In my travels, I came to the conclusion as a writer that numerous people in the world are not fully informed about what Singapore is. The Graphic Novel series, The Hunt for the Lion it is an attempt at portraying the phenomenon of Singapore to the world through an entertaining medium. And it begins where any story should rightly begin – at the very beginning, taking us from the moment of this Island Nation’s mystical founding, grounded with doses of reality, through its rise from a colonial outpost of England, to the beacon of commerce and model of disciplined community it is today, and a little further into the future. Maybe this city state was birthed by a confluence of the power of the elements, but it was certainly raised to the heights it is at today by the conflagration of man’s desire to dominate his peers and overpower the chaos this process ironically creates.
The lion is a metaphor that has many layers to it. Sometimes it is the actual beast while at other times it metaphorically represents Singapore. It also stands a symbol of progress – progress that comes with both good and bad. It also importantly represents power. It is an embodiment of man’s innate necessity to desire and possess. Throughout the story line, while the characters take many forms, motives and colors, the temporal link over the centuries is formed by the concept of man’s need for power.
While NOT a political critique, the book endeavors to provide as much historical information as possible, through the eyes of fictitious, identifiable characters, while mapping out common traits during the seven-and-a-half centuries of Singapore’s development. The series draws many comparisons to iconic locations of Singapore from the 13th Century to the present day and what they signified over the centuries. The series concludes with the protagonists finding out the answer to the question that started it all, but they never stopped to ask a more important question – Which is the greatest power that mortal hands can truly wield?
I have displayed my effort at directing these pages, with the aid of a great artist TONI MASDIONO and his co-operative team (for pages 3-27), and another up-and-comer HARSHA MOHAN CHATTERJEE. I hope at the end of my attempt I have answered this ‘immortal’ question for you as well.