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

Beauty is a daily battle fought in our hearts

1.StoriesLEEwen

“Stories My Father Never Told Me.” 2011

9 March 2015

two months past me by or did it?
did i?

the you and the i and the way time flies
it feels as if the i was not i but was i or had i been?
did you know him?

I’ll try and try and try
not nearly to be the same I but to take it further on
so I not I don’t bother I cause it is that further on up that road
the one i want the i to be when i get to be i

ok you think there’s too much i on my mind
but me oh mine that i is such a fleeting moment
self indulgence won’t help much cause
i won’t be i the next time you pass me by…
Anyway
Anyhow
see how….

Ursula K. Le Guin On ‘Starting Late’ as a Writer

Originally posted on Longreads Blog:

LE GUIN: My mother had always wanted to write. She told me this only after she’d started writing. She waited until she got the kids out of the house, until she was free of responsibility for anybody except her husband. Very typical of her generation. She was in her fifties when she started writing—for kids, which is how women often start. It’s not threatening to anybody, including themselves. And she published a couple of lovely little kids’ books.

She wanted to write novels, and she did write a couple, but they never found a publisher. But what happened was that she got asked to write the biography of Ishi. Of course they asked my father and he said, No way, I cannot handle that story. He’d lived that story and didn’t want to write it. He wasn’t a reminiscer. He said, I think you might ask my wife, she’s a…

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Dead Art Daydream Action No.1

Concrete Dreamer:

The year is ending, this issue is still outstanding. There is a stirring in my conscience that we begin to address the real issue here. The lawin regards to obscenity that should not pertain directly to art. Something needs to be reexamined here.

Originally posted on Republic Of Daydreams:

I am license
…Or why I think licensing performance art is not necessary.1384143_10151750351011989_386293260_n

I made 2014 New Year Resolution that I will not present performance art in Singapore under the compulsory need to apply for a license.

2014 is 20 years after the event of Artists General Assembly (A.G.A.). An event held at “5th Passage”, the artists’ run space in Parkway Parade Office block’s fifth storey between the lift lobby leading through a concourse both that opens out towards an adjacent spiral car-park building. The event was organized by artists from the collectives, 5th Passage and The Artists Village. Taking the inspiration of the 24 hours TIME show that was held on new year’s event of 31 January 1989 to 1 January 1990, at the original site of Lorong Gambas, the A.G.A. expanded the idea to that of an eight days event inviting contemporary artists who were embarking on cutting edge or contemporary…

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Altar For Changes

Originally posted on Republic Of Daydreams:

I had the honour of participating in “Intervene! Interrupt! Rethinking Art as Social Practice”, a symposium held in 2008 hosted by University of California Santa Cruz. The grand finale of the event was a green wedding ceremony held in the woods with a simple stage that was just simply beautiful in the context of the whole idea in itself. It was the wonderful wedding of three female what shall i call them “entities” for now. Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle were tying the knot with their lover, Mother Earth! After the great turnout of friends and well-wishers giving their blessings by way of performances on a stage at the edge of the campus forest. It was certainly an unforgettable event that was so bizarre that I felt as if I had walked into a dream.  I was still reeling from the the buzz of attending the performance, a ceremonial celebration…

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I Kill To Sing For You –

These Broken Donkey Songs

ONE meddled with your soul
another sailed round you like a seal
and third as always was there beside yet not in sight
so ring them if not she will leave never to come here again
string them if not she will leave never to steer round clear again
sing them if not she will leave never to come near dear again
like a throne without a bone to stone
nor a screw to drew them out these brews the dodgers of curfew
if only you knew if only you knew if only you knew how the view to deal
few dew zeal in to reeling into real thrill on the periphery of the robin’s BILL
give give give give giveeeeeee give give give give giveeeeeee give give give give giveeeeeee
UUUUUUUUPPPPPPPPPPU!!!!
he teaches health wealth i side-stepped with nonwit humor.
played with thoughts on darkness sadness death badness in out of red black drained gain bane hades pain
that’s when i gave away my madness in exchange for my zack of gads bags of SAD AXES DANCES
made
© PSALMS ARMS PLANS!!!
Ω PALS ASSES POLLS!!!
º PALMS ART POO!
∞ POT AUGUST PASSES
∑ POTATOES AROUND POUND
IMG_0007

Altar For Changes

I had the honour of participating in “Intervene! Interrupt! Rethinking Art as Social Practice”, a symposium held in 2008 hosted by University of California Santa Cruz. The grand finale of the event was a green wedding ceremony held in the woods with a simple stage that was just simply beautiful in the context of the whole idea in itself. It was the wonderful wedding of three female what shall i call them “entities” for now. Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle were tying the knot with their lover, Mother Earth! After the great turnout of friends and well-wishers giving their blessings by way of performances on a stage at the edge of the campus forest. It was certainly an unforgettable event that was so bizarre that I felt as if I had walked into a dream.  I was still reeling from the the buzz of attending the performance, a ceremonial celebration that not only spoke up for the individual rights to be different but also at the same time extended into an eco-consciousness by also marrying Mother Earth. As we were moving on to the reception and getting into queue for our food, I got distracted by seeing that a small crowd was surrounding Annie Sprinkle to congratulate her personally and was debating with myself whether to do it too as I’m a fan of her too. Instead I bumped into Elizabeth Stephens, and I felt it was equally “alright!” to congratulate her on behalf of the newly weds. I added the comment that I was from Singapore and I cannot imagine such a manifestation can ever happen knowing how conservative we are. Elizabeth gave me a smile of confidence and with professorial tone of voice said to me: “you have to fight for your rights!”. I was dumbfounded as in my heart I was thinking to myself “Man you don’t how tough it is over there” as I ran through an internal flashback on those years of  funding proscription against performance, and the licensing headaches we are subjected to and various battles against censorship we have been doing.

Altar for Changes

Altar for Changes

I have been making a series of what I call “romantic self-portraits”. I started drawing them as a response to my erased self-portraits in my solo exhibition “Lucid Dreams in the Reverie of the Real”. The erased self portraits at the same time re-visits the erasure of Willem de Kooning’s drawing by Robert Rauschenberg, were somewhat a tongue in cheek commentary of our society’s tendency to suppress individuality in order to prioritize behavior as a social group.

When I was approached to submit a work for the “Modern Love”, I was toying with the idea of a self-portrait as a rickshaw man. It was based on a charming old photograph image that a friend sent to me. We have been dreaming of doing a video project together of a day in the life of a rickshaw or trishaw man. And he has been sending me images of rickshaw and trishaw from time to time. So the romance of drawing my own self-portrait as a strong man with strong legs pushing the rickshaw of a gay couple dressed as if they were newly weds provided my chance to convey a message that there are still various issues in our society to be addressed.

As we face next year to be the 50th year as an independent nation state there is anticipation for celebration. In contrast to the triumphant mood of celebration the “Altar for Changes”  reminds us of the yet to be addressed outstanding issues in our society today that we should consider calling out for change.