I was interviewed by the Straits Times on SARS Humour, for the Life! section, May 4th 2003 edition. Nothing I said ended up on the article.
1. How do you decide on what you write about on your website?
I draw great inspiration from the works of Tolstoy and D.H. Lawrence. I usually read "War and Peace" a few times then I meditate on the state of pollution upon our fragile eco-system, and its devastating effect on our souls. Then I would decide to write a long essay on, say, the role of flatulence in Singapore politics.
2. Now that times are gloomy do you find it hard to find things to be funny about?
No, because people do even stupider things when times are gloomy. Like that Civil Service guy I read who does not open doors with his hands anymore because of SARS. What does he use? A stick? Ask someone else to open it for him?
That guy is so inspirational, I wish they would write a song for him, just like that song that wrote for the Healthcare workers. Singapore is very good at things like writing songs for special events. It's a National Gift.
"Our nurses and doctors are waging a war with Death itself! What can we do to show our support and concern? I know! We'll write them A National Song!"
3. What do you find funny?
Authorities scrambling to describe the intimate and complex inner workings of the HDB sewage and plumbing system, complete with charts and models. I will never see my HDB toilet bowl the same way again. It is truly a technological wonder.
4. What do you think humour accomplishes?
I think humour allows Singaporeans to get a promotion and move up the corporate ladder. Wait, that's an MBA. Humour accomplishes nothing. If it tried to accomplish something, it would not be funny anymore. Singaporeans seem to have a need to look for stuff to accomplish some goal, as if things like "it's fun", or "it makes me laugh" is not reason enough.
Ohhh ok, humour helps Singaporeans laugh so that they will forget they were jobless for the last 12 months, and their degree is worth nothing, and employers only want people below 35, and now they may even die if they take a bus with some stranger who has a sister who has a colleague whose daughter's tuition teacher's dog walker's mother lives near Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
5. Why write satire?
Because if we do not write satire ourselves, some Angmoh writing in some Western newspaper probably will. And will satirise the wrong things. That is unacceptable. Also, Western satire lacks local context that all Singaporeans seek, like Singlish and Hokkien bad words. Or worse, they might use "lah" in the wrong places. E.g. "Singapore has the Death Sentence for chewing gum, lah?"