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NMP Archive - Kok Heng Leun

Kok Heng Leun is the Artistic Director of Singaporean theatre company Drama Box, and a prominent figure in both the English and Chinese-language theatres in Singapore. Thus far, he has directed more than 80 plays, including Kuo Pao Kun’s The Spirit Play, forum theatre production Treat or Threat!, Drift (Singapore Arts Festival 2008 and Macao Arts Festival 2009) and It Won’t Be Too Long (Singapore International Festival of Arts 2015).

Heng Leun believes in engaging the community in his works, to promote critical dialogues about the world we live in. He has ventured into multi-disciplinary applied and engaged arts projects such as Project Mending Sky which deals with environmental issues and IPS Prism which looks at issues of governance in Singapore.

He received the Young Artist Award from the National Arts Council of Singapore in 2000 and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Culture Award in 2003. In 2006, he was presented the Outstanding Young Person (Culture) award in recognition of his contribution to the local arts scene.



The archive documents the Annual Budget Statements by Kok Heng Leun, and excerpts from the Committee of Supply debates following and in relation to the budget statements. In these debates, the NMP may engage with any ministry in comment and clarification. Replies from the ministries are excerpted here only with regards to issues and questions raised by the Arts NMP.


Annual Budget Statement (5 April 2016)

[For the Mandarin translation, click here, and video here]
Thank you Madam Speaker. It is a privilege to stand before the parliament and share my views about the Budget as an artist and a Nominated Member of Parliament for the Arts. First of all, I would like to begin by congratulating our Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat, for delivering a budget that seeks to place Singapore in good stead to face future economic and social challenges.

I am very aware of time. That I have only 20 minutes to make my point. And so I will be very mindful.

Let me first recount a performance that my company Drama Box staged in 2001. That was the year when there was the financial crisis caused by the default of subprime mortgage.

The performance, in the form of Forum Theatre, was about a husband who was retrenched and was taking out his frustration on his wife. Forum Theatre is a form of theatre where the protagonist is facing a problem within a scene. After the scene is performed, the audience is invited to replace the protagonist to try out different ways of dealing with the problem. In this particular story, both the husband and the wife could not find ways to handle the crisis and affect change.

In one performance, many people replaced the role of the wife, speaking to the husband about the need to accept the change, look out for government schemes, advising him, encouraging him. The husband understood all these, but he was still not placated. He was still frustrated.

Then a woman came up. She sat the husband down. Held his hand. The audience and myself were waiting for her to speak. But she did not. She just kept quiet.

Finally the husband asked her why did she not speak. She replied with a question: “Are you okay?” I could hear the husband letting out a sigh of relief.

When I, the facilitator, asked her why she did what she did, she said: 在这样一种情况,人需要一点点的时间,一点点的空间。In such difficult situation, people need some time and some space.

I share this anecdote to highlight the importance of time and space during a crisis or in face of change.

Government schemes can help Singaporeans prepare for structural changes in our economy, and to move into new jobs and responsibilities.

However, schemes will only help Singaporeans IF we also look at how our body, hearts and spirits are affected in these moments of change or crises.

“Small acts of repair. Calming the hands in a troubled world. Restoring damage to renewed use.”

This quote comes from a US-based theatre company Goat Island, which believes that theatre is a small act of repair. Repairing the body and the hearts that has been bruised by the experience of crisis and change.

Human beings are not like little bolts, which can be melted down and made into nuts if there were not enough nuts. To change a mindset is not about switching into a different mode. It requires the emotions and the spirits to be engaged.

It needs time. And it needs space.

The woman who participated in the forum theatre told us later that that was how she had helped her husband who was retrenched during that same financial crisis.

The performance became a demonstration of what is possible.
It became a place for learning.
It also became a place for rehearsal.

Hence in response to the Budget Speech... I would like to ask these two questions:

Where is Art in the future of Singapore?
Why is Art important in the future of Singapore?

I'm sure that if I search hard enough, I will be able to find statistics on the arts in Singapore. How our audiences have increased over the years, the number of art works have multiplied since the 1990s.

Yet, the very fact that I am standing here, asking about the importance of the arts in Singapore, suggests that there is some cause for concern.

To further reinforce that concern is the fact that the arts are not mentioned in this year's budget speech. The word 'culture'  is mentioned, in reference to the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth. Surprisingly, the arts does not even get a mention in the section “Transforming our economy through enterprise and innovation” — this despite the fact that the arts powers innovation, which is important if we are to be future-ready in challenging times.

