Click here and prepare to faint. ACM is hosting fright night on 27 Oct 20. There’ll be dances, bomohs and more. Before you think that I too prudish going on about this being ‘wrong’, let me tell you why is it IS wrong:
1. Halloween is American. It may be fun for S’poreans to get dressed up and get drunk in a pseudo-American pub somewhere in Boat Quay, but celebrating Halloween has almost no basis in the S’pore context (unless you are an American family living near the American school??), and definitely not in a local museum of Asian art and culture.
2. Even though the museum is a place where previously sacred objects are displayed in a non-sacred manner, fake bomohs and Chinese vampires with ketchup dribbling down their chins are NOT the way to honour and remember the dignity of these once sacred objects. Remember how much flak the party planners got for trying to plan a naughty-nuns party at CHIJLMES (click here), even though the church desanctified for many years? Why then should kitschy pontianak performances within a museum of asian art be tolerated?
3. Yes, ACM may be applauded for trying something innovative to attract new audiences who would otherwise not visit a museum at all. But if using gimmicks to attract more visitors is the name-of-the-game, why can’t the ACM hire 18-year old nubile girls to sell tickets, provide security etc ALL while dressed in wet bikinis one size too small?? I am sure piles of old men would be banging the doors of ACM down even before it opens in the morning. Disgusted with my suggestion? That’s how I feel about fright night at ACM. Let’s not forget that even the lofty Night Safari had to rethink their planned Halloween party in 2011 (click here) as they had wanted to focus on more suitable activities.
But what can we expect? The newish director of ACM, Alan Chong, is American afterall. For ACM’s sake, let’s hope that every new visitor that it gains through such inappropriate activities that cheapen their normally high curatorial standards will not be in exchange for a die-hard supporter like me.