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A collector asked me about a work he bought in 1990.

“Glorious, 1989”

Took the title from an epithet on the WWII monument on Elizabeth walk (present day Esplanade).

In the late 80s in Chinatown, I lived 300 metres from the Singapore river where it was a cruising ground for gay men by night before urban renewal took over the quiet stone steps. Most evenings I would take a walk along the river which led me to pass the Lim Bo Seng monument and make the turn-around by the WWII monument. I recall seeing phallic-like concrete dividers linked with iron chains along Elizabeth Walk ...reminding me of my illegal status as a gay man in Singapore. Elisabeth Walk at the mouth of Singapore River was at that time known as a popular park for straight couples on a date or courting. In the 80s I was on a testosterone high and coming out as a gay man. I recall the dilemma of pleading my grandparents ( I grew up with them) my leaving home for the US each time I walked from the " gay-cruisy" riverbank to Eisabeth Walk. The figure of a passionate couple necking in the shadows of a park bench took centrestage in this composition between the two monuments. The Lim Bo Seng pagoda, the fu dogs on left are like angry phallases. The axe-like black granite and wreath encircle a rose-like vulva or gathered foreskin/ puckered anus on the WWII monument, outweigh my guilt’s as a filial gay son in the 1980s.

Charcoal on water colour paper (3m x 1.5m), traces of blue pastel and Chinese ink. Made in studio on Holland Rd (aka DragCourt). Exhibited at Goethe Institut 1990 together with Old Man Cigarettes and Gold Watch.


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