By Keely Sexton
When it comes to the reality of the cyberpunk future as imagined grittily by the writer and essayist William Gibson and others, Singapore is the aesthetic writ large, according to visiting lecturer in English, Jerrine Tan in a recent op-ed in “Wired.”
Singapore’s ultra-modernist aesthetic and the restrictive and omnipresent government of the city-state contrast sharply with the rituals and traditions of its inhabitants—a fundamental “low-life, high-tech” feature of the genre, as defined by Gibson in the 1980s.
“Singapore has always existed as a palimpsest: a collection of gauzy histories layered so heavily that an origin seems beyond reach,” Tan writes. “The nation state’s symbol is a merlion, a mythical creature of mixed origin: part lion, part fish—of this world at the same time that its existence exceeds worldly possibilities.”