Inspired by events during the siege of Samaria in 2 Kings as well as accounts from Hong Kong in WW2, in Sweet Meat we witness first-hand the lengths war forces people to in order to survive. The film opens in London, where Amelia is visiting her grandmother Mei. Though the two are close, Mei is always strangely reticent about her past. When Amelia pushes Mei to open up, Mei reacts violently and chases Amelia out. Unbeknownst to Amelia, her grandmother harbours a dark, haunting secret. Through flashbacks, we journey with Mei to Christmas Eve 1941, the height of the battle of Hongkong. The invading Japanese forces had been merciless, cutting off food supplies to civilians to strong-arm a surrender. A young Mei seeks shelter from an air-raid in a dingy storm drain when suddenly an ominous bao-seller appears, offering free char siu baos (sweet pork buns). Despite knowing something is wrong, young Mei cannot resist and accepts the buns full of sweet meat. Later, she discovers that the meat was from soldiers the seller had chopped up. Wracked with guilt, Mei must find a way to exorcise the influence of her past before it ruins her future as well.
The biblical source for Sweet Meat comes from accounts of cannibalism in 2 Kings 6:26-29 and prophecies in Jeremiah 19:9 and Ezekiel 5:10. In 2 Kings, Aram lays siege on Samaria, causing a great famine in the city the same way WW2 Japanese invasion caused a famine in Hong Kong. In verses 28/29 we learn that people have been driven to eating their children. It seems too horrific to be believable but accounts from Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong reveal that, in extreme circumstances, mankind will do anything to survive. In the bible, King Joram was shocked to hear of what his people had been reduced to. That moment is a turning point for him that led to him seeking out prophet Elisha. Likewise, Mei’s encounter with cannibalism had a life-changing effect on her, haunting her till today. Like Joram, who first reacted with violence and threatened Elisha, Mei’s first reaction when the topic is broached is to react violently with rejection. However, she must learn to face her demons in order to defeat or she might risk her relationship with her granddaughter, just as his refusal to face his sins led to Joram risking his relationship with God.