Rapid Change In Contemporary Eras Cultural Studies Essay

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In this contemporary era where everything changes rapidly, people no longer relate via one disciplinary but cross-disciplinary. In the process of transition, the exchange of culture as well as information, the experience that one has and the knowledge that one gains is almost an instant experience. Often these instant experiences and knowledge that one absorbs are incomplete due to the reduction of information and being overly concern of the main point which subsequently result in a variance between the original information being presented to us and what we received. One might feel a sense of lost in time, history, memories, the lost in a sense of attachment and consistency. Thus, this questions our belonging; where is our home? How do we define belonging then? Can our belonging be fixed?

As an artist living in urban city such as Singapore, it is therefore essential for me to understand my past so as to find my standing ground; to get a sense of belonging in today's world. Art, at its very basis is a platform to question, understanding and answering - where do we belong, ultimately it is about my identity as a Singaporean artist. Hence, this dissertation will be significant as a specimen for my further research in my investigation on the notion of home in Singapore.

Chapter 1

1.1 Over-view

In Chapter 2 of the paper, I will discuss home as a metaphor of belonging; an anchor point. However, in this contemporary era, to name a place as the home that we belong can be superficial as the place that we belong are often not fixed. A fix belonging will suggest that we are attached or be rooted to a place permanently. The word 'fix' in this case will suggest a sense of continuity and permanency. What give us the sense of belonging then? Have our belonging ever been fixed? To discuss belonging, unavoidably we will associate it with a space. This dissertation paper discusses two kinds of space - the tangible space and the intangible space. Often, space as an abstract notion seems boundless; we associate space as the gap between two tangible objects. [1] Space speaks more than just air molecules. Space with boundaries can be seen as a form or a thing. Space as an idea can be regarded as an individual perceptions which can be both conceptual and physical. These individual perceptions can be seen as the collective memory through one's experience. How does space give us a sense of belonging if our perception of space is linked to place which is often not fixed. Despite of the uncertainty of our sense of place, what might give us a sense of continuity is probably the memory that were collected in the space which thus give us a sense of belonging. Memories are of the past, created presently and in the future. Thus, this creates a sense of continuity for mankind. In this respect, can we rely on memories to give us a sense of belonging?

Moving on to a more macro view of a nation, Chapter 3 addresses the lost of memory in the city due to the urban development in Singapore. It will explore the brief history of Singapore Urban housing and city development, the significant of building as a time-marker that give us the sense of belonging and how the constant construction and destruction of building and places resulted in the lost of fixed identity. As often been said, our belonging and identity are often being cultivated through arts and heritage. In this sense, our local museum thus holds an important role in cultivating, preserving and passing on histories and cultural values to the masses. As much as we perceive the knowledge and history in the museum as a fact passing through from generation to generation, can we denied the fact totally that what the museum display and exhibit is not contributing to our "constructed memory"? The Singapore government tries to preserve our "local identity" with measures in place and by doing so, can we still say that the identity that we have is a self given identity or a constructed identity. Hence, it seems like our identity is always in confusion. Where do we belong? Being a Singaporean, we are living in the displacement between the past and present and the question that comes to our mind again is where do we belong? Has the 'multi-image' that Singapore adopted over the years gave the citizens an unique belonging? These question will be bought further and discuss in Chapter 4 of the paper.

1.2 Research Material

For the purpose of this dissertation, the research material that have been collected are generally 'localised' and I have chosen to look at it in a more sociological manner yet using artwork and writing to discuss the issue on belonging. Both my studio work and academic research was sparked off by the photograph series - Domestic Dystopia by local artist, Ho Hui May. Her work inevitably speaks about the loss in the midst of transition. Looking at the work, there is a sense of isolation and lost. Therefore, I questioned what has been lost in the process of urban development. To progress, does it mean that something has to be casted off?

