Saturday, April 09, 2005

Creativity, Control, and Casinos

An 11 year old boy was standing in the dark sewers, nervous, guilty, and excited.

In his left had was a spray can, his finger on the nozzle. His friend was looking on, equally nervous and excited.

Releasing the tension in the nozzle, a large, white "F" was formed on the grey sewer wall. Then "U", followed by two other letters. A release, so thrilling, so exhilarating, so illegal.

The can was passed to the friend, and soon "I LOVE TAMMY" appeared on the facing wall.

They didn't realise it at the time, but the common message that was released on the walls was strangely appropriate for the phallus-shaped tool they used.

Some years later, a boy was in a secondary school classroom, bored as always. If he wasn't surreptitiously reading the John le Carre on his lap, he would be decorating the textbook with doodles that would eventually entertain the younger kids in his neighbourhood who later inherited those textbooks for use during similarly boring lessons. Unfortunately the maternal authority got wind of the distractions, and doodling on textbooks was swiftly banned. The creative energies of the boy thus had to be channeled from the textbook onto the desk.

Which proved to be a frying-pan-into-the-fire move when the discipline master walked by one fateful morning. He stared at the graffiti for an excruciating minute, and just when the boy started to entertain thoughts that perhaps the discipline master was actually so aesthetically able as to actually appreciate the artwork,

"I want this gone by next week."

"When I become famous, you'd be wishing that you kept it instead!" the boy so wanted to shoot back.

Fast forward the clock again.

The boy in Ngee Ann Poly, and sees graffiti. Not the ones behind toilet doors, nor the ones on the classroom desks, but the loud and proud ones on the walls of the new classroom block (blk 56).

No one got in trouble for this graffiti.

Graffiti at Blk 56
"Graffiti" sprayed on boards, mounted on the walls of block 56.

Sure, this is graffiti, but something is missing.
Like a Madame Tussaud.
Like Frankenstein.
Like a body without a soul.
Graffiti under control.

* * *

Okay, I didn't mention anything about casinos, despite what the title claims. Stay tuned for part 2.

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