Sunday, January 16, 2011

Model Citizen

Last night Jer and I met a few friends (Dheeraj, Maria and another Jeremy) to have some good North Indian food and see a play. The play was called Model Citizens and put on by a play company called the Necessary Stage. This is probably the fifth or so play that I have seen by them. The last one or two was/were bad. I think I didn't get them, or they were too artsy or something, but the first few that I saw were SUPER interesting and all controversial. One involved medical marijuana and also the right to choose to die when you're sick. Another involved a Malay woman becoming Prime Minister of Singapore (yeah right) and generally touched upon the issues between Malays and Chinese in Singapore. The first one I saw was SUPER controversial, but I can't remember what it was called or about. I left each of their plays thinking, "Am I going to get kicked out of Singapore for seeing that?" I think I haven't yet blogged about them, because it's scary. I still will not write too much, but I will just share a few issues.

The play had only three characters - an older Chinese woman who was the wife of a member of parliament (the woman in the picture if you click on the play's link above), a modern Singaporean woman in her 40's (had two kids, spoke Chinese and Bahasa), and her Indonesian maid. The play dealt with issues such as who is the real Singaporean, the best Singaporean and where the government fits into it all. The Chinese woman was raised to believe that the Chinese built Singapore, and she was clearly super connected to the government, but she felt that people like the Malays and Indonesians took away from the quality of the place. She thought that Singapore would one day be the capital of China. She was very concerned with how things are on the outside but not at all concerned with what's on the inside. She talked about her husband's role as saying "yes" to the government and "no" to the people. The younger woman was representative of the regular people who live in public housing (85% of Singaporeans), has a tough life at home, but really tries to do what's best for her family. She was frustrated with the government, but just trying to plug along. Then there were issues with her maid (which clearly resonated with me right now). She treated her maid well ("I don't lie to my maid, and my maid doesn't lie to me"), allowing her to come and go as she pleases. Meanwhile the maid was off prostituting herself, getting pregnant, marrying a Singaporean just to get citizenship and living a big lie to her employer. Oy. All in all, it was interesting things to think about, and even living here for nearly four years, I'm guessing that 80% of it went over my head.

I will also mention that all of the Necessary Stage's other plays were performed at a library (which is somewhat connected to the government) and this one was in the NATIONAL museum, so apparently they approve to some extent of the content - or at least they don't disallow it, which is interesting. It's not like we're going to see these plays in some dark basement of an independent theatre (and I'm guessing this isn't an accident...).

Also, this was my first night of Samara's entire life that I didn't put her to sleep. We had planned on leaving her with our Matt stayed with her. He tried to give her frozen, thawed milk, which she did NOT enjoy (though I have successfully given her some this morning - I keep telling her that it just tastes different, but it's fine - she made quite a face but eventually took it), which was a disaster, but otherwise she went to sleep just fine and slept for nearly eight hours, so I was pleased. I was a little distracted and not that fun to be around at times, but hey, it was my first time away, so I'll get better.

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