"She talked about the ways in which everything is connected to everything; that the lungs are an extension of the air in which you live and move around. She said no person is an island. So I asked, “What are we then? Continents? Planets? Solar systems?” Later, she told me we were car parks, where the self is just a little bit of grey concrete marked out by painted white lines and we define ourselves by who we let drive in and how long they stay."
Excerpt from A Long Bicycle Ride Into the Sea, a story in We Rose Up Slowly
This artwork was created by Jonathan Leong for the Synaesthesia exhibition organised by Ceriph and The Substation in April 2011. Synaesthesia was a group show featuring 16 pairs of writers and visual artists, with the visual artist interpreting and creating a typographic piece out of a Singaporean writer’s poetry or microfiction, encouraging dialogue between the two mediums of expression.
A Long Bicycle Ride into the Sea:
- is about a young lawyer, coasting along in privilege, who is challenged to get wet to prove his love
- examines unconscious assumptions, and how a sense of entitlement and the shallowness of one's gaze obscures self awareness, intimacy and growth
- shows the effect of this on relations with others
- contains passing references to small law firms in shophouses in Tanjong Pagar, Prada suits, Raoul cuff links, Lloyds shoes, Louboutin heels, silver charm bracelets, Benny Hill flirting with Emily Dickinson, Halal eating houses, a HDB flat in Clementi, a Hokkien Sponge Bob Square Pants, Lau Pa Sat, Billy Wilder films, Wayne Rooney and Fernando Torres, Amitabh Bachchan and Maggie Q, Kong Hee and Lawrence Khong, Ai Weiwei, Miroslav Tichý, Henry Darger and Beatrix Potter, Justin Bieber and Taufik Batisah, the planet Zog, and the song 无条件为你.
- Why so many names dropped? I wanted to show the pretentious superficiality of the narrator and how this obstructs his ability to achieve deeper relations with others.