In conversation with the Barn Owl: Teen rebellion

Barn Owl: What is that kid doing? Is he going to cross the road or what?

Debs G: He’s posing by the traffic light wearing a straw boater and waving a cigarette around.

Barn Owl: Whatever for?

Debs G: Maybe he’s waiting for a street photographer to come and immortalise him on film.

Barn Owl: He’s not going to be looking very pretty with his teeth all brown from smoking. Perhaps it’s ciga-weed that he’s got.

Debs G: I don’t think you can get ciga-weed in Singapore. I mean, I’d never seen cigarette paper and rolling tobacco until I went to Uni.

Barn Owl: It’s surprising how many young people in Singapore smoke.

Debs G: Yeah, I don’t really understand it myself, with all the anti-smoking education in schools, you’d think they would know better.

Barn Owl: It’s a sign of rebellion, I guess.

Debs G: How is ‘check me out, I’m ruining my health and my looks, and I’m also nicotine-dependant‘ a sign of rebellion? It’s more like a sign of stupidity. Why don’t they go get a tattoo or a piercing or something like that? At least that’s a little bit more bad-ass.

Barn Owl: I don’t think tattoos are considered very rebellious now. So many people have tattoos, it’s probably not a very big deal anymore.

Debs G: I didn’t know that tattoos are so commonplace! Do you see a lot of them?

Barn Owl: Yeah! Lots of NS boys and 16-17 year olds come in and they have tattoos on their arms. Although, I don’t understand why these skinny boys choose to get tattoos on their biceps when they have no biceps to show off. If you’re a skinny dude with noodles for arms, choose a better place, like the back of your neck, or your shoulder blade or clavicle. If you want an upper arm tatt, you have a duty to have muscles like a Swedish sailor where if you flex your arms the pictures move or distort. Otherwise if you’re trying to look hard, it’s not working, mate.

Debs G: You’ve really put a lot of thought into this.

Barn Owls: And what’s with all these women who get tattoos on their ankles? It always looks from afar as if they’ve gotten a bit of muck on their ankle and haven’t bothered to mop it up.

Debs G: It’s probably on their ankles cos it’s easy to cover up if they need to go for a job interview or to work or something. You can always wear socks or long trousers or tights to cover up an ankle tattoo.

Barn Owl: But the women here all wear flip flops or strappy sandals! Which makes me think how silly is it to put a flower or a bird on your ankle and then cage it up with straps?! What’s the point in that? Why bother getting a tattoo if you’re not going to be proud of it and show it off? And if you’re going to get a tattoo on your ankle, why put a bird there? Oooh, lookit me, that’s how I fly, two inches off the ground!

Debs G: So what sort of tattoo would you get, if you were going to get a tattoo?

Barn Owl: Hm, probably not anything with words in it. Well, unless it was like a scary sounding latin phrase like ‘DEUS EX MACHINA’.

Debs G: Or ‘MORTE ET DOLOR’!!!! You can get MORTE on one arm and DOLOR on the other!!

Barn Owl: Or ‘DOLCE LIBUM’. Or is it LIBERA? What does DOLCE LIBUM mean anyway?

Debs G: I’m not sure, something like ‘Sweetie pie’?

Barn Owl: HA! Awesome.


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