This dissertation paper also includes references from two other local artists: - Tan Pin Pin and Chua Chye Teck. In Pin Pin's documentary - Moving house: we have witnessed the effect on the citizen in the process of urban development and with Chua Chye Teck's: Wonderland, we will look into the collection of the urban dweller, why a collection of discarded object? Can it not be a collection of the loss memories? Is the lost of memory - a lost of our belonging and identity or has it built a unique belonging and identity for Singaporeans?

Three of the books that were discussed in this paper are The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard, Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience by Yi-Fu Tuan and selected article from the book Our Place in time. Both Poetics of Space and Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience discusses the notion of home. Space and place provides us with a basis of our identity. Bachelard discusses home as the center of one's world while Yi-Fu Tuan discusses home in relation to our experience in a space. Two Imaginings: The Past in Present Singapore by Alvin Tan from Our Place in time were chosen as a reference for this paper as Alvin discusses the lost of Singapore in the process of evolving our cityscape. Singapore is a 'two-imaging' state which refer to the past and the present.

1.3 Research objective

In another article of Our Place in Time - My country and my people, Janadas Devan argued that "forgetting is the condition of Singapore." The memories of a city are essential in defining our belonging. As mentioned, belonging has to be fixed so as to reassure ourselves of our identity. However, in the case of forgetting or discarded memory and constructive memory, how can we still rely on memory in defining our belonging? This dissertation ultimately is a discussion on belonging - the belonging of Singaporean. Therefore, I had structure this paper into a case study of Singapore.

Chapter 2:- Belonging; Memory

2.1 Belonging

Belonging has been expounded as a possession, a member of a group such as a family, a school and a nation, ultimately belonging is about the relation of human being. Through the relation with different group, spaces and structure, human being thus creates their own identity. The sense of belonging and identity will also suggest a sense of security and stability. Hence, this sense of belonging becomes crucial in human life. Often, the sense of belonging is associated with 'rooted-ness' - a sense of attachment towards a space; an attachment to our home.

'For our house is our corner of the world. As has often been said, it is our first universe, a real cosmos in every sense of the world…' [2] 

Author Gaston Bachelard explained in his book - The Poetics of Space, that the notion of home is a space where one is born and lives permanently. Home has often been idealized as an utopia space where there is a sense of continuity, security and perfection. Permanence is an important element in the idea of home as it suggests rooted-ness and a sense of immortality. In Space and Place - the perspective of experience, Yi-Fu Tuan argued that home is the centre of the world; home is the focal point of a cosmic structure [3] . Both author explained home as the center of one's world and it makes sense to say that our belonging is very much about our attachment to our roots; our home. The word 'center' will means 'origin' which carries the meaning of beginning is what Bachelard mentioned as the first universe; the center of one's world. Therefore, our belonging should be fixed into a space, the origin that we dwell in. Often the notion of home is blurred with the notion of house. A house is a domestic space that we dwell in; it is a place with label and code for us to identify the environment that we are surrounded with. However, with globalisation and the constant transformation of cityscape, people do not live in a house for the entire of their life, moving around had been common. Therefore, our belonging can never be fixed into a place if our notion of belonging is fixed to house. How do we define our belonging then?

2.2 Memories

'Here space is everything, for time ceases to quicken memory... Memories are motionless, and the more securely they are fixed in space, the sounder they are.' [4] 

Home as an abstract notion that can be boundless. In the quotes above, Bachelard explained that what is being 'housed' in the space (home) is the memories that has been created in the space. What is significant in that space is not about what it is but rather about what it had collected through time. Emotions and habits are just like memories in life and the most important element that gives us a sense of rooted-ness or attachment to a home is 'memories'. Memory would also mean knowledge, history and intimate memories; memory is an attempt to remember, recall or to record events, objects or even emotion. Memories is a narrative story of our past, through these narrative experience, we then understand the space that we dwell in. It is thus through these collective memories of a space that give us that sense of attachment and a kind of certainty toward oneself. As such, I would draw a boundaries that home is an emotional-mental state of belonging. Memory exists in the past, present and future which create a sense of continuity or immortality. Memory thus gives us a sense of security and certainty.

