don’t try to be funny

So at NDP, I usually sit above the grandstand at the 55ft area with the dinky little vidcam (wetting its pants in fear at being beaten up by the huge-ass Mediacorp vidcam twenty times its size), peacefully recording/reading/being bored. Sometimes I watch the performance rehearsals I’ve seen maybe ten times before, occasionally I deafen myself with the full volume on my iPod so as to avoid listening to the choreographers yell “Everyone needs to be put in their part, ok? That boy over there! Run faster!” and generally give themselves very high blood pressure.

One time, though, during the Boon Lay sequence Wings to Soar (yes, again with the complainies about that piece), the choreographer’s about to pop a significant number of blood vessels trying to get the kids not to “swing their arms” while walking, and of course some kid decides to be all cool and contemptuous (bravo, little dude) and swings his arms like an epileptic runner.

To which the choreographer yells into the microphone “THAT BOY OVER THERE! DON’T TRY TO BE FUNNY!”

At that point, I began to realise exactly how much that statement pisses me off. I also had to fight the urge to throw something really heavy — say, the aforementioned twenty-ton Mediacorp camera — at the choreographer standing below. “Don’t try to be funny?” Kids all over Singapore have been told exactly that for years and years — NSFs too, but nevermind that for now — and what does it accomplish? Exactly what it was meant to: mindless subservience at the cost of creativity and individuality.

I’m certain I’m not the only person who’s noticed how humourless Singaporeans tend to be. Maybe I’m generalising, no matter. But I think that years and years of “don’t try to be funny” (not just the sentence, the inherent attitude behind it manifested in other forms) have made an incredibly boring people, whose most celebrated technology firm calls itself “Creative” and then proceeds to sell the most blatant iPod ripoff one can produce without being sued.

Is this what our country really is? Who are these adults that try to quash any creative expression that doesn’t suit their needs, and at the same time demands creativity and innovation and entrepreneurship from its young? And the part that scares me the most: as a teacher/civil servant in general, am I doomed to eventually become one of these humourless adult singaporeans?

Maybe I just really, really don’t like that segment of the show, eh.