a few apologised for their past mistakes. Their mothers, though, appeared more surprised than touched. One even replied: "Are you drunk?"
The video, filmed over a weekend last month, was posted on the mall's Facebook page on Wednesday evening and went viral within hours. As of yesterday, the video post had garnered around 11,000 shares and over 300,000 views.
Several netizens said they wept after viewing the clip. Facebook user Joanna Foo wrote: "This is heartwarming, tears just kept rolling down my cheeks."
For others, it was a call to action. One commenter, Mr Kelvin Ke, wrote how he was going to send the clip to his mother and tell her how much he loves her.
Social media firm Hash Meta and video production company Arctic Fox conceptualised the video, adapting the idea from a clip of a Taiwanese teacher who had her kids in class call their mothers to say "I love you". The project cost the mall around $18,000.
Asked why some cried when telling their mothers that they love them, National University of Singapore sociologist Tan Ern Ser suggested that these people rarely expressed such feelings so openly to their mothers.
But the tears may also simply be a reflection of how much they appreciate their mothers.
This article was first published on May 9, 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.