I saw a highly conflicting scene today. An elderly gentleman with a whole body of tattoos. Yes, a whole body of tattoo. He was in long pants and long sleeves shirt, all in a vain attempt to cover up his foolhardy acts of yester-years. However, his garments could not cover the tattoos on his neck, forehead and feet. I wonder if the elderly gentleman still remembers the stories and meaning behind each of his tattoos?
Tattoos has a very negative place in the history of Singapore. They used to be a form of marking to indicate the origins and status of a triad member. Therefore seniors usually do not have good impression of people who spot tattoos, art form or not. Looking at this elderly gentleman with his aching legs, slow movements and explosive temper (yes, with all the censored beeps!), it seems like he was quite a character back then.
Well-known Taiwanese author Cai KangYong had written such a little blurb on tattoo. A Caucasian classmate of his had tattoo-ed a Chinese character on his right arm. Seeing how Mr Cai appreciated his Chinese character, that classmate rolled up his left sleeve to show off the other character.
The combination of the two character meant “accident”.
Recent years, tattoo have been making a comeback, not as a triad status marking but as a form of art. Many celebrities have also taken to sporting a tattoo. The hottest TV star in Taiwan Ruan JingTian sport a tattoo. According to reports, that tattoo was done when he was at the lowest point of his life. The meaning of it is to have one at the sensitive hips to signify that he had experienced the most painful part of his life. Whatever that might come later would not get him down. His tattoo is “Which way is up”.
I remember reading reports that Alex To had a tattoo on his left arm too. Due to the conservative environment of the entertainment scene back then, his tattoo had raised a big hooha. His chosen design meant Courage.
I knew a single mum. She had a tattoo as well. Rebellious past, pre-marital sex, getting pregnant before marriage, these are not a part of her story. Her story is a typical schoolyard fairytale love story; Getting to know her senior in university, idolization, courting days and marriage; everything is in absolute accordance to the perfect fairytale script. However, there is no living-happily-forever. She was decorated with bruises because of family violence. She choose to divorce after many failed reconciliation and marriage counseling.
Many people wonder why did she choose to tattoo herself, setting herself up to be a bad example for her young child? Her tattoo had a very special meaning. The picture she chose is her child’s favourite Mickey Mouse. This tattoo was done on the day she is very determined to leave her violent husband. This tattoo represents the courage she needs at that point of time.
At that point of time, although she is very sure that she wants to leave him, she is also clear about the fact that her ex-husband would not let her or her child go that easily. It had happened many times before. She said she is leaving, he went into his violent rage and even manhandled her and her child before begging them to come back, giving many promises to change. This is a tattoo to remind herself: she has to be courageous and determined to leave him now.
Some people had a tattoo after careful consideration. Their tattoo carries a life-long message, the remnants of an experience. It is something with meaning they understood. Tattoo-ing is merely a form of expression.
The most ridiculous situation is to get a tattoo based on an exotic tribal culture or foreign language on the spur of the moment without understanding the meaning of it.
Because tattoo-ing is forever. No correction fluid can get rid of it without leaving markings.
近年来，刺青却有了“洗心革面”的现象，不在是黑社会的记号，而是一种艺术与生活了。很多明星也在自己的身上一画来代表自己的一些人生体验与格言。目前在台湾的偶像剧天王级人物阮经天就有一个刺青。根据报道，那刺青是他在自己最潦倒，最失意的时候刺上去的。意义就是把刺青刺在身体最痛之处，代表自己最痛的已经受过了，接下来的都难不倒他。刺青的图案就是“Which way is up”。