Onwards Singapore, Regards Bauhaus

This is a contemporary take on a Bauhaus piece whereby the simple shapes and colours form a storyboard-like sequence of a rising sun. The sequence follows the yellow circle through four stages as it escapes its red square to independence on the blank canvas background. It was my intention to use the upward trajectory of the circle to evoke the feeling of Singapore’s increasingly fast development since Merdeka (independence). On second look I also realised that it could be read in the opposite direction, as a sun nestling into its spot just before disappearing into the horizon. The orientation of these squarish blocks were inspired by the unique neighbourly windows of our HDB flats. This piece is a symbol of our development and liberation.

Mari Kita Yaa Ya

Collaged lyrics:
Mari Kita Ya Ya Singapura Sa Sa Sama Menuju

Actual lyrics:
Mari Kita Rakyat Singapura Sama-Sama Menuju Bahagia

Actual translation:
Come, fellow Singaporeans
Let us progress towards happiness together

Mari Kita Yaa Ya is dadaist representative of how Singaporeans tend to sing the words of the national anthem wrong. It is a reflection of how seriously or not Singaporeans take their nation’s pride and propaganda. As a primary/secondary student, I was always fascinated at how my schoolmates unquestionably sang the same song and lyrics wrong every morning at the parade square. This misinterpreted lyric seemed to transfer from student to student, and yet the fervent song-singing never died.

In this piece, I used a landmark article from the The Straits Times released on the day Singapore gained independence from Malaysia, when citizens of the then Malaya who were fresh from war woke up to such an announcement. By collaging consonants from this article, I hope to add to the meaning of this butchered rendition of our national anthem and bridge back to our nation’s beginnings. I also intentionally left out the word bahagia (happiness) which is present in the same verse. Familiar fidgeting movements as we stand at attention are also included as imagery measure.