The X'Ho-Files

To Shzer With Love & Questions


Some of you may consider me petty to mind the bad review in the Straits Times that Tan Shzer Ee gave of my band Zircon Gov. Pawn Starz' sturdy performance on May 29 at the Esplanade. Well, if it were that simple, I'd be the first to admit to being so. But you have to remember what Zircon Gov. is all about. Zircon Gov.'s 'mentor' has always deemed it necessary to be intolerant of unjust criticism. And if only we were as rich and powerful, we would have sued for artistic defamation. There, now you realize how big-minded Zircon Gov. is. So, Ms. Tan Shzzz... whatever, know the feeling for once - don't take it personally, it's purely business. Just as you go about yours, we have to maintain our credibility for the good of Zircon-nationhood.

Mere justification? You see, I've learned well. And you can bet your sweet six-month bonus that I've got a hundred logic to spew forth if needed. So, let's go there.

"Are Singapore audiences uncouth?" Tan asked in another ST-report referring to the incident where a group of school girls giggled loudly during an Arts Fest dance performance and someone stood up and berated them (Jun 15, '04). She also "wonders what lessons can be learnt from the incident if Singapore still has hopes of being an arts hub".

The lesson I learned is that no matter how disgustingly uncouth Singaporeans generally are, we should never tell them to their face. That way, we still maintain good relations to be rewarded with the majority's support in TV-ratings, election-votes, etc. So yeah, good work, Ms Tan, for knowing where thou boss's butter needs to be polyunsaturated (!).

However, there is one tiny issue raised in Tan's question: "Are Singaporeans too wimpy about swear words?" (The giggling girls at the dance performance were apparently told to shut up in a somewhat crude way.) Can you believe the question there?

Well, yeah...because it has an agenda all its own, one that's explained by Tan's next question: "Do we as a society with cosmopolitan aspirations, still need nannying by the 'authorities'?" See! The point to all of that is to convince us that we should now think for ourselves. So, I say - five figures or ten months' bonus to Tan for her 'noble' rhetoric. (See how big-hearted I am, despite the bad review!). Alright, just dangle more big carrots, Big Bro! Here's looking at exemplary yes-men mavericks with hot-press pens!

David Schlesinger, managing editor of Reuters, was quoted in the Sunday Times saying: "We don't tell people what to vote, we don't tell people what to buy, we just tell the story" (Jun 13, '04). Obviously, our nation's re-made press-mavericks are now learning to simply ask the right questions.

Coming back to the topic of uncouth...

"Armed gang beat up man on bus" was the headline of a Home-report in the ST (Jun 21, '04). A young man in his 20s was beaten up because he happened to be waiting for a bus when two rival gangs clashed. "Before he knew it, the group asked him what he was looking at. He said he replied: 'Why can't I look?' and that provoked the attack" - the report stated. 

Awww, poor thing. You mean your parents and Grandfather himself didn't tell you that one should never stare at a stranger (unless out of lust) and that looking and staring are two different things? Oh, you poor-poor thing, I know you were simply taking the cue from everyone else in Singapore cos we're such a space-encroaching stare-dare lot, and we don't even know it! After all, there is no law to say you should not stare, yeah?

Tan... Where are you? We need you to ask some more relevant questions there. As for my finger-pointing at the lot of you as yessss's of our universe...

May I remind all that for the hordes of Tan's, Chua's and Latif's in our maverick-rallying press, none really affected the needed change for streaming in our education system until film-maker Jack Neo pointed the way with his radical movie I Not Stupid two years ago. What were they going on about everyday in the papers back then, huh? Pooh-bore, I gather. Didn't Neo's contention ever occur to them that the then-flaw in our education-system needed to be addressed?

Well yeah... only after the PM's wife, Mrs. Goh Chok Tong, told the press that she loved the movie so much she watched it three times! Only then, did all the yes-men feel butt-covered to chime in with the praise and call for change as well. That's how 'constructive' our socio-cultural-political columnists in the main paper really are. You can just hear them chant their lifeline-mantra everyday: "Cover my own ass first, cover my own ass first." Even Jack Neo, a mere employee of a quasi-entertainment arm, hummed a much-much bolder tune. Look ma! He's only an entertainer but he does so much more. Then again, I can think of no yes-men more apt among our midst than our lot of 'institutional refugees' so thankful for that six-month bonus.

They are the true 'Legos' in the construct of a country like ours. O, how the name, in this context, conjures up echoes of sah-ka (Legs? Oooh, we got three, watch us go!) and, paradoxically, of dispensability as in being let-go. Imagine what desperados of job-security they must be underneath that noble office veneer. What pawn-bishops they must enrap their profession in! Actually, the poorest things once the headlines are over.

Coming back to asking questions...

So, didn't Neo's contention ever occur to them...? See, that's a question! I've also learned to ask and chime along. Shall I say then that one good question begets another?

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