A Tour in Alt-opia – a Revolutionary Product of The Proletariat Poetry Factory

By: Kai Teo

Productivity is key. Art is a commodity.

Productivity is key. Art is a commodity.

Welcome to the Proletariat Poetry Factory, or as we love acronyms for everything in Singapore, the PPF.

Before we enter this high-volume poetry production facility, let me remind you that art is a mere commodity, and that with a lot of money, you can fill your life with the endless creativity and beauty. Oh, and of course, the more you pay, the better the art.

Please stand in this queue, yes, in an orderly fashion. The approximate waiting time for you to get to the front of this queue is 45 minutes. It’s shorter than the McDonald’s Hello Kitty queue, or the line for the SG50 super limited edition dollar notes. And hey, you’re queuing for art. It’s definitely worth every cent.

So here’s what you do: Think of a word that you want your poem to be based on, and whom you would like to address it to. When you get to the counter in front, our hardworking staff would then hand this over to our team of servile poets for processing. And in a matter of minutes, your poem would be ready for purchase. Pay any amount you would like to, but like we said, the more the better!

Don’t let the poet oracles disturb you. They’re supposed to act as if they have divine visions of poetic movements. Well, no. Art isn’t divine, our guests. Money is. The society is run by money, not art. We’ve only heard of struggling artists, not starving millionaires. And we’re glad to have come here today to PPF to witness our poetry production, and of course, to buy some art.

Warm evening, isn’t it? We’re sorry that we’re unable to let you wait in the air-conditioned Exclusive Poetry Connoisseur Lounge. These are reserved for the VIPs, such as ministers, celebrities and the press.

But don’t worry, your turn is coming soon. Meanwhile, let me tell you a little more about PPF. Founded in 2006 by the Restricted Media Authority (RMA), it has grown from a tiny production unit of 4 poets in a ship container to what it is today – an internationally renowned poetry production facility boasting of 30 poets, air conditioned workspace, a seamless chain of command and an exceptionally smooth operational process. We are also looking into using the SAP System to streamline our production line to further increase our productivity!

Oh yes! So here you are, tell this worker your artsy word and who you want to give the poem to.

“Love” to “Angela”. Right! Excellent choice! Expressing your undying love to Angela through one of our poems, bought with your money, is definitely the best way to move her to tears. And I have to say, you must be a romantic person. Not many people choose “love” as a subject. They’re not as creative as you are.

Follow me upstairs to watch our poets hard at work. And if you’re lucky, you might even get to see them smile. It’s not that they’re not happy working here, they’re just… what they would like to call “in the zone”.

In the zone.

In the zone.

See? Look at how fast they’re typing! We have them on shifts 24 hours a day. Our principle is “We work very hard, because you’re very art.”

What they’re listening to are motivational speeches and music, which have been shown in extensive scientific research to increase inspiration and productivity. Oh, and you’re not allowed to touch them or talk to them, it lowers their production rate, which we calculate in lines per minute. And if a poet falls below our stringent criteria, they get fired.

Haha, last week, we said goodbye to 3 of their colleagues because they were yawning at their desks. Ridiculous. You’d be shocked to see how many workers today actually think that they’re William Blakes. Gone are the days when poets are seen as demi-gods. It’s evolution, our dearest guests. Our human resource has to keep up with the times! People consume art, and appreciation is expressed in monetary terms. So artists gotta wake up.

Have you met Francois, our potential investor? He’s an avid supporter of the arts in developing art economies such as ours. Last year, he just purchased an entire batik factory and ramped up their production by more than 500%! Oh, not to mention the turnover, and the number of people that now can have an intricately painted piece of Indonesian traditional art at home. How empowering!

Yes! Champagne please! Mmm, and of course, art buys us little luxuries like that. No art, no champagne. Oh, the horror!

Oh, your poem is ready. Come downstairs with me to the payment and collection counter. How efficient! We’re proud to say that ever since we installed these energy efficient spotlights, our poets have increased their focus and increased their poetry-writing rate by up to 43%*!

* According to a 2015 study sponsored by RMA and independently audited by Proletariat Poetry Auditing Ltd.

Right, you’ve paid? Remember, the more money, the better the art. Let’s see your poem!

To: Angela

Fuck you and your love.

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