Brain check for the bboy mind.
As a kid I’ve always known I had a little something extra in me that made me go nuts every time I heard music I liked. As a kid I’ve always wanted to use this gift that I had and go crazy with it, go out there, compete, get recognised, get respected, be famous. But now when the time is really here for me to go all out and do just that, I’m not sure anymore. Suddenly, I feel like where I really belong is in the background. In the circles, in the cyphers, in a party, just dancing with everyone else and having a good time. I have a feeling once I start competing and taking my dance professionally, I simply won’t enjoy it anymore. I love dancing for the simple reason that it makes me feel like a kid again. It gives me a reason to be a kid again in a world where society expects you to mature too fast. I don’t ever wanna lose that feeling.
I guess for now all I really need to do is just continue doing it. I shall never forget why I have been dancing throughout my life thus far. Being a bboy or a dancer in general was something I chose from my heart. It’s rare these days that I get to do just that, so I better start cherishing it.
Im full of that feel good vibe now. It’s cool to see how many around me are doing well in their respective NS lives. Makes me wonder, how soon before I enter the fray of regimental madness. My plans, my goals for the future, halted. But for now, it’s live and let live.
The beauty of music is when you listen to something that you have not listened to in years and you suddenly feel transported back in time..it has the power to touch your emotions, it can alter your feelings, it can implant thoughts in your head, it can change your perception of everything around you. It speaks to you, it understands you, it feels you, it sorta just translates your inner thoughts into perfectly syncopated notes and melodies..and that way you identify with it..you realise that something is actually in sync with you. Something actually makes sense to you in a chaotic world. It hears you out like no one can, and the irony is, you might be listening to the music, but really, the music is listening to you.
It pains me to say this but really, there is no room for any form of independent movement or street subculture to expand in this system of ours, is there? None of it is encouraged. We have been controlled our whole lives. From something as important as education to even deciding on what to wear for the day we have, indeed, subconsciously been controlled. We never really had a say, did we? The society in which we were brought up is tough. It is a society that is born from years of oppression and judgment of others. It is a society that has been taught to obey and respect the laws, instead of questioning and accepting changes.
Hip Hop to me taught me many things. It really isn’t about the fame, it isn’t about wearing fancy expensive clothes or getting drunk every night. In fact it never was about any of that. Hip Hop is beautiful because it is something that was born from the minds and the hearts of creative kids from the slums of New York who really had nothing going on for them in their lives at that time. It was a positive movement. It was an alternative outlet for the kids to express themselves in a positive way, amidst all the negativity that was rife at that time. It was a way for kids to really be free and make an impact on society. It was a movement. This is why, naturally, I was attracted to hip hop in the first place. It was because of the movement. I subscribed to the whole idea of being free, being uncontrolled, being allowed to do what you want to do, being heard, and being respected. I sought hip hop in my own country, and I did find hip hop. I met amazing individuals, and I learnt many life lessons that I would’ve otherwise never have learnt (had I spent more time in school, haha.) Hip hop was like the practicals for all those lessons that my parents have always tried to drill in me but I never understood. For example, my dad always told me that in whatever I do, it is important that I know what the hell I’m doing and why am I doing it in the first place. I would never have really seen this for myself had it not been for the many individuals that I have come across with my indulgence in the culture. Also, I have always heard that with belief, anything is possible. I personally know a couple of people who have had belief in hip hop since they started it, and they are now really making an impact on their peers and society, albeit on a small scale. These people are influential in their own right, and can be considered an inspiration to many. This to me reinforces something that I have always heard of, but have never really seen for myself.
With that, it really sucks to see people who are into this subculture, or any other street movement for that matter, having difficulties in their daily lives just because they did not conform to the higher order at some point of their lives. Because of that, many lost faith halfway and decided that it’s time they cleaned up their act and do things the official way. It seems that it’s simply not worth it to do things your own way. It also sucks that the general consensus of the public when it comes to subcultures like this is that it is a waste of time, and is purely teenage angst. Well, that would be true if its not for the fact that there still are working adults out there who are still actively contributing to this movement ever since they were teenagers. Surely, there must be a reason why.
Hip hop is not Lil Wayne ft Pitbull, hip hop is a movement guys. Our community is filled with love, camaraderie, friendship, respect, helping each other out and straight up just having fun. We stand for ourselves and each other, and we live life the way we feel it should be lived. It is very challenging to live this way in a society like ours though, but who said it can’t be done. With that said, I love this culture, this movement, the people in it and everything about it. I hope that I will never ever “grow up” and forget.
