Thursday, July 31, 2008

Revelation of the day


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Puppylog Blog!

Just for the hell of it: some pictures of our Labrador puppy Li Bai, back in June.

He's grown now!

Monday, July 28, 2008


...and I've also started a blog for RESERVOIR, my upcoming production with TheatreWorks.

28-30 Aug 2008_72-13 Mohamed Sultan Road

Deep in the heart of MacRitchie Reservoir lie the ruins of the Syonan Jinja, a Shinto shrine built during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore. Envisioned first as a spiritual and recreational centre for the future empire, then built by Australian POWs and Japanese craftsmen, today it exists only as stone relics and fragments, swallowed up by the thick tropical rainforest.

As young artists, we have embarked on a journey of discovery to reclaim this forgotten monument. Its very existence is intriguing – a beautiful artefact of civilisation from an age of blood and destruction. Its architects made outlandish promises: that the site would be the greatest in the world after the Meiji Shrine, that the area might be a future host for the Olympic Games.

Perhaps most provoking is the love-hate relationship between Singapore and the shrine. Historians and tourism promoters want it preserved, even rebuilt to commemorate our national heritage. Ordinary citizens, however, have violently objected to any celebration of former Japanese rule – even as they happily consume Japanese commercial and cultural products.

Led by director Choy Ka Fai, we are an ensemble of creative people from Singapore and Japan with roots in poetry, dance, drama, architecture, sport and multimedia. We have made pilgrimages to the jungle, probed the site scientifically, studied archival documents, drawings and oral histories, and processed our own collective memories to recreate and re-imagine the shrine as a sacred site.

Our performance, a tapestry of image, sound and movement, will be a drama of recollection, an attempt to capture the Syonan Jinja's sleeping spirit.

Conceived + Directed + Multimedia by Choy Ka Fai
Written by Ng Yi Sheng
Performed by Norico Sunayama+ Rizman Putra+ Patricia Toh
Sonic Compositions by Chong Li Chuan
Set and lighting design by Jiro Endo

Sunday, July 27, 2008



Orrrrhh. Now I get it.

Be careful of abusing drugs. Or you might end up looking as dumb as the guy in the stupid hat.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Erasural Harmony

I've been working on a song to cheer the Singapore team on at the Beijing Olympics. Sigh. There is no way to reconcile my ideological beliefs about sports and human rights with what I'm doing for my career.

Anyway, I Youtubed a few past National Day songs for some inspiration. And guess what I found:

Exhibit A: "Reach Out For The Skies", a rather decent song performed in English as the theme song for NDP 2006 by Rui En (who acted in my second play ever in RJC) and the kohl-eyed, ever-so-fuckable Taufik Batisah.

Exhibit B: "Reach Out For The Skies", a rather decent song performed in Mandarin as the theme song for NDP 2006 by Rui En and...

OMFG. It's just Rui En. It sure sounds nice - somehow it doesn't lose anything by the subtraction of harmonics - but where once you had a Chinese girl and Malay boy showing how Singapore is all about celebrating your sexy multiculturalism, now you've got a Chinese girl, ALOOOONE, and she doesn't need any Malay boy to help her, so he can buang him by the roadside.

Seriously. Watch both videos. The same scenes in which Taufik and her were dancing side by side? They reappear, with just the girl alone.

Spooky. It's like Soviet photos.

One awful thing is, I realise the programmer coulddn't have had much of a choice about it. If s/he'd made Taufik sing in Mandarin, that'd have been cultural imperialism to the nth.

Of course, they *could have* made a Malay version of the song, and made Taufik sing that alone, or else forced Taufik and Rui En to both become trilingual. (Mei you na me nan ba? Tak susah, right brudder?)

But got budget right? And all the Malay people in Singapore also speak English also right? Sighhh.

Thus, in retrospect, last year's NDP song, "Will You" is full of happy, tokenist WIN. Eight singers, only two of whom are Chinese (and mostly selected for talent rather than for looking young and nubile):

But the videos for this year's song, "Shine For Singapore", are full of FAIL.

Besides the song being not very catchy, I take grave issues with the fact that the protagonists of each of the mini-threads - i.e. the lovers, the teacher, the girl with the shoes; the people the viewer's expected to identify with - are all Chinese.

Plus, both Hady Mirza and the young Chinese guy are both too bland to be thoroughly smokin' (if you lack spectacle, you must have aesthetics, I'm afraid), and the little autistic artist girl subplot is stolen from Japan.

Together, can we make a difference?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I'm also going to be a guest blogger for the Singapore Biennale soon.

And I definitely have to post this:

Bottom line: If people aren't protesting, becoming nauseated by, or threatening lawsuits against an artist's work, you can look around for me, but I'm not going to be there. Using light and shadow to mythologize the pastoral and create a setting where human beings and the natural world can coexist peacefully? Best of luck to you. If you need me, I'll be watching a heroin addict use his own HIV-positive blood to paint Hiroshima victims on the side of a school bus. You know, with all the other real art buffs.

