Celebrating National Day

I did not see The Dark Knight. But I did see The Swordfish, Then the Concubine at the Singapore Theatre Festival, as well as the exhibition about The Artists' Village at the Singapore Art Museum, and some Vietnamese art. Plus it was all free (thank you, museums who had a free day and Ming who had complimentary tickets to the play).

The only part of the National Day Parade I watched was on the bus on my way to town for the play. As it turned out, the audience on bus was predominantly non-Singaporean. Workers from the Indian subcontinent were clearly the parade's biggest fans, huddling around the screen near the front of the bus. A group of students (coincidentally also Indian) were behaving as most teenagers of any nationality do when it comes to such things: chatting about girls and boys they fancied, listening to funny audio files on each other's cell phones, and taking the piss out of the odd flash of activity they caught on the TV screen.

When the bus passed by Lavender and Arab Streets, most of its passengers tumbled out and the parade lost its audience --- which made me wonder just how much Singapore is still segregated by race and language (perhaps all the more so given current government policies towards "foreign workers", "foreign talent" and "foreign students").

After the play, Ming and I went for very low-key beer and supper in the Bras Basah area. The low-key part was what I found astonishing, since the parade had ended around the same time not ten minutes' walk away, yet the streets we passed were fairly deserted. I guess all the party people were already at the party places, and all the people worn out from the parade extravaganza went home to put up their feet.

There would be pictures to illustrate this post, but I'm not very good at shooting in crowded situations.

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At 8/12/2008 3:15 am , Blogger Jess said...

Michael just wrote a rather scathing piece about the segregation from his point of view...


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