noun, verb, cul·tured, cul·tur·ing.
1. the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded
as excellent inarts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc.
2. that which is excellent in the arts, manners, etc.
3. a particular form or stage of civilization, as that of a certain nation or period: Greek culture.
4. development or improvement of the mind by education or training.
5. the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group:
the youth culture; the drug culture
[taken from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/culture]
In my final installment of this Ramadan Bazaar series of photography works, I headed to Geylang Serai, that traditional bastion of everything Malay, from food to clothing, and all the other related peripherals.
But what I saw is a sad state of affairs when it comes to the celebration of Ramadan/Eid. No longer is there a resemblance of any form of celebration. Well maybe a little hint here and there.
What I see is a manifestation of greedy commercialization masking as an endeavour to prop up a cultural practice that is seemingly much better seen celebrated and felt in other nooks of this tiny little island.
It is perhaps not a surprise then that when asked about the consumers' responses to the bazaar, most if not all of the traders complained about a significant drop of business this year, compared to previous years. Some reported as high as 70%. But whether this is a fact, or just the poor laments of someone who has stretched his estimated financial gains too thinly, remains to be seen, but it is sad when the celebratory nature of the 'festivals' is just measured purely by the commercial gains of the few.
And what is even more pathetic is the preponderence of stalls, traders, and decoration that bears not even an iota of relation to the celebration of Ramadan/Eid. Perhaps there are loopholes in the system of obtaining the rights to organise this bazaar that allows such things to happen, or perhaps....
Speculations and assumptions are indeed dangerous grounds to tread when everything is not well! All I can hope and wish for is that more can be done to ensure that all is not lost, in this one final reserve for everything Malay.