[performed at Aliwal Arts Centre, September 2014]
short story short: XPOWERMENT: in which the Sekaliwags quit their poetry careers after being told by a woman to ‘stop embarassing our parents’ and find ‘real jobs’ [this actually happened in April 2014] and become National Education teachers that tour schools with a time machine in tow. Except that one of us is an angry minority who is also a Liberal who wants to ruin things for everyone and threatens our peace & harmony & THE SHOW MUST GO ON.
XPOWERMENT! [like, the more effective version of EMPOWERMENT] is a show by the the SEKALIWAGS, a collective that I joined earlier this year and it was written for the LIT UP festival that took place in the last weekend of September. The theme for this year was ‘Walk the Equator’, so naturally because Singapore is on the equator we took it to mean to do something about The Concept of Singapore And Nationhood and Our Shared And Collective Past And Future and um…being us this could only mean one thing: our shared experiences of National Education classes….which could only mean: taking the piss.
And time machines, obviously.
(because obviously we were the first people in history to think of sci-fi dystopia when we thought of Singapore HAHAHA WHO SAW THAT ONE COMING?!)
But seriously, though, the show was a rollicking hot mess of 50 minutes of high-energy, laugh-out-loud satire. Think The Wiggles or High-5 meets Brave New World by way of 1984, with a production budget of about $10, lots of cardboard props, high-end sound effects, a SMOKE MACHINE, gratuitous violence, dancing and EXPLOSIONS. Thats what we envisioned anyway. Trying to make sense of government-regulated history and national education classes and everything else we were taught that we had to unlearn. AND SPLOSIONS. Plus a couple of rewritten song lyrics. And a hilarious slam poetry parody. The result was a triumph. Possibly some of the most fun I’ve had putting together and executing a spoken word show, with some of the most ridiculous beautiful talented people I know.
“.performative, accessible, and funny…I felt enlivened and encouraged by their show’s self-aware satire of the stories we tell ourselves (and those we don’t let others tell) about race in Singapore.“— great review in this blog post in Pulau Ujong by Natalie Tai
see a video of the first five minutes: