Wednesday 6 June 7, 2001 – Singapore
Had lunch with George Tong, SSO’s Artistic Manager and went for a wander further down into Chinatown – Tiong Pajar district.
I went to the gym, having managed to leave my shorts at home, so needed to detour and purchase another pair. Then, after dinner downstairs at Funan mall – some excellent tom yum soup with noodles and assorted fish-cakey things in it, plus some ok satay chicken (or ‘ayam’ – it wasn’t translated on the menu), I wandered across the road to the Ministry of Information and the Arts (MITA) building for the evening’s festive entertainment. On the way I bumped into Robyn Archer, so we chatted for a few minutes as we entered the building. She introduced me to the Singapore Arts Festival programming director Ms Goh Ching Lee, who I’d wanted to meet. Geoff Street was also in the audience.
The show was Imagine Forest, a multi-media, installation-part, dance performance piece. The major attraction for me was the T’ang Quartet who were performing in the show. The MITA building is a large multi-story building on a major intersection next to the Singapore River. It has been recently renovated for the ministry and is built around a covered courtyard. It was here that the show was performed. Not being a great fan of contemporary dance that doesn’t give the audience much of an ‘in’, I thought the dance was at best illustrative of the music being performed – all very worthy but not remarkable. The quartet, and the visual art elements, design, audio and lighting were all extraordinarily well integrated into the work – there was no sense at all that the musicians were ‘background’ music for the dancers and they even got up and danced at one point.
After the concert, the audience was invited to sample ‘bamboo tea’ in the foyer – not something I’d tasted before. It was slightly sweet, reminiscent of a sort of woody honey (although not THAT sweet). Back home at Stevens Road, Ric’s Indonesian maid had arrived (she had originally been expected at the weekend). Both Ric and Ryan were out, and Ana’s English proved to be not up to much, but I introduced myself and smiled a lot and that seemed fine.