Esplanade Presents “Understanding Singapore Cinema”

Lido circa 1970s

Film aficionados should be in for a treat when the Esplanade Rehearsal Studio presents “Understanding Singapore Cinema”. Featuring film curator and director of the Asian Film Archive, Tan Bee Thiam, he will explore how Singapore’s film industry has developed, and what relevance it has to our young culture.

It promises to be an interesting session, because of the voracious appetite Singaporeans have when it comes to mainstream cinema, and we are trying to develop and export our own homegrown cultural products. The friction and dichotomy of the issues at hand are bound to make for interesting discussions.

Tickets go for $15, and is happening on 19 June 2010, SAT, 2PM at the Esplanade Rehearsal Studio.

Buy your tickets from the Esplanade website.


An Old Soul In A Modern World

Mathilda // Photo Credit: Amelia Rhea

Who: Mathilda D’Silva
Day: OMS Creative, Creative Director
Night: Singer . Musician

Mathilda is a friend from university, and one of those rare talents who has the voice of whiskey soaked dark chocolate in the vein of soul greats from the 70′s. Her joy for singing and performance stem from her great love for music and sharing it with those who are willing to stop and listen.

You might recognise her from the second season of Singapore Idol, but she’s so much more than what you see on television. I have had the pleasure of watching her perform live, and what enthralls you is the way she immerses her entire soul when she sings, as if it were just for you. We catch up for the following interview:

What is the relationship like between your daily professional pursuits, and your nightly artistic ones?
My day starts at 5am and I must admit I’m a stickler for punishment. This manic schedule started when I began my company OMS CREATIVE in 2008. Everyday is a mixed bag of shenannigans, I helm a radio show, I do voiceovers, I direct and produce corporate stuff and then head home, detox for 15 minutes, get my dress on and hair done and head out to sing.

There is an artistic synergy between all my activities, some of them spill from one into the other. Somedays when I’m doing an interview about semi-conductors I might see something in the parking lot that inspires me to paint. Sometimes being on stage and singing, I see people in the audience and that inspires a idea for an article. Even eating pancakes can inspire me to write a song. So everything sort of…informs each other.

I have warmed up slowly to the idea that as an artist, you must quite simply, make art everywhere you go. Its so strange that in our creative industry, we tend to bemanfucaturing tired, old ideas and we can be some of the most un-inspired people around…always moping about commercialism and its pitfalls. I mean I go to work to sing, to talk to 4 million singaporeans everyday, to play music, to inform, to create shows that just a few months ago, were scribbles on a piece of toilet paper.

How cool is that? I wear whatever I want, blast my music and spend my days as a wordsmith. How many people can say that they pursued their passions to the n-th degree? Most just sell out for a $15,000 handbag or a condo. That thought is what keeps me motivated to “keep on keeping on” even though sometimes I might not even be able to afford my handphone.

What is one love / craft you would like to pursue and be good at this year?
Any friend of Mathilda will tell you that she never wants to do “just one thing.” She sets unattainable goals and has all manner of ridiculous ideas that would tire a prize-winning Olympic skater.

You could say this year is about fulfilling the dreams of the last. I remember being that wistful creature, sitting in office till 10pm, wondering if I will ever travel, learn a new language or dance. Following my one day back-packing musical sabbatichal to Liverpool last year, I realised that somedays you just have to “get up and go.” And that’s what I did. That’s how I got to be on stage at The Cavern Club, singing at the very spot where The Beatles got their first break.

Its amazing where cockamaime ideas, luck and a splash of talent can take you.

I decided to take my artistic life into my hands and silence my inner critic.
This year is about the music actually. I want to start improving my song-writing, my musicianship on the piano and the drums. I have also decided to take up dancing and hopefully I will learn how to dance with a partner and not grind his feet into the parquet with my heels.

Note: This interview was actually supposed to appear in Happyesque alongside other creative individuals this coming Sunday, 31 Jan’10, but I decided to space some of the stories out. Be sure to check Happyesque out this Sunday!

Mathilda performs this Friday at the Esplanade Recital Studio on 29 January 2010.