“Visitor numbers for Singapore are usually about 1.5 million per month. They arrive in thousands, crowding attractions as they scavenge for instagrammable shots, ticking them off one by one: Merlion, super trees, Chinatown, Buddha Tooth Relic temple, Haji Lane, the Botanical Gardens and Marina Bay Sands. Images of scales, dragon’s tails, pagodas, golden domes and plates of hawker food. They are transfixed by what they see; the efficiency and the cleanliness.”
Jennifer Wilson, FOM Docent for STPI
The transfixation is immortalised in Park’s work; searching amongst the images for a Singapore that we recognise in layered fragments. The form of the number eight nods to Chinese numerology where the number eight signifies wealth and prosperity.
The details which lie beneath the surface of their instagrammable shots will be missed. Now the visitors of Singapore are banished by this wretched virus and those of us left behind can see those layers clearly. As the strata of everyday life are peeled away by restrictions, we are left with a Singapore beneath the shine and the distinguished illuminations. We are left with the people of Singapore. The Aunties and Uncles with nowhere to socialise as their HDB social spaces are taped off. Work-in-progress signs litter the cityscape but no work is in progress as the virus tears through our migrant worker community. The bus, taxi and Grab drivers with no passengers and the hawkers with no diners. The prosperity for now is frayed like the edges of Park’s creation; glimmers of the threads of society peeking out and hanging on for the day the visitors can return.