Chingay 2012 (Fri, 3 Feb 2012, F1 Pit Building)
Chingay 2012 was arguably our best to date. Finally, after years of trying, we see floats and props that are “lighter” and more flexible and I especially loved the “flying” dragon and phoenix that kicked off the Parade. Many segments of the Parade seemed to mimic the cinematic scenes from Zhang YiMou films. They were dramatic impressive but I found them “dark” as I saw fallen soldiers, pilgrims in exile and most disturbing of all, slaves tugging at large vessels, representing Singaporeans extolled to a life of slavery in hard work. It was a respite and relief when the Japanese and Malay floats / contingents popped up as they were happy and joyful.
“Song Moving Masterpiece” (Sat, 4 Feb 2012, Singapore Expo Hall 3)
I joined the Press Club’s tour of the “A Moving Masterpiece: The Song Dynasty as Living Art”, courtesy of Irene Hoe. This was a 110 metres long, 6 metres high digital version of the epic Song painting “Qing Ming Shang He Tu” by Zhang Ze-duan which depicts life in the capital of the Northern Song dynastyKaifengin the 12th century. Night and day scenes alternate at four minutes intervals and the 1068 characters are animated – boy chasing pig, peddlers, boatmen stilling swaying vessels, camels carrying merchants and items of trade, donkeys carrying maiden, etc, etc. If not for the pieces of paper tossed into the “river” to test whether it was real, I would have been fooled into thinking that the virtual river was a physical set built by the exhibition organizer to enhance the experience. This was an amazing experience not to be missed. People queued hours to catch five minutes of the film at theShanghaiexpo but here inSingapore, for just under $20, one could enjoy it for as long as one wanted, with audio-phone guide. I could not resist buying a lamp depicting the night scene of the inn segment of the painting. The evening was topped by my 2012 annual “no agenda” meal with Clement Chow at “Oh Deli” on East Coast Road, with Irene and Angela Loke.
Happy Together (Sun, 5 Feb, Substation)
I partook of “Happy Together”, a contemporary dance event performed by former Arts Fission dancers and friends Elysa Wendi and Scarlet Yu. “Partook” because the event started with a simple meal of porridge served up to performers as well as audience. Dancers were accompanied by the Traditional Southern Fujian Music Society. This was a fitting end to the Lunar New Year celebrations on Mon, 6 Feb.
Art Works (10 Feb 2012, Old Parliament House)
I attended an art exhibition at Old Parliament House featuring some of the over 300 art pieces donated by a collector to the Straits Times Budding Artists Fund. The Fund is sharing proceeds with the Community Chest, Singapore Lyric Opera and Ramakrishna Home. I was half-expecting substandard pieces of unwanted art pieces that someone had outgrown but on arrival, was stunned by the very credible and eclectic, international collection of works of by French, Ghanaian, Indonesian, Indian and Yemen artists. I am tempted by a couple of pieces but with no more wall or floor space to spare, I resist.