Musings Singapore

Singaporeans vs Lee Kuan Yew

I’m shocked that there are so many people who lack empathy and basic decency, to actually wish that someone would ‘just die already’. You may not agree with his policies and actions, but it is impossible not to recognise that Lee Kuan Yew has dedicated his life to what he believes to be the best for Singapore.

At the most challenging of times, where we were in a state of flux, he made the hard decisions. We make many hard decisions in our life, and I guarantee that we have all questioned if we could not have done it better. However, we all made these decisions with the information we had, and to the best of our abilities. But the decisions that we make affect only us, and our immediate surroundings. The decisions that he has to make impacts the entire nation. The stress of that responsibility is not something that everyone has the strength to shoulder. And for that, I respect him deeply.

No government is perfect, and every government has idiots in power. We are no different. Housing is ridiculously expensive, standard of living continues to rise but not salaries, our police force is pretty much useless, among other things.

Where we have fared a million times better than other countries, is that our basic necessities in life has been well taken care of. And I’m not talking about the material stuff. Those are secondary. It is the intangibles that truly matter. Safety, health, family.

It is safe to walk on the streets at night, and we do not have to suffer the fear of being robbed at gunpoint, of being raped, murdered, or any of the horrible things that occur frequently in so many other countries. Air is fresh so I don’t worry about dying because I run or cycle outdoors often. We are small so I can work in the same city where my family is, instead of having to look for work in another state / country.

And we have all these things, because a certain someone made many decisions during his leadership. Because a certain someone took a dictatorial hand in national matters.

Do I think we need to change? Of course I do. We can have debates and discussions about the arts, about homosexual topics, and everything under the sun because we are at a stage where we have the basic foundations and can fight for topics that are not directly related to our survival. Our current administration should relax their hold a little and engage the people more. But that is because we, as a nation, is stable. Do you think we can have these discussions if our primal instinct for survival is engaged? Who cares about the arts and homosexuals, if the nation is in poverty and cannot even feed ourselves?

Even if you do not agree with his decisions or directions, he is critically ill, and may not make it. Can’t people just put the negativity aside and at least hope that he goes in peace and without pain? Don’t these people have even an ounce of empathy in them? Think of his family! How would you feel, if someone cursed your father and hope that he would just die? Seriously, people, seriously.

So many Singaporeans are like frogs in a well looking up and thinking that is all there is to the sky. We all need to stop looking inwards, and start actually seeing what we have already achieved, and how we can continue to move forward. The only way Singapore can advance, is if the entire nation is working towards their own personal betterment.

Review Theatre


“Beauty World Cha Cha Cha!” “High Class, Low Class, NO CLASS!”

Who can forget these classic lines? Beauty World the musical has been with us 5 years after I was born. So 20 years after its creation, I was given complimentary tickets to watch.

Firstly, I don’t like the Esplanade Theatre. The stall seats are just as good as being on perfectly flat ground. It’s so steep that I was unable to see any action that was within 0.5m from the stage floor.. *grumbles*

I went in without any expectations of a good time actually.It was quite obvious to me before I stepped into the venue that it will not be good. It might pass, but it will not be one that stays with us for a long time. The cast list is pretty much good enough to tell all.

That said, I was fairly impressed by the set design. I thought it was intelligent and thought was actually put into the works and how the interchanging of the set flows with the rest of the play. There was a certain sense of period in the Beauty World cabaret style set but it could have been slightly better. The whole feel was more of a Moulin Rouge idea than 80s chinese cabaret. Slightly off but still good.

Lights was in general another good point in the play. Lulu’s follow-spotter was not very on-the-ball at times. There were a couple of spots that cleanly cuts a dark arc across the forehead. And that happened in scenes where she was supposed to be showing lots of emotion in her expression… A big waste that was actually. But I’m not really a lights person so I’m not really able to comment much on it..

Sound though, is a different thing. OH MY GAWD! I hated it, the sound cues, not the songs.. The band was placed at the back and on top of ALL the action. So much so that the conductor is totally unable to see the action on stage real life. He either had to use audio cues, or use his monitor which is super tiny. I know. I’ve seen it. I can’t see shit on that small little thing. So.. 90% of the sound cues were off. Especially the visual ones. Timing was horrible. Sometimes the music climax came after the actor had already paused in his act.. Like 3 seconds. Totally off. Bad.

Personally, and I think this applies to most industry people who watched the show, that the costumes were bad. It was totally off. I mean, this is a 80s Singapore Chinese cabaret, not Moulin Rouge. Yet 80% of the cabaret girls’ costumes were so Moulin Rouge, complete with sequins, glitter, shine, feathers, tassles all the works. *beep* Wrong era here. And my god the suits look like a really fashionable & modern cut! The only correct period costume was probably recycled from the old run. Which is Ah Hock, Ivy, Frankie & Rosemary’s. *shakes head*

My heart goes out to Daren Tan, really. He’s not a stage actor. He doesn’t even know how to act. Yet because of his fame as the winner of Project Superstar, he has to be thrown into this unfamiliar and really very unkind community. He simply can’t act. Not now. Not without training and experience. His singing is wrong. The wrong type of vocals. Pop singing and musical singing is really way off. Not everyone’s Pamela Oei or Gani. He was easily the worst of the lot, seriously. Not entirely his own fault but still… Reality sucks.

Elena, playing Ivy, really threw me off. She was much better than I had expected. Then again, she has the right musical theatre training as a foundation. She has the vocals and the potential. What she really lacks is the experience, which shows in her acting. There is a certain lack of sense of how you capture and enhance movements in accordance with the background music. For example, when she was sneaking around in Mummy’s room in her all-black catwoman suit, it would have been more interesting to see if she had followed the beat of the music. I’d like to use popping as a way to connect such movement acting. There’s always a certain place where you stop, usually at the hard beat itself. And the right amount of jerky actions combined with smooth moves accentuates what you are doing and makes your movements clearer. Plus you don’t have to do as many consecutive actions to get the same effect. And it looks better on stage. She really needs to work on her physical aspect.

Frankie, played by Dwayne Tan, was a lovely success. Totally without the image of Hossan Leong from the 1998 run and yet still endearing in his own way. “My a-ha-ha Ivy….” Didn’t know how it was apparently so hilarious that everyone had to laugh like mad dogs every time he sang that song. *grouchy*

The rest… Denise could have done better but the chemistry between her & the rest wasn’t there.. The showdown between Lulu & Rosemary was such a let down! Where is the vocal power????? Rosemary was tooooooo much Jacintha, she might as well have done it by herself. Irene Ang was hilarious as Ah Choo, spot on punch lines.. Swee Lin was charismatic as Mummy as well.. Ensemble was well, forgettable.

I wouldn’t pay to watch the show, even if it was S$10. But that’s just me. Someone else might have a different opinion.

Have you watched the play?