23 – 29.03.15 London (thinking Singapore)

23.03.15

black and white auto-awesome stories.

shades of grey removed.

a new morning.

‘Lee Kuan Yew is gone. Where does Singapore go now?’ (Han 2015)

rememberinglky becomes a hashtag

I grieve and deny that I am grieving.

Forgetting is a romantic storyteller.

 

24.03.15

I am from

a generation caught between generations.

I never lived through the war but

have faint memories of water rationing,

NTUC shopping wartime rations.

 

25.03.15

I resented all grandfather lectures

even though I had great respect for

those who overcame the challenges of those early days

and the mettle it took to build a nation from scratch

by everyone who called themselves Singaporean.

parents, grandparents, policymakers and leaders

in Singapore

 

26.03.15

he lectured us for wanting to see the heat and clash of political parties

simply because all we knew was peace and stability.

like a teenager who felt wrongly accused

I rebelled against

prohibition signs, fines, censorship and biopolitics.

I still do.

I felt he didn’t trust us to take care of the country he’d built.

 

27.03.15

I responded –

without realising I was determined to prove him wrong.

he seemed impatient with disenchantment,

angry with comforts taken forgranted like the

water piped straight to our houses.

 

28.03.15

heart aches

too far away to take care of others who grieve

grieving together from afar

through hours of reading every article written

watching the live feed through CNA on YouTube

without taking too long a pause.

dream-filled sleep.

too much simplification

of a life that has won the respect of nations.

too much worry.

a legacy that is complicated

deserves careful consideration.

too much haste to be consistent with old positions

regurgitates his legacy as

that well known Singapore Story

or that tired academic tirade against functionalism and paranoia (see Chong 2015)

without acknowledging that his pragmatism was driven by sincere ideals.

lack of reflection and empathy

neglects how one reacts to perceived betrayal

by the very people one sought to protect.

none of this condones harm done to the innocent.

but perhaps we don’t have all the pieces

and it is too soon to sort through the jumble of emotions

so much to lose, no time for sleep

the stars all seem to weep

 

pause

 

29.03.15

If I have learnt anything at all…

I have learnt how to love Singapore

truly

fiercely

deeply.

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Listen to the City

the city

08.03.15 What is the new?

it was international women’s day and the pressure to say something about my position on women and prove that i have something to say based on my unique and original experience of being a woman, of being me.

But I’m only still learning, still retracing the steps of others, still trying to catch up. wait for me.

I haven’t managed to find my voice yet/can’t contribute to the women’s movement yet/i’m still using the words of others/don’t know how to say my own thing yet/still finding my way…sorting out my thoughts about what kind of woman i want to be and how the bad habits of the woman I am right now keep me from this (never mind what kind of woman I’m supposed to be) – gotta pick your battles you know.

plants

The familiar craggy surfaces left their mark on my hands that had become soft. Too used to smooth surfaces and repetitive precision jumps. I forgot to listen, to play with the city.

the other city

The wall I used to climb was now boarded up on the other side. The plants above this wall had died – too much trash that was never cleared and it knew its days were numbered. Neglected. Overdosed on alcohol, cigarettes and sugary drinks.

the other wall

As I sit atop the wall and mourn, two girls walk by and one catches my eye. I give her a mischievous grin, silently inviting her to try climbing the wall too.

the view

I’ve been spending too much time thinking about me, worrying about whether I’m strong enough to do pull-ups and trying to work on building strength when I should be talking to the city, listening to its surfaces, breathing in its dreams.

Bare trees. Sculptures of winter.

Sunlight pushing out the cold.

Dark blue berries tangling my hair as I crawl past.

Whispering stories of resilience.

The ambiguous gender I perform gives me freedom – and I like it