'Teenage Textbook' author Adrian Tan not ruling out a third book in the series

(FILM STILL: Asian Film Archive)[

The author of best-selling fiction novel The Teenage Textbook and its sequel The Teenage Workbook has not ruled out the possibility of a third book – but Adrian Tan is not “ready to say more”.

Many readers have suggested fascinating ideas for a possible sequel. Over the years, I have been tossing around ideas with my brother, Edmund (who co-wrote the movie), and my publisher, [Goh] Eck Kheng,” Tan told Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore. “We aren’t ready to say more, but what we are sure of is this: The first two books have attracted fans over the past 30 years, so there’s a lot to live up to.”

Tan had expressed being open to the idea of a third book during a Q&A session after a free screening of “The Teenage Textbook Movie” on Friday (1 November) that was organised as part of this year’s Singapore Media Festival.

From left to right: Singapore Film Commission Joachim Ng, Teenage Textbook author Adrian Tan, the film’s producer Jonathan Foo, director Phillip Tan, Lim Hwee Sze (‘Sissy Song’), Melody Chen (‘Mui Ee’), and Steven Lim (‘Daniel Boon’) during a Q&A session after a screening at the Cathay on 1 November, 2018. (PHOTO: David Wirawan/Asian Film Archive)

Under the festival’s Singapore Classics Reignited programme, “The Teenage Textbook Movie” was one of three films – including “Forever Fever” and “Money No Enough” – that was digitally restored in 4K resolution by the Asian Film Archive and screened to the public in its new edition.

All three films were released in 1998.

“The Teenage Textbook Movie”, adapted from Tan’s 1988 novel, topped the Singapore box office for four weeks following its release.

In 2015, The Teenage Textbook was selected by The Business Times as one of the Top 10 English Singapore books published between 1965 and 2015.

The novel and its 1989 sequel follow the life of student Mui Ee (Melody Chen) and her relationships with boyfriend Yeo Chung Kai (Caleb Goh) and best friend Sissy Song (Lim Hwee Sze) at the fictitious Paya Lebar Junior College.

Jonathan Foo, the movie’s executive producer, said during the Q&A session that the film captures “middle-class Singapore” in the ’90s and stood out from earlier Singaporean films that were about “HDB flats and Ah Bengs”.

“It is a quintessential teenage movie, kind of like our ‘The Breakfast Club’. So I feel that this film will be relevant today, as much as it was 20 years ago,” said Foo.

He teased, “We should make sure that all teenagers who’ve reached 15 or 16 in Singapore have to watch this show… and we will sell them the Blu-rays.”

Director Phillip Tan, who was also present, called for young filmmakers to reach out to Tan about the possibility of adapting “The Teenage Workbook”.

“It would be nice if someone out there, a young aspiring director or filmmaker, would try and follow up, talk to Adrian and make a sequel,” he said.

From left to right: ‘The Teenage Textbook Movie’ director Phillip Tan, Randall Tan (‘Tom D’Cruz’), Melody Chen (‘Mui Ee’), Lim Hwee Sze (‘Sissy Song’), soundtrack producer John Klass, Steven Lim (‘Daniel Boon’) and author Adrian Tan at the film’s free screening on 1 November, 2018. (PHOTO: David Wirawan/Asian Film Archive)

The Singapore Media Festival takes place from 28 November to 9 December.

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