Week 6

11 Oct 2015

A few weeks ago, I chanced upon a team of researchers at Ubin armed with camcorder, tripod and transport service, presumably that they are covering the island extensively. I thought it's time for me to do something similar too. Rirkrit Tiravanijia once said, "My work is like the light in the fridge, it only works when there are people there to open the fridge door. Without people, it's not art - it's something else - stuff in a room". Is this the only way to think of participatory art? I need to cast my doubts and uncertainties aside and go with the flow first. It couldn't have been more apt to attend a workshop on participatory arts and then applying the approaches the following day.

I don't think I should be sharing the result of my findings now since the number of people whom I have spoken to is not substantial. However, I do have an inkling that most of the visitors prefer Ubin to remain a sanctuary like it is now, an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

House #1 at Chek Jawa is selected as the location of my interview as it serves mainly as a destination rather than a transitional space. People are likely to be spending more time relaxing there as they are not in a rush. With the shelter, I do not have to worry about getting caught in the rain. I try to talk to a good mix of people, for example, couples, families, young people, foreigners/ locals, visitors engaging in different activities etc. My weekends visits may not be an appropriate time to talk to the residents/shop owners so I started with the visitors first. It's not difficult to approach strangers as long as you are clear about your purpose and seek permission. I never feel comfortable using the word "interview" as it appears too formal and intimidating. I like to ask questions so it's "can I ask you some questions?" The questions asked come naturally as long as you are an active listener. Pay attention to what is being said rather than think of what to ask next. It should sound like a conversation to a third party rather than an interrogation. If you asked me, this was quite an exhausting feat both mentally and physically because I needed to engage in a conversation, process what is being said, jot down notes, photography, sometimes give directions and of course cycle around the island :D

Permission is granted to post photos from these good people for this blog.
Conversations couldn't have start without these good people: Tony, Kelly, Oikwan, Munzim, Chris Tan, Terrence Ng, Kuswati, Yatik, Edwin, Rae, Bryn, Brandon, James, Mr Seah, Ali, Johan, Hariz and Mrs Song & Family.



  1. Hey, thanks Hazel!!! Hope to see you again soon......good luck with your project, I hope in my next visit I would dare to knock on those resident's door to have a chat with them. See ya!!!!!! (Yatik)