Thursday, September 14, 2006


For one of my favourite bloggers Mr Wang, I will write about flowers today. It appears that the flowers that were forcibly planted into the soil around Suntec City are dying. They are not acclimatised to Singapore weather. They droop and wilt under the intense gaze of the sun in our little tropical paradise. The flowers had a noble role; they were supposed to be the beautiful backdrop to our collaged smiles. To welcome those important delegates into Suntec City. Its a pity. Probably with alittle more time, a little more water, these flowers could have taken root and thrived in Suntec City. Become permanent denizens of the place. Instead, these imported flowers have fulfilled their duties, blazed their beauty and left to die.

I am always reminded of PM Lee's maiden National Day Rally speech. This was the portion that so caught the fascination of Singaporeans, that actually instilled a sense of belief that change was in the air :

"We also need, as a government, to encourage participation and debate. We have opened up over the years, we've got a Speakers' Corner, we've allowed a lot more discussion, if you read the newspapers, what the newspapers write, the columnists and the Forum page writers. The degree of debate is much more than we used to have, or in Parliament. But I think we can go further ... Once in a while, Think Centre says they want to go to the Speakers' Corner and they want to plant 100 flowers there, let the hundred flowers bloom.

Well, I think go ahead. They want to water the flowers, go ahead. They want to turn the flowers down, go ahead. I mean, free expression as long as you don't get into race and religion and don't start a riot. It's a signal that speak, speak your voice, be heard, take responsibility for your views and opinions.

As a society also, we have to be forward-looking. I ask some young people what they would like me to say tonight. And one of them said this: Be forward-looking. Don't let elders deter you by saying it cannot be done or scare you with war stories. Maybe I was telling him war stories because I know him. I agree that you shouldn't be scared by your elders but I think you should listen to them, think carefully what their lessons mean in this new day and age and then use those lessons to avoid unnecessary mistakes and solve problems our way today.

But we have to be prepared to accept the diversity of views and to listen to the debate and to have this discussion always with a view to moving Singapore forward." -- ND Rally 2004

And when the flowers are blooming, as the flowers are of a different color, a different slant, they are wilted under the gaze of the sun. Apparently, Mr 400 Frowns has been arrested. Recently, Mr Brown was removed of his job as a columnist. As the flowers wilt and die around Suntec City, there is always the solution of bringing in more flowers to displace these failed ones. To make Suntec City sunny again. Beautiful as always.

And sometimes, I can only think. Think why, when we are so close to that moment, that hinge, that glimpse of possibility of promises realised, that opportunity of change, for change, the hopes are unhinged. Nothing ever really changes. The song remains the same. The promises remain as relics of hope-possible. The promises are deferred.

"This dream never ends" you said
"This feeling never goes
The time will never come to slip away"
"This wave never breaks" you said
"This sun never sets again
These flowers will never fade"
"This world never stops" you said
"This wonder never leaves
The time will never come to say goodbye"
"This tide never turns" you said
"This night never falls again
These flowers will never die"

Perhaps only Mr Wang noticed that the poor flowers are dying, he does have a poetic soul. Or it could be that others also do see the sorry state of the flowers but they just keep the sadness in their hearts. Telling themselves that one day, they will go to a place where the flowers will really bloom eternal. Because they cannot really wait for the promises to be realised any more. Because they have seen and experienced too many broken promises. Too many close "what ifs". Because they have been disappointed again.

"This dream always ends" I said
"This feeling always goes
The time always comes to slip away"
"This wave always breaks" I said
"This sun always sets again
And these flowers will always fade"
"This world always stops" I said
"This wonder always leaves
The time always comes to say goodbye"
"This tide always turns" I said
"This night always falls again
And these flowers will always die"

And so the greatest show for Singapore begins now. S2006. Welcome IMF. Welcome WB. Welcome to singapore. Silence reigns, all is peaceful and secure. From the physical to the cultural, the Singapore landscape has been sculpted back to its paradise form again. again. and again. And for Singapore's happy citizens, it is back to their customary relationship with the Government :

Between you and me
It's hard to ever really know
Who to trust
How to think
What to believe
Between me and you
It's hard to ever really know
Who to choose
How to feel
What to do

Night has fallen again. The dying flowers will be replaced. They always will. Because Singapore must always be beautiful, is always beautiful. For we have to be beautiful so that Singapore can survive, so that Singapore can bloom. There is no other way and so You say. And so You gave me flowers of hope and I let fall flowers of blood.

