3 reasons why graffiti on Toa Payoh Block 85 is dope as fuck

 

toa-payoh-graffiti-pap

If there’s anything better than the sweet aroma of coffee beans and toast floating through the air when you wake up in the mornings, it simply has to be waking up to “fuck the PAP” scribbled with a toddler’s handwriting on the roof of the HDB block opposite yours. It just makes you feel so…warm inside. Despite the fact that the ledge is literally less than a metre wide, fellow street artist Mike Cool risked his life to remind Singaporeans to…erm, I can’t really tell what his message is. Vote for PAP right? It’s a bit vague. Anyway, here are three reasons why MatKool’s graffiti is so dope:

1. The sheer height. 

Just standing at that height would make me want to pee my pants, let alone spray something legible. One simply cannot blame Mike for having a childish hand considering that it is very hard to write properly with soggy pants. Also the wind could have easily tipped him over at that height. No wonder he got straight to the point. It’ll be pretty sad if he had martyred himself after spraying “fuck”.

2. It is very semiotically complex. 

Breaking down the artwork into a list of symbols, we have the following:

  • the Anarchy Circle  x 03
  • the Anarchy Heart-shaped x 01
  • the Circle Lightning Cross x 01
  • the Circle PAP Cross x 01
  • a variant of the Nirvana Smiley x 01

Let’s talk about the first two: the regular anarchy circle, and the anarchy heart-shaped circle. For most of us, the significance of the anarchy symbol is rather clear – it is a right wing extremist position which advocates severe libertarianism where it’s every man for himself. Why then, is there an odd heart-shaped anarchy symbol inserted below “fuck”? One can only guess that out of 4 anarchies fucks that we give, one anarchy fuck has to be coming straight from the heart. Whatever it is, Mat Kool probably has some profoundly feasible political theory in mind when he sprayed the walls. One that includes Nirvana and PAP and something that’s got to do with freedom and change… It really boggles your mind.

3. It forced our darling papers to censor PAP even though it’s not a vulgarity(debatable, of course)

It is hard to miss how ridiculous SPH made itself look by censoring “PAP” from Straits Times and the NewPaper. One can only imagine that this is what happened:

Somewhere earlier last night at SPH…

Chief Editor Mr Tan: Eh, err, I think having the PAP there is really not good for our brand ah, what do u think.

Young Editors: Ya lor, “PAP” sprayed in red on the walls, later all the aunties mistake us for gangster organization.

Chief Editor: Okok settle. Then the lightning thing wan censor or not?

Young Editors: Okok let’s sensor that one also. We just erase ppl won’t know what this guy talking about alrd, they will think he’s just trying to give Singaporeans a wake up call. Like, a literal wake up call, like, SG, wake up, time for work kind.

Chief Editor: okok settle. I go ask grandpa first den we see how.

***********

Tomorrow, Straits Times will be releasing a statement by Minister of Home Affairs saying that Vandalism is a serious crime that is punishable by a maximum of three years in jail and a $ 10 000 fine blah blah blah, and we all look forward to the same bullshit.

MH192 Tyre Burst News

Barely two months after the dramatic incident of MH370, Malaysian Airlines suffered yet another setback last week when flight MH192’s tyre punctured upon take off. Indeed, compared with it’s past record of successfully banishing an entire plane into nonexistence, a burst tyre is nothing much. Yet, Malaysian acting transport minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, insists on putting it on his portfolio.

” We need to improve. I mean, the last time we set a record for ourselves, definitely, but as Malaysians, we have to constantly beat our own targets,” says Mr Hishammuddin Hussein at a press conference. “We need to revive Malaysian’s status as a world leader like how it was in… erm, I mean, it was certainly once pretty powerful, right, at least compared to Singapore. I mean, fuck it, we just need Singapore to stop buying our water at the ridiculous price just because my stupid uncle signed the fucking treaty back then when we thought Singapore was going to last at most 5 more years. But anyway, MH370 was a start. We need to garner notoriety around the world, one fucked up flight at a time. “

“I know a tyre burst is nothing compared to the miraculous feat of MH370, whose pilot I personally bribed,” continues Mr Hussein, “but it’s definitely something to be proud of, in terms of the history of aviation scares. Hah! I almost shat myself when I saw those petrified Indian faces when they got off the plane.”

