the2ndrule.comMay 2001

0. Editorial
1. Straight as the crow flies
2. Flutter by
3. Merlion
4. Mother
5. thE BubBLE bAG
6. Beat
7. Eating in a corner
8. Unnatural Romance


We often like to compare the relationship between us and the magazine with that between mother and child. But we're never sure if the child is still in an embryonic stage, or sprawling brat, or perhaps locked in chrysalis, about to re-emerge from metamorphosis.

Just when we thought we'd hit some stable point, we are now realising that there are new creative avenues to exploit, like Graphic Design Road, Photography Boulevard and Motion Picture Highway. So we invite you to join us in our growth, and to share with us what you think are opportunities that together we could exploit.

We want you to be the centre of our creative activity. More importantly, we hope that you, too, would grow along with us. It may be a simple process to write a poem or draw a picture, but through communicating your thoughts and emotions we hope you would regain your voice and break free from that cocoon of apathy.

Straight as the crow flies

After turning off the well-tread beaten yellow brick road, my back to the misogynic crowd surging forward, hesitantly tip-toeing round the corner-- quickly ducking out of sight, after beating my way through the brambles and stumbling though the undergrowth, after skipping in the patches of sunshine, after drifting the wafts of breeze on the wings of floaty amber butterflies, wandering around in the foreboding darkness, breathing hard, battling the mind demons from the bowels of hell, orienting myself to the stars, singing my thoughts tunelessly on my way, lying soundlessly unmoving in semi-paralysis, nosing the pretty petals of the pretty flowers, fumbling in the acid swirls of grayest London fog, reaching for thin air that coolly kisses my fingertips, brushing though veils of silver cobwebs scattering rainbows after rain, I have come to think, perhaps,
that I am lost.
Gypsy of Mayfair

1. Recall 2. Analysis 3. Evaluation 4. Self-expression
Flutter by

Jill spent the night awake and wondering. How to wake up from a dream that wasn't hers. Her shoulders ached from unaccustomed flight, and every landing on a leaf or twig would seem precarious from the height. But the freedom and the lightness and the beautiful ochre wings. Still, it wasn't her dream. She would have to get it to wake up.

One can get lost in the mind of a butterfly. Colours imperceptible to human eyes. Thoughts that work muscles Jill had never experienced before. And flight. Flight would just blow her away.

But fly her way out she had to. Not simply a matter of retracing her steps, but unstepping her thoughts, or were they Butterfly's? Lost, she could only fly as fast as she knew how, through the flowers and fields that were Butterfly's dreams, and towards the ash walls and grey pavements that weren't hers.

Until she was herself again. But who? Butterfly waking still left her in the middle of a crowded faceless street, and still unsure if it was her who was dreaming.

It hovered by the side of her face, and against her cheek, she felt the gentle breeze of beautiful ochre wings flapping.

Jill was neither woman nor butterfly, and yet was both.
Shannon Low

"Their parents don't seem to enjoy life. They're workaholics. They're serious. Young people look at them and say, 'Is that our future?'"
Ms Yoshiko Ikoma

It is no myth.

The sphinx with its illicit smile
wisdom kept,
The crucifix carried
man's cross, and its meaning,
A distant cousin, the ankh,
both death and life embodies,
Siren-songs are three days
in the desert,
Myrrh a whiff of the desire
and taboo of incest,
Metamorphosis our recognition
of instability within,
Persephone is the fear
of monsters in the dark,
Death is an angel so beautiful,
our souls are lost just to see her,
The Morningstar most luciferous,
has the furthest to fall,
Faust puts the human
amidst the tragedy of knowledge,
Redhill our understanding
that blood can be shed for love, and
Orpheus' lute is our belief
that art resuscitates the dead --

which is what the poets have attempted, and yet

The Merlion is no myth.
If you kneel at its upturned tail
you can get a good photograph at a certain angle, involving
its clear dribble and the phalluses of the CBD,
but the Merlion, blank eyes overlooking our photogenic bay, symbolizes
(the mythology of a people?)
the myth of a people.
Ng Shing Yi

The patriot: Jack would rather be killed than kill.
He doesn't need validation for that kind of courage.

I don't see him much anymore.

I do wish he'd come round more often. But he never does. Always something else to do, somewhere else to be. I'm lucky if he even calls.

Lucky. That's what I used to think. To have such a healthy, handsome young boy. I suppose every mother thinks her son is handsome. Couldn't be otherwise when you're looking through the same eyes that saw his first breath, his first steps, his first bruise and his first heartbreak.

But I can't see too well anymore. Sometimes I don't know where to get off. Where to stop. And where to go. Or who.

I cannot wish I didn't have him. No mother would. But I do wish he was different.

