SAM Cowboy


The second Mango performance took place on 2nd December 2016. It was delivered by my ‘accomplice’ John Tung’ who is one of the Singapore Biennale 2016 curators, assistant curator at the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) and a cowboy in his own time too! John spoke of the Singapore Cowboy world and then went on to tell a tale that had been in his remembrance for 14 years. When he was a boy he went on a family outing to have Indian rojak at the Tekka Centre in Little India. The Tekka Centre is a microcosm of Singapore, where the different ethnic communities of the island gather and engage seamlessly. Close to the food court are the fruit and grocery stalls of the market and the young John Tung casually observed an Indian foreign worker purchasing his modest weekly supplies. When he had finished, he stopped at the a fruit stall and picked up a marvelous Indian mango – an Alphonso!!! He asked its price and was told it was SGD 4.50. He smiled to himself, put it back down and walked away. As an allegory, this account is a poignant expression of the unnoticed social history of Singapore and of the human condition at the heart of globalization! As an experience held in memory and shared in narration, it is for John, as he says in the course of his performance,  an instance of the mango transcending myth and entering onto lived experience. Thanks John.