of Passion 99.5 FM, a public service radio station devoted to the arts
and funded by the State, was reported to be wrapping up by years
end, Samuel Lee wrote in The Straits Times Life! (Aug 27, 03):
"Dont kill Passion for the arts
Losing ones Passion
is already bad enough. Losing ones soul would be the end."
Actually, dear Sam, the end was the beginning. Wed already
lost our soul ages ago (to what else? money, of course!).
But dont try giving this perspective of mine to the national press
or well be flooded with readers response that Singapore is
still remarkably soulful. And we may just get a new season of Extraordinary
People on TV in tow as well. I mean, who likes to be told we got no soul?
the official reason, the general hunch is Passion aint getting
no funding no more to stay afloat because the money has to go to a heftier
fund-recipient, that durian-enterprise building, the Esplanade,
the great symbol of our love for the arts. Dont you know
façade is everything in Singapore? So whats a real speaking
voice on Passion in comparison? A truly perfect example of how, in Singapore,
doing it for the people is always secondary to the view from the top or
you dont have to spell it out transparent initially. Later,
after the people had gotten used to Passions demise, they wont
even bother about the true reasons behind it. And really, we dont
bother much about anything at all, unless its to do with bread-and-butter
issues and the soul-sacrificing moolah. Pink, green or arts (sic),
its the bottom-line of all our paper chases; even social/cultural/moral
causes. Dont forget its called Sing dollars. Praise
to the dollar, hallelujah! Sing it loud and proud. Now THATs the
real passionate Singapore for you.
is really a Cosmopolitan city" the big headline in ST Life!
(Sept 10, 03) raved about the 20-year ban on Cosmopolitan magazine
being revoked finally. Now, do Singaporeans see how silly the ban was?
Of course, not. Singaporeans see? Thatll be the day. (Is it bread-and-butter?
I hear them ask.)
on advertising by hospitals to be lifted" STs front-page
headline on Sept 29, 03, further showing us the alarming amount
of stringent controls experienced just yesterday. "It is hoped that
the move will help Singapore get a bigger slice of the regional market
in providing medical services to foreigners." Like I said,
its all about singing to outsiders. But of course, like allowing
bar-top dancing, a whole new set of rules comes with the bans lift
thats too mind-boggling to get into here.
of the month ST columnist Rand Miranda says Singapore girls
craving the 5Cs (cash, credit card, condo, car, club-membership) is not
enough, they should "make it six" (Sept 8, 03). The sixth,
being character. Ha ha ha ha. No, the jokes not on Miranda (how
can you honestly blame an earnest soul?) but on the thought that Singapore
girls, generally speaking, could possess any semblance of an enviable
character. (Remember, thered be 2,000 refutations if you voice my
claim in the press.)
The sad truth
about not having much character points to one thing our wonderful
education system. (Latest indictment "JC students reveal appalling
standard of English in ST survey," Sept 29, 03.) But no worries,
Rand, Singaporeans are generally incapable of making such societal connections.
And even if they do, we know better than to publicise them. So, shhhh!
part-time lady tutor was punched in the face by a 49-year-old man "for
no apparent reason" (ST, Aug 21, 03). Unless the suspect was
a stark raving mental-case, I venture to guess that he was perhaps ticked
off by a scowl to deliver that punch. Do Singaporeans know that they scowl?
I know they dont. Theyre human debris, so how could they be
all that aware? The scary thing is, theyve even influenced our foreign
workers working here.
day, I was in a neighbourhood shop, this young Indonesian maid came in
and scowled at me. I just burst out laughing and said aloud what
on earth are you scowling at? Then I turned to her standing beside me
and said: "You really dont have to scowl" (like she knew
what I was talking about), "just 'cos the rest of the Singaporeans
are doing it, you dont have to follow them. Just smile. You have
it in you." And viola, she did! And I returned the smile. Thank god,
Im not a 49-year-old man!
Singapore scowl. How do I deal with it? Im sure youd like
to know. Well, let me tell you. Every time I get one, I welcome
it with all my heart and soul, sending out a vibe (sometimes aloud) that
says oooh, gimme more! Prove to me that Im so right to say
that Singaporeans have no life (not to mention, no courtesy) and are truly
repressed sour-grape space-stakers. In fact, more scowls, please.
Just so I feel so reich to write a third book. Cmon, gimme
all the scowls you got. I want more. (Not that my publisher needs the
little of the panel discussion on Channel NewsAsia that talked about why
Singapore Is Not A Giving Society. Its like dont say
we dont pay it some lip service, okay! Im sure you dont
need to be told what the panels conclusion was, unless you really
want to know the official stand on the subject. I didnt.
So dont ask me.
of Streats Philip Lee wrote in The Straits Times (Sept 20, 03):
"Had Lee Kuan Yew not been tough then
" in relation to
Singapores effective elimination of triad gangs. Well, yeah! Now,
we really shouldnt put two-and-two together and ask about Remaking
Singapore here. Sometimes, I do wish that the elevated one would not take
a backseat and be plainly forefront again. For one thing, Id be
spared of inane panel discussions on TV. Dont you miss those good
old days when we intuitively practised refine self-censorship knowing
that the OB-markers are ALL THERE? Now, were Remaking Singapore
and asking where got there. Got, meh?!
For all our
flashing of quilts and tiles to show for a nationalistic
spirit around Singapore Race Day (thats National Day, honey!), all
it took was one of our poets, Philip Jeyaretnam, to spell it all out
"Singaporeans need a sense of national pride" (ST Life! Aug
30, 03). How nice, that pride can be testified with quilts and tiles.
(Go tell it, Lisa!)
Maybe Ive just got piles. XHo
For more... email [email protected] with the message, "Put me on your mailing list."