Innovation is a primary objective of the arts and artists. The arts can be innovative in its creative process. We innovate, break old regimes and create new paradigms. The arts encourage play. To play means, first of all, playing within the rules with tried-and- tested methods. After a while, one must start playing creatively, go beyond the rules and improvise. Then only can one start to make new discoveries.

Critical thinking balances innovation with responsibility. As we strive for change, we must also strive for sustainability. For example, how do we deal with economic growth yet be aware of how it will impact the environment?

The creative mind coupled with critical thinking can complement our usually pragmatic and logical approaches to problem solving. While we want to transform our economy through innovation, we also want the transformation to be equitable, viable and sustainable.

Innovation also happens in the arts through collaboration. Composers, writers, film-makers and other artists have always collaborated with other disciplines such as science, technology and education. Such collaborations are vital to the lifeblood of these industries. Let me illustrate with a story, and again I am aware of time.

This was an experiment that was conducted in 250 BC. Two equal-length sticks were placed upright in the ground 500 miles apart. Then at an exact moment, a person at each location would measure the length of the shadow. If the earth were flat, the shadows would be the same length. But it was discovered that the shadows were not the same length, and so we began to think that maybe the earth was not flat but round. This happened around 250 BC. But it took another 1000 years before we finally agreed that the earth was round.

A triangulation must occur for us to make sense of this. Two people collaborated in setting up the experiment and measuring the shadows. It took two of them, from two different of viewpoints, to visualise the earth as round. It also took time – roughly a millennium – to finally arrive at a conclusion. It was through a collaboration on such a fundamental issue – is the earth flat or not? - that we are able to gain a more accurate view of ourselves.

So what does 'collaboration' mean? Simply, it means two things: Giving and Taking.

Giving is sharing. Offering. So that one can contribute to, and feel invested in the process of nation building.

Taking is listening. Engaging. The ability to accept criticism. Where criticism is concerned, it is easier to give than to receive.

As artists, our works get reviewed and critiqued all the time. No artist wants to read a negative critique of his or her work. But if we see the critic as someone who cares about the arts, our mindset will change. The critic is no longer an opponent but a collaborator.

We are all in it together. Yet we are different from one another. How do we manage difference?
How do we learn not to be offended by difference?

How do we respond if we were to be offended by difference?
What if one person were to impose his ideas on another person? What if one group were to force their opinions and belief systems on others?

I say this because in many ways, the state today has failed in mediation techniques. It is reactive, unable to effectively manage difference to find a common ground.

For example, a few letters complaining about an artwork may lead to that work being removed. But what about the many other people who do not have a problem and in fact appreciate the artwork?
How does this logic work? Where is the mediation? Should we encourage audiences to write in when they are not offended to balance those who write in who are?

Being fair means being fair to all, not just those who write the angriest letters or shout the loudest slogans or garner the most signatures.

That is not collaboration. This is not giving and taking. Collaboration is about being grounded, yet open; it is about letting go of presumptions and judgments in order to create meaningful dialogue.

Collaboration is also a way of demonstrating our resilience. One hears that word quite often these days. We must be resilient in case of economic downturns, in case of outbreaks of diseases, in case of terrorist attacks. I do not disagree.

But resilience is not just about being strong. It is also about the ability to adapt, to accept change. To be resilient, we must first be able to tell our story. When we know who we are, when we have the confidence to express ourselves we will know how to manage changes within our means.

The ability to tell our story is the first step towards empowerment. We will then realise that there is no ONE grand narrative but many micro narratives which collectively define who we are as a nation and a people.

That is the potency of art.

It examines our relationship with the environment we live in. It examines our relationship with people we live with.
It examines our relationship with ourselves.

Why is Art IMPORTANT in the future of Singapore? Art is part of our daily lives.
Art is integral to our society.
Art can contribute to the resilience and maturity of the populace.

So,

Why are we not talking about Art and innovation?

Why are we not talking about Art and the creative industry? Where is Art?

Perhaps there is some apprehension. Living together in a tight space means difficult questions should not be raised, for fear that some people might not be ready enough to be engaged– and Art raises difficult questions.

Our culture rewards results and success – but Art promotes process and the value of failure.

