My project has its root from a video I watched, which showed the Chinese city Wuhan in total lockdown and streets deserted. What used to be thoroughfares were like ghost towns. That saddened me. At that time, I didn't expect Singapore (or rest of the world) to suffer from a similar fate, but nonetheless, a seed was planted.
I have always loved the Buddhist-themed Haw Par Villa, a showcase of some Chinese folklore, historical events, as well as the famed eighteen stories of hell. It was built in 1937 by a wealthy Chinese businessman/philanthropist (of the Tiger Balm fame). Living within 2 miles of it just makes it easier for me to visit. The place is usually peaceful even though no entrance fee is charged. For decades, it is a money-losing endeavor, and only after the tourism authority took over that it remains open until today.
Having A Grate Time
Many Singaporeans would have childhood memories of the theme park---some may be sweet, but some may be nightmarish after the child witness what punishment awaits a deceased who have committed sins in the past lifetime. For example, a deceitful person will have his tongue ripped out. Call it a hunch, I started taking photos of the statues and figurines at the park a week before the government announced a 1-month lock down (which subsequently was doubled). I managed to build a small collection of images (est. 70%.)
Two Broken-Hearted Lions
The Wuhan scenario started a replay here, in tiny Singapore. I can imagine an already backwater theme park being emptied out and left with literally just the ghosts manning the gates of hell. Since almost every Singaporean is somehow acquainted or has a soft spot for Haw Par Villa, I wanted to bring those fond memories back on behalf of Singaporeans. Just like what zookeepers all over the world are beaming footage of the zoo-kept animals to virtual visitors, I would like to remind everyone that the spirits of Haw Par Villa are still "alive", like everyone else who may be struggling. The series of images were made with items found at or within 50 meters from home. Some items are familiar with Singaporeans so as to build an immediate rapport with my audience. Many images are quirky, some are soaked in ironies, and a few are downright sinister. My modest hope is to evoke a chuckle in my fellow countrymen; to have a common thread to bind them so that they know "we are really in this together."