It was one of the rare times I was actually able to fly to New York on one flight and not have to attend a festival in Europe prior to that, so I brought a lot of foodstuff with me.. kaya, pineapple tarts, fishballs, primataste packs and other different kinds of seasoning. I love feeling like santa and delivering these goodies to Singaporean friends. heh.
Daryl and John were going to Paris and we were departing at the same time. So we met up at the airport for dinner. Ting Li and Matt came along too.
I arrived in New York on 27 March, and traveled on to Philadelphia on the following morning. Quite tiring.. considering it was a 20-hour flight and I was slightly under the weather. The panel discussion was to start an hour after I arrived in Philly.. so you can imagine the amount of caffeine that I needed. Luckily I had Dalglish with me, who was assigned by the organisers to chaperon my around.
The other guests on the panel included Mr Brown, Eva Tang, Li-Anne Huang and Mirabelle Ang. The audience comprised mainly of Singaporeans who were studying in Philadelphia and other cities along on the east coast of the US. We talked about what it means to be Singaporean and how art/film contributes to that identity formation, the state of censorship and the digital divide in Singapore, and why some of us chose to stay and work in the creative industry in Singapore.
The screening of my films happened after lunch. I was quite pleased with the crowd that came. I have always made my shorts with the Singaporean audience in mind. To be able to show them one after another to a room full of overseas Singaporeans who (probably) miss home, did bring that notion of connecting with Singaporeans to another level for me. I was quite happy to be able to bring with me the different locales that were featured in the films.
There was a general sense of displacement from the people I managed to speak with at the event. Perhaps it is inherent in times like these that people question who they are and what they want to do with their lives. As Mr Brown put it during the discussion: a recession is good for the soul. People on the fast track in their careers suddenly see a less-defined way ahead and start questioning what they’ve been doing. It is very heartening to know that there are those who have turned their attention to other things that are important in life. Perhaps it is a good time for arts and culture to thrive.
Ok.. I like to see the glass half-full, but I don’t want to start sounding like a hallmark card.
The organisers put up a lovely musical in the evening. By that time I was already in a semi-conscious mode due to jet lag and dayquil. It was nice though, being in the company of so many overseas Singaporeans. It was like being in the OSU corporate video I’ve been working on.. except without the PMO.
I’m back in New York now. I met up with Mr Brown for brunch early last week and Eva for coffee in Soho. Will be here until the SIFF begins!