Friday, August 08, 2008

Singapore Spirit

It is said that during this month, spirits of the netherworld are given license to roam the physical world. In Singapore, many activities cease during this month, house-moving, renovations, marriages, wedding dinners, for fear that it will bring inauspicious beginnings to new ventures. There cannot be too much joy during this month. Because the spirits are sad, hungry, lonely.

But still, we celebrate National Day in this luckless month. This year's theme, ironically, a celebration of the Singapore Spirit. The spirit of you and me. Our spirits chasing that dangling carrot in front of our eyes. A long, long queue outside the neighborhood betting shops. Hoping for luck in this luckless month. Fifty cent quickpick, dreaming a return eight million over, to lift our spirits, to lift us from our luckless lives.

This year's National Day, a paean to our indomitable Singapore Spirit. A spirit sliced wafer thin by cold political design. A spirit disfigured with mouths sewn shut. A spirit disembodied from our bodies which plod on like beasts of burden keeping Singapore Inc alive. A spirit mostly asleep, awakened every four years to sluggishly ink away emancipation. An emaciated spirit looking always for flight even as hordes rush in to replace his place. The Singapore Spirit, an indomitable Spirit.

The Singapore spirit, standing below the huge garishly lit National Day billboard of our beaming political masters surrounded by our multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-caricatured daguerreotypes. The Singapore spirit looking sadly at the Singaporean with his five dollar offerings of million dollar Hades money, a pair of flickering joss candles, a cluster of smoking joss sticks, praying fervently for blessings, for luck in this luckless month, in their luckless lives.

The Singapore spirit, a fragile wisp of ether, sadly watching a fictional celebration of million-dollar fanfare, elaborately synchronized dance displays, precision marching, streaking sonic jet fighters, muscular anthems and paeans, telling lustrous myths of unity, strength, indomitablity. Outside the stage, the old man collects discarded cardboard boxes and drink-cans from crowded coffee-shops, filled with patrons enraptured by the olympian spectacle in Beijing on the hanging TV screens. The Singapore spirit, so diffuse, so faint, so slight, like a whiff of alchohol in a Sunday choir-boy's breath. The Singapore spirit, united only by a common dream of flight from their luckless lives, from their lifeless lives.

The Singapore Spirit of National Day, a community of meanings, a sovereign display of resemblance and common reflexion, from which emerges the principles of unity and eventually political domination. While the singapore spirit of this Seventh Month, trudges on dispirited, unable to rupture its mythic patina of joyous unity, unable to voice, unable to signal its plea against the illogical political slogans of more taxes and necessary rising costs.

The dispirited Singapore Spirit, accepting the ashes of offerings from little bonfires scattered around the country. Unable to offer anything back but dreams of a better life as insubstantial, as ephemeral as the fireworks we will see this Saturday night.

Quote of the Day --

"These pre-existing forms of continuity, all these syntheses that are accepted without question, must remain in suspense. They must not be rejected definitively of course, but the tranquility with which they are accepted must be disturbed; we must show that they do not come about of themselves, but are always the result of a construction the rules of which must be known, and the justifications of which must be scrutinized: we must define in what conditions and in view of which analyses certain of them are legitimate; and we must indicate which of them can never be accepted in any circumstances." -- The Archaeology of Knowledge, Foucault


Anonymous Anonymous said...


8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should comment on the article on this morning ST...
"Why they hate Singapore
Western detractors are getting the jitters as others copy our model"

Umbelievable propaganda piece trying to incite nationalism and fanaticism. I wonder why?

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

incite nationalism?

hardly any whiff of nationalism left.

Let's many NS men want to fight for Singapore? You heard it, right. Many NS man want to do what the Foreign Talents and the PAP ruler will do when there's war. FLEE for safety (likely to Australia).

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Onlooker said...

Well written :)

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great stuff as usual. thank you.

4:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's beautiful, Xeno Boy, truth told in a breathtakingly poetic style.

I utterly adore your writing!


7:05 PM  
Blogger apifly said...

I love to visit Singapore seeing the clean environment and traffic system well organize but people unfriendly no thought of living there.
I suppose the same thing happen to Singaporean who likes to visit Malaysia but not living there hate it when you see the dirty dump side by the roadside all traffic system messy but good thing is that the people are friendly and easy to make friend

3:19 AM  

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