RUANG - About the name

After Box Hill Community Arts Centre (BHCAC) has no issue changing a solo exhibition to a duo one, we started to brainstorm for a name for the exhibition. We decided not to use our project names (Solitude for Kevin’s and Documenting Space for mine) for this exhibition and instead source for a new one for this collaboration. We only have a week to decide on the name as BHCAC needs to get ready its publication for next year’s events on their website. As usual, Thesaurus is your best friend when coming to name searching for an event, something I learnt in school. Together with Google, I came up with a few name related to space, some which I had never heard before. Always good to learn new words. So before meeting Kevin, I did some homework.

Space - This could be the last resort if we couldn’t agree on any of the following. The name is common, too common I would say.

Distance - Another common option but it also illustrate the distance between people. So wouldn’t work well with all our exhibiting images.

Amplitude - Greatness of size, not a bad one but we didn’t want people to come to the exhibition expecting BIG prints.

Lacuna - A new word to me at least, means an empty space or a missing part, usable and definitely on the top of my list, not sure about Kevin. 

Beside the above-mentioned, I try to come up with a few more. A foreign language maybe. French, Italian, Spanish for example, but somehow it doesn’t relate to us. Mandarin Chinese could work, 空间 (kong jian) which also mean space is another choice but using that name at the venue in Box Hill, we could probably be mistaken as Chinese photographers instead. Beside, BHCAC could have problem typing out that name on their website.

Then came the idea of using Malay words, the national language of Singapore. Many might not know, English is one of the four official language in Singapore, which is also the main working language. The other three official languages are Chinese (Mandarin), Malay and Tamil. To illustrate the official language status. If someone goes to a government agency and insists on speaking in Tamil, he has to be entertained. The staff will have to oblige him by looking for a Tamil speaking colleague to serve him. Same with the other official languages. But if it’s not one of our four languages, the staff need not entertain him.

Beside being the official language of Singapore, Malay is also the national ceremonial language. Not only our National Anthem is sung in Malay, it is also use in citations for Singapore orders and decorations and military foot drill commands. Although both Kevin and I couldn’t speak Malay beside a few words here and there, we felt close to the language. It’s part of a community and a person’s heritage. That’s how “RUANG” entered into the list of names for selection. 

Before meeting Kevin, I somehow had a feeling he will like the idea of using a Malay language as our exhibition name. The rest was history, I didn’t do much convincing. That’s how the name came about. So don’t forget to mark it down on your calendar, 4th February 6pm - 8pm for our exhibition opening night!

Although Christmas is over, I would still like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and as I won’t be writing anything until 2016, Happy New Year to all and have a great year ahead! 

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