story of singapore – the ghetto

the concept behind this came from an indulgence in too many TV shows. i admit, i’m  a big fan of crime fiction shows like The Sopranos, The Wire and Oz.

what i like about these shows includes in large volumes the raw , gritty feel of it all, but more importantly i like the honesty of it all. the characters in these shows are not all noble, they’re not all “good vs. bad” . they’re just shitty people trying to make their way in this world, with every shade of gray coloring them. some end up dead, some end up alive. that’s the truth of it.

it’s a trend in television – the rise of the “crooked anti-hero” . it comes in a time where humans are wondering how so much evil can be justified for, and how the good is absent. it’s naive to make a claim that good doesn’t exist, and it would be equally so to say that some people are genuinely good.

so I brought this concept back to Singapore – where do we talk about our shades of gray ? singapore television fails so badly here because I don’t identify with any of the people on the show. i don’t recognise myself, my friends, the blue-collar worker who frequents the thai discos, the white-collar who takes trips out to the neighbouring countries for a quick escape, the druggie on the side of the road, the masked “slums” in the underbelly , not even the politician who is frustrated at his inability to convince his residents.

we need a platform to talk about these issues – because once the media dares to prick the balloon of scum, we can finally dare to solve these issues. a close source of mine who works in the public service says that there are teams working on it, that it isn’t known to the public so that “the citizens can focus on their own lives, that it doesn’t create instability”

i don’t believe in this form of governance. and i may be mis-informed (in which case, i would be happy) . but let’s focus on this issue – is it right that we let the darker side of our society be handled purely by government and NGOs? the most powerful tools can come from them, sure. but the discussion has to happen across the board, awareness has to be nationwide, of ALL the issues.

we need to know the implications of our actions, how our society has our moulded, how our fellow citizens live. it requires some powerful investigative journalism, moral courage and a flair for creative direction. i want to use YouTube to tackle this, but i realise there’s a lot of limitations i have; the most formidable one being finances and a lack of expertise. the relaxation of censorship on YouTube however will allow for more creative direction.

so i’ll be blogging my pilot soon – the starting chapter if you may. i’m still collecting stories, so feel free to correct my inaccuracies and provide your own. here’s my attempt at a  story of singapore (S.O.S) – hopefully once I get enough of the story fleshed up, I can start adapting it into a screenplay.

issues I want to look at :

  • gangs and secret societies
  • homophobia and chastisation of people – purely the human aspect and not any agenda
  • office abuse
  • xenophobia
  • sticky racism – there was a recent story from a friend of a chinese woman who refused to sit on a seat after she (who’s a malay) had given it up for  her. she had explicitly said “i won’t sit on a seat after a malay sat on it” . i’m not trying to stir the pot, but these people do exist in the minority. the question should be where do their stories come from, and where will they go
  • army cover-ups
  • political maneuvers
  • financial crime – following the paper trail
  • human trafficking
  • domestic abuse, especially of children

let me know if you have stories. i need them to paint a clearer picture. i’ll be visiting the library and searching archives for stories but i’m very excited for this project. it’s going to turn some heads , but it’ll get the stories that need to come out, out.

and that’s worth fighting for.