As what Yi-Fu Tuan had mentioned in his writing, the value of a place is the experience that one created in that space. It is through the intimate human relationship and the familiarity of a space that one created a sense of attachment towards a space. Belonging, like memories should be fixed so as to attain a sense of stability. Memory is an abstract notion that requires to be objectified in order to be seen or understand and house plays the role in objectifying these abstract memories, it is a place that helps giving the meaning and value to home. House on the other hand, is a shelter that one goes to when one is sick, where intimate activities happen; a place or location that helps us to relate our past history and event. House in this case is a physical state of belonging.

2.3 Trace of memories

In a lot of ways, objects can be seen as spaces with boundaries and is malleable. [5] Objects in a house are like footages that give a trace and history of the inhabitant that once presence. The following images are a series of photograph by Singapore photographer, Ho Hui May. This series of artwork entitled Domestic Dystopia, 2007 presents a purview interior of an abandon house.


Domestic Dystopia

Ho Hui May

Photography series, 2007

In this series of photograph, Ho presented abandon objects of the domestic space after the inhabitants had move on. Those abandon objects suggests the lifestyle or characteristic of the inhabitants, almost like a 3-dimentional narrative of the past. For example the forest wall paper at the bottom right side represents 2 layers of nature. One layer of the wall paper can be seen as a natural ongoing process of ageing and decaying due to elements such as sunlight, water, oxygen and other natural substances and is peeling, fading and tearing off from the wall. Another layer of the wall paper presents an image of the forest which can also be read as the owner's desire to have a piece of nature while living in a city. Hence, objects such as the wall paper gives clues of the life of the inhabitants. Objects inhabit space, and when attention is directed to an object, it is also directed to the space it occupies. [7] Thus, the function of the house is also a place to keep and collect object. These functions can be seen as the collection and re-collection of memories. Objects in our life thus give us a sense of home and belonging. Here, memories can be seen as a form of belonging that is fixed and we relate our memories through our experiences and interactions with the object and activities in our domestic space.

Objects are originally neutral and meaningless. It is through the experience and relation of objects with people in that space, where we insert our emotion and meaning to it and hence creating sentimental values to the object. In another word, the values for these objects are being constructed; thus memories are being constructed. Therefore, the question now is to what extent are those objects valuable when the value of it is constructed? If memories, like objects consist of constructed meaning which can be reconstructed as well, how can we have a true sense of home and belonging?

In Ho's series of photograph; objects in the image are discarded. House in this case is also an object that has been discarded. If the objects in life are significant in provoking or creating memories, why do people still abandon objects? Choosing objects to be abandoned and objects to be brought along are essential in the city. I will discuss these stated questions in the chapter that will be unveiled.

Chapter 3: Urban development: abandon and constructive memory

3.1 Social memories

The city is a place of settlement; a community of houses and buildings. While walking, we can easily recognize the features of the city. There is a sense of familiarity in the city that we lived in. Familiarity is to recognize, to remember or to recall things. It is through that sense of familiarity; the personal memories and the cultural history that we have collected in the city which gives us a sense of belonging. The city that we live in and return to eventually is our 'hometown'; the center of our world. Our hometown is a place where we are rooted in. Collective memories of our everyday live in a city define who we are as individual and as community. [8] These collective memories of the city are what we called as the social memory. Is social memory a kind of shared memories?

Unlike home which is built upon the individual experiences and personal memories, the city herself is built upon the shared memories that each citizens had collected, the events that we all shared in common for example of the annual national day celebration, the 3 years and 8 months of Japanese occupation in Singapore, the separation of Malaya and Singapore and many other historical events. In that sense, the event that ties the citizen together give us a sense of belonging, the memory that we collect is none other than our history - the memory of our narrative stories of the past. Social memories thus are the historical events that the citizen had collected. Every city has an image to portray. The city that we lived in can be shape politically and economically so as to achieve economic growth and progression especially that of urban cities. In this chapter, I will like to take Singapore urban development as a case study and local artist's responses to the issue of urban development and housing to discuss about the lost of memories and thus the lost of a fixed belonging to the Singaporean.