And

It is precisely these intrinsic aspects of Art that can help empower us to create a diversified, creative and sustainable future for Singapore. And art can prepare us to engage critically, with wisdom and empathy.

How does one innovate if one does not ask hard questions? How does one innovate if one has to keep seeking permission to be playful,
permission to transgress,
permission to make mistakes?

The arts break rules. Artists break rules. Not legal rules. But the rules of the creative process. Children do it all the time. They want to paint a green sky and yellow sea.

But as they get older they are told, “No, no, no. The sky must be
blue. No. The sea cannot be yellow. Where got such thing?”

When artists create in Singapore, we are told the rule is: create art to foster social harmony and community bonding. If you don't do that, you are breaking the rule.

But what if we want to create art that encourages critical thinking? What if we want to create art that asks difficult questions? Can this art be seen as positive, one that promotes social cohesion? Why not?

I should reiterate: having open discourse does not mean having no responsibility. One needs to be accountable for one's words and actions. At the end of the day, the laws are still in place. But having a good debate and a deep exploration of our shared issues will only benefit everyone.

And it can start young.

Why are we preparing our young only for study and good academic results but not for important and difficult life questions? In fact, young people want to talk about life's complexities. They want to know that what they learn in school can help them find their place in life, in society.

As adults we all know that life is not just about WORK and CAREER.

It is about responsibility
for oneself,
for others,
for family,
for society,
for the environment.

Yet, we discourage the young from confronting difficult questions. We take away opportunities for them to learn critically. To be intelligent, creative and innovative.

Art should be very much a part of our education in school. Hence, I would like to request our Education ministry and MCCY to invest more in creative and critical teaching.

Educators cannot facilitate creative and critical learning if schools do not allow themselves to be laboratories of learning, laboratories of knowledge.

Nowadays, we go to school and learn so that we can be prepared for our careers. In Chinese, we call it the pursuit of 学业。学了就 业。”Learn then you get a job”. But the job market changes. The skills you learn might not be of use after some time.

I prefer another term: the pursuit of 学问. 学 to learn. 问 is to ask. In The Book of I-Ching, or also known as The Book of Change, “君子学以聚之,问以辩之”. Learn and accumulate knowledge, and ask so as to be critical about what we learnt.

We are so afraid we will offend others by what we say, when actually, we need to learn how NOT to be offended, or so easily offended. We need to be able to have a constructive voice that seeks to improve our shared environment and future.

If the space for discourse is not going to be opened up, we will never become a nation of mature thinkers. We will continue to co- exist but never be truly inclusive.

In our rapid-pace development, we need to spend so much time catching up, that if we do not find time to slow down, we may just lose our sense of being.

So what keep us sane and grounded? What is our center? Yesterday, Zaobao, 新汇点,Crossroads, a weekly page about new migrants and foreigners living and working in Singapore, interviewed a permanent resident, Christophe, a French native. He said in the interview that after getting used to living in Singapore, he started to feel a sense of nostalgia. Why? In this interview written in Mandarin, he said: “在西方国家,即使过了 四五十年都没有察觉多少变化。可是新加坡一直不断在建设,原本 惊叹的心情,现在已出现变化。”In the west, you wouldn’t notice that any changes even after 40 or 50 years. But in Singapore, it is constantly building and constructing, when initially I was amazed by it, but now I feel differently. So now, Christophe began to be interested in discovering what would make this place a home. He started by participating in Arts, in discovering heritage places.

So what keep us grounded, help us take stock, remind us we are humans, we are people living in one place? Our literature, our music, our painting, our theatre, cultural sites like Bukit Brown, and many other tangibles and intangibles heritage.

Madame Speaker, I am mindful of time.

I would like to end with a quotation by Rebecca Solnit which states: Democracy is built upon trust amongst strangers.

So let us begin trusting one another. Let us not fear alternative viewpoints, nor cave in to strident voices without listening to others. For centuries, the arts have provided a safe space for us to ask questions, understand one another better, and dream of a better communal future that embrace diversity. Sometimes we do not have an answer immediately, but asking the right question is a step closer. It just takes time. And instead of saying there is no time, let us make time for it. And instead of saying no space, let us make space for it.

Mdm Speaker, and With that, I support the budget. Thank you.

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Committee of Supply Debate: Ministry of Education (8 April 2016)

Thank you Madam Chair.

