Sunday 19 January 2014

Why I’m not proud to be Tatooinian

Not so long ago (last week, actually), in a galaxy not so far away from Buona Vista MRT station, the Sandcrawler building opened in Singapore.

It’s the new regional headquarters of Lucasfilm, the company behind the Star Wars movies.

First seen in the original Star Wars movie in 1977, the sandcrawler is a mammoth desert vehicle used by the Jawas on the planet Tatooine.

Since the sandcrawler is now in Singapore, that means Singapore is now Tatooine and Tatooine is now Singapore.

But to be honest, I don’t really feel proud to be Tatooinian.

Why? Well, if there's a bright centre of the universe, this is the place that it’s farthest from.

It’s not a bad place. Tatooine is a beautiful place. It has a great desert and a great city in Mos Eisley. It has a high standard of living, clean water, nice sand, blah blah blah.

It’s really fancy, but only if you are Jabba the Hutt and can afford it.

Oh, before we continue, please know that when I say “everybody” in this column, I would be referring only to the majority of the Tatooine population, not everyone.

Everything else is a generalisation or hyperbole or just plain made up.

Now that I’ve clarified what I want to clarify, on to the real topic ― why am I not proud to be Tatooinian?

Here are seven reasons:

1. Tatooine is no place for an artist.

This place has become obsessed with the idea that the best thing to do in life is to be a farmer on Uncle Owen’s moisture farm.

He won’t let you transmit your application to the academy even though there are more than enough droids on the farm.

But there are a “minority” who go down the forbidden path, like me when I chose to do media. Uncle Owen was very disappointed.

Fortunately, imperial stormtroopers came along and torched the farm along with Uncle Owen, freeing me to do whatever I want after that.

2. Tatooinians are narrow-minded.

Why do I say this? Because believe me, the majority of the Tatooinian population would’ve just bought the headline news and believed that Sand People attacked the sandcrawler and killed the Jawas.

But the tracks were side by side and Sand People always ride single file to hide their numbers. So it was really the imperial stormtroopers who did it.

3. Tatooinians are not creative.

In Tatooine, you have to admit, every single one of us is a homework droid. It doesn’t matter whether you’re C3-PO or R2-D2 as long as you get A1.

Tatooinians are so not creative that there is a young woman named Stephanie Koh on YouTube who claims to be an artist and thinks that Jack Neo films are “super amazing”. I find her lack of taste disturbing.

Such is the dearth of creative people here that members of the Russian punk rock group Pussy Riot were flown in for the Prudential Eye Awards last night.

Because of the Pussy Riot, the Government may ban alcohol sale and public drinking in Pussy on weekends for the next six months.

4. Tatooinians are submissive.

We’ve all seen the submissive slave girl in the gold bikini with Jabba the Hutt.

I’m hoping the gold bikini will be sold in former City Harvest Church finance manager Serina Wee’s blogshop so that she can model it for us on the way to court one day.

5. Tatooinians are not happy.

One reason is that last week, the Government approved yet another public transport fare hike. Now I regret selling my landspeeder.

Give no credence to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s survey that named us as the place where you can find the best school and happiest kids.

Why? Because it was reported on Buzzfeed. This is the same website that ran an article called “Which of Jon Hamm’s massive bulges are you?”.

6. Tatooinians are not nice people.

You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

And I’m not just talking about the woman driver at Lot One Shoppers’ Mall who prevented people from leaving the carpark for 40 minutes until police threatened to arrest her.

Or the two guys punching, kicking and wrestling each other on the MRT train in the viral video as if they were in the Eis Mosley cantina.

You can stay in Tatooine for as long as you want, but I am going to find ways to get out of here as soon as possible.

It will just be a little more difficult now that Five Star Tours has suddenly closed down.

I may be booking a flight with a guy who looks like Indiana Jones and claims to have a “ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs”, which doesn’t make sense since a parsec is a unit of distance, not time.

Plus I have no idea what the Kessel Run is. If it’s anything like the Hong Bao Run that MediaCorp is organising next month, I’m not impressed.

7. Everyone just follows the rules.

No one ever speaks up. It’s like Tatooinians don’t have brains of their own. They just go with the crowd and overpay for bak kwa during Chinese New Year.

This year, I’m not buying any bak kwa. I’m going to other people’s homes and eat their bak kwa. Yes, I’m a rebel.

So don’t condemn me for not being proud to be Tatooinian. We can agree to disagree.

You know, all this controversy could have been avoided if Lucasfilm had just made the building look like the Death Star.

Live long and prosper.

- Published in The New Paper, 19 January 2014