Watch Ghost in the Shell if it's retro anime-tits you're after. But as for Auckland artist Hye Rim Lee - let's be frank here: Super Bunny she may be, but her video art sucks big bunny-ass. Conceptually shallow to start with, it has also been exactly the same crap animation for the last three years.
I wish they'd give her money to her compatriot Jae Hoon Lee instead. He could say they're related and just switch the bank accounts. If you get the chance, visit the blustery forecourt of Wellington City Gallery to spend a very long time mesmerised in front of 'Leaf', which Tessa Laird writes about in the Listener with her usual finesse. Bunny ass it ain't.
Still, the re-opening of the Everlasting Toki Show provided me with the opportunity to catch up with fellow Singaporean 'LeRoi Middleton' (name changed to protect LeRoi from repercussions from the Singaporean gahmen and from Hye Rim Lee). That's right, this is yet another post about Singapore Rebel - hah! Sucked in! You thought it would be all art-bitching and manga!
Well okay, like me, 'LeRoi' hated Hye Rim's art, had also caught Singapore Rebel at the Human Rights Film Festival, and had been moved to email the documentary-maker Martyn See a message of support.
'I found it pretty moving. I was getting teary,' I confessed.
'Yeah? It just made me angry' said 'LeRoi'. And he's a medical specialist of chill.
'Oh I'm always angry.'
What were we talking about? The awfulness of the art, or the awfulness of the repressive state apparatus of Singapore?
There are plenty of states that are more repressive than Singapore. But nothing festers under the skin quite like ongoing injustice in the Old Country, especially when that country is constantly held up here as a paragon of social order and economic modernity. I know, I know, 'Singapore Rebel'? Would that be like, 'Remuera Rebel'? Or even, 'Reserve Bank Rebel'?
From a Herald interview with The Don, a longtime member of Amnesty International.
Herald: Name one of your heroes
DB: Am I allowed two? Lee Kwan Yew [former Prime Minister of Singapore] is one.
Funny spelling of Lee Kuan Yew the Herald has there. They probably didn't want to mix him up with Lee Kuan Yew the eugenicist, or
Lee Kuan Yew the executioner, torturer, and terroriser of political opponents. Or this Lee Kuan Yew:
I am often accused of interfering in the private lives of citizens. Yet, if I did not, had I not done that, we wouldn't be here today. And I say without the slightest remorse, that we wouldn't be here, we would not have made economic progress, if we had not intervened on very personal matters - who your neighbour is, how you live, the noise you make, how you spit, or what language you use. We decide what is right. Never mind what the people think.
Don Brash goes on:
Another [hero] is Nelson Mandela.
Well, that's all right then.
I've had a bit of an exchange with Martyn See, although as he's under police investigation for making his fairly restrained and straightforward low-budget short, it's best that I don't publicise any of his private comments. He did ask if he could put some of my remarks about his documentary and Singapore on his blogsite http://singaporerebel.blogspot.com/, and even offered to give me a pseudonym, such is the pervasive climate of political fear (it's only paranoia if your fear is not well-founded). "Dude!" I wrote before lapsing into Singaporean syntax, "I'm New Zealand citizen only! So is my whole family here. I don't need to use a pseudonym."
The freedom to say and write whatever you want in good faith is a universal human right - but it often feels like a privilege. 'LeRoi' felt the urge to do more for Martyn and for Singapore as a whole, but he's still actually a Singaporean citizen. And this is why he's 'LeRoi' here today. I always liked the name 'LeRoi', for Fame, and LeRoi Jones, who also changed his name for political reasons.
singabloodypore has the trailers and the link to the bittorrent download of Singapore Rebel.