thought that things are getting better
when the battle heats up to boil like broth
for dead chickens and screaming monkeys
the call to arms rang all day
in every ding dang dong dung
noisy purposelee wanto dig streets of singapure
buzy bobbee bochap for poetry only hot ok on moneeey
tell you no talking about demokrazee wait kena pantak kaya guyu then you jaga
go and art conference DaWu good ah know who is papa mama go back kampong
forget the long long mountain lah
Just before heading for Hong Kong Art Basel I received the good news from Performance Studies International that I had been chosen to receive this year’s PSi Artist/Scholar/Activist Award 2014 to be presented in the next gathering of international performance studies afficionandos in Shanghai come July 4 to 8/2014 at the Shanghai Theatre Academy.
Unfortunately my tour de force with the good support of *Helina Chan, gallerist of vision and dare, and her wonderful staff of iPreciation Gallery, having presented one of the most favoured booths in this year’s busy and bustling Art Basel in Hong Kong, was scarred by a bizarre incident of being knocked out cold for a good 30 minutes during a quick leap to take a leak in the men’s room at the City University of Hong Kong after the end of forum on the theme of Art and Value, a subject that is of utmost import in my view that I had often wanted to address myself and had even proposed to speak at Art Basel Hong Kong concerning this subject matter. Well after all the big hoo haah i for want for peace of mind took a trip out to Belfast although my true destination should have been Cyprus instead.
However to cut a long story short I was not going to explain all and everything here but just to let me say one time that state of things todate, in short and quick sharp fashion.
1) I didn’t really know what was the cause of my blackout and I did not say for sure there was assault, although I did suspected it due to the many bumps on my head. Recently I asked some doctors while consulting them for other reasons. They all said it could have been or probably was due to my own low blood pressure that caused it. They all advised that men with low blood pressure have tendency to have the blood pressure lowering even further when they piss standing up. But what about the bumps in a row? It could be I was trying to get up and falling again and again.
2) I only said various things about the arrest of my friend in the song that I posted on the morning before i left my hotel room. But almost all the newspapers and news reported wrongly that I made the statements casting doubts on the legality of his arrest and suspect on the justice system of China at the forum itself. Whereas the only statements I said at the forum were made in general terms, just to ask if not acknowledge the fact that artists may sometimes make works more in tune with a change in our judgement of social values whereas outdated legal systems or laws of the past may till today be upheld in societies unwilling to update them in parallel with changes in our time and current human consciousness.
3) I did not bring my guitar to play at the art fair but was going to play in the evening at a friend’s pub. I made some indications of being stopped by my gallerist only in mischief as I thought she had been a little too concerned as if I was really going to play there when she saw me with instrument. (Sigh…I was just tired with others suspicions that are showing a mistrust in my ability to judge what is correct action)
4)The fact that I had no memory of anyone touching me or even assaulting me hence I should not even suspect it was a violent assault by any one at all, and now I accept the explanation from the doctors I spoke with.That it was a case of blacking out due to my low blood pressure and to be more careful and try to pee while sitting and try to avoid the standing urinals when traveling alone.
5) So I owe it to Cyprus that I tried too late to get a flight there and could only make it to Belfast which was not going to happen without the invitation to Cyprus. But well it was a rain check I had to cash since long time ago and it was goo surprise to even touch base with good old Andre Stitt unexpectedly he was at dinner the first evening I arrived. And to get to know Shiro’s mother was a bonus.
6) It meant I would not be able to go to Shanghai that I had wanted to but was fatigued to do so. Ray Langenbach made a speech in my place at the conference showing some video on my 24 hours buried to my waist in my back garden when I was living with my buddies in Seletar Army Camp on No.8 Oxford Street.
Performance 24 hours X 2 duration
8 Oxford Street, Singapore
Anyway I must say the twist of fate helped gave me much time and food for thought and reflection concerning my role as an artist in the somewhat orderly yet messy state of affairs in a rigid social engineered systematic development driven so called success story of dear dear Singapore.
For one thing the friends I come to value all showered their care for me not only by words but showed up in person with concern by dropping by to have eye to eye meetings and a good meal together that did fulfill a certainty of changing my attitude for neglecting the priority in food and sleep in my daily undertakings. At the same time I slowed down to the point of failure of what I promised and found that it would not kill me as much as my own physical need for food and rest would. But I begged to be given a chance to fulfill my promises with longer time frames and god alone knows a bigger budget would surely help.
Yes. But that I will describe in the next blog as i am need of a lay down at least some hours…
Shiro and his mother.
“Kill the Chickens, Frighten the Monkeys”
My works are often in series and it seems most of them are not ended or in fact are “open ended”. As such circumstances arises subsequently that may be deemed necessary to revisit them and continue with them once again. I must say my recent episode in Hong Kong is so bizarre yet haunting me that I had to recall two, if not three past projects “Ghosts Stories” and “More China Than You”. And also “Stagger Lee”.
It was of the least expected that the success of participation at Hong Kong Art Bassel ended with such drama that involved the injury of my physical body. The effects were made visible and yet the cause of it was not entirely revealed. Not a trace even in terms of memory in my brain, that we have to conjecture it like a detective theorizing what happened and looking for clues.
I wish to say that some of the Facebook entries concerning my bizarre incident in Hong Kong by friends such as Nanxi Liu and Wen Yau were inaccurate, and even implicate that my gallery as being censorious. This is grossly wrong and I h. I may have indicated that I wanted to play my guitar and sing in the art fair of Art Basel Hong Kong but did not do so as I did not find it appropriate. I brought my guitar that day because I had plans to go to a pub in the evening to play in an artists’ hangout. On the contrary my gallerist was the one who wanted to help me to fulfill my potential to the fullest.
