I went as a tour guide on the 4 and 5 of March so this is finally recent!! On hindsight I enjoyed it, but preparing for it was a heck load of work and a lot of jitters I swear. For one thing, I was never great at public speaking because I know my written English standard isn’t great and my spoken English is a lot worse. The other was that we had to study content to share and that was like school. I had just submitted my assignment two days before the open house and then it was studying for this already. Everything was so rushed and I just wanted to give my best for the paying guests, so I definitely felt stressed compared to the other guides who seemed pretty chill about it.
One thing that I really liked about OH! was that the artists were so nice! They were so enthusiastic in sharing about their works with visitors and some stayed really long to interact with them even though they did not have to. As such, I was better able to understand their works and also their personalities. They are so humble and thankful towards the visitors, the volunteers and the management team. I got to meet Anthony Chin and Yen Phang, who were both really friendly and warm. I was especially inspired by how Chin knew so much about Holland Village, which probably meant he did indepth research before he did his artwork. His artwork is super poetic and I really like it.
Another thing I liked about OH! was that the volunteers are all pretty friendly despite coming from all over Singapore and from across all ages. I managed to interact with an alumnus of NAFA’s Arts Management, one guy from NAC, one teacher in TP, one girl working in NGS and made friends with a girl who graduated from NP and is going to be my junior next year. This interests me a lot because I feel like I’m finally looking at the people who I can get inspired by or be inspired with. Usually art events attract volunteers from a certain age group from the usual demographics – arts students from poly, NAFA or Lasalle. In OH!, I see adults and expats, which is a group I don’t interact with often, and as such I got to hear different perspectives and ask questions to people with jobs I’m interested in.
Lastly, I have always liked the concept of how we put art in houses and really bring art to the community. The works are exactly the type that I like – installations, interactive sculptures and attention grabbing. There is so MUCH work involved though, even just as a volunteer remembering facts about Holland Village, directions, the artwork, other adhoc things. Imagine the things that the management handles, to even source for all these information, liaise with vendors, the artists, residents, sponsors what not and relay all the information to the volunteers. So I think OH! is a job well done and they deserve support from the public to just go see what they do.
Learning about Holland Village was quite fun, and through bring a tour guide I had to trust myself and believe that I can somewhat deliver a good tour while facing my fears of angmors and small talk. It is always nice to be reminded that the kindness of strangers can go a long way, when they are happy with their tour and are grateful that you made an effort in personalising your tour for them.
With that said, it would take me plenty of courage to do this again haha. We’ll see how it goes.