In this cut I would like to continue my call for “acts of repair” in my maiden speech.

Specifically, I am arguing for a focus on emotional and critical learning in children and young people, where responses to issues of loss and changes in life are addressed.

In my encounters, working as an educator with children, youths and adults, many have been scarred by deep seated emotional issues, such as loss. For example, when a child has to part with a long-familiar domestic helper at the end of her contract; or when a pet dies; or when a child's precious toy is thrown away without her knowledge or consent.

There are also cases of more extreme losses and adjustments for the young: when they leave their friends in school and move; when family members pass away; when their school or class-mates die suddenly in accidents, or even suicides. It pains us greatly, as adults, to see young people struggle in such circumstances.

What we cannot prevent, we should prevail. We should overcome. The pain and burden of a child in school should be carried by more than just the child. A caring society should begin with a humane school environment – one that places value on compassion as much as competition, and goodwill as much as grades.

Emotional upheavals should not be dismissed as personal failure – as if those who go through pain somehow deserve it because they had not done enough to prevent it.

Minister Shanmugam shared about the difficulty of getting whole families to participate in the rehabilitative process when they face problems. Imagine how many more unknown problems exist out there, with families unwilling to speak of their pain, let alone seek help together.

In this context, I would like to advocate for schools to take on a pro-active role in preparing young people deal with emotional distress.

Literature

My predecessor NMP for the arts, Ms Janice Koh, has spoken passionately about the importance of literature and its power in engaging the mind to understand deep and complex human emotions. Allow me to quote from an article by Keith Oatley, a Professor Emeritus of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto:

“The process of entering imagined worlds of fiction builds empathy and improves your ability to take another person's point of view. It can even change your personality...The emotional empathy that is critical to our day-to- day relationships also enables us to picture ourselves living as the characters do when we read fiction.”

I would like to suggest that Reading Sessions become part of primary and secondary schools' core curriculum, and not merely an exercise within the English class. Led by facilitators, reading sessions can help students access the lives of characters, and understand their deeper emotions. In this way, the students can better deal with similar issues they may be facing.

Character and Citizenship Education

Firstly, I would like to commend MOE in their recent revamp of the pedagogical approach to CCE. Here I would like to suggest the topic of loss be included in the syllabus at all levels.

The content can be scaffolded. For Primary schools students, we can look at using relatable stories like taking care of pets to look at issues of loss.

For higher levels, we can tackle more complex situations.

However the approach must be very nuanced. Students have to be guided in the process. I would suggest experiential learning as a good strategy.

Experiential learning builds within the body a memory that does not forget easily.

I like to use the example of learning to ride a bicycle. You cannot use your cognition to teach yourself how to ride a bicycle. You have to go onto it, fall and somehow your body will learn to balance. What is amazing is that, after you have learnt it, you may not ride the bicycle for another 10 years, but if you want to do it again, your body will somehow remember how to balance.

Teachers

To deal with the issue in the classroom may sound very daunting. And in many cases, and teachers are already swarmed with works. I hope that more teachers can be employed, specifically trained to manage these areas of teaching, where a lighter touch in needed, and where a safe environment is crucial.

Schools may already have existing counsellors. But these operations often appear to be detached from the daily grind of school life – as if being in touch with a counsellor is a sign of weakness, or worse, a taboo.

Imagine then, if such teacher-counsellors are part and parcel of school life. Imagine if a child can ask questions about algebra and fractions in one class, and then talk about the pain of losing her favourite cat a few minutes later. The message is simple: We care about you, and not just how well you do.

These are some of my suggestions which I hope MOE, in partnership with MCCY and MSF, will consider. I believe that a multi-agency approach is required to effect this change in our social, familial and education systems.

Some may think that my proposals would mean parents are excused from their responsibilities. I would however like to suggest a paradigm shift: let's begin work on the young, so that as they grow in their ability to handle change and loss, they in turn can be the living examples that their parents can learn from. Wouldn't this be groundbreaking, effective and empowering?

I am reminded of a youth I taught when I was preparing this cut. He had cuts on his arms. He did that to prevent his girlfriend from cutting herself. The backstory: the mother of this young men left him when he was very young. Father did not tell him why. And he never saw his mother again. And he did not want to lose his girlfriend.

The philosopher Arthur Schopenhaur said: Mostly it is loss which teach us the worth of things.