PS. Fuck Lil Wayne. Fuck Pitbull.
Music is not about what you hear, art is not about what you see. It is about how it makes you feel. How it connects to you, and how it communicates to your feelings. The beauty of it is that you get to experience what the artist is experiencing through his art. I was wrong all along. I think I get it now. Funny how much I actually gain when I actually take time to listen. Thanks.
now and then.
With the technology these days, it seems that any one can create a nice, digitally-produced track with the simple click of a button. There exists a variety of music software out there, and one doesn’t even need to have the various instruments to make a complete, basic four-piece song. In fact all it takes is a keyboard, the appropriate software, and basic timing ability to create a nice sounding track that will end up sounding decent enough to be played on the radio. It is therefore not surprising that most of my peers have resorted to this way of making music, as compared to the traditional band set-up. In a way, people are now allowed to explore with more sounds, work from the comfort of their own home and don’t have to go through the hassle of having to call every band member to arrange a jamming session. It is relatively cheaper too, as compared to investing in musical equipment and instruments. Studio rates are also really expensive, especially for some of us youths who struggle to even find money for bus fare. However, I find this development in the music world quite unsettling. I am not going to belittle or condemn this method of making music, as I do know a couple of people who make really good music with this method, but am just rather disappointed that musicians who opt for the traditional way don’t really get the appreciation they deserve for their musicianship anymore. It has become so easy to produce music digitally, that the soul of playing a musical instrument has been ignored.
I still believe in people who still pick up their instruments and produce their tracks with original instruments, traditional style. To me, these are real musicians. Masters of their instruments. The beauty of seeing shows performed by live musicians as compared to artists performing digital tracks is that we get to experience the feel that the musician is expressing, through his instrument. Just by watching and listening to a guitarist, for example, I am able to experience not only his technical ability with the instrument, but also what he brings to the instrument. There is a sense of connection between the musician and his instrument, followed by the sound it produces and his audience.
Musicians like Larry Graham from legendary disco outfit Sly & The Family Stone slapped the bass to provide that heavier, drum-like snap sound which started a revolution for disco bassists that is still being utilised until today. The widely popular usage of ghost notes in funk drumming can also be instantly referenced to Mr. Bernard Purdie, who had worked with the godfather of soul James Brown and Aretha Franklin in the 60s and 70s. These are examples of how an instrument, is able to portray the signature and personality of the musician. It shows that the musician is bringing something different to the way an instrument can be played. It is hard to get this kind of feel and a sense of connection to the musician when you’re listening to a track that is produced digitally, in my opinion. Other examples would be artists like George Benson and John Mayer, who are so skilled and soulful with their instruments, that you simply can’t emulate that kind of sound and feel digitally.
These days with technology only getting better, more and more artists are resorting to digital production in search of a fresher, futuristic sound. I do hope however that the art of traditional instrument-playing will not be lost. A musical instrument is what it literally means; an instrument for musical expression. A form of outlet for one’s inner musicality. It has been used since the beginning of mankind, from every part of the world, and there has been thousands of varieties of instruments invented, and still counting. I sincerely, with my heart and my soul, hope the art of musicianship will not be ignored or lost in the future, because not only will it take the soul out of the music, it will also take the soul out of the musician.
Why must we pretend all the time? A friend of mine shared with me the other day, how his date complained when he wore slippers to a date with her. Someone clarify this to me please, what’s wrong with that? It’s not like we live in a winter country where we need to wear shoes otherwise our toes will freeze to death, right?
Once again I would like to highlight the lack of identity here. There exists such a massive lack of identity here, that we have resorted to identity theft. We copy others, who just be themselves. Why can’t we just be ourselves and feel comfortable with it? I think cause we’re too afraid of what people might think or say. Our society is too judgmental. Too insecure and feeling too inferior (maybe cause our country is soo small) to the western ones in particular. Just because in western culture it is the accepted norm that looking proper means wearing shoes, the singaporeans have blindly adapted it too. Over there, it is not “proper” to wear slippers because of the weather, as they are only worn at home and during summer. Hence, when people are seen on the streets in it, it makes sense that he looks like he just got out of the house and is too lazy to change to shoes i.e informal. Here, everyday is summer. So what’s wrong with wearing slippers to a date?
So people, let’s embrace our singaporean-ism and wear slippers more often. It will make our lives so much easier too, no?