I don't know where I went wrong.

(For the film version, check out "Mother" at http://www.the2ndrule.com/video/mother.mov)

Shannon Low

The billionaire suffers from a different kind of pecuniary embarassment.
thE BubBLE bAG

A foetus listens to the world around him... LISTENS... knowing that one day he would breathe the air that his mother breathed into him, see the world with his eyes opened... SEE... and gaze upon the stars to see what his mother saw... SAW..., his eyes were not opened, his nose could not smell... SMELL... but his tiny ears could listen... LISTEN... and he listened very attentively to the call of the cock crowing, the little patterings all around him and the soft but firmiliar voices that soothed his soul..., the bobbling of his bubble and his tiny cries could not be heard... HEARD... but he was patient, because he knew that he had to be strong and he fed on the nutrients that seethed into his little body through a cord that bonded him to his maker, and gave him his life force it was, a love cord... it made him bigger and stronger... and everyday, he could feel his eyes opening up, his nose ticking, his mouth twitching and his ears... he depended largely on his loyal friend, his ears... and he observed... OBSERVED... everything through his ears and he felt a little wiser and his heart started beating a little faster and he would kick out at his bubble bag to wake his keeper. "I'm alive!!" he squeaks. "Can U hear me?" he yelps!! And he would always be brought back to a peaceful slumber with a soothing pat on his bubble bag and he felt the warmth of his maker's hand and the tender voices that followed after. "What shall I call this firmiliar voice that so often speaks to me and tells me of all the wonderful things that are waiting for me? Maybe, I'll call it LOVE... what is love? I don't know, but I know it makes me feel like the top of the world..., because my little heart goes boom bitty boom... and I want to utter my first cry and wake the world and... and, see LOVE?? See? Feel? Hear? Smell?" The foetus sucks his little thumb lovingly and says, "yum... thumb? What's a thumb? I don't care, as long as it tastes good"... TASTES... and he learnt a new word and OBSERVED for a lifetime...
Ng U-Lynn

Death is only a heartbeat away.

The last time I committed suicide I was seventeen.
Don't remember much the usual schizo the usual
way of penknife over wrist-- just to bleed
just to relieve release
tensions charring taboo in my mouth,
these limp day rags of reality
spit, spit, if only
not to choke-- spit-- if only
Lucky never hung from a rope like that,
a little stuffed clown laughing black tears,
Lucky Lucky spit, spit a song for me.

Little boy, how much I miss
your brightness like a Chopin waltz,
your gentle disaffection blanking
the dreamkilling heat of the hydrogen sun.
But no longer near, and shying far
further away-- go where you please,
I cannot care; somewhere it is said
opposite of love is not hate but indifference;
the one thing I'll never write
is a love poem to you.

What does it matter if a nightmare encroaches a nightmare
there is just less space for another reality.
Excuse me for bleeding on your pillow;
these hanami echoes stain all over.
I made Rorschach butterflies out of my seeping haha life
but that took so much effort and no one
saw my damned insects anyway.
This is but the narcissism of a Peter Pan child.
Lynch as you like, I really don't mind,
because the last time I committed suicide I wanted to live,
but now I'm twenty, and too old for that.

As usual, she was dreaming away her sleep.
Eating in a corner

Strangers at a table, each at a corner of it,
in a corner of the room, in a corner of the hall.
We eat in silence, dwelling in our worlds,
gray constructs of reality.
Words? There is nothing to say.
Not even empathy -- that of two unhappy people brushing by --
we are each solipsistic in our misery.
What misery?
Where to begin?
Of obstacles that confine
of loves that confound
Of friends who are not
Of lovers who are bored.

So many possible woes
to cram into our little minds.

Drawstrings are a girl's best friend.
Unnatural Romance

I am staying wounded, lying low
For the while I shall not speak.

In a burrow I lie hid.
The darkness brings me home,
In it is scented heavily of
Dry earth, of

I hear you coming as a calamity
Bringing thunder, your footfall is close
By each breath, I feel the earth
Shake more.

You are standing above me.
You are gone.

I am a cache, a secret you have
To work to find.
Tonight I will not be yours, honey
Next time bring dogs.
fang yushun

"What shall we do tonight, Brain?"
"Same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world."

Straight as the crow flies © Gypsy of Mayfair
Flutter by © Shannon Low
Merlion © Ng Shing Yi
Mother © Shannon Low
thE BubBLE bAG © Ng U-Lynn
Beat © Edlyn
Eating in a corner © Len
Unnatural Romance © fang yushun

All Web graphics, Web animations, Javascript and other Scripting code used on this site are the original work of Russell Chan and the2ndrule, unless otherwise stated.