Song of the Day : "Bloodflowers", The Cure


Anonymous sayonara singapore said...

Hauntingly beautiful piece of writing. It actually gave me chills. Bravo.

7:02 AM  
Anonymous thor666 said...

a lot of people have seen the flowers wither. we just block it out of our mind.

disempowerment is equally as powerful as empowerment. let me be the first to admit that i won't go to the rally come september 16 - because my actions are tied to my university education. i see little in getting myself into trouble and wasting all my parent's money in putting me through school.

that's the fear everyone talks about, and the fear, the inaction of taking care of the flowers, that might cause the orchid to wither and die.

9:03 AM  
Blogger sei-ji rakugaki said...

once upon a time, Mao ZeDong had an idea of letting a hundred flowers bloom too, and in doing so as he aptly put it , he can "draw the snakes out of their caves".

5:14 PM  
Blogger nofearSingapore said...


Those were beautiful words and ideals from the PM.

I ask myself( but only in my mind), " So what happened?"

Instead of speeches that are "forward-looking", what has stopped us from actually going forward?

I wonder,

Dr.H ( I will go see the flowers at Suntec for myself)

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant piece of writing. Surreal & yet so aptly relevent...

6:10 PM  
Blogger The Void Deck said...

Dude, fucking-A as usual.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find the scene near Suntec it a dire contrast - the facade of bright flowers with the backdrop of iron fences topped with razor wires.

The first impression that comes to mind is one of a city under siege, a impression that will probably strike quite a few of our distinguished IMF visitors.

And I wonder - is the wire fences and razor wires neccessary? Would surviellance and concrete blocks not suffice?

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the following passage somewhere, It rang a bell and I copied it and placed it on my desktop....

" Singapore may be an independent nation, but the current relationship between citizens and authority retains in some ways a colonial flavour, with an administration made up of a certain privileged class that maintains strict control over its ward. Both intervene in their citizen's lives: for example, by implementing rulings that influence how Singapore's different ethnic groups interact. Both the white man and the men in white impose a certain ideology as well – that of European supremacy in the former, and of the need for Singapore's continual progress in the latter. The purposes for these measures differ, but the top-down approach remains"

10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

other than seelan, another 3 were arrested, their computers seized. For the reason that they wanted to distribute flyers against IMF/WB.

you are so absolutely right. they give us flowers of hope and we let fall flowers of fucking blood.

its sad sad days for Singapore. All the false promises of engagement is all crap. all lies lies lies lies

12:33 AM  
Anonymous Jol said...

I don't think anyone really needs the flowers to bloom eternal, we just need them not to be prematurely stomped on all of the fucking time. "The nature of things does not madden us, only ill will does."

12:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this entierie situation is just totally ridiculous and yet you still can tease out some beauty out of everything to let us escape into. thank you, your writing is lovely.

5:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes - the photos on Mr was eerie....

6:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LHL & his MIW will say :
So sad,
So helpless,
So what ?

6:50 AM  
Anonymous boon said...

the reason people don't see the flowers die is because they're avoiding the road blocks around Suntec. What a pain.

Freedom of expression is probably not all it's cracked up to be. But we want it anyway.

8:49 AM  
Anonymous the geriatric eunuch said...

Sadly, most S'poreans suffer from a debilitating illness: what Burroughs called "the policeman inside" and what Foucalt identified as "the Fascist within." Is there any greater terror than the fear within yourself?

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your entry is so eloquent and simply so sad. why must it be this way? why can't the leaders just grow up and see the world as it is?

1:15 PM  
Blogger shimure said...

The actions brings a chilling thoughts about the many foreign workers who had come to singapore to fill their purpose for an instant or a while.

Like flowers unaccustomed to the new environment they do not leave their roots and will leave.

And the government's only action is to say. While we can get more flowers anyways.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Marcus said...

An apt description for the current state of affairs in singapore.

Like flowers, all of us will wither and the govt will just get in new flowers to replace us.

9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so apt and so scary

1:41 AM  
Anonymous jabroni said...

The poem by Gilbert Koh was what came to mind when I read Xeno's entry. How apt...

12:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very interesting...
once our purpose is fulfilled....we will be replaced by new flowers.
damn freaky

7:15 PM  

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