Thank you Madam Chair.
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Committee of Supply Debate: Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (13 April 2016)


Madam Speaker,

Let me declare my interest: I am the Artistic Director of a theatre company that is very much involved in creating and curating socially relevant and community engaged art, and a member of the examination board of the Intercultural Theatre Institute.

In 2011, the Arts and Culture Strategic Review (ACSR) Report was unveiled. It outlined a vision for 2025. I quote: ‘...a nation of cultured and graceful people, at home with our heritage, and proud of our Singapore identity’.

To achieve this vision, two strategic directions were identified:
To bring arts and culture to everyone, everywhere, and every day.
To build capabilities to achieve excellence.

In response to the report, the government committed 270 million dollars worth of programmes under three master plans, rolled out over 5 years from 2012 to 2016. This would mean that come 2017, we can look forward to a comprehensive review of what has been achieved.

This review will be an important document to help us determine the approaches we should take for the next 8 years as we move towards 2025.
Hence my two cuts will deal with these two strategic directions for the future.

Cut No. 1:

The community engagement master plan that was rolled out since 2012 has seen a proliferation of art programmes organised by People's Association, National Arts Council, National Heritage Board and National Library Board. It has increased the number of art activities and brought the arts closer to our doorstep.

This has provided livelihoods for some artists who are very committed to working with the community.

Going forward, I would like MCCY to look at the following issues: 
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Engagement on a deeper level

Let me share about a project entitled Unseen: Constellation which is currently being exhibited at the Chapel Gallery of Objectifs along Middle Road.

Initiated by artist Alecia Neo, Unseen: Constellation involves seven students living with visual impairment from Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School. Over two years, under the guidance of mentors from a diverse range of professions, the students were immersed in a very deep process of discovery, which resulted in them creating works that explore their lives and dreams. The various art works now displayed at the Objectifs gallery comprise music videos about friendship and discrimination, a short film about vulnerability of love and boyhood, a motivational speech, a symphonic band composition, amongst others.

In the motivational talk, the student Dallon Au revealed his insecurity as someone with impaired vision, and how he had to overcome it to pursue his dream. Dallon shares his two years long journey with ConversationsCircle trainer Allen Lim, who has introduced him to the art of listening.

“Many times I just feel like giving up and killing myself. This is so unbecoming of a motivational speaker, right? You have no idea how many times people have said this to me. ‘If you cannot even keep yourself motivated, how are you going to motivate others?’ Believe me, I agree. But I am working on it and I am getting better.”
Through the work, you can see how these students had learnt so much about themselves through a highly engaged process, facilitated by very thoughtful and sensitive artists and mentors. The process has resulted in the creation of art works that are moving and of high quality. Unseen is deeply engaging and impactful, both for the audience, and for the students and artists.

Such engagement is deep and life-changing.

As we move towards the future, we should encourage more of such deep and engaging work. The depth and process will result in profound learning experiences for the community that is creating and participating in the process, and will also result in artistic work that is aesthetically rich. It moves the audience, changing their sensibilities, by making the invisible visible and the unheard heard.
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Development of Intermediaries

Facilitation and organisational skills are specialties that not all artists possess. Artists need a different set of skills to encourage and inspire community participants to express their creative selves. At the same time, artists may need to organise and mobilise resources from different agencies to make the project happen. For example, a project on end-of-life issues may require the involvement of the Agency of Integrated Care, hospitals, nursing homes, and caregiver communities, amongst others. Many of these agencies are not familiar with art, hence when artists partner them to create community work, dialogue and process are important so as to avoid miscommunication and distrust.

This requires specialisation, an intermediary role that bridges artists and communities. A good example of such an intermediary would be the group ArtsWok Collaborative. Artswok facilitated and produced The Rite of Spring, a dance performance choreographed by Cultural Medallion recipient Angela Liong of Arts Fission, one of Singapore’s premiere dance company. The performance was presented at the Esplanade Theatre and featured elderly performer-dancers from AWWA Seniors Activity Centre, AWWA Community Home for Senior Citizens, NTUC Eldercare and Henderson Senior Citizens' Home, as well as young performers from Arts Fission's Children Dance Programme. To accomplish such an intergenerational work, a lot of facilitation and organisation is required.

