Friday, August 22, 2008

There's this cool forum going on tomorrow at the National Library about what we dream Singapore would be, ideally. Quite bummed that I can't go, it would be fun you know! Its not often that people celebrate idealism nowadays, it just gets no respect - as if being cynical and realistic is the better stance. Anyway!

Anyway, what do I dream Singapore would be?

I would like it to not be racist. Seriously you all, just stop.

Apart from institutional racism in terms of unspoken barriers in the military, what I'm more uncomfortable with is casual racism which by its nature, is so much more insidious. I've come to a point that I find times when people mimic the accents of minorities really very abrasive. And let's not kid ourselves, it happens A LOT here in Singapore.

It gets to me, it really does. Especially so because it's so hard to speak up against it because the perpetrators (who are your friends) of course, think they are doing it out of humour. There is no direct malice save for the tinge of mockery that they themselves are not conscious of. How does one call them out on it without:
a) making too big a fuss of it
b) appearing self-victimizing
c) sounding over-sensitive?

And mmhm, if you're so convinced that there is nothing overtly offensive about it, then why do you giggle in embarrassment when a stranger of a minority race catches you doing it? Geez, I dunno, but it might be your conscience and bit of social sensitivity flickering.

Okay Chinese friends, the first few times you talk in a Malay mat accent, yeah funny. Every other day, several times a day? When I start losing the novelty of hearing you speak in the stereotype of my ethnic race, it starts getting a bit annoying, and when its just not funny anymore, then all I see left is the tiny core of mockery stemming from your perception of us minorities as funny, strange Others. C'mon, at this rate, let's get a bunch of tribal Africans for an exhibit in our zoo!

And no, I don't think speaking in an Indian/Philippine accent is funny. What's so funny? That their English sounds different? Please lor. Just the other day in class, I was exposed the many ways that Singaporean-Chinese people speak and its pretty idiosyncratic too. But if I were to mimic that out of *cough* humour, no, that would just be mean. I would be, sorry, looking down on more cheena people.

Maybe I'm too serious.

But maybe! I'm just getting pretty uncomfortable realizing the degree of how narrow-minded, insensitive or unaware my peers can be.

Or maybe! They just need to get a better sense of humour.

Ah shit, if the persons I am ranting about ever finds this post, I am screwed. Twenty years old is pretty late to finally start feeling the weight of peer pressure but well, here it is.

Although its times like these when my repressed resentment builds up that I really wish I could pack up the scores of socially insensitive people and send them off to a community of crazy white supremacist people. Like, here you go! This is how we feel as a minority.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The morning light through the classroom screens was pretty today. I really love it when I wake up in bed to this subdued kind of light. Granted, it's not the GOOD MORNING, WAKE UP PLEASE kind of sentiment, but who wants that anyway! Ha. This kind of light is the kind that makes you feel soft and comfortable, a precursor to a gentle and thoroughly pleasant day.

I am stuffing my face with carbs now. In lieu of Proper Dinner, I am having the mini butter rolls that Gardenia comes up with, which are really very good actually.

I just got the letter from mendaki today which confirmed that I will not be heading off to london. I will be staying in Singapore where there is/are:
- sun
- cheap-ish food
- cheaper places to develop film
- full access to a dark room
- more than sufficient school facilities
- information and the know-how to get odd, strange materials* from the cheapest place possible
- friends
- a certain friend I've developed a very close working relationship that is full of potential for future ventures (crossed fingers)

Clearly, I am putting in a lot of effort to look on the positive side of things.

*Speaking of which, a recent project I was working on for school involved a friend and I having to do a presentation on a given designer (Zuzana Licko, who comes up with really interesting fonts, Mrs Eaves in particular..) as well as producing a souvenir for our classmates. Since Zuzana is famous for being a typeface designer, with a nifty name at that, we decided to showcase her fonts in the form of an alphabet block.

Which obviously meant we needed a source for the blocks of wood.

We were at first going to head to Ikea and cross our fingers that they would have building blocks in their children's department when my mum suggested instead that we source it instead from an industrial timber shop. Obviously something we should have thought of in the first place but I suppose the industrial backwaters of Singapore are not the first thing that comes to mind for a 20 year old greenhorn.

Although it should! Because for 24 2" cubes, we got it for what, $14. And the wood itself, a 8 foot plank of wood was 5 DOLLARS. Super cheap can!

Of course, we had to go through the trouble of finding a shop willing to sell us the measly amount that we wanted and then, the really nice workshop guy sawed the whole plank for us even though his boss told him only to saw through like half hoho! Avoided extra service charge! Am very pleased.

Also pleased with is how the project eventually turned out.

And here's the typography project that I mentioned in the previous entry! Charcoal on a huge-ass piece of craft paper, photographer with from the top bunk of my double-decker bed and Illustrator-ed to come up with a chart of the letter's anatomy hurrah. Uh, but this copy here is one with a mistake and some accidental omissions, like how the end of the stroke is just that and not actually a terminal? And I forgot to mark down the x-height. Such a noob.

Monday, August 04, 2008


We had Typography today, so we started off with a few basic a freaking giant-scaled charcoal/paint rendering of a serif letter! If you've ever had to do a banner for tedious school activities, you know how tedious and difficult this is.

These are my classmates' stuff, my lowercase 'e' looks a bit lopsided because I couldn't the proportion and curves just right yet. Which makes how awesome the 'g' looks veryyy impressive indeed :D
Funny thing I noticed today! Was in the car with my mum driving through our neighbourhood when I saw one, single national flag hung out by a certain household who I suppose, just cares enough.

Isn't that it, really? The reason why we don't hang out our national flags near National Day anymore is simply because we just don't care enough to. Other manifestations of this syndrome would be:
a) So inconvenient la
b) I don't know where our flag is..
c) Our flag very old, faded already
d) It's just like that lor, nobody do already
e) difficult. Hang where, like how?

But the strangest, strangest thing is what is the cause of this turn of apathy? Because I can clearly remember that maybe a decade ago, in my estate at least, a majority of households DID hang up our national flags and you know, its a pretty cool sight.

I suppose what I find so fascinating about this is how silently our attitudes towards nationalism/patriotism have changed, and from no remarkably apparent cause that I can think of. Its just a disturbingly clear marker of how the country as a whole (hail ye, almighty generalization!) is gradually not caring anymore.

What, do we suddenly hate the PAP more now? Or are they doing such a good job that we are now mind-numbingly complacent and apathetic - and interestingly, more complacent and apathetic than a decade ago. Are we even more cynical now, not seeing the worth in putting up half-meant displays of patriotism? Are we bored with the whole National Day spectacle?

See, its the point where we can compare what we are today and what we used to be that makes this whole analogy so striking. And then there's the question of what caused this shift in sentiment, which I think is even more important than the No Flag Up deal itself. The extent of our patriotic feeling is no longer a vague notion discussed in rhetorical terms. We have the evidence guys.

Which is scary, personally.