Yangtze Scribbler (2012)

Debbie Ding has been documenting survey markings and graffiti in Singapore. One particular set of graffiti catches her attention. Found in the back stairwell in Pearl Centre, Chinatown, the anonymous drawer roughly sketches a man and a woman beside a series of three numbers. Several of these same scribbles are found in different parts of the stairwell.

What does it mean? What is the writer trying to communicate? Debbie, like a detective tries to decipher the meaning of these scribbles and she talks also of graffiti in general. Are these acts of vandals or are they notes from people seeking to communicate with others? Or are they acts of memorialisation by the writers themselves? Perhaps it is all three. Recently, Debbie excitedly reports, in the Bugis area near NLB, the same scribble. Has the Yangtze Scribbler moved?

This video is commissioned by the Singapore Memory Project 2012.

2015 update: Pearl Centre and Yangtze Cinema, the location of this film, is slated to be demolished for the Thomson MRT Line.

6 min, 16:9, in English


Directed Tan Pin Pin
Production Manager Josephine Seetoh
Editor Gek Li San
Cinematographer David Shiyang Liu
Music Bani Haykal
Special thanks Gene Tan, Ivan Chew, Isaac Teo, Yee Yeong Chong