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Archive for the ‘11 the pOp cUltURe Is-U’ Category

Instead of a regular review of 10 Sticks and 1 Rice by Oh Yong Hwee and Koh Hong Teng (Epigram Books, 2012) or an interview with the creators, here is a powerpoint presentation by them at this recent event, http://singaporecomix.blogspot.sg/2012/12/social-realism-in-comics.html, about their creative process.

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Choy Kam Leong Larry

Monsters, Miracles & Mayonnaise is a charming and rustic collection of short vignettes that presented various personal musings of the author, Andrew Tan. There are stories of ordinary life such as Frozen, Water Bottle, Nice Guy and Moving Forward. In these, he drew on his own up-bringing and emotional journey in his life focussing on the wider significance of his experiences and thoughts. There are also fantastical stories like The Amazing Kelim, Animal and The Giggly Floating Fish and Thingy to stir the imagination and question our normality. Finally, peppered among the longer musings are little nuggets of singular observances which drew humour and even incite greater reflection on us and our own world-view, such as Mayonnaise, Mr Smith (a pun on locksmith), Seat and Cockroach. (more…)

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Lim Cheng Tju

This is s/pores’ 6th year and 11th issue. We started slow with only 1 issue each for our first 2 years. Things stepped up in 2009 and 2010 when we managed 3 issues for both years. Last year had 2 issues and this looks like the only issue for 2012. Back to 1 issue a year. We actually had 2 other issues lined up but due to various reasons, they were not delivered.

 

But we are not in the business of making excuses, so this is our pop culture issue. We will leave the distinction between popular culture and pop culture to Chua Beng Huat in his overview. Actually this issue’s theme should not come as a surprise. We have touched on pop culture since our early days. #2 had a review of Invisible City and we spoke to Boo Junfeng about Sandcastle in #10. We had our first CD review in #3 when Joseph Tham reviewed 100 Greatest: Singapore 60s and our first comics review (Gone Case) in #9.

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Chua Beng Huat

Conventionally seen by all and sundry as ‘leisure’ activity to fill up downtime or worse as essentially a ‘waste of time’ activity of especially youth, pop culture has not been a concern for the local academics who are busy with ‘serious’, ‘adult’ issues. Even those who are engaged in researching the so-called ‘creative industries’ are not inclined to delve into pop culture as creative products nor the polymorphous pleasures that audience/consumers derived from the reception and use of pop culture. They stay safely on the side of examining the government policies, the industrial strategies and economic considerations. Beyond academics, in a society that is overwhelmed with concerns of ‘making a living’, culture is seen as acquiring ‘skills’ in the arts that might serve as social capital that is advantages in self-advancement. Thus, the busy mother/maid ferries the child from piano lessons to ballet classes to Chinese painting and calligraphy, without any expectation that any of these practices would become the way of making a living for their charges. This s/pore posting issue redresses this attitude of indifference to pop culture. (more…)

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Conducted by Lim Cheng Tju, November 2011

1. How has life changed for you since winning the Young Artists Award  given out by the Singapore Government?

Well…there’s the Award money sitting around somewhere but haven’t really had a chance to think of a project to use it on… generally I guess it has raised my profile locally a bit, which means more invites to take part in various art projects. It was mostly nice to have my parents and grand dad come along for the ceremony, meet the then-president of Singapore Mr SR Nathan, see the Istana (official residence of the President of Singapore). They’ve been supportive of my career choices, it’s just one small way of giving back I guess.

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Clarissa Oon

As a pimply, bespectacled adolescent in the second half of the 1980s, one of my favourite TV shows was — not Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas dancing with guns, flamingoes and bikini babes in Miami Vice — but watching other pimply, bespectacled Singaporean teens engage in verbal jousting on the inter-school English-language debates. Aside from looming large in the kind of squeaky-clean popular culture promoted by local TV in the 1970s and 1980s, the school debates were significant in marking the possibilities and limits of critical thinking in the education system at that time.

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Joseph Tham

Naming one’s musical project Magus presents an interesting proposition: despite having various definitions behind the word, the basis of the term is deeply related to magic, wisdom and wonderment, be it the Christian sort, the paganistic type or one with a Zoroastrian origin. The duo behind this meta-Metal group, Leslie Low and Mark Dolmont, takes the horns of the Metal beast and tries to harness it with their bright-eyed experimentation and, along the path, they attempt to transmogrify it into something less associated with the usual Wagnerian bombast of most Metal music. Instead the album is a veritable valiant task to steer it more towards an introspection of modern day agnosticism. (more…)

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Leslie Low  

Baybeats 2003 (Photo, From Mark Wong)

A stone’s throw away was written quite early on, it was once included as part of the first Obs demo together with How’s Life? etc. In the end, we felt it sounded too much like my solo material, so I kept it for my own release Black Book, which was essentially a collection of demos. This version you hear has Viv on piano and was a rehearsal demo recording made in The Well. We performed it during the Time of Rebirth Concert at the Substation in 2003. Viv and I were living in Hillview at the time and the song was inspired by an infamous abandoned haunted house which we overlook. Many bikers would visit it in the middle of the night for a thrill. Being a depressed escapist then, I wanted to live there. (more…)

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Lim Cheng Tju

These comics by Eric Khoo done for NewMan magazine 10 years ago remind us that the award-winning director started out in the late 1980s as a comics artist. His earliest stories were printed in BigO magazine and in 1989, his Unfortunate Lives (Times Books International) was the first collection of comics stories to be published in Singapore.

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Yvonne Low

[Interview]

 

Don’t Sit On Me, Cheo Chai-Hiang’s latest project, was held at the Tun Tan Cheng Lock Centre (National University of Singapore) in the historic city, Melaka, from 10 March to 24 April 2012. Developed since August 2011, this two storey site-specific installation comprises 65 ‘makeshift’ chairs from participants across the world, and presents a creative and insightful reading of Descendants of the Eunuch Admiral by the late Singaporean playwright, Kuo Pao Kun. Through textual associations and idiomatic wordplay, Cheo’s work explores the issue of cultural displacement as a result of social engineering. By drawing upon the dominant theme and metaphor of castration from Kuo’s play, Cheo further dramatizes this loss vis-à-vis the processes of play using visual and textual cues.

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