Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Being Paris

Liberty Leading The People by Eugene Delacroix, featuring the icon Marianne, who represents the spirit of France and a symbol of freedom and liberty.

Unlike Kitana, I have to admit that LHL's maiden speech is not my fav speech. In fact, I hate it, only because I think it serves as tacit evidence of confusion, incompatibility and contradiction in the LHL Government.

But this post isn't about that, its about Singapore being the "Paris of the East". Has anyone ever asked how we can be the "Paris of the East"? Certainly not by transplanting a Parisian cabaret in the middle of Clarke Quay. I certainly don't think aping another city (is this a city plan or a country plan anyway?) is the answer to our future.

I don't look forward to it. For starters, anyone who thinks that we can become Paris in his or her lifetime will be sorely disappointed. As cliché as this might sound, Paris, like Rome, did not become Paris in a day, not even a hundred years. And Paris certainly did not become Paris because of her roads or spanking new malls. So what makes Paris Paris? To me, she is great because she has layer after textured layer of History and Culture. Sit back and think about Paris and what comes to your mind? For me its~ crazy kings all named Louis, musketeers, men in white tights, wigs and face powder, women with moles, hunchbacks, Mona Lisa, baguettes, Grace Jones jumping off the Eiffel Tower, Napoleon, Da Vinci Code, Amelie, Nikita etc.. the exquisite memories wash over me. What about you?

Paris is a cultural tour de force, a culmination of hundreds of years of history, a history that was made by its people, young and old, rich and poor.

So, is Singapore on its way to become the Paris of the East? It would be a fallacy to think that "to be" Paris is a specific point in time and space to be reached, that when you get there, you can plant a flag and say "We are Paris! Eat your heart out Malaysia". It is what happens now, everyday from today, that paves the road towards Greatness, which is essentially what Paris represents.

So are we on our way to Greatness? Not by the looks of things. The policies and actions of the current Government sure aren't helping us get any closer. Will we ever get there? Not that any of us will ever know, because we will all be dust by then.

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