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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Mad about Womad

Cheesy title, but I'm running low here.....

ANd yea! I went to Womad on Sat night with Candle. Tons of music, all over the world, it all rocked, and we got a massage, and yea, it rocked!

*Cough* Ok, back to proper blogging...

After we left, and I sat the long bus ride home, I came to 2 conclusions about Womad:

1) It is best enjoyed with someone you don't mind looking stupid in front of

One of the stages we walked past was playing music that, as I told Candle, "You just can't sit down to." A sort of infectious Spanish, samba-ish song that was more infectious than the common cold and had everyone in front of the stage shimmying away. Best was the way the singer got the audience to engage in some kind of synchronized dance. "To the left!" And everyone shimmys 2 steps to the left. "To the right!" "Front!" "Back!"

Somehow I'm reminded of all those mass exercise displays we used to have in school.......

Anyway, it was so irresistable, that Candle and I were soon shimmying away with the crowd of them as well. And best, we had our own moves, adapted from some Ks we knew in NUSSUX..... For sake of anonymity, and general mercy, I shall simply put the initials of the guys... you guys should be able to guess who...

First clap a regular 4-beat. One. Two. Three. Four. Getting it? Hold that beat... Now do...

The KL! [Thrust your head forward with each beat, keeping the rest of your body still]

The KR! [Jab your index finger in the air with each beat]

The KL! [Slide side to side like a crab walking on ice] [this is a different KL from the one above, btw]

Ta-dah! You now have a simple synchronised dance routine that can be adapted to any music, and you can even do the same moves together! For example,

KL and KR! [Thrust your head forward while jabbing your finger]

KR and KL! [Jab your finger while sliding]

and if you're really zai, you can even attempt to do all 3....... as we tried, to extreme bouts of laughter as we saw how stupid the other looked.........

But anyway, exactly my point there....... There's no fun going to an event like Womad and then spending the whole time standing in a corner, with a cup of Heineken and bobbing your head up and down trying to look, is there? Save that for the pubs man.... this is Womad!

So go only if you are willing to sacrifice your self-dignity for one night...

Onto the next point, which is...

2) Womad is like a bohemian fashion show

I wish I could have complemented this entry with photos, but I got all the way to Fort Canning only to realise that I had forgotten to charge trusty Oliver... ARGH!

Because Womad is like a bohemian fashion show, and something like half the people there were models.

See them sashaying up and down the stairs, or the slopes, and see what's IN in boho hip right now. Long, flowy skirts, reaching either to just above the ankle, or sweeping the floor. Light, airy material of bright, bold fabrics. Fishermen pants of varying lengths, some even becoming fishermen shorts. Loose linen shirts. Brightly striped hairbands. Indian-inspired sari skirts.

Man, I could've just bought half the clothes off some of the people there.........

My last point is a bit more sober...

3) What is Singapore culture? What is Singapore music?

They had music from Israel, from Spain, from India, and as I was sitting on the grass, listening to music from South Africa [I think it was SA, anyway] this question occurred to me:

What kind of music would Singapore play in a world music festival?

What is the sound, that would define Singaporean music? And I don't mean POP music like Stefanie Sun and the like. I mean music. The kind that has a recognisable and distinguishable style everywhere around the world. The kind that makes people stop while they walk, listen to the first few bars, and then go, "Oh yea, that's Singaporean music."

Do we have one? No we don't. We have Chinese, Malay, Indian and Western music, but we don't have local music.

Is that a little sad? In a way, yes. Because our culture is not developed enough to have an identity of its own, let alone a sound of our own. And isn't this the common complaint about Singapore? We have no culture! [trying to emulate other cultures and passing it off as our own doesn't count]

We're too young as a nation to yet discover our national identity. While other hotspots like London have existed for 1000s of years on the very soil they are still living on, we have only been hogfooting it for about 40. We're practically kids in terms of countries.

But at the same time, does that mean we have nothing?

I guess if you would look at the other side of the coin, this is an excellent time to mold a national identity. If we are still infants, then we are still exploring our self-identity, finding out what we can about ourselves.

And some of it is good, some is bad, but you don't scold infants for farting in their diapers, do you? So in the same way, we have some leeway yet when it comes to culture.

Maybe someday...... who knows?

1 comment:

quetz said...


I think most of the people will not able to understand the KL and KR dance... but I will always remember the way they dance... HAHAHAHAh