In the book: Our place in Time - Exploring Heritage and Memory in Singapore [9] , Alvin Tan , the founder and director The Necessary Stage [10] mentioned in his writing - Two imaginings; the Past in Present Singapore. " In the context of our evolving cityscape, these 'two imaginings' refer to the past and the present since old buildings, representing stasis, are conserved and reconstructed amidst new buildings, representing constant change." [11] Hence walking from one side of the country to the other, we are experiencing the past and present at the same time. Singapore as a "imagining" city thus becomes a contradicting point for the citizens as we are dwelling on the past and present, displacing the citizen in the process. Tracing back from the early days of Singapore Independence till today, She had transformed rapidly into a developed country. In the early days, the fundamental objective of Singapore housing development is to provide a shelter for every citizen. With the problem of housing shortage in the beginning of Singapore Independence, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) was established to provide the citizens with adequate standard of living, the local architect also strike for freedom to promote culture to the mass through national building. [12] With the increase in standard of living and income of the citizens, they no longer just desire for basic amenities but crave for a higher standard of living which results in a constant construction and destruction of buildings in Singapore. Shifting and relocating thus become common.

3.2 The lost; the discard

In a lot of ways, our sense of place or location gives us the sense of identity, belonging and pride to the city that we lived in. Our past history is shaped by the events that had happened. The place, location and building of different time plays an important role in marking the development of Singapore; they are almost like artefacts that connect us to our past; a reminder of historical event that once took place, the political and personal experience that were once present. It is a past we informally learn about in relation to places and location around us and people we meet and interact with. [13] Two of the remarkable buildings in Singapore is the City Hall and Old Supreme court. Over the years, Singaporean had witnessed many political events such as the surrendering of the Japanese during World War II, the National day and many other more. These buildings are currently being preserved as Singapore heritage buildings. These building used to be a place where celebrations and events are conducted but now it is just a white elephant, only for us to trace back the past. It becomes a trademark of history, an attraction for tourist but it no longer functions as they way it used to be. As much as development suggests prosperity and better standard of living, it also put us in a loss position.

Extract image of Moving House

Directed by Tan Pin Pin, 2001

In a lot of ways, Art is a constant reminder of the past; it is a reflection, a representation of events, ideology or even philosophy of the past and present. Many of our local artists have responded to the rapid urban transition with their art. One of our local film/ documentaries maker - Tan Pin Pin has responded these issues in her documentaries such as the Invisible City and Moving House. The issue of rapid urban transition has always been the topic that Pin Pin explored in her documentary work. Moving house speaks about the lost of tradition in the midst of Singapore land development. The documentary focuses on the Chew's family who went to pay a visit to their parent's tomb. That visit to the tomb was the last one as it would be exhumed as the government had decided to develop that piece of land.

"We should have a permanent cemetery so that the tradition can continued...tradition had die off." quoted from Mr Chew.

Traditionally, it is necessary for dead bodies to be buried underground as a respect for the death. Each year during special occasion such as the 'Qing Ming' festival, the Chew family will visit their parent's tomb, almost like a 'picnic' as Mr Chew mentioned. The bones of their parent were then cremated. What is lost is not just the lost of tradition but also the joy of gathering that they used to have.

