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Editorial – Issue 12

The month of August is one of remembrance and ceremony: some of us pay respect to ancestors and wandering spirits during the Hungry Ghost Festival, while the nation celebrates its 57th year of survival. National Day Celebration is a ceremony to reflect how we have overcome various hardships both personal and national, and pay symbolic tributes to those who have worked hard behind the scenes. The last two NDP recognised the struggles and contributions of arts workers: During the height of the pandemic, public sentiments towards the arts as one of the top 5 “non-essentials” were brought to light by a Sunday Times survey. Yet despite the controversy and debates, creative contents were consumed with increased fervour when many were unable to pursue their regular modes of recreation such as travelling and social gathering. 

While many appreciated the recognition of arts workers in our official national narratives, it takes more than a couple of animated music videos and dramatised shorts to resurrect the arts sector from the still-recovering economy. As an art educator and comics ambassador, it seems counterintuitive to show any scepticism towards appreciation and supportive efforts, especially where even a little is better than none. But we must not solely rely on seasonal charity and occasional applause to sustain local arts practitioners, we need to relinquish artists from the indignity of begging like hungry ghosts in the name of “supporting local”. 

A healthy ecosystem consists of more than just artists and audiences, but also many people working behind the scenes. One of the biggest challenges we have encountered running this website and managing the embassy is heavy administration: writing articles, scheduling events, contacting artists, generating publicity materials, managing logistics, and maintaining social media presence. With a very small team, all these are additional workloads performed pro-bono, on top of our full time day jobs, and on top of our own creative practices. To this point I am very thankful of my team, especially See Kum, for shouldering a very large part of this responsibility: all I need to worry about is meeting deadlines, but See Kum has to contact all the comic ambassadors and run events, and make a ton of last minute changes. We also found ourselves to be shorthanded when it comes to managing the space, because people’s time and presence costs money. This experience has truly taught us the value of what can be considered “essential” – inglorious works that remain hidden, only to be recognized upon its absence. 

The month of August continues to see a variety of activities at the comics embassy, culminating to a comics day on the 27 August where creators will be present for autograph and book sales. Coinciding with the last day of the seventh month, you can pay your final respects to the hungry artists by massively spending on some autographed original comics.

comics day
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Clio Ding
Writer & Editor

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