In this piece, NMP Janice Koh laments the govmin is not funding S’pore’s participation in a very “chim” arts festival: Are we intending to backtrack on the last ten years of work in profiling our best artists internationally? Why bother investing millions of dollars in art schools and scholarships to develop artistic talent each year, into encouraging greater arts participation on the ground, if there is no concerted and consistent effort to create a track for our top creative talent to showcase Singapore’s artistic excellence at the most critical platforms? And despite all the rhetoric on wanting to encourage dialogue and engagement, was the visual arts sector and the artistic community consulted at all on this issue before the pull-out?
As shumeone who knows very little of the arts scene here, and who knows many S’poreans who are like me, when the piece was edited from her Facebook post to an online article in an online magazine (not TRE), she should have:
– given more information on government funding for other show case events: is the Venice do juz one of several, some of many, or the only one (If it was the only one, she should say so. If she doesn’t know, why write about it on an on-line magazine?); and
– told us whether the government consulted with the community. This: ”And despite all the rhetoric on wanting to encourage dialogue and engagement, was the visual arts sector and the artistic community consulted at all on this issue before the pull-out?” seemed to imply that there wasn’t. After all, if there was, she would have surely known?
Sadly as it stands, S’porans like myself who are not into the artsy, folksy scene, are left wondering whether this is a “rant”, well intended doubtless, by a member or a friend of the arts community, against an action of the government that she and the arts community does not like? It is certainly no critical analysis of the role of govt spending or priorities in the arts.
This point of view is reinforced by the minister’s comments in parly that the arts community were consulted http://blogs.todayonline.com/forartssake/2012/09/10/mica-responds-to-venice-biennale-issue/. He also gave details of the cost of participation in that chim do.
Janice Koh on her Facebook page or even on her personal blog has every right to rant and rave. But Janice Koh (the “arts” NMP — a title she has not cried off) has no such right when writing in a more formal setting, and a wider audience. She should also bear in mind that society has a view, wrong of course, that actress are “air heads”. So she shouldn’t add to that view.
My wider point, is that us netizens have to do more than rant and rave. We got to share facts.