I’ve been spending the whole week drawing and painting.
It’s been easy. I lose time. I lose myself. I stop for food and sleep, and if I beat the resistance, jogging. I’ve been ignoring mostly everything else, including the blog. I’m sorry. I get like this when in ‘maker’ mode. The truth is I feel like the most boring person on earth during this part of the process.
‘Wow, the consistency of this fabric paint is the BIZNESS. So smooth.’
‘Whoever invented the chinagraph pencil is a freaking genius.’
(A chinagraph is a mix of wax and pigment wrapped in a tough paper shell. They’re cheap and write on almost anything. The best part is you ‘sharpen’ the pencil by peeling off layers of paper.)
‘Better get this under-drawing done while the light is still good.’
And so on.
Halfway through flag #2 I got this uncomfortable feeling, like a hairball growing in the pit of my stomach. I coughed up the damn hairball and it spelled out: SHOW THESE FLAGS. DON’T WAIT.
Uh-oh. But but but, what about Epic Project? Ain’t got no time, not part of The Plan, etc.
However, I have learned the hard way never to doubt the hairballs that come from my own gut. They are a gift from the universe and yourself, those hairballs.
So I’m going to show these flags, in the insanely near future. Probably before Chinese New Year, which is a couple of weeks away. It’ll be a one-night flash exhibition… somewhere. I don’t know where yet, or how. I’ll figure it out this weekend and you will hear about it VERY SOON.
Now hold my hand and breathe out with me.
I want to tell you a little more about the flags.
Yesterday night me and Zedeck went out at some ungodly hour on a Ops Kutip Bendera (flag harvesting mission). New Barisan Nasional flags had sprouted up all over town only a couple of days ago. We suspect it’s because tomorrow, the MB of Negeri Sembilan is slated to officiate the opening of PD Waterfront (a privately owned mixed commercial development).
I spent most of the time in the car, while Zedeck got the flags with a pair of bolt cutters. You know there are certain moments when you are sure someone loves you, that they have your back forever and ever? This was such a moment. When we got home, I even bowed to him as a formal thank you, for being my comrade.
My logical brain KNOWS that those flags have no right to be there. What’s interesting is that I could feel my unconscious going into overdrive, steadily pumping out waves of irrational fear. If I had balls, they’d have shrunk to prunes. Zedeck, who does have balls, concurred.
Legal? What’s legal? It didn’t matter. We were breaking the rules of the way it is. Transgressing. It wouldn’t have made a difference whether they were PAS, UMNO, DAP or PKR flags. We would have taken them anyway and felt the same level of chicken-shit fear. This system of politics is a relentless machine that drives our lives, and we were just two gnats bumping up against it, not even big enough to be irritating.
The flags go up when they’re not meant to go up, you see them, you grumble, but that’s the way it is, right? Because it’s been like that as long as you can remember.
That’s the way it is.
Why do I have to go mess with the way it is? Who the fuck am I, to do that?
I was thinking of the workers whose job it is to put those flags up. Why we gotta go mess with their jobs? They’re just earning a living.
Then I started to think a bit harder about why I’m doing this. What’s my purpose? Am I trying to raise awareness about indiscriminate political flag use in the public landscape? If that’s the case, I should get organized, put a team together, be an activist, write to the press or something.
But I’ll be honest with you. This is not an activist gesture, in that it isn’t a concerted effort to get anything concretely done. It’s art. It’s what I do. It’s my job. And my job, I think, is to stay awake. To keep watch on what I see/think/feel/dream and share it with you in whatever way I can. That’s the whole of it.
Anyone can do it, and I wish more would.
Sure enough, today I drove around, and a lot of the flags we took were already replaced.