Archive for August 2007

Postcard from Singapore

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By Ben Slater

What do you usually write on postcards from far-away places? Something about the weather perhaps. Well, it’s been raining hard these past few weeks in Singapore. Rarely a day goes by when the light doesn’t fade from the sky, still air roughly shaken by wind, and then a downpour begins. Except it didn’t rain on National Day (August 9). By some well-organised miracle, the country was spared the sight of this annual mega-million dollar spectacular (live and televised) parade being drenched in warm water. This is the day that Singapore celebrates its independence (since 1965), a combination of excessive Vegas showbiz with North Korean-style displays of military might. Singapore on ice – with weapons. A demonstration of stealth attacks segueways into a Finding Nemo rip-off, 500 schoolkids dressed as colourful sea creatures. Thousands more extras are martialed onto the stage, singing, dancing, waving glow-sticks, lights and kites, as an ersatz narrative of the country’s ‘emergence’ is represented by an in-line skating lion-fish-man. The audience, waiting for the fireworks, look awed and bored in equal measure. But National Day is actually rain-proof. Not to say that the state can control metereological conditions – but rather if the clouds do disgorge, the show will just go on, and the national myth – endurance against the odds – is only affirmed.
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Written by Nika Bohinc

August 20, 2007 at 3:22 pm