1stmover. 2ndrule. 3rdyear.
Welcome to the world. A world about life and living. Not good and evil. A world about understanding and compassion. Not justice and retribution.
A world that is more than the sum of its past.
And a life that rebuilds itself from the remains of a hollowed out soul.
Jan 2 - KABUL
A simple play, the first in the bombed-out theatre, in years. "Peace" was a young girl in a white wedding dress. Phoenix. Rebirth. Hope. Years of senseless destruction still did not demolish the creative spirit.
At the end of the show, Minister of Culture Raheen Makhdoom addressed the audience. "This is what our enemies did to us. But I swear to God we will rebuild this. We will rebuild this country. We will rebuild everything. I swear to God, I swear to God. I swear to God."
What would you do to defend the culture of your country?
"Editors looking at women":
Mssrs Russell Chan and Benety Goh, the 2ndrule's web and technical editors, have shown the good sense not to appear in the photograph.
Nothing is more beautiful than the naked body. The most beautiful clothes a woman could wear are the arms of the man she loves. But for those who have not had the luck to find that happiness, I am there."
Yves Saint Laurent
All the King's horses and all the King's men
Do you know how sometimes when a hobby becomes a job, the stress takes away that joy one originally felt? I was just trying to make some nice images of dance when I started taking photographs for The Arts Magazine. One thing led to another and now I am a 'professional' photographer.
Somehow tight schedules, specific goals and tight budgets have a way of killing wild, abandoned creativity and experimentation. That is why I love my Fuji Finepix 40, my pocket digital camera. Man, can it go places. This baby is what I use to simply let the hair grow out of my arse and take shots that I normally would not because of the cost of film and processing.
For an island you can drive end-to-end within 45 minutes, we do have quite a few nooks and crannies. Having lived here for so long, images resonate in me. Like ice kachang: that resonates all the way to when I was five or six years old. Sometimes something quite beautiful or astounding catches my eye, like Jurong Island at night.
The truth is that these photographs are snap shots. No holiday theme, no colour scheme, no social conscience angle, just shots by a photographer working in Singapore while slacking off.
In a guerrilla war, nobody is safe.
I remember a butterfly
How easy it is to paint a tragedy.
I remember a butterfly
newly landed on your veranda,
watching with compound eyes
how you throw your temper
cursing that husband of yours
who's always in the office
who never spends enough
time with you,
leaving you alone alone so alone
with the children.
You hit your son while screaming at his father.
Yellow wings fold.
Still watching, unflickering.
It is I who avert my eyes.
Learning by sight
every pattern on a butterfly's wing.
Learning by heart
every damned way you can carve up a child.
Wake up, woman.
Betrayal's not your lack of diamond rings.
Betrayal's your opaque eyed eight-year-old
confiding I want to jump down,
and you laughing in the IRC.
Somewhere ago I read this version
of Sleeping Beauty. It had a picture
green leaves red roses
young princes, impaled on thorns
faces bleeding dry.
He reminds me
of one of them, hapless caught
in your thicket of slashing anger,
into that silence deeper than worlds.
Years ago he spoke to me of dying,
now he's ten and says no more.
His refugee eyes are the history
of boarded-up memories,
no longer seeking asylum.
He knows what it means to be hungry.
And I, watching, wishing
that memories were mothballs
to be tucked away
till they melted
and were no more, only a scent
to be easily denied
with the holding of a breath,
if only to see him laugh again.
Just who am I to think
of helping you, it's almost laughable.
Me, just turned adult; a wet-winged dragonfly
uncurling in the sun.
But I've watched you like a noon day shadow
gathered around your feet. Hoping somehow
to form a druid ring
of darkness hiding you.
Watching, wishing, but as with
the impotency of shadows,
unable to do anything.
You must absolve me, little one.
Since you too know
the other meanings
since on some level you're old
enough to realise how
when things detonate,
the aftermath is silence.
