Sunday 13 June 2010

If vandals can be mistaken for artists, why not me?

SingPost must be kicking itself.

It was reported last week that SMRT workers mistook vandalism on a train for advertisement or artwork. The train was allowed to run with the spray-painted graffiti for days and someone filmed it and put the video on YouTube.

SMRT has since expressed “regret” for the “serious security lapse” and will engage a professional security consultant to audit its systems.

My worry is that SMRT didn’t say anything about sending its staff for art appreciation classes.

The irony, of course, is that almost exactly the opposite thing happened only five months ago.

In January, SingPost apologised for spray-painting its mailboxes with graffiti as part of a marketing campaign to publicise its sponsorship of the upcoming Youth Olympic Games (YOG).

The stunt had sparked concern that a serial vandal was at large on our Michael Fay-free island.

Police said: “The whole episode had caused unnecessary public alarm and wasted valuable resources.”

If only SingPost had hired the SMRT vandals – the public might have appreciated the defaced mailboxes as art as intended, instead of calling the cops.

But then again, if not for SingPost’s failed publicity stunt, would the SMRT workers have thought that the train graffiti was just part of another marketing campaign?

So it’s all SingPost’s fault – again.

In one case, intended art was mistaken for vandalism. In the other, vandalism was mistaken for art.

Which pretty much describes how I feel about the Singapore Arts Festival. Line dancing? Seriously?

Is nothing as it seems?

Maybe up is down. Maybe left is right. Maybe the Americans are the only ones who care about the World Cup. Maybe the new iPhone 4 is already available at this weekend’s PC Show.

Maybe I’m actually not a long-haired hippie hunk, but a balding lesbian with menopausal issues.

And maybe graffiti is art.

To bring things full circle, someone wrote to MyPaper after the train incident and suggested: “SMRT might want to consider brightening its trains with commissioned graffiti.

“Having graffiti on trains would add colour to the city in time for the Youth Olympic Games in August.”

Hey, that sounds familiar.

Didn’t someone else come up with the idea of doing some graffiti thing in connection
with the YOG earlier?

How did that turn out?

SingPost must be kicking itself.

- Published in The New Paper, 13 June 2010

Confused... Not really...

Let's be open-minded and talk about it. Putting vandalism aside, when I first saw the picture of the graffiti artwork on the train, it gave me a refreshing feeling. My impression was an appreciative one.

A moving wonderful artpiece with its attractive colours for the general public. Wow, art has been bought so close to the commoners, who would, otherwise, be running after their life rituals just to keep up with the living needs.

Not to mention, having the idea of visiting and spending time in the art museum or exhibition in order to do so.

Our HDB flats are colourful, aren't they? To beautify the environment, isn't it so? However, a still scene. If we have a selective range of good, colourful and humourous graffiti on our moving MRT trains, I think, it will help to add beauty to our environment and colour our busy lifestyle.

Good for tourism, too, isn't it? NO advertisements.

How often does an idea be acceptable without any sampling? Seeing is believing to some. Having said that, I do not condone intrusion.

Ultimately, I just want to say that a new idea brought forward, even though it has been done in a bad way, should not warrant such a heavy punishment.