Singapore land development can be endless. Reason being that more public housings are required to cover population needs. There is no limit to our desire for space. After development is re-development, moving and re-moving, whether or not it is voluntary, is no longer important. The shifting of house has highlighted our endless desire for space and better standard of living and in the mean time, highlighting our yearns for the past to be continued, a contradicting feeling in the midst of progressing into a world class society. For each building that is constructed on a non vacant land, another one will be destruct as well, something is lost in the process which suggested that in the process of development, and history has been distorted, contributing to a collective amnesia. [14] It somehow prompts us the question that in order to progress, do we have to discard the past? Have we or do we ever forget about our past? Maybe not as our past are often bought up again and again with the evidence in local art scene.

Over the years, there is an increase of number of artists who are highlighting these issues in their work. Many lost memories were represented again as a form of art. Not having a fixed memory and belonging had affected artist in many way. Many had approach it in a sentimental manner, sometime in quite a negative way. Many of them chose to have our local HDB flats or construction sites as their subject matter. Interesting, the following photographer that I am going to introduce does not took the usual gigantic boxes as his subject matter instead, 'junk' that he collected as his subject.

Wonderland Chua Chye Teck Photograph series, 2007 Image credit: http://blogs.todayonline.com/forartssake/2009/08/page/2/

Chua Chye Teck's wonderland, 2007 is a series of photograph of junk, unwanted, abandon objects that he had collected; to date this series consists of 500 pieces of images. Through these images, there are two main ideas that we have to take notes on; the idea of collecting and the idea of abandon in relation to the city. The idea of collecting plays an important part in this work as a form of remembering, a collection of fragment of the memories in the cities and it is an attempt to remember what has been forgotten; to forget is a lost of memory. Another thing to consider is the objects being abandon; the ownership of physical object that hints our loftiest longings and deepest anxieties. With each purchase, we throw something away; by existing, we throw; because we move on, we throw. Does it not be a reflection of this urban city that we lived in? Also to note is that Chua does not keep any of this object as well which is a symptom of the urban dweller. Lastly, we consider the methods of presenting it - first, objects are placed individually on a clean turquoise background, almost like lifting the value of the junk, giving it a new life. Every object or set of objects, here was no less exquisitely cared for and to read the image as objects existing inside a camera frame - almost as preserved memories.

Chua's work is interesting as it reflects on how much we had abandoned in the process of urbanization and to collect it again so as to recollect the memory, memory being lost and found. Pin Pin's film on the other hand reflects on how one has to give up in the process of urbanization despite of one's resistant to change. At one point, we try hard to remember our past, we forget the past as well which evident what Janadas Deven mentioned in his article: My Country and My People: Forgetting to Remember [15] , in order to progress, in order to create more memory for the future, we had to forget partial of our past. However, one yearn for a sense of certainty and continuity in this process, it is our ultimate desire for a belonging. What image is Singapore trying to portray at the end of the day when its limited history are slowly fading away over the years? Whether or not Singapore has a rich history and culture are not important as compared to economic growth.

These had also prompt us to the question of whether the progression and development into a better yet ever-changing rapid lifestyle changes our view of what is to be casted off and what is to be collected in the process? Has Singapore come to realize the lost of memory in the city? To answer about what has been lost, what do we discard in the process of progression, what we yearn and what we desire to retain goes down to the question of choice and it was clear that we had chosen economic growth as our priority since the beginning of Singapore independency over our history. These choices might not be make totally by the citizen but the government - the representer of the citizen to a certain extent.

3.3 Constructive memory

As much as our short history had been progressively yielded to the stage of being buried underneath due to the rapid urban and economic development over the years, we now see a shift of Her emphasis from economic growth to arts and heritage since the 1990s. Why this shift in the past 20 years? One of the reason might be the government's realization of the crucial needs to cultivate our national identity; our belonging. As often been said, where we belong are often cultivated through the heritage that we belong to which heritage is cultivate through arts and history. Heritage is a process of learning to be human and as a human it is essential for us to make sense of our past. It is a process of learning; a process of remembering and transforming of recollection of a past and projecting a possible future. [16] "Heritage as a national efforts to recall a past are necessary as part of an attempt to construct national myths and national identities and hopefully, by extension, national loyalties."' [17] Heritage sites such as the museum thus plays an important role in cultivating our belonging through projecting and interacting the past in the present with art work and artefact which can be seen as a form of national agenda. Museum had often been seen as a sites of collective memories of the nation regardless of any form of work, be it an art work, artefact or even documentaries. It is a site that we know we have to pay to enter to get to know our past. Hence, walking through the museum is an interaction of the past and present. However, can we really perceive the memory that we will collect in the museum as something that is true and not alter or constructed?

