Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Fire at Cloud Gate Dance Theatre

The year has barely started when Seoul's Namdaemun gate of immense historic value was burnt down. Another fire destroyed Cloud Gate Dance Theatre's practice grounds and office area, burning up 30 years of Mr Lin Hwai-min's achievements.

In Taiwan, many people are generous towards donating to political and religious causes, but when it comes to the arts, the scenario is the same as Singapore's, where the government's handouts keep one afloat but struggling.

Perhaps, this world-renowned dance troupe should relocate to USA or Europe, where they can maintain a living just by ticket sales alone. With hefty sponsorship, they can focus on performing without worries.

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre is the Taiwan arts entity that I support most. Almost every time they perform in Singapore, I will be there. Looking at Mr Lin Hwai-min, one would think that he has exhausted all his creative means, but every time he manages to prove contrary. It is my hope that he can bring us new inspiration, thinking and benefit with his every visit.

It is totally different from modern drama directed by Singapore's Toy Factory Productions' Mr Goh Boon Teck, which are so real they make you suffer inside, forget the storylines, the dances and basically everything after you reach home. But whenever you are silent with your thoughts, scenes of the beatific contemplations arise in your mind.

Mr Lin Hwai-min is born in the year of the Pig (1947), and is currently a ripe 60 years of age. He is full of determination, quick-witted and creative, like artist Chang Dai-chien, novelist Hemmingway and philosopher Thome H. Fang. On the other hand, he also has the unsual charisma and charm found in the likes of Taiwan's ex-president Chiang Kai Shek, USA's ex-president Jefferson and Singapore's Senior Minister Mr Lee Kwan Yew.

Completing Wood (Bamboo), Water (Water Moon) and Earth (Wanderer), we are still short of Gold and Fire performances. May Mr Lin Hwai-min and Cloud Gate Dance Theatre members can withstand the test of "fire" and create a fire-related dance in the future. Change adversity into strength, and dance the way to another Spring!

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