Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Arts in Singapore

It's saddening, really. The arts is very much unexplored in Singapore. You would think that as we reach a relatively comfortable level of standard of living, we would be able to finally turn our attention to the arts.

STEM fields still very much dominate Singapore, and I am rather happy about how smart our nation is collectively, like a hive of brilliant minds in this small country.

Yet the arts is tossed to one side. History? Who cares? Dance? Maybe as a hobby.

It could be due to my high exposure to Western pop culture, especially having watched and enjoyed immensely the very many musicals that Broadway has to offer. And of course, the hit show Glee. And when I explore more into what forms of entertainment I have consumed when I was younger, it was always either theatre or comedy.

I was very fascinated with theatre and writing early on. Even shows like Saturday Night Live, I greatly appreciate the work of the backstage crew and I read a lot about everyone coming and working together to create such a successful show.

Maybe I'm a bit of a hypocrite for picking the Science stream to study for the 'A' Levels for. I sometimes get a bit mad at myself when I never picked a subject like Literature instead of my current subject combination, I was obviously more inclined to pick up a fictitious story rather than a factual one.

But then I think again and again. "Follow your passion" is mighty dangerous advice. My parents would constantly lament on picking roads that lead to more choices. While I am (actually) satisfied that I love what I choose to study in the end, I know that subconsciously, I have also picked my subject combination for security.

I'm not big on visual arts per se. I have never had the experience of a visual arts education, and I don't know how to fully appreciate visual works. But writing, comedy, and theatre? That's where I am at.

I study Chemistry, Biology and Economics at the H2 level, with Mathematics at the H1 level. Despite studying Economics at a H2 level, my subject combination as a whole is still very much science-based.

I must admit that I do love the sciences, just as much. I appreciate the study of everyday objects and how they come into play. How everything has a reason, how everything is questionable.

But they never appear to be able to account for emotions. I don't mean this in a romantic sense. I mean this where everyone is a galaxy. Where the brains of everyone mimics that of the cosmos. Where we are infinite, a string of universes colliding with one another, rippling new ecosystems (hey, science!) into each other's worlds. Creating new colour.

The world is so diverse, and science manages to account for so much. But there's a whole another level that science is unable to explain.

To me, the arts is about expression and appreciation. Through the arts, we are vulnerable and offer a peek of our vast mind.

It is so clear that the Sciences and the Arts can co-exist. That we don't have to pick a specialisation. That we don't have to pick the Sciences over the Arts in the hope of securing the future.

As an individual, I know there's not much I can do to shake things up in this industry. Cultural change is slow, and may not happen at all. But I have hopes for Singapore.

I've looked up so many theatre-based volunteering events. There aren't many and most of them are on an ad hoc basis due to the nature of theatre, and I think that's one of the reasons people aren't so big on it here.

I hope to one day be able to be a champion for the arts. I hope I can start come 2017.

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