My friends Wen Yau and Nanxi may have heard me thinking aloud that I wanted to play and sing with my guitar at the Hong Kong Art Basel, but my gallerist did not liked the idea because it would be problematic as this is our first outing there and we did not notify to the management of HK Art Basel or seek their permission before. She had asked me before if I would like to I understood her and agreed 100% with her and did not wish to sing and play my songs at the fair while I was there/. There was a choice given to me to sing and play my songs there but I had already declined it myself before even going there. I was apprehensive about the audience there being to straight laced to dig my music cause the stuff I do is pretty raw and I was suspecting it will not go down well with the majority that go to the HK Art Basel.
Being an artist from Singapore I know full well of official permission requirements and respect, people who stood against such tight and strict regulations.
Although this is my first ever participation of actually exhibiting my works in an art fair I do have experiences of attending them in Singapore. As I am on the VIP list as an invited observer or in the art forums. Personally I found the atmosphere in Art fairs in Singapore much left to be desired in terms of audiences, suspecting in the majority were buying and selling merely as instruments of investment and where the question of “How much?” was the focus of discussions, rather than “Why? Or what was the motivation? Of any of awe or beauty came into discussion or ecstatically being moved by the works of art in display. I usually attend them just to keep in touch with my artist’s friends taking part in them. Having had 20 odd years taken part in various international events and I am often delighted to get a chance to see the foreign artists coming to Singapore in droves although just for a few days each time.
As for being beaten up or not, I have to admit, I don’t have any clue except that I went to the toilet of the City University of Hong Kong at around 6.30pm and had a lapse of nearly 30 minutes of unconsciousness. The first things I remembered was I had four or five not one but four bums on my head and my face was stained with blood. Looking around I could not find other clues except some smirches of bloodstains on the toilet floor, where I returned to consciousness between the open standing urinal to where the mirror, faucet and sink was. The point is even if I had been attacked, it would have been done under such irrational thinking that makes me angry inside but in my quiet moments one feels sorrow more than anything. That such is the ways of the powers that be, that the innocent multitude is still under the rule and jurisdiction of a social system that is intolerant of criticisms. Added to that when what I have expressed are conjectures with no solid evidence. One way is to look at it as just another Ghost story…
Internal security police of China has a reputation for being dumb to poetry and blind to art …the only thing they are good at is catching rabbits with their bare hands. I went to a good school and my schoolmates are in all kinds of professions. One close friend unfortunately joined the secret police but cannot reveal his name. He was telling me that artists are not that different from Police as there are meetings where international secret police meet in camps or conferences to discuss and exchange just like artists do in festivals, biennale and camps. The only difference is theirs are heldin secret while artists ones tend to seek publicity and media coverage.
Once this friend of mine gave a story that came to prove my opinion is true. There was a multilateral secret policeman meeting and they had an intensive 30 days workshop in the Chinese countryside getaway camp outside seventh ring north of Beijing. On weekends they were allowed free time to relax and the first 3 weekends they all foolishly were squandered the time playing mahjong. On the last weekend the guys sharing the same cabin as my friend decided to have a lighthearted time having a BBQ and just chill in the quiet natural environment. Then the Japanese guy suggested “Hey I think there are rabbits in the jungle surrounding us. I challenge you to catch a single rabbit with bare hands and the one who does it in the shortest time shall have the honor of winning and gets the chance to fuck the other policemen in the backside. The other policemen one from U.S one from mainland China and my friend from Singapore at first laughed and did not take it seriously as they were all macho guys who often say bad things about homosexual as being weak and sissies. But since their macho libido was kind of itching for some sex they slowly shifted into taking the suggestion seriously.
As usual the American guy volunteered to go into the action first and dived into the jungle before anyone could say yes. 5 hours later he came out with a rabbit still half alive while he held its long ears with 2 shaking hands, sweating like a pig and groaning “hey here you are not bad huh?” confident that none can do any better. My Singapore friend went in next and being “kiasu” (Singlsh literal translation: “afraid to lose”) he actually cheated and did it with a trap but don’t tell anyone. He came out 3 hours later and tore his shirt himself and had a swim in the lake and pretending to be huffing nearly out breath holding the rabbit he caught in smooth hands and swinging the rabbit by its tail said with cheeky lying eyes that this is probably the last rabbit before sun set. The Japanese guy gave a bow and some ritualistic actions like that in the beginning of a sumo-wrestling match. In two hours he came out like a ninja somersaults to throw the still breathing rabbit with a shout like the karate guys do when they chopped breaks with their bare hands. Last guy was the policeman from China.
All 3 were suggesting the guy should continue tomorrow morning but he shook his head and grinned with diabolical grunts as he confidently swaggered in the nearly dark evening glow. In less than 5 minutes they heard screams and shouts and the sounds of punches so hard as if there was some one being tortured, Next thing the three could not believe their eyes out of the jungle a bear as tall as a man ran out with blood streaming over his face and all over his whole body almost as if it were wearing a wet red dress and screaming “OKI OK stop hitting me I ADMIT I AM A RABBIT”, as the secret policeman came out grinning rubbing his groin and getting ready to have his fun….
But seriously folks should we get a pettition to the United Nations if not let us all boycot China !!!
This no time to celebrate the genius of China as tragedy! No time to be sad but time to get ANGRY!!!
Before i forget the punchline i got to tell you
next time i see you…
This morning i woke in laughter, it felt like deja vu but actually it was my hunger for life. I rearranged my schedule and put it this way
1. Sweep the floor
2. Eat breakfast
3. plan for the day
4. go see mom
5. start working not at the computer but out there please!!