10/08/2005

theatre on the bay, the esplanade or the durian

the durian as it is affectionately called, has received many uncomplimentary reports and comments in the media and cyberspace. it is highly controversial both in looks and its birth. but most of the negative comments were aimed at the high cost incurred, reportedly to the tune of $600 million mainly donated by the turf club. many thought the money could be put to better use than to furnish a white elephant. we do not have the critical mass of theatre goers or music and drama fans to support such an expensive structure. it is noted to be built to a high degree of perfection and with the latest state of the art technology and equipment in acoustics and theatre production. in its first few years of existence, despite being heavily subsidised and supported by art patrons and commercial institutions and govt subsidies, it is still running at a loss, something like $30 million in the last financial year. it is a majestic structure housing the best equipment money can buy, to support the exquisite taste of a few elite. the striking features of the theatre, with two domeline structures lined with spiky roofs, have been overshadowed by the criticisms levelled at it for its cost against the relatively little benefits it brings to the general public. i happened to spend a morning going round the theatre to try to appreciate all its $600 million worth, on the exterior only. from various angles, it is aweinspiring, though some may have an instant dislike for it. it is huge from all angles. spiky like a durian from different perspectives. but from certain angles it resembles the body of a giant dragon with white silvery scales. hidden from the trees in many places, one could imagine a huge dragon stirring and waiting to rise into the deep blue sky. at one instance, struck by the pricky spikes and the next moment feeling the grace of a stretch of smooth and large silvery scales of a mythical reptile. it stood there silently, waiting for the appreciative visitors to cast their loving glances at its splendour. a uniquely singapore structure, all $600 million worth of it.

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