How I Spent My Singapore Weekend

Why I didn't call my mother.


After Friday night's disaster in OT E@L decided something more high-brow was in order...


On Saturday I paid $90 to see a free film.

I joined the Singapore Film Society in order to get in to watch The Perverts Guide To Cinema, a Channel 4 documentary is turns out, featuring a Slovenian fruitcake philosopher Slavoj Zizek who lithpths dreadfully, pronounces 'films' as 'fillumth' and who fears that tulips might harbour vagina dentata and would prefer that children be kept away from the rampant sexuality of flowers.

Ze problemth ith all in the between he-ah!

However his blatantly Freudian analysis of several Hitchcock and David Lynch films as Oedipal struggles was interesting and fun. He equated both the three floors of Psycho's mansion and the three Marx Bros (who was Zeppo?), with the three levels of Freudian sub-conscious, but I was waiting for him to mention the Three Stooges, or even Donald Ducks nephew's Huey, Dewey and Louie in the same analogy! What gives?

The director Sophie Fiennes (an acolyte of Peter Greenaway) set Zizek up in replicas of the sets of the movies he is talking about (sometimes the actual set or location, such as in a small boat on Lake Bodega for The Birds), which was cute but effective.

His analysis of the need of the perfection of a fantasy in male sexuality was rather predictable (nevertheless accurate I feel, particularly so in Vertigo) though his theory of the *narrative* component of female sexual fantasy is more problematic, (especially using an Ingmar Bergman film to do it - Bergman was a man, duh), I would hazard to guess. Feminista deconstructionistas, what say you?

I kept thinking of other movies he could have used to make his illustrations - the ID monster Krell in The Forbidden Planet, instead of or as well as Tarkovsky's unkillable dead wives in Solaris for the psychological ID becoming manifest in reality - a classic. The last scene of The Holy Mountain when the camera pulls back to show the crew, displays the artifice of film-making, but whether it proves the greater reality of cinema and the fantasy of our factual reality (whatever that means) is something we could argue about forever, or until someone gets out a dictionary and defines the terms.

Zizek is fond of paradoxical statements such as "Anxiety is the only real emotion" (maybe quoting Freud?) when, as panic attack sufferers know, the emotional responses in anxiety are TOTALLY inappropriate to the stimuli, which is why there are defined as anxiety. But it gets your attention.

It was good old confrontational stuff, enough to get you thinking and talking.

We are all vicarious peeping toms, he says showing us scene after scene of men looking through cracks at some other action. With the cinema we stare into the black abyss of a toilet bowl, he also says, bubbling up from which horribly is the blood of our guilt and complicity (cf: Francis Ford Copolas The Conversation) and the excrement of our fantasy world. Shit, yeah!

Of course the movies he chose to discuss are the movies which fit his Freudian outlook, movies directed by weird people (Hitchcock and Lynch!) and in which the stories follow classic mythical storytelling lines.

But does a writer consciously start out to rewrite "Sir Gawain and The Green Knight", or does his or her murder mystery turn into a great "quest" story that in the end merely corresponds with Sir Gawain because the plotline of the classic is so perfect?

That wasn't discussed, except by me in the coffee room afterwards.


Early Saturday evening, I went to taste some Austrian wines. That is not a typo. AUSTRIAN. At the Austrian Business Association of which one of my ... Austrian friends is a member, in Fort Canning Park, first time I have been there. The stickies were sweet (Ice-Wine and Noble Rot), the reisling style white was also passable, but the rest and the reds were essentially... how can I put this delicately? They were crap. The steak was nice (a good size at least) and the people were nice too, particularly those who backed me in the predictable "Singapore v Hong Kong" debate.


Off to Milos's quickly to catch his latest TV extravaganza (I never got even the first ganza, but there you are) "MTV's The Game". It was typical frenetic MTV stuff - near-suicidal money-chasing young people doing stupid thing in public. I feel most of them would be probably better off just going to work every day and being good at their jobs and then waiting till they are fifty if they want to get rich/well-off (hey, it worked for me). The clip will be on YouTube next week.

Totally recommended, more for the outrageous gags in the voice-over than anything else though. I am not a silly games, big-brother, jack-ass fan as a rule.

Milos, as Producer, scripted these games and wrote most of the rules and the commentary, and was selected to do the hilarious Richard Guest sound-alike voice-over as well. The Director (name escapes me) who also co-wrote the voice-over script, was there on Saturday night, a really nice guy, and his wife (names escapes me), a really gorgeous funny girl. Gerry Lim was there (not so gorgeous! sorry Gerry), as was yet another gorgeous girl (name escapes me) from Milos's work.

Apparently the sponsor wanted 5 countries and at least 2 girls to proceed through to the next round. Would it be disingenuous of me to point out that through an amazing and unexpected conjunction of the spheres and planets, 5 countries and 2 girls coincidentally DID make it through? LOL!

And... Next time, I am going to a) write people's names down, and b) get there early to set-up the sound system (and get some wine before the lone bottle get's emptied). For a TV producer you'd think... Sigh. Well, I suppose he usually has the foley artist for that sort of technical stuff.


Extra sexual tension in the air (apart from the odd under-age acrobats/cheer-leader falling to her death in the show) made the evening something special, courtesy of Milos and Izzy having semi-not-quite broken-up, OK maybe they HAVE broken-up, but neither have they 100% sorted it out, for she is still living there, at least over the weekend.

Space issues. *Mental* space issues.

Sorry guys, friends, mind if I comment?

Let's see how this pans out and not judge anyone harshly.

Izzy is a dancing butterfly. Milos is a collector who has captured a specimen, a perfect live specimen in his net. How to proceed? The dead, mounted (married? ha ha!) butterfly is not so desirable anymore, and while the collector wants the butterfly to be free, for that dance is what *makes* the butterfly beautiful and desirable, he wouldn't want it to escape his net either.

The cake looks nice. Eating it is nice, but then there is no cake anymore.

There's a classic plotline in there somewhere. Will it play out as farce or tragedy, or fizzle like reality usually does?


Sunday: up bright and early at midday, a few laps of the pool, and I bought way too much chicken and squid (although it turns out not so much squid, as the motherfucker had a half-swallowed sardine inside its maw, raising the weight and hence the price I paid!) and had to invite Indy over to help me eat my usual Thai/Cambodian/Singaporean curry dinner that evening. No dinner-disaster synchronicity thankfully this time.

We drank some (non-Austrian) wines and watched the excellent Lucky Number Slevin - the old, fuck what was it, "Kansas City Shuffle" - very amusing, a twist-a-minute plot with terrific and big-name actors all around.

After Indy left for his beauty rest, I stayed up to watch the Aussie Rules football (see previous post).


All in all a very cultural and thoughtful weekend for



Posted by: expat@large on Aug 20, 07 | 12:33 pm | Profile


Vicarious impressions much appreciated. That Thithek business sounds like the sort of thing I might have enjoyed.

Posted by: Dick on Aug 20, 07 | 11:57 pm

I am sure you would have - it might be around on DVD somewhere. Like here for example.

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 21, 07 | 1:08 am


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