When the soap opera Kin turned one in October, it hit the reset button by jumping ahead five years.
Post-reboot, we see loan shark runner Ah Yoke (Rachel Wan) as a no-nonsense top level exec. Uptown girl Ella (Jasmine Sim) is a naturalised citizen Ah Lian Nation. Zara (Sofia Dendroff) is preggers. Zaryn (Hatta Said) is gone (I miss you, buddy.)
Oh yes, Dr Shen (Brian Ng) has dissociative identity disorder (DID), formerly known as split personality, or multiple personality disorder. Turns out Dr Shen has an alter ego, Yang.
To create off two very distinct personalities, “the production team studied videos of those who have DID,” says Kin executive producer Tan Wei-Lyn.
“They focused on mannerisms of the various personalities and how those transitions happen,” she tells 8days.sg via e-mail. “It could be as subtle as the shifting of the head.”
Can’t tell them apart? The bespectacled Dr Shen is more buttoned up, still and deliberate while glasses-free Yang is more relaxed, open, and animated. Steps were taken to make sure that the audience wasn’t confused.
But confusion was the least of the show’s problems: the viewers didn’t take to the reveal too well. On social media, they griped about the twist, calling it ridiculous, even threatening to quit watching.
The feedback was disheartening but not unexpected. Tan chalked their resistance up to how the affliction has been stigmatised on TV shows and movies (such as M Night Shyamalan’s Split, starring James McAvoy as a man with 23 personalities).
“We chose to handle DID differently from most dramas,” says Tan. “It's important for us to show that people with DID are not dangerous or a menace to society — particularly because the people we know who have DID prefer to keep this very quiet and not talk about it.”
By examining DID on Kin, Tan hopes it’ll “urge people to be more accepting and open to the idea of this condition, so anyone who's hiding this condition feel more empowered to come forward and deal with the underlying trauma that caused it.”
Here, writer Grace Ng, who’s shared her creative process on the show on social media, lets us in how she made sure that Dr Shen’s DID is accurately portrayed.