The rock legend David Bowie died Sunday before last at the age of 69. He will be missed by all his fans, not least those in Singapore. In 1983 Bowie took his Serious Moonlight tour to Singapore, Hong Kong, and Bangkok. His Singapore promotor was none other than Goh Poh Seng, doctor, poet, playwright, novelist, and nightclub owner. Goh’s youngest son, Kagan Goh, wrote about their encounters with the rock icon in a Facebook post. In the post, he remembers how Dr. Goh invited Bowie and his musicians to a classical Chinese concert at his home. When Bowie declined, explaining that he did not “fraternize with concert promoters,” Dr. Goh sent a message to Bowie’s personal assistant, asking him to tell Bowie that “he is only a rock star. I, however, am a poet.” According to Kagan Goh, the musician went to the Gohs’ home and apologized handsomely.
To remember his time in Asia, Bowie asked the then up-and-coming filmmaker Gerry Troyna to direct a film of the tour. Mr Troyna, now 67, told The Straits Times that the experience had the quality of a “whirlwind.” The result was a 78-minute long documentary called Ricochet. The Singapore portion, filmed over three days, lasts about 20 minutes. The video clip below, an excerpt from the film, shows David Bowie chatting with a Singapore taxi driver about the government’s proposed ban on chewing gum (the ban went into effect in 1992) and the death penalty for drug trafficking. After the taxi chat, the film shows a montage of Singapore sights, accompanied by the national anthem “Majulah Singapura.”
Another clip shows Bowie moving endlessly on escalators. The scene was shot in Far East Plaza, a well-known shopping mall in the Orchard district. Lit like an aquarium, the scene has the quality of an Escher drawing.