Tuesday, February 24

It started with…

Scene 1

A Dream. Hope. A Conversation.

Teeming with ideas and bursting with joy, you sat at the drawing board and sketched an image. It was a massive mural, with rowing meadows, golden wheat fields, blue skies, sheep gazing and a cottage in the distance. It was about inspiring peace, you said. The Client smiled, nodding, eyes glowing. "It's about inspiring Peace!" they proclaimed loudly and proudly to their fellows. "It's about Peace!" says The Client, ushering people to the drawing board. Someone leans over and whispers into your ear, "Thank you for keeping the dream alive."

Scene 2

You sit at the drawing board and picked up your brush, eager to start. Inspired. But as you dipped your brush into the water bucket, a quick slap to your hand. In surprise, you dropped your brush and look up to see The Client. "It's too expensive. We can't afford to pay you that much, also, we need to cut budget. We can't buy that much paint. Maybe don't paint the clouds."

You blushed, hands still smarting from the slap, and told yourself to understand. Money is an issue, you will understand. It is reality. You saw a portion off the canvas to save on cost, pick up the brush again, and start painting the dark blue, cloudless skies.

Scene 3

You reach out for the paint bottle, to mix the perfect hue of golden yellows and vibrant orange, to paint the wheat fields into prosperity. A quick sharp slap across your face. Surprised, you fell backwards and looked up to see The Client. "We need to cut production costs. We wouldn't cut your fee because you think of are of that value, but we need to cut production costs. What will you offer me?"

It's a money issue. Money is an issue. You will understand right? You hang your head, without pride or dignity left, you offer the golden paints. The fields will be brown instead.

Scene 4

You squat by the drawing board, stripped and quivering. The Client approaches, "They offered us money! They're very very important people with a lot of money. You must paint their favourite nine-legged octopus somewhere."

You understand right? We need money. It's the reality.

"Cut the production cost."

Scene 5

You stand before the painting, sliced in half, fields of brown mud, dried wheat, a sheep standing naked next to a nine-legged octopus, the skies a cloudless flat menacing grey.

It's about inspiring Peace, right?
It's reality, right?
It's a money issue.
You understand right?

Monday, June 16

Subversive House

It was a simplistic vision, a gentle thought, with a monumental haul of energy and dedication to bring it to life. The hours dragged into days and into months working for a vision, answering to the truth. As truthful as allowed in proportions to maturity.

Then a single sentence, "I thought it would be more subversive."

From the every lips of the entity that bears down on difference. That lectured on obedience and is painfully unappreciative of deviations that gives it no favors. It was a sneer, too casual, too flippant a remark made just as easily as it is for it to say 'No'.

It laughed at your pitiful sight, that even when it closes the door on you, you are too much of a coward to demand otherwise. You merely sit quietly by the door and wait for the slightest gap to open which excites you so much you start wagging your tail. Like a dog.

Your mind starts dulling, the smile starts widening, each step is a painful tug on your consciousness. It becomes questionable, it's easy to lose sight, to lose hope, to lose cheer. Are you responsible if you turn away, and irresponsible if you stay? Is it dishonest to remain optimistic?

Would you be a fool for your country?

Tuesday, May 28

the old home

I walked through the back estate today, the same route and same stretch of roads that I have taken for 20 odd years now. The trees didn't seem particularly taller, the sky was still as clear. The roads, still as smooth.

But at the junction where there used to be a quiet block of houses, was blue stripped canvas wrapping, desperately trying to cover up the obscenity behind it. I still remember how they looked like. Even with my eyes open, I still see them there, those brown and yellow nondescript standard houses, with their patterned tiling that a strange malfunction in the early 90s cultivated an aesthetic interest in. The black aluminum window grills fitted in the rounded windows that were short and pudgy.

That was gone now. Behind the canvas was a hollowed out shell. A heavy excavator weighed down on the rubbles, its scoop reaching into the abscess of the violated house. The bare walls and crumbling edges. The empty window frames, forced open for all to see.

It used to be a confident monument. A structure containing life and self-sustained in its awareness of its purpose. An architecture proud of its designs and its significance. Now it was stripped of everything. Every last bit of meaning peeled from its wall. It looks confused, lost, utterly and absolutely lost. Emptied of its meaning, the house could not remember why it fought so hard to stay upright. 

Wednesday, December 26

you have a right to shut up,
exercise it

Friday, December 14

I'm curious about the furious and quick tempered jumps at every article, youtube video, comment posed about Singapore. Perhaps we are at this teenager-phase of nationhood where we are particularly self-conscious and discovery of our personal identity?

Thursday, September 6

Singaporeans love food

Is there a hole in our souls we're trying to feed?

Wednesday, August 1

Do you work as circumstances prevail you or as circumstances provoke?