Art must be part of living
“Arts is an ideology with the power to change the course of history. Arts must be part of living.” – Sunflower Chong
Singapore Art Center
When I escaped back from the Middle East in 1983 from my ex-Lebanese husband, I had written a book My Lifelong Dream with poems and my ex-schoolmate said, “Sun Wah are you, Lee Kuan Yew?’ I asked Ker Ern what did he meant by this remark? He said that who will want to read the book because I am not LKY and moreover it is a book putting my thoughts on how life should be and how Singapore should strive forward. He said, “Are you trying to start a new religion?” He told me that I must be out of my mind to try to unite all religions; I might end up in prison. Maybe I would but I don’t care!
The journey was so amazing but the journey to meet the respective civil servants was just UNBELIEVABLE! Not only they did not acknowledge me, they never say a word of thank you. In fact, they seemed annoyed and they told me off and asked me to stop behaving like I am Lee Kuan Yew!! This means I should not tell them what to do because they know how the art center should be built. The government wanted to build to big theaters but the artists wanted the government to build the other 3 small theaters because the nation was not ready for the appreciation of arts. If the big theaters were built it will be a hard task to fill up the seats:(
The top civil servant got angry with me and said that they were the ones who had been fighting so hard all these 30 years to get the government to build the theaters. She said that we must not spoil their plan and confused the government because if the controversy continued the government might not build these 2 theaters. She was so annoyed with me that she chased me out of her office but before that she told me many civil servants had called her to make me stop all my nonsense that means they did not like the idea of me knocking at their doors with proposals:( If I don’t knock on their doors then whose doors should I knock, the Ministers doors, laggi worse cannot get through the building receptionist?
But at least one good consolation came out of this nightmare. One of the staff name Joyce came to me and told me that then President Ong Teng Cheong did praise my effort. The SAC hold a gathering and President Ong Teng Cheong was present but they invited most who had contributed ideas but they did not invite me although I had given a good proposal:(