Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Like You I Forgot

I am XenoBoy. I am the Political Savant.

It begins with a Word. Sometimes it begins with a Sigul. Deep psychological anxieties sometimes slip onto the surface. The averted gaze from guilt and from conscience creates a dissonance in one's Self. Take the tsunami commemorations by Singaporeans featured in CNA. A Singaporean artist haunted by the tsunami spends many late nights painting a wall. A family in Aceh for one day and the daughter resolves the dissonance in a 16 page photo essay.
In our cocooned safety zone we watch drama, tragedy and trauma unfold in front of our eyes. We feel guilt for our safety and exonerate this guilt in the form of an articulation of the unnaratable as a wall painting or as a photo essay. It is common enough for commemorative practices to re-visit grief and to sequence the grief into sense.
Seeing to forget. Comfort for anxious souls.
Singapore Angle was a blog dedicated to tsunami community creation. Look at what it is now. From the tragedy of the tsunami, the blog built a community and further built upon a new community and took on "a life of its own". A new pathway away from tragedy, that takes the unnarratable and gives it new voices and new hope. Remembering through building.

Back to the Word. Back to the Sigul.

I am in the lift coming home at 4 am and freshly carved were the following Words : NKF=PAP=CPF. Staring me in the face. The anger is palpable, etched deeply into the pastel blue lift wall. This act of inscription is more than anger. There is a movie, Memento, in which the main protagonist suffers from acute amnesia as he seeks to avenge the murder of his wife. He remembers nothing 5 minutes before. To remember, he inscribes his body with tattoos. Siguls on his Body to prevent him from forgetting crucial events. This sigul staring at me is more than anger.
It is a fear of forgetting.
Singaporeans do forget. In the last GE, there was the suggestion of a shadow Cabinet, what happened to that? There was once a campaign HeartBeat Singapore, what happened to that? We can memorise but we cannot remember. We know the proud facts of Singapore but we cannot narrate the story threading the facts together. We can only fall back on the yearly History lessons in August. Different immigrants landing in Singapore. Hard life. Hard work along the River of Life. The Japanese Occupation. Independence and the crushing of communism. Tumult when races clashed. Hard work. Harmony. Lee Kuan Yew. Singapore the modern global city. Presented in 5 minutes by school children running a coordinated picture show on the Padang.
History in 5 minutes. Every year, August 9 without fail. In time, we memorise this History and we forget the stories of Singapore.

The inscription on the lift wall will fail to make us remember. Like the movie Memento, the tattoos on his body become meaningless siguls because they have no narrative thread. He knows his wife was murdered. He knows what he inscribed on his body are important. But he cannot understand because he fails to remember.

In time, the anxiety arising from our forgetting will slip onto the surface. From our cocooned safety zone we exonerate our anger in the form of an articulation of the forgotten as a funny movie or a White Paper. In so doing, what we see leads us to forget why NKF=PAP=CPF.
I am XenoBoy. I am the Political Savant.
Quote of the Day,

"Listen to me. Like you, I know what it is to forget. Like you, I have a memory. I know what it is to forget. Like you, I forgot. Like you, I wanted to have an inconsolable memory, a memory of shadows and stone. For my part, I struggled with all my might, every day, against the horror of no longer understanding at all the reason for remembering. Like you, I forgot" -- Resnais and Duras, Hiroshima mon amour


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading your entries are like taking drugs to make you forget. Prozac blog.

1:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, someone once said that history is written by the victors. things that glorify the nation is written, things that do not, will have to depend on whether the writer wants it noted down.

it takes time to acknowledge that a utopia doesn't exist. :(


10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is pretentious and worthless crap! Of course history is written by the victors, its a fact of life. Realpolitik and POWER will always triumph and you better get used to it. And losers should be forgotten and stay buried. And that is All.

11:00 PM  
Blogger xenoboysg said...

hi methegirl,

Yes, one of the better articulations of history as a narrative of the victors come from Walter Benjamin and his theses on the Philosophy of History.

Last anonymous -- yes juz stay on the fence and chirp. its comfortable.

8:00 AM  
Blogger Molly Meek said...

Chirp? I want to go Tweety-chasing again!

9:26 AM  

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