As I was saying in my earlier post, this book was published in 1995 and it shows. The feeling that something big is going to happen in the local music, especially rock, scene comes across in the essays collected within, as well as the contradictory feeling that the heyday of Singapore music was long over - disappointment? I can’t really put my finger on it but I feel that the 90’s were like this massive black hole for the music scene here. Well, at least for mainstream music? There must’ve been plenty of indie/rock/metal people and hobbyists around, gigging and struggling to survive though… I didn’t know what was going on (and still don’t know).
In 1995… I was in 8 years old and in Primary 2. Definitely not listening to “local” rock - which I guess back then was associated with “unsavoury” elements of society. HURHUR. I think I read something in the book about how the clubs were shut (drugs?) and musicians had no place to play, and so the music scene kind of died. See, blacked out period of Singapore’s music/social history right there, if laymen like me don’t remember/know about such things.
Anyway, it seems that in recent years, “indie” has become mainstream (wth) and Singapore’s musicians are more respected and accepted. Renaissance City, huh huh? Though it’s pretty hard to survive on performing - same everywhere, I guess.
This was a good read though - I’m going to Google some of the names and see if I can discover more good music. (Recently Inch Chua wrote an article about how Singaporeans don’t support local music. PLEASE. I’ll support musicians who produce music I like, regardless of nationality. I just don’t like her type of music, simple and straightforward as that. Just because you’re Singaporean, doesn’t mean I have to like or support your music.)
i read all three parts of “the resident tourist” in cck library today. mom abandoned me there (public libraries as free daycare centres!).
it’s good stuff, you can read it in its entirety online, under “stories”.
the protagonist Troy (who’s the manga-ka as well, the series is autobiographical) returns from 10 years in the US and feels alienated back in his country.
the conversation between him and his friend Mint (an ah-lian type from upenn, odd innit?) in part 2, just before she leaves SG again, was unforgettable, especially:
i can’t see myself being here. i just can’t. because everyone… everyone seems to have or… or is following some sort of plan. and i don’t buy it coz it’s not me.
i don’t hate coming back troy. i just don’t belong here.
doesn’t this resonate among people who love singapore but don’t quite subscribe to the Singapore Plan?
(which has sadly been commonly mistaken for the Singapore Dream. see colin goh and woo yen yen.)