Thursday, 26 July 2018

That Old Lament

CNA posted this on FaceBook sometime in May 2018:
"Glen Goei goes On the Record about what ails the arts in Singapore "Now that Singapore is the most expensive country in the world, it’s even harder to choose the arts. There’s no money in it and therefore there’s no future." Director, actor, filmmaker, Glen Goei goes #OnTheRecord."
It is to promote their TV interview with Glen Goei on CNA.

CNA didn't misquote Goei.

But Goei's response was more nuanced than that soundbite CNA posted on CNA.

Remind me not to watch CNA.

But this was a comment in response to CNA's inaccurate "blurb" of that Interview:
We all have the right to lament the loss of what we value.

I've heard people lament Singapore's loss of Chinese-medium schools.
I've heard people lament the loss of Literature as a subject in secondary schools.
I've heard people lament the loss of our children's childhood in the pursuit of educational advancement.
I've heard people say that Singaporeans do not have heart, that we don't have enough volunteers.
I've heard people complain that we are losing our hawker heritage because there are few people who are interested in hawking as a vocation.

So here's the question for all those lamenters: would you want your son or daughter to be an artiste or a hawker?

And even if you do, even if you are the sort of parent that finds vicarious joy in moulding your children to pursue your dreams, do you have that right?

Or should our children choose their dreams freely? You of course have every right to guide them and explore possibilities with them, but ultimately, their choice is their choice.

As for the Arts, if you really understand the Arts, you will understand that Art is a fundamental human passion. If you think Art will die because there is no money in it, if you think the human spirit is so fragile and so ephemeral as to die with you, you really do not understand Art except from your solipsistic perspective.
I believe (or want to believe) that Goei was NOT saying that the Arts is dead or dying in Singapore. He is saying that for practical and pragmatic reasons, it would be a larger sacrifice for anyone to choose art over pragmatic and practical concerns.

He pointed out that he had the support of his family and so could ignore more practical concerns. 

Same for Eric Khoo.

But is it the same for others? Like Hossan Leong. Gurmit Singh. Jack Neo. Kumar. Serena Tan. Jonathan Lim.

Maybe Goei has a point. Maybe choosing Art over a Viable Career is harder now. So is choosing Sports over a Viable, Practical Career. Or whatever your Passion is.

But that's why it is a Passion, and not just a job.

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