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SINdie: Singapore Short Cuts #5 Week 3: Bedok Jetty by Boo Junfeng

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‘Bedok Jetty’ is another film produced for the National Museum’s Digital Homelands project. Deeply personal and esoteric, it is about a person’s lost love and his attachment to Bedok Jetty, a place he used to frequent with his old flame. In the film, a juxtaposition of actual location shots and a screen shot of an msn conversation is used.

bedok.jpgThe jetty shots mostly reflect a casual observer’s vision of the place, but with a few occasional ones more dramatically loaded. Together, they create a diary-like record of the place that is on one hand tinged with regret but also quite distanced.

The Digital Homelands project is a little like a large-scale nationwide navel gazing project, in a positive way. Every once in a while, we need to rediscover ourselves even though we’ve only got so much land. Bedok jetty is new to me although it looks like it’s gained a regular following from some avid fishing enthusiasts and of course… love birds.

Shown in documentary fashion, anglers mingle with joggers along a long stretch of pathway. Despite the crowd, there appears a certain orderliness about the people, all sidelined, quietly and discretely tending to their interests. Which makes it quite contradictory to the mixed bag of emotions underlying the msn exchange of two ex-lovers occupying the lower third of the screen.

The tone of the conversation is both sentimental yet furtive. And the nuances in the punctuation, expression and tempo of the lines mirror the state of their feelings. For instance, the pauses, the spelling errors, the aborted attempts to write something, the emoticons and even the cyber disconnection. While the msn exchange elicits a sense of emotional struggle, the video images above it are unfortunately quite barren. Like an attempt to visually inform about Bedok Jetty, the location, it captured too much too superficially. Perhaps, a few surprises in sound design might have given the video more dimension. Then again, it might have been an attempt to be faithful to the natural qualities of the place.

How do you define natural? It could be hard though. Like the Pasir Panjang Wharf market, though a boring and industrial place, is a very happy place in my heart.

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