Old Man Passing

1796992_10151928522747957_1201180194_oIt’s sad how petty and ugly we can be sometimes. I do have qualms about this country and not to say it’s people and those who rule this young nation. But if we want to be democratic and civil, it does not have to just be brave and dare to oppose a strong rule of one party without regard for decorum of a civilised man. My anger and critical onset is due to my wish for a more sophisticated openness in a straight-jacketed society. If there is anything your humble servant here have anything against this home of mine, this country of instant brightness we forgot how charming the nights were in darkness, if there is anything I still find problematic to the point of disdain with the rulers here is the lack of commitment towards art and artists even today. But how can I hate you just for that? Every time I go over a bridge of clean canals where they used to stink like sewers and dead animals sometimes floating bloated go by; every time I go to Tan Tock Seng Hospital and see mostly well treated patients; and my recent MRT project made me go to primary schools that have changed and well equipped with good facilities and teachers; how can I hate this man whom I may have qualms about putting art in its lowest priority but we were like Plato’s Republic dismissed as imposters and sacked from a society that almost lost its cool forever as we not only got ostracised but come back in the mistaken vein as economic soldiers of fortune! So yes I love my country and my old man who gave us much to be proud of. I grieve for him too but like a father who took care of all his children but rejected the artist until the last and still uncommitted to his real calling but a suspicious notion that it’s that no good lazy one amongst all ok just one in ten surely can affords some “wastage of electricity”‘ sigh … Bbbbut… I mean yes I do moan for he was a great artist too. Joseph Beuys may have planted trees as a symbolic gesture but my old man he gave this island city state a green environment exemplary to all other mega cities in the world that it’s possible dream to be fully urbanised and stay green. The great civil rights leaders may have led marches asking to end racism and inter-religious strive but each time I walk pass a church in worship just across the road of a mosque with prayers recited through its P.A. System and recently I discovered a Chinese temple for Tua Pék Kong added an extended side wing with a Hindu Ganesha Diety and had rituals of both in a hybrid ceremony that unusually only contemporary artists would do but more in a humorous vein than that of passionate belief. How can we not be proud of my leader in this country on the ancient path of seeking glory even if it was so small a nation that the way we describe in lighter vein is when you fart in the east you can smell it in the west. I am saddened not only in his passing but in the pettiness of some opposition politicians and worse the artists who should be gracious if not sensitive to the man who no doubt was too harsh but I would say he passes as a great dreamer with guts and responsibility on making them real. Even if he failed us in the arts and culture sphere alas look around this world is so fucked that wAy. It’s no wonder the most enigmatic work in the history of contemporary contemptory art todate if you ask me is still Tang DaWu’s “Don’t Give Money To Art”! Sometimes the politics here make me sick not only from the ones who have let success go to their heads that they float around in arrogance and self-righteousness. but the chick to complain about not given a license on Speakers Corner at such a time make my nausea into spits of alarming curses! How do we defend democracy without first paying respect that is due on a national level of participation in rituals that shall bring us together as the beginning of this man’s journey did and let us walk with him to bury him in pride and dignity at his journey’s end. Whatever our complains are, for the simple logic of ethics that two wrongs don’t make a right, and you can count me in to pay him my full respect and condolences. If ever this society reject me that my need to live in exile two times before and yet again perhaps so as my projects fail again yet again. My loyalties and aims are true if only he knew. Cause the story does not end here as I contemplate the talking on the vines. How we let the west tell us our history and listen to the second hand news just because they have a accent closer to that of BBC? When our scribes are neglected even ostracised again yet again. AND here i do not go by national citizenship but the people who really worked for this place. You and I know who I am talking about. But NO we want yea sayers who scraped the surfaces in superficial reports via internet surfing. What we want is real meat when we consider reading history and philosophy and not just a catchy title to bring in the crowds of pretty girls who cannot even spell our Asian names right. And yes if he did dare once said he did not believe in democracy, he spoke the truth if you ask me. He was a deviant original thinker who dared to be non-conforming. Alas it is only that he did not liked seeing such qualities in artists and other long haired guitar playing feet stomping hippie that only could helped this nation to be happy but not only with guns and money. For we came and we put our stakes here rootedness never deep only clinging like pests and other parasites. Your late forays with your freak sons and daughters could and should have been the stirred up the good shit to helped them roots dig deep not just superficially cling with national day songs and yea ya ya yeea sing! But still to keep me sane I wrote a song to deal with The Old Man passing liken to my old man …

Him not dead
Him in the air i breathe
In the water I drink
On the ground I walk
And the trees that sheltered us

The old man just like my old man
Sometimes I can’t understand
Why your love is so harsh
With the rules you lay on us
Make us walk wretched miles
Art centers with shopping aisles
Disconnected our nature trials
Put us back into circus files
Him not dead
No him not dead
In the air I hear
A distant bell so clear
The rhythm of another drum
Words of Songs
Strayed to broken waves
Echoed in darkened sorry caves
Flipped back in senseless calls
Pretentious of innocent falls

Just like my old man
Some times I just don’t understand
How your company of men
Tell you stories from streets of this land,
In fact files built with lies
Just to protect their own kind
Was it the time of long ago
You knew us from the word Go
You walked the back streets
In corridors and hallways of ivory towers
The neglect of backyard poetry
The rejects of forgotten histories
Re assembled without deliveries
In order to scrape the carpets of faded glories
We snuggled like church mice
Too polite to be unkind
Listen to professors with postcard minds
they come a dozen a dime
Describing art to the Kings
of the Deaf Mute and Blind
Who says we got no histories
You rejected those very troupes
Who wrote them straight from the heart
Yet you preferred distorted raps
From officers of faithless loyalties
Faked hisses misses and kisses
stirring coffees on marble side tables

Just like my old man
Sometimes i can’t understand
My old man
How your love is so tough
You gave us no chance
And yet claim you’re one of us
My old man just like my old man
You never liked the ones who had guts
Who dared like him
In a country of the blind and be King
Than be amongst mortals of equal service
Stay with ideals of the past
when we opted for the sovereignty of the people’s ring
just got louder than who may sing
In the twin durians of shining stars
them paired desert oasis vacuum sucks
Noisy roaring F1 cars
and other mothers fighting sars
As stray cats calls like rickshaws blahs
the high priced foreign superstars
Ignoring our backyard working class bars


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