Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Campaign to Confer the Public Service Star on JBJ

I was given tickets to see this theatre last week- and i thought, "Oh wow. cool! I get to see genuine Singapore theatre!!"  I tried inviting my friends along. But it seems they knew something I didn't. And they all gave excuses of varying degrees of truthfulness:

"Not today, I'm invading Poland."

"Sorry, I've got a function at the IR (Thats the Singapore Casino Resort that hasn't been built yet)."

"I'm pretending to make a baby tonight with Brad Pitt."

"I've got my grandmas/greatgrandma/resurrected grandma's birthday to attend."

Fortunately, my stockbroker was available. Her firm was the chief sponser.

"The Campaign to Confer the Public Service Star on JBJ" is a political satire about Singapore society. Its about how people here, including civil servants, are frightfully terrified of offending the Govt, esp. the senior leadership.

The theater show was tedious, boring, convoluted, and I'm trying to be nice. It was like a 15 minute joke that went on for 2 hours too long.

A young University student's campaign, to award an environmental activist who has the same initials as a discredited opposition leader, results in his suspicious untimely death. A conspiracy storm erupts and a dedicated public prosecutor who has political connections is called in to butcher the audiences' brains with a cliched plot.

The first part - a comedy of manners- had a few hilarious scenes. The second part - the writer decided to turn it into a lame satirical political thriller. The script was ghastly. The
excruciating dialogue between the prosecutor and her lover could only have been written by a person who has never had a relationship with a member of the opposite sex.

Not that it mattered to the director, Ivan Heng, he was laughing his head off throughout the show. I had the misfortune to sit in the row in front of him.

If this passes for anti-establishment political satire in Singapore, the Lee family need not worry a single damn bit. Its no surprise that the censors passed this - either they strangled themselves half way thru the show to avoid watching the 2nd half- or they probably realized that letting Singaporeans see this sort of crap would cause them to vote for the ruling party for life.

Thanks God none of my friends had the misfortune to be there.

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