When asked about the Chinese of MH370, Mr Hussein refused to comment.

Let’s take a swim in our Newater Pond. and Putin insecurity news

“There has been only 0.2mm of rainwater this month in singapore this month to date, compared to long term averages of 161mm for Februaries.  Thus, PUB has been pumping 20m to 25m gallons of Newater a day since late last month into reservoirs to maintain their water level. Last week, it was raised to 30m gallons, a spokesman said. “-From The Straits Times, 25th Feb.

 
this is excellent news. now that the very water source of our great nation has just been tainted with chemically processed re-cycled water, we’re one step closer to our ultimate goal: the complete obliteration of nature in Singapore.  hypermodern shit. Thing is, I can completely imagine the jingo for future tourism campaigns to go along the lines of: Welcome to Singapore, the only country where the trees are made of metal and the water source is 100% chemically re-processed.

Thoughts on Waterland by Graham Swift

“Reality is uneventfulness, vacancy, flatness. Reality is that nothing happens. How many of the events of history have occurred, ask yourselves, for this and for that reason, but for no other reason, fundamentally, than the desire to make things happen? I present to you History, the fabrication, the diversion, the reality-obscuring drama. History, and its near relative, Histrionics…”-Waterland

Waterland is the type of novel that will suck you in with its density and then leave you feeling confused, frustrated and poignant, before finally spitting you out as a different person, one that has a deeper understanding of human nature, of civilization and possessing a heightened sensitivity towards different minutiae of the universe. Events, post-novel-reading, are much more symbolic than they were before. It’s just much easier to see connections, links, or the co-relation of things – and perhaps this is what Waterland is ultimately teaching us – that the interactions between elements, no matter how slight or trivial they seem, are bound by the deeper material presence of a history of events. This history, formed and shaped by our respective biases, define the nature of the reality of the material “Here and Now”. From there, we proceed: to understand the past that is in itself an impossible task, but to try to understand it, not because we want to, but because we, as human beings, need to tell ourselves stories to survive.

Waterland is, therefore, a dogged attempt at establishing meaning in an alogical, random world of flying facts. Narration as solace; story telling as a balm for emotional wounds (for we all have many). To tell us that all is fine and a okay. The imperfect narrative, the persistence of the Whywhywhys, and the drilling into us that curiosity is fundamentally good…

Like a typical novel, though, Waterland is rife with drama. Sexual tensions, incest, complications of family history- one can even read Waterland as a Bildungsroman of Tom Crick, the self-conscious, cynical history teacher, who, at the age of fifty-five, looks back at his personal past to find an explanation to this absurdity called the “Here and Now”. Throughout the novel, we are constantly reminded that Tom Crick’s is old- for who else besides the sagely old will address their readers as children? Who else, indeed, besides teachers? The primary tone achieved through this stylistic device of second-person address is,therefore, a composed one. Yet, slipping between these gentle address is a much more urgent voice, one that is distraught and desperate to explain, constantly questioning, constantly accusing: “So you’re curious. So you’re curious. You’d skip the fall of kings for a little by-the-way scurrility. Then let me tell you.”…”Now who’s the rebel around here?”. It is ironic that the old teacher of easy temperament tries to out-do his teenage student at rebelling. But underlying Crick’s insecurities is the immutable and paralyzing dilemma of how history is everything and nothing. To Crick, “history is that impossible thing: the attempt to give an account with incomplete knowledge, of actions themselves undertaken with incomplete knowledge”; but at the same time, it is also the one thing that keeps everything else together, the idea that “as long as there is a story, it is alright…”

Of course, there are many different readings of the text, and amongst those, the post-structuralist reading shines because of how appropriate the tone and content of Waterland is for the fruits of post-structuralism. The language games, relativity, binary opposition (water/land, reality/myth, rise/fall, etc, etc) all point to facets of the linguistic turn as explored by the likes of Hayden White, Foucault and Lacan. Very crucially, the self-conscious, self-defeating voice of the novel dynamically articulates the tensions between narrative and narration, which is one of the primary fixations of this period.

All in all, Waterland is rich in thought, imagery and complexities – it is a novel which balances art with philosophy very well. I should really be spending more time going through the water imagery that I so love, but I am lazy. Besides, the narrative structure mystified me more, so.