I Don't Have Time for Noncontroversial Art Exhibits by Keith Dans, The Onion.

Spotted at GSSQ.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I has too many blogz. Ka5 haz made me start Reservoir Blog, u see.

Dis lolpanda maik me feel bettr.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Once more unto the breach, my friends, once more...

Ka Fai and I are camped out at 72-13 tonight 'cos we're all journeying to visit the Syonan Jinja tomorrow/today. It's all part of our prep work for Reservoir, the woefully underpublicised show I'm doing with TheatreWorks.

We'll get maybe 4 1/2 hours sleep. If we're lucky.

To bed now.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Given that the Singapore Theatre Festival is paying its playwrights above standard industry rates (they're trying to set a trend, not make us so unaffordable that no-one else wants us), I've decided to start a special blog for 'em. And not just for my play (buy tickets!!!), either - fo' everyone's plays!

If you're involved in the Festival in any capacity and want to be a blogger, just tell me and I'll add you.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I marched in the NYC Dyke March!

This was way back on Saturday 28 June, but I've only just uploaded the pix.

Can you believe it? The cops were there to *protect us*, not to break things up! (I'm speaking not just from a Singapore gay activist perspective, but also from a New York anti-war protester perspective.)

It began to rain even while we were waiting outside the Library at Bryant Park.

But we marched on regardless.

Some of us had more baggage than others. :)

These babes were the marshalls. (A guy tried to knock one of them over in his car, but the police went and beat the guy up. Yay for brutality! :P)

I marched with this blind Latina lesbian from Alberquerque. I did the Amelie thing and described all the cool shit that was happening to her.

For example, these guys were outside a cathedral, singing "God is a Lesbian" to the tune of "God Save the Queen". There was a drag queen nun there as well.


I love the fact that lesbians tolerate variant body shapes. (Behind us in the march there were two cute trannykids; one a lanky MTF girl whom I really wouldn't have minded going out with and the other a short, shirtless FTM boi with his girlfriend.)

Surprisingly, sometimes lesbians have the best hairdos. (Or is ze trans here?)

And some cool supporters too!

Nearing Washington Square Park, I met an older woman who was carrying a staff with coloured ribbons. I asked if it was a wand (she could've been a Gaia-earth-Wiccan) but it turned out it was a memorial for her partner who'd died five years ago. She asked not to be photographed.

Ditto for the bare-breasted women. Some things are not to be televised.

Hell yeah.

We collapsed into a small alcove in the park...

...and started dancing...

I love being a dyke tyke. More pictures at my Picasa page.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

I'm back!

Hello little cat!!!!

Way too much drama happened to explain right now. Maybe not ever.

Also, I brought 27 books to read back home (but one of them's pornographic, so it doesn't really count).

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Where the Hell is Matt?

Trust me, this video'll make you grin like an idiot.

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

June 2008 texts

I just didn't finish a lot of books this time round. Sigh. (But I sure watched a shitload of drama...)

+Dorothy Porter’s “Akhenaten”
+C. P. Cavafy's "Passions and Ancient Days"

Patrick Gale's "Rough Music"

+Heiner Muller’s “Theatremachine”
Suzan-Lori Parks's "The America Play and Other Works"

+Miyamoto Musashi's "The Book of Five Rings"
Ng King Kang's "Born This Way"
+Jean-Paul Sartre's "Existentialisme est un humanisme"

+Sarah Varon's "Robot Dreams"
+Edward Gorey's "Amphigorey"


+The Kransky Sisters' "Heard It On the Wireless"
+1927's "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea"
Christian von Richthofen's "Auto Auto: A Car Smashing Symphony"
Joavien Ng, Neo Hong Chin and Ebelle Chong's "Forward Moves"
+Ho Tzu Nyen and Fran Borgia's "The King Lear Project"
Theatreworks's "Awaking"
+Back to Back Theatre's "small metal objects"
Musical Theatre Ltd's "Five Foot Broadway"
+Cake Theatre's "Temple"
Clubbed Thumb's "Slavey"
+The New York Neo-Futurists' "Too Much Pride Makes the Baby Go Gay"
+Koh Jee Leong et al's "We Sing the Body Electric: Whitman and His Children"
+Mike Birbiglia's "Sleepwalk with Me"

+The Asian Civilisations Museum's "Viet Nam! From Myth To Modernity"
+The NUS Raffles Biodiversity Museum's permanent collection
+Matthew Ngui's "Points of View"
Ghada Amer's "Love Has No End"
+The Brooklyn Museum's "[Takashi] MURAKAMI"
+The Guggenheim Museum's "Louise Bourgeois"

+Michael Patrick King's "Sex and the City: The Movie"
+Alec Tok's "The Boy Who Asked Too Many Questions"