Showing posts from May, 2012

fear not history

Fiction on this island has never quite flourished. Perhaps because we've never quite made peace with our histories. But two genres of fiction hold special place in Singapore as a result. Ghost stories - the art of unresolved pasts. And that even stranger fruit of fact-as-fiction/fiction-as-history. Part speculative history. Part documentary fiction. A romance of obscurity. The Lan Fang Chronicles , Choy Ka Fai's work supported by the Arts Council's Arts Creation Fund and commissioned for this year's Arts Festival, is maybe of this latter genre. Choy Ka Fai chances upon the Lan Fang Republic, supposedly the first democratic republic in SEAsia, set up by the Hakka Chinese in West Borneo. His research in West Borneo, China and Holland takes him through archival material, abandoned sites, photocopied photographs, a supposed descendent of Luo Fang Bo (founder of Lan Fang) and accounts of Dutch missionaries and colonists. These materials allow him to re-construct a sk

sing out loud

T his call  was posted on the CulturePush job board recently: to compose a 2 minute school song. If I was at all musically-inclined, it would be hard to refuse such an assignment. A song that kids will sing at least once a week, or even every morning? What should it say? What memories will it leave? At taiwanese singer Cheer Chen's concert in Singapore last year, she sang 小小校歌, literally "Small School School" (rumoured to be the unofficial school song of her alma mater 台北景美 女中  composed in the 70s )  and the lyrics went like this: 我有个她 美丽风华
 人人都说 景美之花
 我有个他 潇洒多情
 人人都说 中国之星
 我愿陪她 追逐山林 我愿陪他 携手天涯
 共看月亮 共数星星
 共看月亮 共数星星...... (you can listen to it here ) It sent J and I searching for the lyrics of all the school songs we have sung, although we were not under any illusion that we would find anything quite as lyrical and dreamy. 2 of our primary schools no longer exist, but we managed to find the rest via google. The lyrics were of being "unique in styl