Monday, January 04, 2010

Things that go bump in your sight: Singapore edition

AT HMV, the giant music and entertainment store, Regine Velasquez's Low Key album is no. 3 on the jazz bestsellers chart. Norah Jones is on top, followed by Michael Buble. Harry Connick Jr. is at no. 4. Filipino artists have become quite visible in Singapore. Sarah Geronimo, Rachelle Ann Go, Jed Madela, Eric Santos, Christian Bautista, Charice Pempengco--their albums are all here. The big name, though, says my friend Joey, is Aiza Seguerra. Not only are her various CDs available everywhere, she's also often included in various pop-jazz compilations along with other Asian chanteuses like Emi Fujita, Susan Wong, etc.

Meanwhile, at the music wing of the humongous bookstore Borders, look who's prominently displayed under the Mind, Body & Spirit and Easy Listening sections...

It's Imelda Papin--side by side with Engelbert Humperdinck, Josh Groban, Linda Eder. Britney Spears is here, too; has the girl gone mellow?

At the third big music outlet, Gramophone, again under Jazz and Easy Listening, is... Kris Aquino. Cheek by jowl with one of my favorite young jazz artists, Jamie Cullum (that new album of his, The Pursuit, has totally disorienting, which is to say must-listen, versions of If I Ruled the World and Sondheim's Not While I'm Around). Lola mo, lumelevel!

Over at Lucky Plaza, amid the profusion of Filipino shops, merchandise and faces--an eatery that proudly proclaims its hoi polloi roots.

And then there's this shop, the owner of whom clearly wants to cover all the bases, just in case you don't get it. The gaudiness is quintessentially, reassuringly Pinoy.

A great sight at the mall--not the boy, silly--a kiosk that offers free information and literature about upcoming shows, performances, cultural events. It's run by Sistic, Singapore's equivalent of TicketWorld. You can buy tickets here and get flyers/brochures of productions showing or about to show in the city. (The Broadway musical Chicago is coming to Singapore this year!) Why can't we have something similar here--a one-stop station in malls where everyone from PETA to Rep to Gantimpala to Tanghalang Pilipino to Ballets Manila and Philippines and all other performing arts companies can display free information about their shows, instead of the audience getting hold of one, if any, only at the venue itself?

One more thing I wish to see in 'Pinas: the 100 Plus energy drink offered at fast-food places, like this one at McDonald's.

An arresting sight--towering condominiums festooned with laundry on a sunny day. Singapore's mass housing arm, the Housing Development Board, is responsible for clusters of buildings like these, which offer low-cost housing amid pleasant, well-maintained surroundings. As usual, the Singaporeans went about designing the housing projects with efficiency and foresight: the areas have adequate playgrounds, trees, covered walkways, access to public transport, etc., and are impressively clean at any time of day. In short, nothing haphazard or substandard. Joey says hanging laundry outside of windows is allowed only in HDB sites; the high-end condos nearer the city cannot, um, air their dirty linen in public, literally.

Whoa, Singapore now has a sex shop--this one along Orchard Road.

A Salvation Army depot near Joey's place, where people can leave belongings they no longer have use for but are often still perfectly usable. Note the sign warning against stealing the goods--apparently quite enough admonition in Singapore, since there's no visible police presence in the area (cameras, perhaps?). In any case, at the condo where Joey lives, quite a number of Pinoys have managed to furnish their apartments with old but very serviceable furniture and home items they'd retrieved from the common area downstairs, where local homeowners too busy to go to the Salvation Army depot would dump them. Ah, the ways of affluent society. I am so envious.


beektur said...

Did you get to see the philippine art show at the Singapore Art Museum? Everything from Riza to Tence Ruiz, Amorsolo to Ventura. In fact, two shows concurrently! The museum itself is a treasure and the tapas bar inside is pwede na. :)

Regine on Jazz? Imelda Papin and Kris Aquino on Easy Listening? There must be something in the water Singaporeans drink.

citybuoy said...

huwow! it's nice to see opm cds in other countries. parang napuno ako ng pride.. kahit na di ko pa napapakinggan yung mga yan. haha

Beaute_Reine said...

The LOW KEY album of Regine Velasquez shown here is seriously worth every penny. As the album title suggests, everything's toned down, there's none of the typical "birit" songs some people are not fond of. It should be on the EASY LISTENING rack though. Congrats Regine and to all the OPM artists who are making waves around the world!

Quentin X said...

The Philippine entertainment industry needs to wake up an capitalise on the fact that there are plenty of talents in their midst. Theys hould make these talents a tourist destination in itself make the country the entertainment capital of Asia. The last time I went home, I was hoping to catch a show or two but there was nothing on during the week I was in Manila. In comparison, Brisbane, a tenth of the population of Metro Manila has always something on. It would be worthwhile for the government to help the industry and provide employment to a largely English-speaking country and reap the potential in the international market. Surely, the Philippines could easily match India's bollywood.

Oliver Oliveros said...

Interesting finds. =) Aiza's music gets the push because her album's producer/distributor is from Singapore. Is CHICAGO the same production that toured Bangkok last year? If yes, I've heard bad reviews.

The Bakla Review said...

forget the 100 energy drink, i want the barley! i wish i could get one in every fastfood joint here.

Anonymous said...

at mas mahal ang CD ni regine kesa kay michael and the other singers sa top 5!haha!

Lana said...

Oh yeah! Regine's CD is the most expensive among the 5 Jazz top sellers.
Norah Jones - $19.95
Michael Buble - $18.95
Harry Connick Jr. - 19.95
Jamie Cullum - $18.95

But the packaging of the Low Key CD in Manila is so much better with free minus one pa.

Anonymous said...

May CD rin si Lani Misalucha sa Singapore. Produced/distributed by the same company that released Aiza Seguerra's album. Pero mas click sa singporeans and pinoys si Aiza.


Ryan said...

Interesting facts to know. Thanks for sharing Gibbs ;)

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