Monday, August 21, 2006

Call Connect to Singapore

If we could subsist on words, perhaps we should have a National Day Rally every month. To rally us into the brave new world. To know that the powerful seeks to connect with us. That the powerful encourages us to connect amongst ourselves. That the powerful, pleads that we connect with the land. Connection Singapore.

The verdicts from the Singaporean stream in. Accolades galore according to our national press. Inspiring speech. Enervating. A feeling of goodwill. A Progress Package of words, progressive connectivities, progressive promises.

Minute changes in the lexical landscape. No more foreign talent. Just immigrants like us, not better than us, like us so like them. Like us all Singaporeans of immigrant heritage, diaspora connections. They are latter day Singaporeans, kinship forged with our grandparents, our great grandparents. Modern day settlers. Making that connection with Singapore, in Singapore.
With a scarlet-garbed magician, Singapore Central is defined strategically in Rally 2006. The Common Hero(es) are pedestalled and installed as the paragons of Success, justifying past policies, mandating future policies. Fallen Hero(es) are felled further, their shadows smirched onto mud to stay there. As reminders. The brainless scarecrow crucified in a lush prairie of verdant grass rippling to the breath of the gentle wind.

If we could subsist on words, we should have a Rally Speech every week. Suddenly, the chilling effect is suspended as jokes spill through, warmth is generated, elderly anecdotes which tug the heart-strings, seemingly genuine laughter, wearing down the hard-wired fear, coaxing heartware out of Singaporeans. Humour is fine. Innovative and hip/happenin ways to bring the powerful to you. To message to you. To massage a connection. Join up the dots and make a big heart in Singapore Central, for Singapore central.

Subductive. To subdue seductively.

The only dream worth having, is to dream that you will live while you're alive and die only when you're dead.

This line has been haunting me, subsisting me for a few weeks. I saw the words come alive in Eleanor Wong's play on the JBJ Campaign when the dead was not allowed to die and the living played dead. A paradox resolved only when the dead danced with the living to coax life back into the living so that the dead could die. And so too, its shadows in Alfian's play Homesick. Both plays end with "dead" voices. Recorded messages, dead and alive confused, entangled.

I am trying to connect all three National Rally Speeches made by PM Lee. And the shape is still Singapore unchanged. Its still safe and secure. Institutions like the media, labour, judiciary remain strong. Facing the same direction as the institution of Government.

Except that there is social change. There is a movement. There is a flow. That Singapore citizens are dreaming every night about somewhere else. And nowadays they ride their dreams on that cable out of Singapore and into the world. Out-wired bound to read news, watch videos, make friends, join communities, experience life, to make connections. And they are doing this without the need for Government, of Government.

So the first two Rally Speeches were about change; change really to address this movement. Opening up Singapore. So that there is no need to go somewhere else when all you seek is already here. But the truth proved otherwise. When Singapore opened up, those who came out were quickly cut down. Because, whenever they opened up, devils would pop out. And their right of response carried an axe which severs you from a job, from a life. Bhavani responded to mr brown. And he lost his job with Today. Thats the right of response reserved by the Government. So who dares come out of the box left opened by the Government?

So those who remain in the box continue to dream of somewhere else, surfing out of Singapore on that precious wire. Without Government.

And so in the third Rally Speech, the Government will come after you in your wired dreams. Pushing their vodcasts, podcasts, STOMPS, Minister blogs into your wired dreams. Skype-ing you. It will be more subductive than my choice of verbs but it will be done. Call Connect. Connection Singapore. To connect you to them. To bring you home from cyberspace, from imagined Hougangs, imagined Potong Pasirs, imagined worlds.

Will they succeeed? Will they fail? I do not know. You cannot really subsist on the Rally Speech for long before you turn to other sources of nourishment.

The only dream worth having, is to dream that you will live while you're alive and die only when you're dead.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did not bother to watch PM Lee's National Day Rally Speech live as I had better things to do.

What I read in the papers and the blogs did not leave me feeling very "rah-rah" about Singapore.

The same old message couched in some references to new media but not touching on how it is not the way PAP speaks to the citizens that must change, it is for PAP to truly listen. Otherwise, we are back to the monologue or lecture that is uniquely PAP.

I am sick of the term foreign talent. I am sure many others are as well. Now PM Lee has been advised to use immigrants. So we come to the crux of the issue, it is a numbers game to Singapore Inc. As Mr Wang alluded to the importing of immigrants as a very "Cylon" thing, one can see why there is a slow but steady exodus of Singaporeans to the mystical land of, "Earth" or in the Singapore context, anywhere but our little red (and white lightning) dot.

lunatic_fringe

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Lyn said...

"The only dream worth having, is to dream that you will live while you're alive and die only when you're dead.

This line has been haunting me, subsisting me for a few weeks. I saw the words come alive in Eleanor Wong's play on the JBJ Campaign when the dead was not allowed to die and the living played dead. A paradox resolved only when the dead danced with the living to coax life back into the living so that the dead could die."

Thanks for shedding light on the final scene of the JBJ play. Is it your personal interpretation? I had a hard time figuring out the symbolic meaning of the dance between the two characters.

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, the Gahment Call Connects us. One way only. They command us one way. We pay them one way.

11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Call Connect simi lan? I want to disconnect this phone line!!! No use waste money only!!!

12:12 AM  
Blogger Mr Wang Says So said...

They will not succeed lah, and the reason is that they do not have any of the Mr Brown attributes listed from (a) to (e) in this post.

12:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

enervating? think you mean energizing.. :) nice article btw...

1:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Xenoboy means enervating la, not energizing. He seldom uses words he doesnt intend. Enervating = energizing plus rejuvenating, i guess.

I like the use of "scarlet magician", it made me smile loudly

7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

interesting perspectives. however i do believe you read too deep into things at times. to me, its all about imagery

7:05 AM  
Anonymous Parkaboy said...

"The only dream worth having, is to dream that you will live while you're alive and die only when you're dead."

Very true - I was talking to a fellow quitter the other day and trying to figure out what made the crucial difference. Why even doing the most mundane things, like shopping or reading, we feel happier outside of Singapore. And the answer was that within the routines of Singapore we felt no hope for our lives. We did not feel it was possible to live, to be more than blandly non-happy. I want only one final, irrefutable, physical death to be the end of hope - not to bleed all aspirations away from a thousand shallow cuts.

3:39 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home