As quoted from Alvin Tan in his writing, "the modern museum is more than a space for the collection and placement of historical artefacts. Considered a negotiated space, the museum houses a set of specific guidelines concerning the display and placement of the exhibit and the manner which interaction between the visitor and the exhibit is regulated. As Hooper-Greenhill states: ' Spaces fix position and permit circulations; they mark places and assign values' The museological space can therefore be perceived as a classificatory sphere aimed at the control of knowledge, a commodity which is to be disseminated to all and yet, paradoxically, regulated." [18] Therefore museum as a site of heritage is never innocent; it is a government institution which the display of art work can be politically constructed as well in the way how the institution would want the audience to perceive this knowledge of our past. Therefore, what we perceived as our belonging; our home can be constructed as well. We ought to identify or acknowledge that how the city is shaped somehow shape the way we are as an individual being.

Chapter 4: The paradox

4.1 To stay local or global?

As quoted from the former Senior Minister of Singapore, S.Rajaratnam "a nation must have a memory to give it a sense of cohesion, continuity and identity. The longer the past, the greater the awareness of a nation's identity... A sense of a common history is what provides the link to hold together a people who come from four corners of the earth." [19] As discussed in the Chapter Three of the paper on the importance of heritage in Singapore, not only does it represent the city's cultural wealth and diversity, it serves to bind Singaporeans in a 'multi-images' nation, which consists the image of multi-ethnic, multi-cultural state together and also to 'sell' Singapore abroad as an exotic tourist destination. For heritage to serve these purposes, it must be carefully defined and packaged." [20] Just like the buildings, Singaporean's belonging or identity had constantly been packaged and repackaged again. What about our local art? Singapore does not have a extensive history, Her history in terms of art is even shorter. Art in countries with long history started from the basic by emphasizing on 'technical' and slowly proceed to conceptual or the post-modern art. However, in context of Singapore history, art started from post-modern era in which we tried to compress everything into our modern time. Therefore, Art in Singapore has progress too fast and too much which result in a gap. Hence, this resulted in a lost in memories for our local artists. As mentioned, in the early day of Singapore independency, her focus is definitely on survival, there is no much of focus in arts and heritage. However, there is a sudden focus on art in the last two decades.

The Renaissance city plan is a proposal that the government come out every five year and the recent plan will be to go all out to develop the image of a global art city. To brand the city as an global art city, lots of funding were put into art spaces, schools and institution such as LASALLE College of the Arts, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts(NAFA), the Singapore Arts Museum(SAM), Asian Civilian Museum(ACM), the National history museum as well as the National art gallery that is opening in 2014. Many opportunities were open for artist to have their footstep on the international ground and there is an expansion of the Art industry. Many students had benefit from this plan as well with an increasing amount of money for Scholarship and bursary.

However the contradicting point will be that as much as Singapore aims to go global, She still desire to retain a sense of 'local' through event such as the '30th Anniversary of Singapore's Independence: Memories of yesteryear, '50th Anniversary of the End of World War II and 'Virtual Reality: The Dawn of a New Reality.' [21] by the National Museum of Singapore in the 1990s. These are exhibition that highly emphasize on history and memories of Singapore. Other exhibitions or events such as the Singapore Biennale and Singapore Art show in the recent years were actually an international events where artwork of different country being exhibit in Singapore. They are international event that has been label as 'Singapore'. So what is Singapore aiming at the end of the day? To go global yet retaining the sense of local, is this a national agenda that constantly remind us of our history or has it build a unique identity for us? Here I am questioning the same question that I had been discussing throughout the paper - can we proceed without looking at our past? How can we go global without retaining the "local essence"?

