Do you remember these lyrics? "Courtesy is for free, courtesy is for you and me. It make for gracious living in harmony..." If you were born in the 70s or early 80s, you will most probably remember the Courtesy Campaign.
Singapore in the 80s was filled with government driven campaigns like, “Courtesy”, “Speak Mandarin” and even right down to family planning campaigns like “2 Is Enough”.
I remembered seeing posters of these campaigns all over the city. My mom even told me that they had to pay a fine to our government for having my brother who was the 3rd child, during the “2 Is Enough” campaign period. I also remembered how I hate squatting by the drain after recess as we have to brush our teeth as part of the oral hygiene campaign. But I do love the red tablets which we had to bite and chew, spit it out and not swallow so we can see if there’s any stains on our teeth, indicating how much tartar we had.
The Evil Empire is currently having an exhibition titled “Campaign City: Life in Posters“. Spearheaded by owner Alan Oei, he was inspired to set up this exhibition after a conversation with his friends about how campaigns have affected their lives. Hence he invited 10 artists to be part of this exhibition and create their own interpretation of the posters.
The artists involved are :phunk, ampulets, Clare Ryan, Eeshaun, Ian Woo, Justin Lee, Messy Msxi, Michelle Fun, Randy Chan and Zhao Renhui.
Each of the artists came up with their own interpretation of the older campaigns. Creating bright and colorful graphic posters. Some of the posters are easy to identify but I have to ask Alan which older campaigns does some of the posters associate with. I especially like Eeshaun’s interpretation of the Courtesy Campaign. A wide eyed and lost looking Courtesy Lion with a bubble “Courtesy. It begins with me” above his head, seems to be asking himself if courtesy does begins with him.
At the exhibition, you can also take photos of yourself with 2 campaigns as backdrops. I had my photo taken with the Speak Mandarin and 2 Is Enough campaigns. However it was pretty sad to see me alone in the later poster. The exhibition had brought back many memories of my childhood.
Check out “Campaign City: Life in Posters” at The Evil Empire at 48 Niven Road. Operating Hours: Wednesdays – Sundays, 3pm – 9pm. Exhibition ends on the 15 October 2010. Click here for more info about the exhibition.