WEP Challenge: Spectacular Settings

Here’s the first part of the challenge for Spectacular Settings

1. Firstly share a paragraph from a novel, or an extract from a poem, or a photograph that stopped your heart with a spectacular setting etc.
2. Describe how your chosen ‘setting’ spoke to you. Why did you like it?

(A still frame from a video clip) Welcome to My Home, Singapore

Home 2010

I was on a study abroad programme to the UK when this National Day Parade was aired. I streamed it live over in London so that I could watch it “with” my family, 8 hours apart, and my breath was literally taken away at the skyline of Singapore. Being in London at the time, I revelled daily in the history and architectural marvels of England, always feeling regretful that Singapore had chosen to rid ourselves of many a heritage marker in order to build the modern city. At that moment, though, the glitz and glamour of our Central Business District (CBD) stopped my heart. The irony of me learning in the land of our (ex-)colonisers was not lost on me – sometimes, decades on, we have yet to lose the flawed perspective that the colonial masters are better, even though we have since proven ourselves to be as capable (or more). This video remains one of my top choices whenever foreign friends ask me for a quick introduction to this mysterious land called Singapore (which is NOT in China, by the way. We are a tiny but proud independent nation.) and it usually takes their breath away too.

* * * * *

Part 2 of the challenge
Then you have the option to:
a) write your own ‘setting’ piece in any genre, or share a ‘setting’ from your WIP, or…
b) write your own poem which highlights ‘setting’, or
c) share a photograph that blows you away every time you look at it and tell us why.
d) share an artwork that shows a ‘setting’ you love and tell us why you love it.
e) write a small playscript which highlights ‘setting’.

This is a supremely incomplete piece for options a&e (hurhurhur) – I was gunning for travel writing, but I also imagined it as a conversation between two people, and thus it became a dialogue-heavy play. Have mercy, and here goes –

For two.
A bare stage, with a backdrop of a forest.
A road-end, during a jog.

Dan: Where to, next?
En: Follow the pony tracks!
Dan: But that goes…into a forest. We are going to a forest?
En: Yes!
Dan: Oh. I didn’t expect that. I thought you said a cemetery.
En: It is the cemetery. Straight ahead, I think.
Dan: I was kinda expecting tombstones, not the woods.
En: This was before they realised that land is scarce in Singapore.
Dan: By the way, Google Maps says we are standing in a random grey patch. Big random grey patch. You’re the boss now.
En: Uh, I’ve only been here twice. I followed wherever the experienced guide went. Hehe.
Dan: Now you tell me! You bring me to a cemetery during the seventh month and you don’t even know the place well!
En: Heehee.
Dan: Wahlau seventh month leh. Other times I don’t care, but this month the spirits are up and about…
En: Don’t worry, just be friendly! After all, these are our forefathers. They won’t harm us. Hehe.
Dan: Oh please, take a look at yourself. They will probably think you are incompetent and destroying their hard work.
En: Ah. Good point. It’s ok. Just don’t step on any incense or food offerings and don’t step on the graves themselves and it should be alright.

* * * * *

Some background information:
I used some Singlish vocabulary and grammar structure in this for authenticity.
The seventh month refers to theHungry Ghost Festival, where the realm between the spirit world and ours is open, and the deceased are believed to visit the living. We are in the eleventh day of the seventh month as I write. Thanks for reading!

Word Count: 669 words
MPA: Minor Points Acceptable

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12 Responses to WEP Challenge: Spectacular Settings

  1. Angeline
    I can see why you were so inspired. It’s an inspired view of a great city, Singapore! The pride you hold for your home is more than warranted.
    I love the flash about the Hungry Ghost Festival, but I’m not sure I’d go hunting for the spirits in the Seventh month. I don’t have that much courage. I’d love to know more about En and Dan’s experience in this mysterious place.
    Well done, thank you for submitting this beautiful photograph and sharing you love of home with us for the WEP Spectacular Settings Challenge. I hope you’ll return in October for the Halloween challenge that promises chills and thrills and ghost stories all around!

    Like

    • eb says:

      Hi Yolanda,
      Thanks for your kind reply!
      Everything I’ve brainstormed for En and Dan sound either boring or tacky so I haven’t put it on paper yet. The cemetery is real, though, and you can see some pictures here @ https://cuthemap.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/bukit-brown/
      (of course, these pictures were taken much earlier this year – even if I do visit now, I would steer clear of taking photographs during the seventh month.)

      Thanks once again and I do look forward to the next challenge!

      Like

  2. I am not a fan of big cities – but even I could feel the appeal of yours. Bright, courageous, busy.
    And like Yolanda, I would love to hear more about En and Dan’s trip to the hidden cemetery.

    Like

  3. Olga Godim says:

    Such a beautiful description of your home city! And I absolutely love the last line of your play: “Just don’t step on any incense or food offerings…” Brilliant!

    Like

  4. Gorgeous photo, and I would LOVE to visit Singapore one day.
    One can really get a new perspective on “home” when visiting another country. I remember watching an American TV show while we were vacationing in Canada. Our guests’ (slightly) horrified expression made me take a second look at what passes for entertainment in the US and I was suddenly embarrassed.
    I enjoyed your use of the Google Maps “random grey area”. That made me smile.

    Like

  5. Denise Covey says:

    Hi Angelline. I couldn’t get to comment but I hope I’m all good now that I have reinstated my Word Press passwords.
    I love cityscapes, especially at night. I haven’t been to Singapore yet, but I’ll get there and be amazed for sure. I live in Brisbane, a sleepy city, not exactly spectacular, but it looks stunning at night with all the colours and the river setting.
    And I was so excited to see a playscript. So lovely. The story of En and Dan’s experiences in this mysterious place is entertaining to say the least. And I love the way you used the modern icon, Google Maps. Now that we’re heading to the cemetery you could continue this for the Halloween challenge! Would love to see more.
    Thanks so much for signing up for the challenge. I’ve posted a little of your entry on my current blog post.
    Denise 🙂

    Like

  6. Denise Covey says:

    Whoopsies. Typo! ‘Angeline.’

    Like

  7. Rasma R says:

    I sure enjoyed this, I love cityscapes especially since NYC is my hometown. That cemetery gave me the shivers but I have heard of celebrations in them.

    Like

  8. That’s a lovely view!
    Interesting script. This could go in many directions. So I’m wondering what happens next…

    Like

  9. WriterlySam says:

    Wow! That image of Singapore is stunning!! You did a great job intermingling humorous dialogue with interesting facts *”random grey patch”, way to be on point, Google maps*. I’d love to read more about the Hungry Ghost Festival–sounds like the perfect setting for October’s challenge:)
    The Weight of Wonder

    Like

  10. Nilanjana Bose says:

    Hello,
    Singapore is an awesome city-state, and you have chosen a gorgeous visual. Your excerpt was playful, spooky, but above all fun. Would love to know about the Hungry Ghosts Festival.

    Like

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