Monday, September 28, 2015

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Friday, September 25, 2015

If you only knew

If you only knew
how much I love you
despite our days of cold wars
and shouting matches.
If you only knew
how much my heart sunk
these days when I heard
so little from you
yet so much from others.
If you only knew
how much you've done for me
how much you meant to me
how grateful I've been.
If only you knew
I'm sure I'd be able to let you go
to say goodbye and smile
IF only you knew.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Jadedness in the Craft

You know, after being in the field of teaching and performance for a couple of years, I do have to admit that there will be time when I would feel so burnt out. I know it has nothing to do with my passion. I know I am still very passionate in the craft of performance and moulding of our young minds. I suppose, it is more of that tired feeling; the feeling of being overworked.

Of course, some of you might be thinking—You are working as a freelance performer and educator; wouldn’t you have the control over your schedule? The truth is, YES. I do have control over my schedule. However, being the ambitious me, I am always trying to push myself to work harder—I hope to change the perception of the people around me! I want to mould these young minds to be able to see the ARTS from a different perspective, a positive perspective that is. I want to make them see that you can build your life around your passion in either theatre or dance or fine arts. And I figured, the more students I get to teach, the faster the change would come. In order to teach more students, I would of course need to put in more effort and hours into the work, which then resulted to me feeling tired and worn out at times.

But that is not the reason for me to write this entry. I wrote this entry with the hope to remind myself not to get jaded in my crafts. Despite the difficulty I face, I shall persevere and do my best to inspire my students.

The need to write this entry comes after I watched a piece by a group of graduating students who were directed by the most prolific arts practitioner in Singapore. Let me just indulge a little bit on what happened. I came to watch the production with zero expectation. As I sat in the performing space, I saw the director; he was slouching and looking bored. He has no clipboards or papers to write notes or criticism that might help the students. The script that the students used was written by one of the most talented writer in Singapore. He has written many plays. This particular script has been performed multiple times and I’ve had the honour of being one of the actor to perform the script in 2012 and 2013. The script is hilarious and connects the locals very well. However, during this performance directed by the said director, most of the jokes fell flat; the students were not able to deliver the punch-lines effectively. Half-way through the performance, some of the audience members walked out. The director, sitting among the audience, seemed very unfazed—he continued to look bored in his seat. This, combined with other recent events that involved him, made it very apparent that he was jaded. The thing is, I don’t care if he was jaded. I am more alarmed at the fact that he took on this directorial position despite the jadedness he felt for his crafts. It is just not fair to the students, who were hoping to gain some form of wisdom from his vast experience in theatre.

So here I am, writing in this entry to remind myself not to get jaded. And if I should ever become jaded of my craft, I would remind myself not to even consider teaching the craft to any students…cos it wouldn’t be fair to them.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Art of Pantomimes, The art of Clarity

You know, after watching a couple of children’s shows and pantomimes, I could only come to one conclusion—many of us are insulting our future generation’s intelligence. Most of the shows that I’ve watched are one dimensional. The characters and plots are simplified to the point that these stories left no room for contemplations or alternative views. And if the stories ever allow a moment of contemplation ever so slightly, they will usually be banned.

You name it: murder, death, sex, alternative lifestyles; all these are put away from our children on the assumption that our children may be easily influenced by what they read, but have we asked ourselves the more important question—What actually led us to such assumption? Are we basing this assumption on our life’s experience? Were we all once that gullible to be so easily influenced?

I once attended a forum theatre that was performed by Drama Box, a local theatre company. I believe it dealt with the theme of death and how we should be planning for our own deaths before we are crippled with senility. The performance was staged in a basketball court opposite of Khatib MRT station. What I found truly intriguing was that at least 40% of the audience was children. Primary school students and they sat there, eyes glued to the performance. There was one part where a daughter refused to grant her mother’s wish. The details are eluding me at this moment, so please correct me if I got them wrong. I believe the mother-daughter disagreement was about the choice of treatment for the mother’s illness. The mother chose to want to die, while the daughter chose to go with whatever treatment that was necessary to keep the mother alive. We may not know the daughter’s reason to go against the mother’s desire to die, as it wasn’t highlighted during the performance itself. What was clear was that the choice to let her mother go was as equally painful to her as the treatment was to her mother. The pain endured by both mother and daughter was translated and shared by the young audience, some who were barely 6. I remembered thinking—would schools in Singapore have allowed this scene to be performed in front of their students? We, as the educators and parents nominate ourselves as the protectors to our children, protecting them against information we thought was bad; sometimes without realising that our children need no such protection. They understand death, sex, drugs as well as we do. They have clarity on what they think is bad or good for them. We groan about how Singapore has become a nanny state without realising that we are making the same mistake with our children.

And going back to these stories, with the one dimensional plot and characters—are we simplifying life way too much? Are we trying to give our children the illusion that life is simple? Cinderella’s stepmother was deemed as evil because of the way she treated Cinderella. Have we ever put ourselves into the stepmother’s shoes? How would one feel being the second wife? How would one deal with the inferiority complex? The fear of having your own children (Cinderella’s step sisters) be put as second priority, what would you have done if your life is shrouded by such fears? Some of us would have voted for opposition parties, when we are faced with the prospects of those new citizens being treated as first class citizens while our own children pick up cardboards and serve meals at MC Donald’s.


Life is not that simple. So why should we keep our children delusional by serving them with one dimensional plots and characters? Why would we want to shield them from facts about drugs and sex and alternative lifestyles instead of educating them on these issues? Why won’t we give them the clarity that they so deserve?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Suicidal Thoughts

Have you ever wondered
Why we creative people tend to end our own lives?
We see things that normal science or maths people don't see.
We see the world as a constant;
Constantly doomed, that is.
We then took in our stride to be its saviour
Till all hopes are  lost
And that is when
We put our heads in the oven.