Monday, August 18, 2008

Terminal Loops

Its that rally speech again, littered always with captivating words, moving promises, prelapsarian anxieties. statistical suasion. Not the chest-thumping jingo-jingle of Lee Hoong's Pax Singaporeana, but the calculated sensibilities of practical reason. A rally always of implied shifts, always heralding that slip of change, winds of change. Holding us captive, captivated that perhaps ... just perhaps ...

Inflation? Do the math and you're really not so worse off. ERP? But there is your car, a dream Corolla, gleaming at the parking lot. What wants remain unfulfilled, how far the subsistence line when three billion dollars were pumped out to you and to me? Read the numbers, do your sums, what wants have not been met? The numbers don't lie, your mind tricks you. So the rally goes. Boring deep in our heads. Awaking our rational conscience, changing our minds, seeding change through a reinstatement of status quo, reinstating the state. The stubborn Singaporean, too greedy perhaps? Expectations maybe, just maybe a little too high? Forgetting the benevolence of the king? The ground shifts, the position changes, the angles are re-configured and dreams of a rainbow Singapore re-surface. First class education. Another brick in the wall.

A sensible seduction, a re-dressed opening up. Pushing the infamous "boundaries". Opening up, blooming, hundreds of flowers ... wait, a wrong memory, another rally, another time, the same message. Collapsing memory, collapsed rallies. Push the boundaries, when only You can see it while they remain always invisible, amorphous, sinously sinister to us, the un-productive citizens. Push the boundaries, but where are these spectres, these lines, these conditions, when only You can will their appearance, wield that axe that makes us yield?

Opening up? More freedom in cyberspace! More politics in cyberspace! Freedom during election time! Seductively re-dressed as opening up, as liberalisation. When it is already free. When it is already was. What opening up when it already exists? How to open this space when it was always already open, in spite of, despite of the porous legal barricades erected to ring-fence it?

Engage you. Engage me. Engage ad nauseum. Renege. Engage. Renege. Renege. Renege.

When all you have to do is listen. Forget engage. Listen. Listen to the voices in cyberspace. Listen hard in your facebooks, youtubes, flickrs, blogspots, wordpress. Listen to that sound, vaguely familar? Listen to all that text, all those pixels and you may remember a Singapore that has gone underground. Recall a vibrancy, a hope, a future, a discourse, long extinct in physical Singapore. Listen, forget engage, forget rally, forget speaking. Listen to this raucous slipstream, this digital babel of wired Singapore and you may re-discover the continuities of Singapore past, present and future.

The rally speech, an annual discursive masterpiece, piping us like little children merrily to wonderland. A textual orchestra of sensible cadence, reasonable rhythm, looping and re-looping like that hypnotic techno riff that is re-mastered, re-assembled, re-presented as new music this year, next year and next and the year after next. A rally like last year's rally, like last year, and last year and the year before last and that last year.

Inflation. Babies. Angbaos. FT. Economy. Opening up. New Media. Inspiration. Success story #1, #2 ... Economy, economy.

Our minds, conditioned again. A condition of nervous anticipation. We smell something in the air. Hint of change. Something different. Conditioning our senses, always expectant, always dissonant. Conditioning our anxieties, always compliant, always reliant.

A terminal prelapsarian loop in an event horizon imagined as Pax Singaporeana.

Quote of the Day –

“The Hinkypunk is a strange will-o’-wisp which stands on a single leg and consists of evanescent whorls of smoke. The Hinkypunk supposedly hops around with a lantern, which the creature uses to lure anyone walking nearby to fall in a ditch, stumble into a bog, and so on. While this creature may sound somewhat preposterous, genetic science has come up with a plausible explanation for its existence: The Hinkypunk could be a swarm of bacteria in a puddle of bog water. When this colony grows to a certain size, it can give off a flash of light to confuse any innocent passerby.” – The Science of Harry Potter, Roger Highfield


Anonymous Anonymous said...

w o w :)

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Insightful piece. It seems like our fault again that we feel that life is getting too expensive in Singapore.

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your criticism is peppered with cynicism and bombastic words and not much else. Anybody can criticise but few really have good answers. I am not a blind PAP supporter and have my fair share of grouses, but I do applaud PM Lee's insightful math. If you do not agree with the points, share with us your alternatives. That way you will get more respectful views.

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Xenoboy.

I dont think you are write bombastically. Not at all. I believe you choose your words very carefully to best describe what you feel. This makes for good writing and reading.

I don't however agree with you that the PM was trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

Infact, I found his charts very easy to understand. I also liked the way he used the new media to get his message across, it made for an very engaging speech.

I did however feel he was using too many 'buts,' and after a while, I became very uncomfortable as I wondered, if A is A, then what is there to "but" about. Maybe it is his way of talking.

I think we should all talk more. This is something, me and my team have been worked on.

Do read it and feel free to give your POV, I feel it includes many things that should have been said in the National day speech but wasn't said. That's a pity



(Director General of the FILB based in Primus Aldentes Prime)

11:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

XB gets my respect. Thumbs up awesome post!

11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anan 9.58pm sounds like a lying PAP supporter

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best math is the math that deceives. The part on car ownership and ERPs was a great piece of deception. More people own cars and don't use them. So that makes the overall number go down. But he failed to mention that.

But I think his presentation worked. So it is just as xenoboy writes! Excellent rendition!

10:20 AM  
Anonymous passerby said...

Possibly the best writing in sg blogosphere, u ROCK.

12:43 PM  
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2:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Xeno boy, the grass is always greener elsewhere. Unlike some countries, you have complete freedom to leave and seek whatever it is that you yearn for that Singapore cannot provide. People should use the freedom of speech in a constructive and responsible way. People who spend their time complaining about the system they are in are generally people who always look at the negative side of things. Be constructive and spend your time and energy identifying areas that can be improved and get on it. There are lots of things each and every citizen can do to make their country better. Start by being civilized and nicer to each other, respect each other and respect that you can disagree without being nasty or negative.

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It's been a long time since ur last post. It would be a shame if you were to stop blogging. Do continue!

7:40 PM  
Anonymous evon said...

2 sides to a coin, really.

What Singapore lacks, other countries have. But what Singapore has, they sorely lack.

Now that globalisation is so rampant, I believe we are more empowered than ever to choose where we wish to reside and grow. And being in a developed country, most of us actually do have the means to have that 2nd choice.

Those of us who can afford shiny cars to complain about COEs and ERPs anyway. :)

1:04 PM  

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