Conversations In The Bell Tower On New Years Eve 2017

Conversations In The Bell Tower On New Years Eve 2017

ARCHIVES

7 January 2018 | Vicar Writes

Conversations In The Bell Tower On New Years Eve 2017

By Terry Wong


This is a satire of the 8 bells that have been hung in our bell tower for 138 years. Each was named after one of the 12 apostles. Meant originally to be swung rather than struck and probably a full set of 12 instead of 8, cracks in the tower led to uncertainties about the tower’s safety. Church bell experts have advised that the tower is more than able to handle swinging bells and that those cracks were due to uneven movements of the heavily buttressed tower relative to the rest of the Nave. Plans are under way to review this and the Lord willing (and with some generous donations), the bells may finally get to swing and peal away. If you have questions or are interested to help, email bells@cathedral.org.sg

“Happy New Year, all!”

“Same to you, Andrew,” James replied, “But what is there to be happy about?”

“That another year has come?”

“Did you hear them singing ‘Another Year of Dawning’ earlier on?” asked James. “Another year of this, another year of that. For us, it will be another year of sedentary hanging!”

“Adding one more to the 138 years of same same,” said Bartholomew.

“... in this same dingy and humid tower,” quipped Peter. “It gets dustier every year.”

“And we have not even moved an inch! We were meant to swing...” John sighed.

“Let’s vote: in 2018, we shall go on strike!” James snarled.

“James, we have been “striking” for 138 years!” Andrew laughed.

“Andrew, you are the largest of us all and meant for a great swing and ring,” Peter reminded.

“Yes I remember. I was forged in the same foundry as cousin, Susan. I thought I was lucky when they selected me for a Cathedral in the Far East. It sounded exotic. I was to be shipped! Susan was trucked to nearby St Paul’s Cathedral. I thought, how boring. But there she still is, swinging and singing ever since. Sigh…”

“And I thought, there was supposed to be the 12 of us. Where are Philip, Simon, Jude and Matthias?” asked John.

Andrew reminded, “Alas, they thought this tower could neither take our weight or dance. So, they left them behind and they tied us up here. We are to sing only
when struck. There ain’t no dancing. ”

“But, we were made for that!” James retorted. “ I am not so sure now…” quipped Thomas.

“Thomie, if one gets used to living for less, that can quickly become the new norm.”

“Preach it, bro.”

“Think about that. We are adding another year to this ordeal. Can you recall the excitement and fanfare when they first hoisted us up to this tower?” Andrew mused.

“Can you recall how we welcomed the 20th century with twenty rings? It was supposed to be a bright new century!” said James.

“And then the wars came. I can still remember. It was at 4.30 am on 8th December 1941 when the bombs fell. Most of you were asleep but the grounds were shaking. I thought I did move an inch. There was a lot of commotion in the months after that. I have never seen so many soldiers in the Cathedral,” said Peter.

“Yes, I can still remember Lee Kuan Yew’s speech in 1959 and the cries of Merdeka! from the Padang. Those cries came into our tower and echoed around. I think we did resonate,” said James.

“Come to think of it, we have been through four nationalities: British, Japanese, Malayan and now, Singaporean,” said Andrew.

“Jia lat,” moaned Thomas.

“I can recall changes in the music. The Twist, Rock & Roll, Disco, Hip-hop, Gangnam Style and just this week, Zumba! And all we do here is vibrate...” Peter sighed.

“Hmm. Did you see the new Vicar popping up the other day?” Andrew asked.

“You mean that lanky and bellish-shaped guy?” Bartholomew answered. “Did you notice how he was panting? He looked so unfit! At least he paid us a visit.”

“Yeah, right, after more than 2 years,” said Thomas.

“I heard him muttering about making us swing. Maybe, just maybe…” Andrew hoped.

“I doubt,” said Thomas.

“Imagine, if we actually swing for the first time. What will you say?” Andrew asked.

“Swing for Singapore?”
“At last, seeing Singapore from a different angle.”
“Finally, my chance to hit the clapper. Better late than never!”
“Left right, left right.”
“No, front back, front, back.”
“Pealing, nothing more than pealing…”

“What will you say Andrew?”