The intermediary needs to be someone who is well versed in the process of art-making, but at the same time, understands the art of community engagement intimately. Many artists who work in community arts tend to operate as individuals, without the backing of administrative and organisational support. As such, to encourage more participation and engagement from the community, more intermediaries must be made available to facilitate fruitful collaborations between artists, related agencies and the community. I therefore urge the ministry to look into developing these specialists.
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Creative Place-Making

To bring art closer to the community, such that it becomes an everyday presence, we should begin looking at Creative Place-Making.

Creative Place-Making makes the arts a part of community living. It is not a place or venue management. It is not about presenting performances and programmes to create buzz.

The key word is Place.

According to Tuan Yi Fu, a well-known geographer, a place comes into existence when there is a ‘moment of pause’, which provides people within the space to reflect and connect with others around them. It is created not by transactional needs, but by relational needs.

In Creative Place-Making, art is an essential mediator that helps to bring the community together. It is also important for artists to want to be involved in place-making; they must want to see community engagement very much as part of their work.

Creative Place-Making will only be sustainable if it is ground-up. It must not be forced. It must not be 'hip'. It must not be short-sighted. If planned and executed properly, it will not only foster community bonding and identity, builds capacity in a community, empowering the community to action and change, it will also solve one of the problems that artists and arts group face in Singapore: the lack of physical space to work.
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Second Cut:

Developmental spaces

In examining the ministry’s key performance indicators, I note that there is an emphasis on the instrumentalisation of art: what art can do for society. I would like to thank the government for acknowledging that the arts can have such an extensive impact on society, which I hope will also help to convince more Singaporeans of the importance of having the arts as part of our lives.

But I would also like to recall a Chinese saying: 工欲善其事,必先利其器。 That is, to do a good job, the artisan must have the best tool to do it. In this case, the art must be good.

Besides having institutions to provide the best arts education for emerging artists, there must also be arts centres or venues that will help young and mature artists develop their craft without the pressure of market forces.

Institutions that pay attention to developmental objectives must be seen differently from, say, theatre companies that are committed to creating works. In the latter, theatre companies have a revenue-generating capacity.

But for institutions with a developmental objective, their focus should be on process over results, experimentation over tried-and-tested products. One is reminded of what the late Kuo Pao Kun had said before: “Better to have a worthy failure than a mediocre success.”

The Substation, founded by Mr Kuo, was such an arts centre: it provided infrastructure support and resources for young artists to kickstart projects, and at the same time, provided an environment to encourage artists to take creative risk. In other words, The Substation was a home for the arts, a place for artists to dream, a safe space within which they could venture to explore. Many young artists have begun their careers there, including filmmakers Royston Tan and Boo Jun Feng, and theatre director Goh Boon Teck. Artists like Lee Wen and Amanda Heng created some of their most interesting works there and these artists later became Cultural Medallion recipients, honored by the nation.

Institutions like The Substation, Centre 42, and Intercultural Theatre Institute, the up and coming Traditional Arts Centre are important in the development of Singapore’s arts scene. I hope there will be other centres that will support interdisciplinary and intercultural experimentation, developing ways of art-making that incorporate science and technology, as well as different kinds of genres and cultures. Singapore is in a unique position. Being such a globalised economy and a connector between different regions, we can take advantage of our status to be a facilitator for exploration and exchange.

I would also like to advocate for such institutions to have a different funding model. Currently institutions like ITI are funded under the 3-Year Major Grant scheme just like other arts organisations. The KPIs of these developmental centres are different from a typical arts organisation. I would urge MCCY and NAC to develop a different model for these institutions that will encourage experimentation, creative processes and learning.

The very fact that we have a ministry and affiliated agencies that look specifically at the arts and what it can do for society means that the arts and politics are not strange bedfellows. Yet, the arts should be viewed for its intrinsic worth, and not merely to serve political purpose. Here, I think it is apt for me to quote from the great author Lu Xun who spoke about the relationship between arts and politics:

“(文艺与政治)...两者之间,倒有不安于现状的同一。惟政治是要维持现状, 自然和不安于现状的文艺处在不同的方向......政治想维系现状使它统一,文 艺催促社会进化使它渐渐分离...”

That is to say, briefly, that while the arts and politics are frequent fellow travellers because both seek change, at some point on the journey, they will take divergent paths. It is in the nature of art to examine change, to pursue truth. In doing so, art may raise uncomfortable questions, and may seem to divide, but it is through these questions that society can progress.

Thank you, Madam Chair.
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