A year feels like an eternity – an eternity of doing, experiencing, growing and leaving behind. 2017, as usual, starts off with not being in Singapore. Krabi was between the rush-hours of The Co-Op’s timeline, Korean lessons, and Seoulbeats duties (ones that have become routine these days). Oftentimes, I forget that many things I have done are only a year away from the present. Podcast fun with The Co-Op in Something To Say and Buzzbeats. A Common Ground was certainly a memory, and as it marked the end of The Co-Op, the door opened for Discipline the City.
The feeling of the world and time scuttling by like an elusive rat keeps plaguing me, but I remain thankful that it had been as busy as it had been. I wrote my first play, organised my own art project (albeit among a mess of crises, crumbling, and feelings of being lost), blabbered about music and entertainment as my heart felt… Things like these make me hate less the fact that I chose the road I chose. And I phrase it in this manner because I more than often question many things about wanting to be a creative.
Singapore’s art world continues to fascinate even as it can sometimes be intimidating. 画室 and Every Brilliant Thing are plays with very different personalities as local productions, but ones that I appreciate very much for existing – and of course, allowing me to exist in the same space with as an audience member and a participant.
And then I ran off to Korea, and missing out on the opening of Discipline the City – which I still lament now because I saw it a day before opening and The Substation’s repainted yellow walls but not the actual thing UGH. Anyway, Korea was a dream – in the sense that irreality is beautiful but also terrifying. If you know Alice in Wonderland well enough, you know that the world of dreams is not only rainbows and candies.
But it certainly was intriguing – too many exhibitions alone, and too many concerts too in the same manner. It matters less that I experienced this art world by myself, because I was very pleased with it nonetheless. Hamlet, The Great Play – both beautiful musical/theatre performances which sent my literature feelers tingling with excitement. Korea has also been very kind to my ears – it has given me much more gifts of music than I expected. Zandari Festa 2017 was a blast, and holding a press pass was something I had never dreamt of doing. I managed to witness the live performances of the people who inspire me greatly. Epik High, Giriboy (with Swings and Han Yo Han), Guckkasten, Day6, Wetter, Bad Romance, Crush…and also the numerous performers I chanced upon.
I never truly understood the importance/significance of being inspired by someone until meeting all these people. For those who have heard me gush about Giriboy, you realise my obsession with his aesthetics and his lyrics – how does someone create a world so consistent within itself that it makes no sense outside its borders? Is that not the artist’s dream? To create a sphere so unique to one’s art that only one has control over it? More than just the products themselves, many people have also mentioned this in relation to Giriboy – that he manages to stubbornly create whatever he wants, and on so frequent a basis that I wonder how someone has that much passion/energy. I wish everyone could understand and watch how he speaks about his album constructions/organisations/intents – but language is an eternal barrier. But I remain so fascinated by his existence as a creator.
And of course, this year was also Day6’s year of creation with their monthly projects, which deserves all the respect in the world because creating is a bitch and it is hard OKAY PEOPLE IT FKING SUCKS BALLS AND DRAINS THE LIFE OUT OF YOU. So, yeah, managing that year long project is crazy. Watching these people I admire dish out works after works really pushes me in working for what I want, but I am also lazy as heck with writing.
But I saw Giriboy live, and he was one arm’s length away from me on the stage, and he performed in front of me. And I went back home and typed more than I had typed/wrote in a year. I know not everyone has a favourite musician, or love music that much. But for those of you who do – the experience of watching someone who inspires you so much perform your favourite song in front of you is powerful beyond words – even though he did forget his lyrics to “성인”.
I’ve only told too many people after coming back from exchange that I love Korea differently from the way I love Singapore + sometimes there really are no reasons why we fall in love with a place, we just do. I love Hongdae especially because it figures as this beacon of youngsters chasing their dreams so fervently, at least in my eyes – they do so in a way Singapore does not. Well, of course, these are all personal opinions that matters to me, even if others might disagree or be disinterested in. And my lingering desire to return is tied to all these notions of being inspired and empowered.
Definitely, I love Korea for its food, the friends I’ve made and many other bits of everyday life. I’ve also said to others that I made more friends than I expected I would, now I can’t bear to leave. These are all true, and geographical distance is so annoying and unbridgeable at times… okay, most of the time. Coming back to Singapore, to NUS – I don’t want to say ordinary life kicks in, because life in Korea was also everyday life. To make such delineations would be to condemn Singapore in a way I don’t want to. I believe life here can also be engaging – I merely need to find more projects to excite myself with.
My end-of-year posts requires a year of music, so as per last year, I will run through some of the music that made a difference in my life. This year has mostly been The Maine in the first half, because of their concert in Singapore and their new album then. Songs like “The Sound of Reverie,” “Taxi,” “Don’t Come Down” were all so important. There was also The Rose’s “Sorry” and “좋았는데.” But out of all the albums I obsessively bought, I have to say Epik High’s We’ve Done Something Wonderful, Giriboy’s 졸업식 and Day6’s Sunrise + Moonrise were the most important. I left Korea thinking about Giriboy’s “Graduation” and especially Day6’s “겨울이 간다” because I was leaving on the coldest day of the week. It could not have been more apt, or more pensive. But recently I’ve fallen in love with the lyrics of “혼자야,” “I Loved You,” “누군가 필요해,” “Man in a Movie” (again), and “반드시 웃는다.” Also, Epik High’s “Us Against The World” really struck me about the process of growing up in ways that I am still trying to negotiate with – how time flies and we all become this sickening way with the world, though not necessarily bad, but that it just is – that youth is something that falls through our fingers too quickly. I’ll stick some of the lyrics with their translations in, but as we all know there will always be a slippage in the process of translation. SIGH.
In other news, too many people have been having existential crises since the start of the new semester. Sometimes I think I understand why I was drinking soju alone in my room while watching 射雕英雄传 on New Year’s Eve into 2018. Things I have said to people individually, or otherwise, but I feel everyone should know: people, growth is only evident in retrospect. It does seem like life is stagnant but as long as you continue making steps – regardless in what direction, you are growing. There are wrong paths, but they can also lead into right ones or themselves transform into right ones. After all, who is to say what is wrong or right. Also, not doing what you enjoy because you are scared of not being good enough is also a stupid excuse. There are many reasons for not doing something, like financial restraints, health etc., but being afraid in such a way is not. Well, of course, also that nobody really knows where they are headed so you’re not alone. Oh, I almost forgot the fact that you never know who you’ll inspire and as I’ve rambled on earlier, being an inspiration can be such an important thing. We are all growing in this world in our own ways, slowly, shakily, but indubitably so. All I’ve got to say at least to start this year, belatedly, but still…don’t let the people and things that don’t matter get to you. Stay fresh folks.
< 원래 예술네는 위험한 표현이라는것이 없다. > -- Giriboy said this back in 2015, and it simply means -- originally, there are no dangerous expressions in art.
P.S. I feel this year has been less sadness and more doing, which is great. But it also means more tired, more feelings of being lost. If I had to sum 2017 up, it certainly has been one that existed like a dream, and definitely a year of being inspired and finding solace in many people -- cool and fun and interesting ones. Goodbye 2017, a year that has been exceedingly kind to me even if I haven't been so to myself. It is also so telling, with how I wrote primarily about art and creating in this poast, that 2017 has really been dominated by a sense of searching for direction as a creator, a writer, or whatever it is that I am at this moment....