After a pause, “Finally, the city hears our dance. Thank you Lord, thank you.”

“Happy New Year, all!”

“Same to you, Andrew,” James replied, “But what is there to be happy about?”

“That another year has come?”

“Did you hear them singing ‘Another Year of Dawning’ earlier on?” asked James. “Another year of this, another year of that. For us, it will be another year of sedentary hanging!”

“Adding one more to the 138 years of same same,” said Bartholomew.

“... in this same dingy and humid tower,” quipped Peter. “It gets dustier every year.”

“And we have not even moved an inch! We were meant to swing...” John sighed.

“Let’s vote: in 2018, we shall go on strike!” James snarled.

“James, we have been “striking” for 138 years!” Andrew laughed.

“Andrew, you are the largest of us all and meant for a great swing and ring,” Peter reminded.

“Yes I remember. I was forged in the same foundry as cousin, Susan. I thought I was lucky when they selected me for a Cathedral in the Far East. It sounded exotic. I was to be shipped! Susan was trucked to nearby St Paul’s Cathedral. I thought, how boring. But there she still is, swinging and singing ever since. Sigh…”

“And I thought, there was supposed to be the 12 of us. Where are Philip, Simon, Jude and Matthias?” asked John.

Andrew reminded, “Alas, they thought this tower could neither take our weight or dance. So, they left them behind and they tied us up here. We are to sing only
when struck. There ain’t no dancing. ”

“But, we were made for that!” James retorted. “ I am not so sure now…” quipped Thomas.

“Thomie, if one gets used to living for less, that can quickly become the new norm.”

“Preach it, bro.”

“Think about that. We are adding another year to this ordeal. Can you recall the excitement and fanfare when they first hoisted us up to this tower?” Andrew mused.

“Can you recall how we welcomed the 20th century with twenty rings? It was supposed to be a bright new century!” said James.

“And then the wars came. I can still remember. It was at 4.30 am on 8th December 1941 when the bombs fell. Most of you were asleep but the grounds were shaking. I thought I did move an inch. There was a lot of commotion in the months after that. I have never seen so many soldiers in the Cathedral,” said Peter.

“Yes, I can still remember Lee Kuan Yew’s speech in 1959 and the cries of Merdeka! from the Padang. Those cries came into our tower and echoed around. I think we did resonate,” said James.

“Come to think of it, we have been through four nationalities: British, Japanese, Malayan and now, Singaporean,” said Andrew.

“Jia lat,” moaned Thomas.

“I can recall changes in the music. The Twist, Rock & Roll, Disco, Hip-hop, Gangnam Style and just this week, Zumba! And all we do here is vibrate...” Peter sighed.

“Hmm. Did you see the new Vicar popping up the other day?” Andrew asked.

“You mean that lanky and bellish-shaped guy?” Bartholomew answered. “Did you notice how he was panting? He looked so unfit! At least he paid us a visit.”

“Yeah, right, after more than 2 years,” said Thomas.

“I heard him muttering about making us swing. Maybe, just maybe…” Andrew hoped.

“I doubt,” said Thomas.

“Imagine, if we actually swing for the first time. What will you say?” Andrew asked.

“Swing for Singapore?”
“At last, seeing Singapore from a different angle.”
“Finally, my chance to hit the clapper. Better late than never!”
“Left right, left right.”
“No, front back, front, back.”
“Pealing, nothing more than pealing…”

“What will you say Andrew?”

After a pause, “Finally, the city hears our dance. Thank you Lord, thank you.”

This is a satire of the 8 bells that have been hung in our bell tower for 138 years. Each was named after one of the 12 apostles. Meant originally to be swung rather than struck and probably a full set of 12 instead of 8, cracks in the tower led to uncertainties about the tower’s safety. Church bell experts have advised that the tower is more than able to handle swinging bells and that those cracks were due to uneven movements of the heavily buttressed tower relative to the rest of the Nave. Plans are under way to review this and the Lord willing (and with some generous donations), the bells may finally get to swing and peal away.

If you have questions or are interested to help, email bells@cathedral.org.sg