I recently shelled out $99 for a collection of poetry by David Fuhrmann Lim. That’s the most I’ve ever paid for a book, and it wasn’t as a favour to a friend, nor was it because of the novel three-book-in-one structure. Sure, I was drawn to the limited edition idea – mine was #63 of 99, the last copy sold Lim had told me. But above all else, the vignettes in 99 Stories, Dreams, Poems amused me. I gleefully shared the irreverent stories about everyday things – golf, cats, parking coupons, girlfriends – with my friends and colleagues. Who wouldn’t get it when words in the vein of “sh*t” are liberally used?
There’s tremendous talent in Singapore and it’s about time they are collectively recognised. The scene looks promising, thanks to peer support; organisations like The Foundation for the Arts and Social Enterprise, which backed indie band The Steve McQueens and singer-songwriter Charlie Lim; and the proliferation of social sharing and media which exposed artistes and musicians to a wider audience. Many Singapore artists, too, broke their personal records for value of art sold in a Christie’s Hong Kong auction two years ago.
There’s room to grow, of course. For every full-house Jeremy Monteiro and Zubin Mehta concert, there’s the sparsely attended classical music event. Last year’s Singapore International Festival of Music had supremely talented young Singapore musicians performing to a half-full hall. Long after the pop ditties of Beyonce and Bruno Mars die out, classical music will endure, but without support for the people producing it, only recordings will remain.
So, this issue is dedicated to all the homegrown artists who have ﬂown the Singapore ﬂag to persevere, to survive and ﬁnd an audience. To make a night out in this very posh city more than just a dinner at a snazzy restaurant and a Hollywood blockbuster.
PHOTOGRAPHY TAN WEI TE / ART DIRECTION FAZLIE HASHIM / STYLING C.K. KOO & GRACE LIM / CLOTHES ACRYLIC & ACETATE JUMPSUIT, FROM MAX MARA / HAIR SAM, ATHENS SALON / MAKEUP AMY CHOW, USING CLE DE PEAU BEAUTE.