Two Sides of the Same Lens: Flooding In The Time Of Drought

Organised by: NUS Museum
Performed by: Sherman Ong (Director), Dr. Carl Grundy-Warr (moderator)
  • Date:
    11, 12 Apr 2019
  • Time:
  • Venue:
    Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium, Education Resource Centre, Level 2, UTown
    Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium, Education Resource Centre, Level 2, UTownNgee Ann Kongsi Auditorium, Education Resource Centre, Level 2, UTown
  • Admission:
    Free with registration
  • Advisory:


"Decades from now, these movies are going to serve as some of the most authentic cinematic documents of how we actually lived in Singapore in the early 21st century. I'm impressed"
Ng Yi-Sheng (Poet, Playwright, Singapore Literature Prize 2008)

Flooding in the Time of Drought (Banjir Kemarau) is a two-part docudrama set against a fictional impending water crisis that seeps into the lives of eight sets of immigrants in Singapore. Playing real scenes from their own lives, flooding and drought are two inhospitable extremities interwoven into the stories, leaving them in a discomfiting state of liminality. In this space that is caught between and betwixt life and death, Sherman Ong pieces together a reflection of the region's mortality and histories of diaspora, ethnicity and movement by grazing across impressions of racial tensions, ritual beliefs, and ethnic discrimination in Southeast Asia lingering to this very day.

The second part of the film, screened on 12 April, will be proceeded by a Q&A session with the director Sherman Ong, moderated by Dr. Carl Grundy-Warr.

About the film series
Consisting of several films opened by Dr Carl Grundy-Warr from the NUS Department of Geography, Two Sides of the Same Lens is a film series that posits a reading of three NUS Museum exhibitions, Homeless, Crossings, and Of Place and a Paradox. Here, the macrocosmic fabric of geopolitics is interwoven with the threads of personal narratives to make up our contemporary "tipping point" issues. Departing from archetypal media representations, the films also serve as possible frames from which individual agency, historical reclamation, and communal determination in a time of forced displacement and mass exodus can be constructed.

About the speaker
Dr. Carl Grundy-Warr has undertaken research on issues of forced migration along border areas in Southeast Asia, particularly Myanmar-Thailand in the 1990s and early 2000s, working specifically on the geopolitics of displacement. He teaches geopolitics, field studies in Southeast Asia, and natural resource politics and practice. He is particularly interested in the intersections between film, documentary and visual materials and geopolitical contexts. Carl is currently working on a project exploring "floating lives", focusing on water-based and riparian communities of the Lower Mekong region and Tonle Sap in Cambodia.