1. What is it about?
Journey Mercies delves into the lives of the stall-holders and a group of patrons of an HDB coffee shop located at a fictitious Block 220. Ah Seng, the drinks seller, is a single father to an adopted son, Jason. Uncle Leong, who lives in the neighbourhood, is a Christian mentor to a group of teens who does bible study and gathers for Sunday worship in his rental flat. One of the teens, Cassie, is from a rich family. Despite objections from her materialistic mother, she continues to be part of the group. The teens enjoy spending time at 220 and interacting with the stall-holders there.
When the landlord of 220 threatens to close down the coffee shop, everyone at 220 comes together in a bid to save their community. As events unfold, lifelong secrets are revealed. Soon the community begin to question who they can trust and if they can forgive.
2. Is it a true story?
No, but the character of Uncle Leong was inspired by the life of Robert Ong, who founded Mt Carmel BP Church. He started a Sunday School for the neighbourhood children in his flat at Block 220B in Redhill Close. That group of children eventually became the founding members of Mt Carmel BP Church.
The story also draws attention to the plight of the Vietnamese boat refugees in the post-Vietnam War period in the 1980s. A scene depicting that plight is used as a springboard to the other events in the musical.
3. What was the inspiration behind the story?
The creative team wanted a story that is fitting for the occasion of Mt Carmel’s Jubilee. We wanted to pay homage to the founder of our church, our original musical history and at the same time, present a story that addresses issues people wrestle with in contemporary life.
4. What is the message of the musical?
The musical touches on the perennial issues of status and personal identity. In what or whom do I find meaning and security? How much do money, a good career and a material lifestyle matter? And what if even the people closest to me – my family and best friends – object to my ideals or even betray my trust? The characters are forced to confront these issues in their journey towards spiritual understanding and maturity.
5. Are the songs original?
Yes, all the song have been written by members of the church.