Jocelyn Entrepreneur Characteristics

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About Jack Neo

Jack Neo Chee Keong, 梁智强, Liáng Zhìqiáng

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  • Born on 24 January, 1960
  • Actor, emcee and filmmaker

Early Life

  • Eldest child in his family
  • His father was a fish monger and his mother was a drinks-seller
  • Since 14 years old, he enjoyed entertaining his classmates with his comedy sketches and began performing regularly on stage in school (Tanjong Katong Secondary School)
  • Joined the army soon after because his ‘O’-level grades did not quality him for tertiary education
  • Continued pursuing his interest in performing on stage by taking on hosting and acting jobs in television programmes and ‘live’ shows during his free time
  • Had a talent for drawing cartoons, which he sent to Pioneer magazing, a publication by the Ministry of Defence
  • Pioneer discovered that his acting and hosting credentials were a suitable fit for the new job opening as drama director of the Music and Drama Company

Television Career

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  • After army, he hosted and acted on Comedy Night, the longest running Chinese-language comedy series in Singapore, which screened every Monday night and had a successful run from 1990 to 2000
  • It featured Neo’s most memorable comic characters, including Liang Po Po, an eccentric grandmother full of mischief and strange antics
  • Another of Neo’s comic characters, Liang Xi Mei, also appealed to the masses because her mannerisms exemplified the stereotypical behaviour of the middle-aged housewife living in the HDB (Housing Development Board) heartland.
  • After Comedy Night, Neo worked on numerous other Singaporean television programmes, including his first English-language production,Happily Ever After, which debuted on 1 March 2009.
  • Also produced the 13-episode Malaysian variety show, Project Laugh, in April 2009.

Film Making Career

  • First saw Eric Khoo’s 1995 feature film debut Mee Pok Man, which got him thinking about making films. “That was the first time I heard about someone making a movie in Singapore – how interesting,” he says.
  • Before he turned 40, he had accomplished more than most others in their entire lives. And after all that prodigious amount of work, he found himself a new career as a film- maker, which secured him the Cultural Medallion in 2005.

About J Team Productions

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  • J Team Productions is one of Singapore's premiere and pioneer production houses
  • During its inception, J Team focuses mainly on events and artistes management, slowly expanding into the TV genre (Chinese and English).
  • Film Director Jack Neo and his host of artistes soon became household names as J Team pushes forward on to greater heights.
  • Currently, J Team has produced many movies that are box office hits such as Money No Enough (1998), Money No Enough 2 (2008), I Not Stupid (2002), I Not Stupid Too (2006), Homerun (2003), We Not Naughty (2012), Ah Boys To Men (2012), and many more.

Entrepreneur Characteristic - Get to Know Your Customers

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  • “People” – Neo’s term for popular sentiment – have never stopped shaping his entertainment philosophy.
  • During his stint of six to seven years at the Music and Drama Company, Neo gained hands-on experience and practice in scriptwriting and acting because of the frequency of the 'live' performances, which were staged almost every night.
  • Based on his interactions with and observations of the spectators, Neo gradually learned about the types of humour that appealed to the local audience.
“During my six, seven years here, I gained a lot of experience in writing scripts and acting because almost every night, we had a performance. It was a very busy schedule. I would write the scripts and rehearse, then watch the shows and learnt what people liked and didn’t like from their response. So that was how I improved.”
“What I learnt from these live shows trained me to crack jokes every Monday night for 10 years on TV later on.” referring to the landmark comedy TV series, Comedy Night, which launched in 1990

Example Events

Money No Enough

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  • Neo's mass appeal spilled over to his films as he employed a similar formula of lowbrow comedy and humour with a distinctly Singaporean context.
  • Neo's most successful film, Money No Enough (1998), holds the record of being the most profitable Singaporean film to date.
  • Everything he has done, he drew from his experiences as a regular working- class guy. It surprises no one that Money No Enough, which he wrote and starred in but did not direct, is still the most profitable local movie ever, with $5.8 million in box-office takings.
“I know the Ah Peks, Ah Cheks, Ah Bengs and Ah Sengs very well. I’m very heartlander. I performed at getai shows for five years, from 1983, hosting, singing, everything. Because of this, I think I know the problems in our society, what these people think, what they want.

I Not Stupid

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"As a director, I like real," he says. "Everything in my movies is real."
  • I Not Stupid is the second-highest grossing local film of all-time behind 1997's Money No Enough
  • I Not Stupid, which Neo wrote, directed and acts in, takes on one of the core frustrations of Singaporean life: the city-state's ruthless education system, which, of course, is where citizens first feel the claws digging in.
  • The film follows the lives of three struggling boys and their stressed parents, all feeling the pressure of a society that demands a narrow type of success at all costs.
  • The movie and its themes—including subtle criticism of the government—have resonated with local audiences, earning some $1.8 million since its release in mid-February.
  • Neo credits his success to his willingness to put on the screen what his audience actually thinks, feels and even how they talk.
  • He broke artistic ground by writing dialogue in Singlish, the island's distinctive twisting of Shakespeare's tongue, widely spoken by Singaporeans but absent from local broadcasting.
  • Singaporean director Eric Khoo, whose gritty cinematic style puts him on the opposite end of the artistic spectrum, agrees that Neo is a master at getting at what lies beneath Singapore's stolid sterility.
"I think a lot of Singaporeans are speechless," he says. "They don't really say much or vocalize their feelings. Then they see I Not Stupid and they're like, 'Hey, man, I'm seeing myself on the big screen.'"


  • 2002 : International Management Action Award (IMAA), for Neo's managerial achievements in the filming of I Not Stupid (2002)
  • 2003 : The CIFEJ prize for Homerun, at the 14th Cairo International Film Festival
  • 2003 : Best New Performer award for Homerun (awarded to actress Megan Zheng), at the Taiwan 40th Golden Horse Award
  • 2003 : The Grand Prix prize for Homerun, at the 20th Moscow International Festival for Children & Youth
  • 2004 : Golden Butterfly prize for Best Direction (Homerun), at the Asian Competition of the Isfahan International Children’s Film Festival
  • 2004 : Public Service Medal at the Singapore National Day Awards 2004, for Neo's achievements in filmmaking
  • 2005 : People’s Choice Award for Homerun, at the Montreal International Children’s Film Festival2005 : The Singapore Cultural Medallion, for Neo's achievements in filmmaking


I personally feel that knowing your customers is the most important trait an entrepreneur and his company needs to have in order to succeed. Customers are the most important stakeholders in your company. It does not matter how great your product is, how creative your marketing is, or how good your management is if you cannot make the transaction. Hence, we need to constantly familiarize ourselves with what our customers want in order to be able to sell a product or service that they are willing to pay and be successful!