Thursday, May 30, 2013


Well, perhaps I got bored staring at equally bored people in the morning sardine can train. And Socrates (or was it Aristotle) said a life unexamined is not worth living. Well, Socrates, you drank hemlock and died for questioning the right things, at a wrong time (will there ever be a good time to question?), at a most powerful lot. In any case, riding the MRT at morning rush hour is such a cliche, I can't help but be inspired to post something about this, in a non-overly referenced way.

Well, recently my directorial team of the university wide theatre group had a tough time coming up with a name for the upcoming two major productions. Names and suggestions were thrown, and I find myself perversely adversive to cliches and references. I do not mean to judge, or say that referencing is bad, or that the person who suggested it is dimwitted. I just have a personal issue with it for two reasons.

1. It tells a lot about the person
The choice of references is a matter of taste. When we suggest something universally wonderful, we are judged as having wit and possessing intelligence. However, when the reference becomes cliche and is treated as  such,  it becomes unbearable. Like the quote I started out with, so referenced, but taking it in a fresh way has its merits (Alert: self-praise). Referencing sometimes serve as a point of entry, but it's what you do later that makes it cliche, or not. While the choice of reference is a matter of taste, the treatment, or maltreatment, of such is a matter of Person. Unless I am sure the treatment will be judged as creative, I prefer to avoid it altogether.

2. Referencing is convenient
It's always easy to externalise creativity, to hedge on someone's "good work" so to speak. It's really nothing wrong, since we take inspiration from all over. However it becomes an issue when the referencing becomes literal or worse, illiberal. Which decade are you living in?! While Shakespeare might be cool in the 14the century, it became old because of the overuse, misuse, and abuse of the quotes and catchphrases. It becomes convenient when we simply do not reach far enough inyo our creativity to REALLY consider the message of our choice of referencing. Often I find that references (and cliches) cannot capture the entirety of my personal expression. Do not be daunted and push through the wall, you may find something original, and yet inspired, on the other side.
On the other hand, referencing once done brilliantly, or seen and translated into another perspective has the potential to inspire. Nothing is truly original. It comes down to the dots you make and lines you draw that is creative

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