This image features stock image vintage illustrations of two pots.

Letters To What We Want is a series of letters composed by friends, responding to the question ‘What do you want? In 2021 and beyond?’. The format was left open, as was the choice to sign off anonymously or with a pseudonym.

In exchange, I sent them an artwork, which can be viewed at the end of the post.

Dearest S,

Thank you for your letter. I would dearly love to handwrite and illustrate my reply but post offices seem so far away by foot here.

What do I want?

I want sex. Sex is integral to being a Being and not feeling like a cup or a plastic clock or something with eyes and two legs.

I desperately want a tabula rasa on the government here and a magical government based on a Scandinavian/Dutch system with depth of cultural appreciation the Thais, Indonesians and Japanese have (perhaps a mix of the best systems worldwide. This list is about what I really want and things we REALLY WANT are often fantastical). I want to wake up on February 29 2021 and find that a whole new bunch of mystery people have landed and taken over governing this country based on meritocracy devoid of Religion, Race and Gender based policies. That public libraries mushroom at every 2sq miles of every city, town and village, and parks flourish like rainforest flowers do.

I really want to be able to survive decently on making art alone.

I want Najib and Rosmah and the rest of that gang in prison and serve maximum sentences. (Actually I want that yesterday).

I want to miraculously know how to use a computer in all its artistic offers, without the grind of learning how to.

I want Religion to never be in public domain and that individuals keep their faith in private.

I want ageing to be an easier process and not as bewildering and intrusive as it is.

I want a cure for cancer to be found tomorrow and that the 6 people I know who have it get “cured” permanently .

I want a dedicated work space where everything is hyper organised and needs no clearing up after each day’s work. This includes a sky light and outdoor area that’s extremely green smack in the middle of a bustling city surrounded by a cool community I really REALLY like, where the dog population is high and they are allowed everywhere. This would be of course part of a housing association where rent is affordable and controlled and with a high focus on independent living.

I want all the clothes I own to disappear and be replaced by a modest but substantial fare of only Comme des Garçons. Reminded by You who only wants a CDG mesh vest, i would like a cupboard full of them.

I want to be able to afford 2doz raw oysters per sitting without flinching at the cost.

I want (even though I don’t cycle) bicycle lanes and almost no cars. I WANT REAL PUBLIC TRANSPORT THAT FUNCTIONS without needing 60 mins to get from Point A to Point B with long walks and parking cars and horrific feeder buses.

I want my mother to be happy.

I want walkability in this country. That means we can walk anywhere for pleasure or practicality without danger and threats of snatch-thieves, or ugliness or hurdles.

I really really want for all women to unveil and reveal themselves with might and strength of character that I might see us better.

I need migrants to be treated equally and orang asli/asal to be compensated for all ills conducted on them over decades. I want us to be kinder as a nation for it seems to me that we are actually “not very nice people in fact”.

I want rats to go extinct. The only animal upon which I wish extinction….

I want local fruits to be available in abundance, and cheaper than apples and oranges.

I want to feel at ease with this country and to trust it.

I want choice comics and graphic novels to be essential reading in primary schools.

I want things online to be produced from all OTHER countries and not only from CHINA. (There should be a moratorium on how much China is allowed to export)

I want to have less pain and get physically stronger to sustain my work and how I want to work. As for the work itself, I want to continue being unshackled by the “Art world” that’s rather befuddling.

I would like my ability to be a bonobo to deepen and arrive at the next level where the-moment is always held in my paws, that being and breathing become one in perfect harmony.

I want clarity as to how to live this life here.

And if all that I want cannot happen, I want acceptance.

I hope you’re well and the oil refinery next door disappears out of sight. That all you want will happen for you. I want you to wear that mesh vest in front of me one day soon.

Much love,
Betik Lelo Tan

Ps: oh, and of course, world peace, for those on the balcony.

Image of Country Musik: Movements #12, given in exchange for this letter.
An edition of this work is available in the shop.