I was made to love magic
All its wonders to know
But you all lost that magic
Many many years ago.
Personal Entertainment Orgasmizer
One day it struck me -
that I really should do something
in return for my gift for poetry. So
I approached my pastor
and asked if I could be allowed
to read my poems in church.
He promptly directed me to a woman
in charge of Ladies' Fellowship,
who thought for a moment
before asking if I could read a poem
in praise of mothers (which would be
very appropriate for their next meeting,
since Mothers' Day was approaching).
After considering the proposition,
I had to tell her I didn't have a single poem
about mothers. There was a pause -
before she said she would call me
sometime later. And walking away,
I took with me a sullen feeling
that perhaps the whole idea
wasn't such a bright one to begin with.
"This is not a movie where you plan nicely and you know everybody who is involved in the group and you move in and smash the whole lot of them."
Wong Kan Seng, Minister for Home Affairs, Singapore
We sat on top of some tackily coloured concrete letters which spelt "YOUTH PARK", a structure that looked as if it was designed by someone who had no inkling of what youth was and had hazarded a half-hearted guess. I was on the U and you were on the T at first, but we both ended up sharing the T as it started getting chilly.
You, me and the sky of early hours.
It was a cloudy sky, with one lone bright spot, which we both agreed wasn't a star because it didn't twinkle, in an expanse of billowy blue blackness. I thought that stars would be visible once the clouds blew away, but you said, "Light pollution". They did drift away, the clouds. But only to reveal a scattering of feeble flickering dots that were there a moment and gone the next as their light was so weak you'd forget where they were if you took your eyes off them for that moment. "Light pollution", you said. We live in a city, one that was so proud of its achievements and advancement that it wouldn't and couldn't sleep. The stars lost out to artificial light. We lay there on that concrete T, with our legs dangling over the edge of it, wondering where the perfect Van Gogh sky was and if we'd ever find it. You said that blackouts were beautiful.
"What's a positive word that starts with 'T' ?"
"Noooo...erm, lemme think..."
"....argh....okay, think! Think is a positive word!"
"I think it's kinda neutral."
"T-shirt!!!....okay, we can't think of a positive word that starts with 'T'...What does that say about us?"
"We're not very positive people?"
"Trust. That's a positive word, isn't it?"
"Yeah....Do you have trust issues?"
"Trust issues?! I do not.....actually I do....have trust issues...Everyone has trust issues!"
Light began to seep into our sky, blotting out the tiny stars in a flash, while the not-a-star spot slowly faded out. The clouds were oddly textured and had a certain pattern, which swirled and mutated as the entire mass inched across the sky like some sort of humongous organic spaceship. Sometimes they looked like swabs of pink cotton candy, sometimes like the tiny ice crystals that form in freezers. We saw as much in them as our imaginations would let us. A fish. A scary old woman with hollows for eyes and a screaming mouth. Pink, peach, lavender (although you insisted it was grey), fickle clouds on the ever brightening background of blue. Then magically (because at that moment I couldn't think up a scientific explanation of where they went and why), they melted away, leaving only wisps of mists in the sky.
And so we watched the sky turn, at the dawn of a new year that I had already lost faith in but you said would be better than the last.
"At night, when you look up at the sky, since I shall be living on a star, and since I shall be laughing on a star, for you it will be as if all the stars are laughing. You alone will have stars that can laugh."
Excerpt from "The Little Prince"
2ndrule T-shirts © 2002 Jason Tong
Instant Cafe Radio Episode 2 © 2002 Koh Beng Liang
Static: Semi-random acts of Photography in Singapore © 2002 Photos by Tan Ngiap Heng, Interactive code by Russell Chan
+|- © 2002 Shannon Low
The Shades of Things © 2002 Edlyn
Purple © 2002 Yvonne Tham
Just an Idea © 2002 Yong Shu Hoong
Virtuoso © 2002 Judith H
NY(E) 2002(1) © 2002 Jillian