we'd like a thriving Renaissance city and a burgeoning arts
scene. We also want it safe, well-defined, non-contentious,
even corporate management gurus would say that you can't
draw neat lines around creative ideas. Innovations, by definition,
don't come in neat packages.
we stick only to tried and tested norms, we will
never be a Renaissance culture, merely a Recycled
all, in the hierarchy of ideas, how ''socially responsible''
is the Internet? Or rock music, cheap books, mass education?
everywhere and throughout history have always been entrepreneurs
- they produce and try out ideas on their market audience,
and against the test of time. Many of these ideas fail.
Then again, so do IT startups.
artistic expression - including what is permissible and
what is not - is the result of dynamic negotiations taking
place between the artist, his work, his intended audience,
and society at large.
real issue is not whether there should be regulation, but
how it should be expressed and implemented, by whom, and
to what ends.
don't send in a civil servant to tell a technopreneur how
to run his business. You allow him to try, fail and try
again. Why should the Arts be any different?
(a flattering thought) the Arts is considered more socially
influential than big business?
a Renaissance city means that we must have a thriving pool
of creative talent, constantly pushing the limits of the
known in the fields of culture, technology and human endeavour.
means having a discerning public which is able and willing
to put their money where they see fit, or leave if they
think they're getting crap - just like investors, who are
expected to live with their own decisions, not have choices
made for them.
often operates at the hairy frontiers of human expression.
a society where the most intimate human choices - from fertility
and sexuality to language use - are subject to public scrutiny
and intervention, those frontiers are close at hand indeed.
every art form stays within safe boundaries and bides its
time, if we stick only to tried and tested norms, we will
never be a Renaissance culture, merely a Recycled one.
social consciousness on a broad level is a key ingredient
of artistic expression. And understanding how to communicate
with your audience is simply part of good craft.
what if the truth turns out to be ugly?
our writers, dramatists and artists now watch their every
word and brush stroke? I believe they should not, nor are
they being asked to.
I'd like to see artists continue to produce honest work
to the best of their wisdom and abilities, and let open
debate and honest criticism rage over the end-products,
good or otherwise.
will vote with their feet, and artists should expect no
like to see more intelligent, objective sources of commentary
and criticism, so that the burden of judgement need not
fall on well-meaning but ill-equipped public officers.
all, would you ask a mechanical engineer to evaluate your
life-sciences start-up venture?
like regulators to understand the fallacy of trying to regulate
expression in the age of the Internet, and seek instead
to cultivate broad awareness of contentious issues.
someone somewhere has a checklist of what is considered
artistically responsible, who has fallen short, and why.
I'd like the public to see what's on that list.
a good chat about it now before the next Singlish play gets
rejected for ''socially irresponsible'' linguistic practices.