Mental illness is a significant public health issue in Singapore. The 2010 Singapore Mental Health Study found that 1 in 17 suffered from major depressive disorder, and 1 in 33 from obsessive-compulsive disorder, with the latter surpassing the US and Europe. Existing apps in Singapore seek to promote self-help through private thought diaries, mood trackers, and goal-setting. But for self-help to be more effective, the pervasive cultural stigma attached to mental health patients must be tackled.
Holly exhibits competing desires across the novella; her continued free-spiritedness points to a quest for self-liberation, just as her nostalgic moments imply an acute longing for security. Her limiting notions of the former unconsciously shape these into seemingly mutually exclusive pursuits. While clearly flawed, her developing circumstances and the narrator’s perspective suggest marked sympathy, if not affirmation, towards the pursuit of self-liberation.
Yoga has recounted in many interviews an episode in-camp, when the rare exposure to TV saw all the “brothers” rocking along to music. It was an image reminding him to stay true to his initial motivation: to touch the masses. An inevitable question arises: Can Yoga still sing his melancholic songs with as much conviction and resonance?