Written by Jenkin Au
Edited by Alan Ng
Photography by Alan Ng
In the olden days, a dual citizenship would be frowned upon because of the sides of which the citizen pledges his or her allegiance to was a very important value of society. If you were to belong to one community, then you are and will always be part of that community and will be seen to have a duty to protect the best interests of that community. Anything other than that would be considered an act of betrayal. Luckily, we no longer live in that kind of situation. While loyalties are still important, it is no longer a necessity of society. We are free to explore and acquire citizenships of other communities.
As entrepreneurs and creative minds, a dual citizenship is not necessarily something that is wanted, but instead, it is a necessity. A dual citizenship, not in their country of residence, but in their pursuit of their passions is becoming more and more prevalent. This past and the next decade will be peppered with individuals moonlighting in their passions while they work to support their passions under the daylight. While this can be seen as a great step forward to further individuality and to foster a nonconformist attitude for the generations below, it also causes us to think: why can’t we have our passions as our day job? Why are there so many people who have made it and have their passions as their support? While I may not know the answer to these questions, I do not wish for any scene to change artificially.
A scene can change artificially by either a permanent mass inbound exodus of the same type of people or by an influx of funding. The current balance of the general population versus the creative people is in a delicate situation. With the arts being embedded in society since the beginning of the development of any modern population, there has been enough time for the supply and demand of creative work to be in equilibrium. As the creative culture and its proponents are calling for more funding for creative people and creative work, they need to realize that this is an artificial supplementation of the scene and it is not sustainable. The value of creative work will be devalued and the creative craft could start to become commoditized because of the excess supply of it. Take, for example, how photographers are viewed in Vancouver. We have so many photographers that the necessity of a dual citizenship is even more pressing – many photographers need to supplement their own income with something else in order to get by. With an influx of support and funding comes an influx of creative content. For photography, the influx came from the low prices of quality equipment as well as higher competition for retailers supplying the equipment. Rather than pursuing the creative content a photographer might wish to pursue, he or she must live in a dual citizenship, or in more colloquial terms, “sell out”. This situation is a reality for many members of this society.
Does the creative scene need more funding? Yes. But should it? The problem of living two or more separate lives in order to support their own passions is increasingly common, yet the solution is a double edged sword that needs to be carefully evaluated before any attempts to solve it, are made.