4.2 Multi-image

Standing on the crossroad between past and modernity; history and branding, we are now in a paradox of displacing ourselves in this urban city. As much as Singapore is trying to balance the multi-image that we are having, it somehow upset the citizens with a confusion of belonging and thus affecting the kind of work that local artist create. Singapore can now means everything and anything to others, is that what we want? As mentioned in Chapter Two of the paper, our home is our center of the world and this would mean a space that is distinctively different from others. Through the distinctive elements of our home, we thus create a sense of attachment and rooted-ness to this one and only home. To feel different from other makes one unique and hence reassuring ones's belonging. A home and a nation thus should have an image that is distinctively different. To constantly package and re-package a nation and adopting a number of image, can be a superficial way in defining our belonging.

However, globalisation generalised every nation. Technology and cross-culture allows information and knowledge to be equally perceived by everyone. Whatever a nation is perceived to be, it could just be an image of another country. Therefore, to distinct our home as from others, packaging of the image of our nation is necessary, hence a paradox. With lots of label that Singapore is carrying, who are we actually? The ultimate question of this paper is how much can we remember and how much do we forget in the urban development process? Has Singapore's progression go too fast that the citizen might not be able to grap a whole of it?

4.3 Conclusion

I had started my research investigation with this question - where is my home. The notion of home took on the connotation of an anchor point, belonging and memory. Living in this urban society, to define belonging can be a subjective and endless question. As a Singaporean artist, it is rather contradicting for me in making art that speaks about home and belonging. We presume that belonging should be something permanent when things are meant to shift about which in turn displacing ourselves in the process. How do I define or investigate what is home when I am uncertain about my attachment towards my own country and my own heritage. It is thus essential for me to research on the past of Singapore.

A home or a nation - a place that is highly depended on the memory that has been created therefore, memory is widely discuss in this paper which the point I wish to point out is that memory is our belonging that can be fixed or unfixed? The problem of relying memory as a form of belonging is that memory decay with time. Our mind is a storage that remembers and forgets event and things with time. The second key question that I am asking is how much can we remember and how much had we forget in the process of urban development? To progress, we have to let go certain things.

Chapter Two is to identify the issue of memories being forgotten. "We live our lives in a perpetual present tense, surrounded by the ghost of our memories and the aura from our projected fears and desires for the future. Meanwhile, whatever is displaced or replaced is forced to survive, if at all, in the virtual mode of memory; or it is consigned to the reliquary of art, where it can be sentiments as unavailingly plangent as they are predictable." [22] Especially living in an urban city like Singapore, where shifting are common in the process of urban development. To move on, we discard stuff, to label ourselves with another name, we discard the former. How much can our minds absorb and retain? Are we in danger of forgetting more and being dislocated? In my opinion, I feel that forgetting is something that we could not control, however we can control the speed of forgetting? Has Singapore transformed too fast that we could not get hold of it?

In a lot of way, local artists felt a threat due to the uncertainty of their own belonging. Memory being something that is not just created but also something that can be constructed; can we not see our belonging as being constructed as well? Can art not be a constructed belonging as well?

After weighing these factors, I would say that there is no absolute answer that I can put off to answer those question. Instead, it had put me in a dilemma of resisting the progression so as to hold on to the past and to cast off the past in order to progress. In this modern society, belonging can be seen as an ephemeral subject yet essential, it is also an issue that most Singaporean artists are handling.

Like many artist in Singapore, belonging is the biggest issue that I am handling. With this research paper, I have a clearer picture of what has been lost, what has to be bearable and what is uncertain in the process of development. These understanding will definitely be a good source for further academic studies and studio-work.

-End of paper-