June 3, 2009

inSingapore: Singapore Art Museum

Posted in Travel and Culture tagged , , , , at 7:59 pm by myrlinn

Is it bad when you go into a museum, and all you can think about is how you can create a facsimile of the art pieces yourself? Because that’s exactly what I found myself doing when I paid a visit to the Singapore Art Museum, and its new extension, 8Q sam, recently. I found myself observing Wu Guangzhong’s paintings of cityscapes (buildings), for how he uses swathes of greys and whites to depict the lines that define the city. In his case, though, I do appreciate the finesse in his brush techniques. And I did find his ink paintings of paddy fields compelling — he brought out the elegance of the rice terraces.

In the case of a few other featured pieces from Southeast-Asia, though, I couldn’t help but scratch my head. The works seemed to me to be that of artists trying to produce art which make them artists; rather than artists just being. I was, frankly, bored. There was a piece in one of the exhibitions which had the explanation that the space between the panels constituting the piece was exact, to convey perspective. Sorry, too contrived for me.

It may be less exciting from a curatorial point of view, but I think an extensive permanent exhibition showcasing major pieces from critically acclaimed Singaporean and Southeast-Asian artists (those artworks which have stood the test of time) would actually be more relevant for visitors to the museum.

May 1, 2009

inSingapore: the AWARE saga – my thoughts

Posted in Musings tagged , , , , at 9:51 pm by myrlinn

If you live in Singapore, you can’t help but read about the ruckus going on in AWARE over a leadership “takeover” by members who just recently joined the organisation, voted in by other members who also just joined the organisation within the last few months. Following on from that, we had accusations, counter-accusations, resignations, termination of staff, etc. In short, the kind of drama we don’t often see in Singapore, spiced up by the addition of elements like religion and gay issues.

My main thought is for AWARE. How will it affect the organisation to have leaders who were motivated to contest not because they were passionate about women’s issues, rights for the downtrodden, justice for the abused, but because they were against what they saw as the promotion of homosexuality in certain AWARE activities and programmes? Given their driving motivation, can they summon up the commitment and doggedness to stand up for more day-to-day issues, for standing up for women who are in need of people to speak up for them?

My other thought is that this is not reflecting well on Christians. What happened to loving your neighbour, to humility, to having an attitude of serving from the heart – key elements of Jesus’ teaching? The way that the leadership change was effected and the subsequent actions smack instead of arrogance, and something approaching contempt, perhaps even hatred, for homosexuality and homosexuals. That’s sad, because the Jesus I know from the bible stood with the outcasts in Jewish society – the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the lepers. He showed love, and drew these people closer to God, and farther from sin, by doing so.

This move on the part of these church members may represent something I’ve been noticing — an increasing discomfort with liberalism within the Christian church itself. Seems to me that this kind of reaction is at least driven in part by fear. But why the need for such fear? Why feel threatened that children will be influenced or contaminated by homosexuality being labelled a neutral word? Why fear that the gay lifestyle will be increasingly regarded as normal, that gays will have recognised rights? Surely, the only fear Christians should have is fear of God?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Sometimes it’s easier to believe in God, and to love God, than to be a member of a church. The drawing of lines in the sand, with “us” on one side and “them” on the other, simply does not feel right to me. I don’t hear Jesus calling us to be God’s police force. In fact, he cautioned against judging others before looking at the faults in ourselves. And he showed it in his actions — when he was asked whether a prostitute should be punished, he challenged those without sin to cast the first stone.

December 12, 2008

inSingapore: At Alexandra Hospital with mum

Posted in Tried-and-Liked tagged , , , , at 8:17 pm by myrlinn

I see I’ve been neglecting this blog lately. I’ve a good excuse, mind you. My mum suffered really bad abdominal/chest pains and ended up in Alexandra Hospital here in Singapore.

The stay really brought home to me how important intangibles are in helping you through a stressful hospital stay. You may be really ill, but things like professionals who talk to you with respect and knowledge, and even decor details which brings touches of beauty into the patient’s sphere, can help to make the experience less frightening and confusing.

I’ve been to Alexandra Hospital, and have always liked its overall ambience, but with my mother warded for quite a few days this time around, I was able to take a look round the hospital, and came away more impressed than ever with the hospital’s attention to decor  elements and their gardens, which I talk a bit more about here:  The “boutique” charm of Alexandra Hospital, Singapore.

But apart from that, I think we were fortunate to be under the care of a specialist with extra high EQ, Mr Tan T-J. Particularly with a patient like my mum, who’s filled with so much fear at the thought of operations and other medical procedures. He inspired a lot of confidence with his well-formulated explanations, and ability to communicate caring.  Now, I don’t know if he’s actually the most competent surgeon at the hospital, but I would bet anything he gets the best results simply because he makes patient and family feel more reassured. Hmmm… I wonder if they teach communication skills at medical school? They should.  Surely, we know enough now to understand that healing involves paying attention to the emotional as well as the physical.

June 12, 2008

The fascination with Jaymes Foster…

Posted in Musings tagged , , , , , , , at 9:00 am by myrlinn

My thought for the day — if you’ve read some of my other posts where I mention my thought of the day, you’ll know that my thoughts usually involve questions about things which interest me.

I was looking at the stats for this blog this morning, and you know what? “Jaymes Foster” has featured as a search term leading readers here for the last week or so (because her name is mentioned in the RCA piece on Clay Aiken’s ‘On My Way Here’ I posted some time ago). Not a bad thing in the case of this blog, of course, since the search leads straight to info on Clay’s CD.

But it led me to thinking about the popular fascination with celebrity lives. It’s like we expect their real lives to be available to us 24/7. Remember The Truman Show, anyone? What does that say about our culture? And about the ability of the public to be discerning when it comes to the media? Are we content to see a situation where to satisfy this demand, the media is sensationalising ‘news’, sacrificing editorial integrity and vigilance in quite a few cases? These questions are running around in my head at the moment, together with lots of half-formed thoughts.

I shall probably have more to say after I think about this some more, because this is another area I’ve always been enthusiastic about — how we deal with the images presented to us, and how we relate to the media.

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