So there was trouble outside Jalan Besar Stadium in the local derby against Malaysia. We were all there, we witnessed it. Funny thing was, justice was served against us. Our own people were getting hammered by the Malaysians, and these locals were the same people that were pulled out by cisco officers and arrested. This despite the fact that many innocent local fans ( including an innocent elderly makcik ) were mindlessly being subjected to physical abuse from the Malaysians. ( I shall not blame the Ultras Malaya for this. I don’t think the behaviour of a few is reflective of the group’s general consensus. )
I’m getting sick of this. I’m getting sick of the government always blaming it all on the locals. Outsiders come here, taunt us, openly disrespect us, and we get blamed for reacting. And they get away scot free. What the shittery is this. Do we not have a right to protect ourselves, protect our national identity, protect our national pride, from being subject to abuse by foreigners? What message is the government trying to put across? That we should sit down, keep our voices low, watch football like a golf game, and shun all forms of showing pride for our national team? The Malaysians were chanting in our faces outside the stadium for god’s sake. Is this what we get for backing up our locals?
I think Singapore is the only country in the world where fans from rival countries actually feel safe to roam around our streets wearing their national colours and chanting without an inch of fear whatsoever at all. Not that we could do anything about it, our own government won’t back us up.
The New Paper reported the event in their own words in today’s paper. The headlines screamed ” SHAME ON YOU Singaporeans”. I can’t agree more. Shame on you for voting the wrong people into Parliament. Shame on you.
Back to watching Euro2012 and supporting my favourite BPL team for now, cheers.
In light of the recent arrest of SKLO, whom we all know for her notoriously brilliant stickers, I would like to say never have I felt so strongly for a support campaign as I am feeling towards this one. I think a serious judicial review needs to be done on the sentence for the Vandalism Act, and what really constitutes as “vandalism”. Anyways, here’s why, as a street artist myself, I feel for her.
Street artists have never been given the space to paint freely or express themselves, as the government here merely dismisses every single act of independent, unlawful self-expression as vandalism, and proceeds to throw anyone who feels otherwise in jail and cane them for all their worth. I know cause for years I’ve struggled, finding alternatives to really feel the freedom to paint publicly, but am always constrained. There’s only ONE place in Singapore you can really do that, which consists of two walls where you can really paint freely. Seriously, if you’re a foreigner reading, I’m not kidding. This country only provides graffiti artists and street artists alike two walls in the entire nation to paint.
As far as I know, Singapore has the most strict laws in the world on graffiti and street art. Why? I do not know. Three years plus strokes of the cane just for scrawling something on a wall or pasting something tasteful on an-otherwise-boring electrical box? Cruel.
I am delighted to see that this case has garnered the support of many Singaporeans, and hopefully this would shed some light on how we really feel here. I have been waiting forever for people to notice. I feel that as a Singaporean, and a street artist, we need our creative rights. We need our space. We need to be able to express ourselves. Why won’t the people up there (and those who support them), understand that?
As a result of the lack of space here, I myself have sidelined my street art passion for quite a while now. It is just not worth it to risk going to jail just by paintingillegally, and legal painting has its downs too, such as the temporariness of your work (artworks done in legal walls usually last a day or two to a week, it depends, but no more than two) and serious lack of space (the longest wall in somerset is like what, 3m high 15m long? ) This really says something. I wonder how many others out there have sidelined their passion, just like I did. And who knows how many of these people could’ve really been a great street artist, just never given the opportunity to grow. How are we going to make a stand in the global street art community, if we are not given the chance to express ourselves? Global arts hub? I suggest you start from the streets, dear government. Artists don’t become great because they went to art school (psht) , they become great because no one restricted their creativity.
Here’s what I think can be done. As little as it may be, we actually do have an alternative voice in Parliament, which is the Worker’s Party. We should collate our voices and raise this issue to their attention. (Mr Pritam Singh, WP MP, holds private 1-to-1 talks with members of the public at Bedok Reservoir every Monday). I have no doubt that they would be more than happy to inquire the Members of Parliament about the matter. I would love to see what they have to say regarding this matter. Part of me tells me our inquiries would either be avoided, or simply shot down, as they have done so in numerous occasions in the past tho.
My utmost respect, however, goes out to those who have struggled in this society and have actually managed to make an impact in the local and overseas scene with their artworks, you guys know who you are.
Just my two cents.
RECOGNIZE YOUR LOCALS!