Since I was very young, I was taught and constantly told at home and in school that pursuing a career in the Arts does not pay, if it does, not as well as that of a career in the Sciences. A career in the Arts is seen as a career for the less intellectual, a career for the bottom crop of people. I was constantly told by my parents and society that to be successful, one has to pursue a the Sciences. Be a scientist they said. Be a doctor they said. Be an engineer they said.
Don’t get me wrong, my parents are acting in good faith. They want me to have a good life and a sustainable one, a life that will feed me and my future family till I die. To them, a career in the Sciences is the safest route in an increasingly globalised society.
I pursued the Sciences since my early stages in education. Soon, I took a liking for Biology and Chemistry. I continued the subjects in Junior College and this August, I will be pursuing Lifesciences in University. I have come to love the Sciences and the intellectual challenges that it has provided me with. I learned to appreciate the importance and the role the Sciences plays in a rapidly modernising and globalised world. However, during my break between Junior College and University where I did not touch much of the Sciences, I realised that there is a hole in my soul, a gap in my experiences of the world, a gap that has been neglected and soon forgotten as I continued my pursuit of the Sciences. Soon, I realised it was because of the neglection of the Arts.
To describe the Sciences is very simple. It is the cold, concrete and grey part of knowledge. It can be seen as the hardware on which society is built upon. The Sciences is filled with facts and boundaries. Rules and regulations are enacted to ensure ethics and results from research are constantly critiqued by fellow scientists. Breaking the boundaries are frowned upon and are interrogated constantly. The Sciences feels almost like an industrial factory churning out discoveries.
However, on the other hand, the Arts is the bright and colourful side of knowledge. The Arts is like the beautiful gardens of Heaven, filled with beautiful creatures and flowers of various shades of colours. It is the soul of civilisation, the software to every hardware. The Arts allows creativity, freedom of discovery and beneficial chaos. The Arts admires the testing of boundaries, expanding its range and definition. The Arts forms beauty from chaos like how an artist creates masterpieces from scraps of ideas floating about in her head. However, the Arts is frowned upon and countlessly underestimated.
The Arts lost its value in a society that prioritises progress and results. The Arts lost its reason to exist in a land where its people admires and respects engineers and scientists. The Arts lost its purpose in society when the people of the land appreciates money and property.
We know that a society has lost all of its colours when they tell artists to donate their work to museums and businesses for the purpose of ‘exposure’. The Arts is now stepped on and insulted because of a society that does not understand how crucial of a role it plays in their lives.
The Arts is not limited to paintings and sculptures as claimed by narrow-minded individuals nor is it limited to dance and music. The Arts is also not just for the use for the preservation of cultures or for performances during Chingay. The Arts is way more than that.
The Arts is the adrenaline rush you get when you jump off a cliff into the deep blue sea, it is the syncing of hearts when two lovers meet, it is the gush of fresh air when the windows are opened in the early morning and the Arts is the blues, yellows and orange of a sunset in a clear evening sky.
Philosophy is Art, the Culinary is Art, Creativity is Art and Living Life is Art.
Without the Arts, one cannot create. Without the Arts, one cannot question. Without the Arts, one cannot Live. Without the Arts, we are colourless and metallic machines.
The Arts is everywhere, from the music in your phones to the shows you watch on television. It is the food that you have for dinner and the soul within your body. The Arts is the soul of technology, it is the software that runs the hardware, without it, nothing can function.
What is the point of life when there is nothing from the Arts? When the buds of flowers do not bloom or when the skies do not cloud and rain? When the dead are not mourned or when there is no love between a husband and his wife?
Now, tell me why the Arts does not pay because from what I can see now, the Arts pays a tonne more than the Sciences.
I am ashamed to know that I had looked down on the Arts like the rest of society. I am ashamed to have that prejudice against artists. However, I am glad that I can finally see the Arts for what it truly is, it is like looking through crystal clear glasses.
Look around you, see the Arts for what it truly is. Question the prejudice of society. It is the time that we smile and support the Arts to create a more colourful society with the beauty that it truly deserves.