Week Seven’s Home Assignment.

We were tasked with an assignment based on three question prompts:

  1. What would you like to change about where you live?
  2. What do you struggle with?
  3. What do you love and enjoy?

In this assignment, we are to make three sketches investigating different compositions, then make 1 final drawing.

Sketch #01 – The view of the buildings at Central Business District from Marina Bay Sands; night scene.
Sketch #02 (left) is a drawing of my Mom eating a chocolate ice-cream on a cone. Sketch #03 (right) is a sketch of a tree at Holland Village at night.
Final Sketch: A combination of compositions – Citibank building at Central Business District (CBD), Street lamp along the roads to Marina Bay Sands, a tree, and my parents sitting on a bench under the tree.

What do I love and enjoy (about my nation)? I love the peace and security we enjoy, and our laws, albeit its harsh nature, for it ensures the two entities (as stated above) are in place. I love the fact that Singapore is made up of a melting pot of cultures, that we are one despite our varying backgrounds. I enjoy the prosperity and economic success of my nation. However, the very success of Singapore is perhaps the thing I struggle with most.

I struggle with the competitive nature and fixated mindset of our society. My society is systematic, which is probably why we rose to success within a short span of thirty years. I can’t help but wonder if somewhere en route to our present day success, we lost our creativity, freedom of thought, and cast away our innate desire for curiosity.

My Junior College (JC) literature teacher used to say ‘literature is not about forcing a square peg into a round hole’. On a similar note, yet somewhat slightly different, I feel that many of us are forced to be moulded into uniform square boxes in a bid for perfection (thus Singapore’s success). Instead of square pegs, I see each of us as our own uniquely different lines. Some of us may be straight lines, some may be jagged. Others may be squiggly, full of curves, or simply a mixture of both. The combinations are endless. Yet, because our society subjects us to conformity and perfection, many of these lines never (exactly) realise their full potential. They took the safe road. ‘Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,’ most would take the one well-trodden.

I struggle with society’s expectation of wanting nothing but the best, to be the cream of the crop. Lest you just might be less than mediocre, even if you’re one of the better ones, losing the rat’s race. Society’s expectations of dictating who we should be as individuals is what I would like to change about where I live. A change that I would like to see is that it is okay to not be a standard box. It is absolutely alright to be who you want to be – loud, free, and proud – in your own creative individuality.

The architecture (high rise building) drawn is a reflection of this struggle I face, the conflicting views on my nation’s success – that we are systematic yet effective, restrictive and subjected to conformity (as shown by the harsh, and bold straight lines of the architecture) yet economic prosperity is brought about (the architecture being luscious with glass panels, and within the vicinity of CBD).

The tree is a representation of our individual selves. Trees of the same type of seed, even when planted under identical conditions, will never grow to be copies of one another. Likewise, each of us, though governed by the same rules and similar upbringing, will never be the perfect same as another due to our own individual characteristics.

That being said, one can never have his/her cake, and eat it too, can he/she? Easier said than done, I think balance is essential. Through it all, however, I am immensely grateful and blessed to have a wonderful set of parents who, despite society’s expectations of conformity, never once impose on me. They have never once placed any academic pressure, nor any other forms of pressure for that matter, and have never wanted me to conform. Instead, they constantly shower me with words of encouragements to be me – boldly, courageously, and uniquely free. As such, I drew them in my final piece for they are ‘what’ I love about the place I live.