the2ndrule.comDec 2001

0. Edit
1. Instant Cafe Radio Episode 1
2. The Five Senses 2: Touch
3. Love Child
4. Musica Obscura
5. Taxi-Dance
6. Shape Monster
7. the quiet child
8. Twisted
9. If U would be soo kind as to look at my painting...?


New Year. Here's a resolution to think about.

Stop apologising for our political inclinations.
Stop posting disclaimers that say, "We have no political agenda."
If we have something to say, political or not, just say it; and don't fear.

There is nothing that can take away our freedom to express ourselves. The Greater Good is an illusion if it means nothing more than keeping things the way they are. All that we see around us, holding us back, are only ghosts of stability and comfort. And ghosts are not alive.

Expression is how we live.

The 2ndrule is not going to be shut down.

Merry christmas, everyone. And a happy new year too.

Afterthought: "Why the PAP could benefit from Dilbert"
An article by Ms Chua Lee Hoong, published in The Straits Times, 12 Dec 2001.

:: http://the2ndrule.com/issues/issue23/PAP_dilbert.html ::

Instant Cafe Radio Episode 1

Drop by for the sweet sounds of DJ Beng. No cover charge, you're on the guest list.

Selection and mix by Koh Beng Liang

Go deep
The Five Senses 2: Touch

Like the first people who invented the codes of hand gestures (mudras) in Bharata Natyam, that ancient interpretative South Indian dance form, I have often dreamed of creating a language based on touch. Conversations between people, much of which are based on establishing their relationships with one another, will be superfluous, replaced by the most economical acts of contiguities. With this exact lexicography, that oft-used phrase 'human contact' will have its dignity restored, wrenched back into the realm of the literal. It is a dream of perfect honesty.

1) Between friends: standing side by side, one places his or her head on the other's shoulder. The one with the hidden ear speaks; the one with two ears exposed will listen. However, this pact of confiding is conducted entirely in silence.

2) Between a mother and a child: the mother uses the back of her hand and places it on the child's neck. On the surface, the eternal image of care: the strong comforting the weak. But as the mother rests her hand she is also looking at what is inscribed on her palm, and realises that her love is inseparable from her mortality. The prayer of any true mother is thus: that she never be allowed to outlive her own child.

3) Between a father and a child: the father uses his hand to caress the shoulder of his son or daughter from behind. For some it is a stern gesture, almost as if the father is demonstrating the weight of the angel of conscience that sits on one's shoulder. But behind him is the father's own father, fossilised in the same pose, an entire generational line in fact, placing their trust on the ones in front of them. If there is any angel at all in the queue, it is the one standing in front.

4) Between lovers: a finger works its way to the skin right under the eyes, in a gesture of wiping tears which do not exist. It is a gesture of both repair and warning: wiping away the stain of past hurts, yet also preparing for future injuries, the way soil is studiously ploughed to sow the seeds of grief.

5) Between siblings: their two little fingers interlock, as if to seal a promise. Only the little finger is used: the one which has refused to grow along with the rest of its brothers, the one still detained in childhood.

6) Between enemies: a temporary gesture, of one's hand locked around the wrist of the other. This necessary gesture arrests the formation of other subsequent gestures. Yet it does not so much declare the beginning of peace but provides the interlude between the first impulse, which is revenge, and the last of our impulses, which is forgiveness.

Then there are other ways of touching whose meanings will reveal themselves only after they are performed: a fingertip between the eyes, a palm placed flat against a sole, thumb against the heart's apex.

But in this universe of touch-signs, the absence of words does not mean the absence of violence. Nobody can tell if the mother will not strangle her own daughter, or the father push his son into the deep end of the pool. The brothers will start to turn their game of interlocking fingers into a cruel duel, and when one brother's finger is twisted he will shout out in distress. That sudden wail will rupture the world I have dreamed of: when touch turns to savagery, gestures turn superfluous, and the one true thing is that honest cry of pain.
Alfian Bin Sa'at

They didn't build temples to the size of the human body. They built temples to the size of the human spirit.
Love Child

Here comes the sun princess, direct
descendant of Amaterasu, angel in a cradle
of white azaleas.

