Monday, 2 September 2013
The mid-autumn festival looms again. The local bakeries are churning out mooncakes once more. Pastries stuffed with lotus paste and an egg yolk, immensely high in calories and cloying to the point where the recommended way to eat one is often in extremely thin slices.
More than one of them are offering modern "re-imaginings" of the traditional mooncake. Chocolate mooncakes. Pandan mooncakes. Fruit mooncakes.
Damn you, SWPL crowd. If it's not lotus paste, it's not a mooncake.
Gone are the paper-and-candle lanterns of my childhood, inner skeletons of bamboo first, then wire as I grew a little older. What few lanterns are toted around by children are made of plastic, moulded in a factory, and battery-operated.
Preferably with sound effects, too.
I can't think of any Singaporean public holiday (most of which are based on religious holidays) that hasn't been bastardised in some way. Good going.
It's been noted by a few others who've written about the peculiar case of Singapore that the governmental thede is not the same as the majority thede, and I personally believe that this is part of what has broken down down the natural segregation of races on the island to some extent (there are others, like forced desegregation and the destruction of ethnic enclaves, that I won't go into now). The governmental class has been what's been keeping Singaporeans together for the last four to five decades.
But what is the essence of the Singaporean government's thede? What has it to offer those within its fold? Nothing but GDP and riches and cars and cosmopolitanism and modernity and all the other attendant problems that go along with it. Love with strings attached to it is always in peril, which is probably why so many men find the idea that a woman's love is largely conditional to be upsetting.
The thede of the Singaporean government will inevitably fail; as well-managed (for a definition of well-managed) as it is, it simply cannot make good on the promise of infinite growth, and the discontent is showing of late. As the global economy continues to be Berkanified, so do Singaporeans lose their love for their government. The soma tap is running dry, and drug resistance is building at an alarming speed, as proven by the last national budget.
Like any other country afflicted by modernity, people torn from their roots may be kept alive in a vase of water for a short while, but wither and die anyway.
Christmas becomes about presents and meals. The mid-autumn festival becomes about the mooncakes and lanterns, so why not Bernakify them as well? Improvementate them, as Tex Arcane would put it. Enrichify them. Why stop at sweet things? The locals like curry, don't they? Why not a fish head curry mooncake?
Hollowed-out symbols of another era. Once the meaning is lost, the symbol eventually mutates into a symbol of this era. Burnt offerings of cars, cell phones and credit cards to our ancestors.
Why not an Angry Birds mooncake? Can't be any worse than rockstar Jesus. Who cares about what the holiday means, anyway - it's just another day off work.