One of life’s hardest decisions has got to be choosing between watching Shakespeare in the Park for $50 and going to the Paramore concert for $168…
I bet almost all of us here would pick Paramore (if you HAD to pick one) even though it’s more than 3 times the price of Shakespeare in the Park and of the same duration (plus the actors actually start on time) because… Shakespeare? Isn’t he that old guy who wrote Moby Dick or something?
Yes, he is the very old, very dead guy and no, he is not the author of Moby Dick.
In spite of Singapore’s growing Arts scene, many of Singapore’s millennials are still blinded by the glitz and glamour of pop culture.
It’s not a bad thing. This article is not here to tell you what you should like or to force you to watch a Swan Lake ballet instead of rocking out at a Fall Out Boy concert. It is simply to bring to light the fact that we can’t exactly blame Singapore for having a “feeble Arts scene” when we are not doing our part to support it.
“But I got attend iLight and go to the ArtScience Museum what!”
I am certainly not one of those crazy anti-pop people. I’ll admit, I would rather go to the Paramore concert (even though I do admire Shakespeare’s works). But one oddly disappointing fact I’ve observed about our generation that proves our lack of maturity in appreciating the Arts in Singapore is that Arts events have to be Instagrammable in order to be worthy of our attention and money.
Remember the slew of Instagram posts that came flooding in when the ArtScience Museum launched their beautiful Futureworld series (standard Instagram post: silhouette against the rows of crystals twinkling in blue and white light)? Or the opening of the quirky interactive Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the National Gallery (standard Instagram post: posing with multi-coloured dot stickers on clothing, against a backdrop full of multi-coloured dots)?
The sad truth is, when it comes to the Arts, our attention span shortens to that of a child. The Arts have to be wallpaper-worthy and better yet, free if it wants just a morsel of our attention. Many of us refuse to pay $35 to watch a 2-hour ballet in the cooling night breeze under the twinkling stars because videography is not allowed which means I can’t take that boomerang to post on my Instastory.
Plus, classical music. *shudder*
If the Arts event is not going to be Instagram-worthy, most of us millennials wouldn’t even hesitate to choose the pop concert over that Arts event. We are not willing to give up that $35 but paying $400 to stand amongst the jostling, sweaty crowd that’s singing entirely off-tune in a Beyonce concert?
We are biased to Pop culture simply because we were raised in an era where “daily news” involves knowing what the rich and famous have for breakfast, their pet’s name, their latest fashion statements etc. We just prefer pop over the Arts, and our preference is likely to remain so for a long time.
It doesn’t matter that the ballerinas, the stage actors and the artists have put in the same amount of gruelling effort (if not more) as the biggest pop stars to perfect the art they’re sharing with us today. The pop stars will still always be greeted with sellout concerts and roaring crowds, and the artists, rows of empty seats and mere polite applause from us millennials.
However, if we truly want to watch our local Arts scene thrive, we need to make a greater effort to learn to appreciate it. It’s not going to be easy to tune our minds, which have been enslaved by the loud vivacious pop culture, to the graceful subtleties of the Arts. But we can all take the first step by sacrificing just a portion of what we offer to Pop (in terms of time, money and even dedications on Instagram whether “aesthetic” or not) to the Arts.
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to experience something new this summer. Who knows, maybe the Arts might be your thing after all!
By Rachel Lim