Another day older

Like all good Singaporeans, J & I spent the national holiday watching movies.

One was Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, all dark chocolate with marshmallow & fudge. The other film we watched with Monster Ru was Tsai Ming Liang's misplaced and disappointing The Wayward chunky Watermelon juice with seeds (aiyoh, not suitable for children). This is one rare occasion when I would vote for the candy-coated Hollywood product instead.

Teenagers in general spend a fair bit of time at the cinema, mostly consuming Hollywood visions. 2 weeks ago, responding to the Chinese conference "Culture and Youth: can they grow up together?", a writer from the Chinese language daily Zaobao observed if Singapore's cultural development would be stuck forever at the "teenager" phase - consumerist in nature, fickle, fueled by the desire for random self-expression and for freedom from tradition and authority. These are, of course, only the negative traits.

i. upside down news1
ii. upside down news2
iii.upside down news3
I don't want to grow up - drawings from Kidnap News

Since post-independence-Singapore is only 40 years old (starting yesterday!), the writer laments that we seemed to have intellectually and culturally cut ourselves off from anything before the 40 years. In defining our cultural milieu, the decision-makers, story-tellers and even the man in the street cannot reconcile the experiences of today's youth with their parents' and their grandparents'. These remain discordant, disconnected pieces.

In this way, our cultural malaise is the denial of having once been old and denying the wisdom that can be found in tradition and heritage. Like a teenager, Singapore strives to constantly re-invent and assert our youthful vigor. Though this gives rise to significant anxiety about our cultural identity, the writer concludes optimistically that Singaporean culture will mature - given time, space and the solid food from poetry.

The article got me thinking - not about Singapore per se - but in self-centred teenager fashion, about myself. And in resolving to grow up, I would, for a start:
1. admit that even children are not innocent (don't romanticise childhood, very regressive - unless it results in a film like Tim Burton's);
2. care more for our parents/families;
3. lament less, commit more to others;
4. get decent medical insurance;
5. stop wearing sneakers; and
6. allow that all these will need more than just time, space and poetry.


monk said…
i'm very glad you lined out the "stop wearing sneakers". . .
'cause I agree with you on the rest, no matter where we live.

. . . and I'll never give up the sneakers, no matter how much I grow up :)
ampulets said…
agree about the sneakers ;> And yes, i guess the tendency to want to reject and rebel against all authority, while denying our own responsibilities is pretty universal!

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