Her bullish development was antidote
to the nation's depression, every baby step
lifted the index.

On her seventh birthday, the first day
of the last month of the year, she will demand
a six-string guitar.

Stranger events to unfold:
Yoko Ono bowing reverently at her feet,
pilgrimage to Liverpool,

meditation by the Ganges delta, where Aiko
will make psychic contact with Clapton's dead son.
Koh Beng Liang

Don't claim a special position in history.
Musica Obscura

Forgive my gladness.

I do not mean to rejoice at
your separation. The divide
between you two has been
too clear to us.

You do not know how much
I wanted you to tear yourself
away from that mess. To
walk away.

A clean break:

Now, focus on yourself.
Rebuild the walls.

I will be patient. I will nurse
my deepening need.

You were too giving but
I think you know that now.

Remember the pottery lessons
you were interested in? I have
the number to call. Or those
Godard films on video you
never got to see?

Or that soft toy he
considered grotesque.
Still abandoned,
longing for your caress?

Focus on yourself.
Discard those tiny dresses
he insisted you wear,
those strappy shoes and

Focus on yourself.
Just rebuild your walls.

And let me in.
Daren Shiau

Funky for you.

Photo by Jason Tong

"What's the weather gonna do?" is a question asked by ninnies. The answer to this question is obvious. It'll do what it damn well pleases when it pleases... It has better things to do. Storms to brew, winds to whirl, that sort of thing. Not that the weather doesn't occasionally listen in. It eavesdrops on the millions of forecasts transmitted daily and in a low, hearty rumble, laughs."
Nike advertisement
Shape Monster

Point recoils, nearly vanishes. Point kneads into amoeba, flat out on ground, lying in wait. Point pauses, pauses, pauses -stops all of a sudden, then makes a leap, like a tongue, at a fly, from the ground, into the sky. Falls plat on the ploor. But point picks up. Point spreads itself thin, sharp as pin; spins itself lean, shoots out clean -

as Line. Line hobbles on one foot, falls over itself, walks on the other foot. Line bends a knee, falls backwards, hits its head. Or foot. Line straightens, hops on one foot. One foot perseveres. Other foot perseveres. Feet take turns persevere. Line shortens, too much falling down and marching around; nearly vanishes. Pick up stick. Comeback, comeback. All too much but Line falls next and cracks its spine in two

Lines. Two Lines stumble like chopsticks, fumble like jellyfish tentacles; cross each others' paths? this path or that path? cross at all?; then fall back into themselves and become one cumbersome

Line. Line is back with two feet, but fatter and stouter now. Line can b-a-r-e-l-y move, flat foot fanning flattening out because Line is so so heavy. Lines spreads itself set out like mats, oozes out like sap, sips out like volcanic ash, makes screeches and pitches for an etch or a tack; Line would but could not crawl out it is such a wreck. So Line sinks out into one single, simple, conglomerate amoeba, prepped up into a ball of

Point again. Point splits its sides in horror shoots out

Four lines, cling at poles of pikes. Four lines perfectly still and adjusted is square otherwise knocked about a little is fairly square. Square is rare and not very fazed, but then Square this square being this square to this square Square is not very rare being all Square has been. And then Square glides and is so so hard to topple or hobble. Square stays put and then not even roots. So Square thinks

Triangle. Square folds One Line leaves Three Lines intact but One Line inside Three Lines can't decide wriggle? or wiggle? inside Three-Side Cage Square so Triangle like more like Triangular Worm Cage not Triangle then Triangle being more like Triangular Worm Cage not Triangle tries to break worm apart. But Square cum Triangle cum Cage with Worm tugs too hard at Two Lines that don't hold hands anymore and quite simply Triangle rolls out into One Singular

Line again, which snaps and rolls up like a hedgehog into an irrepressible

Point, that bounces off into the distance near or far oblivion, stages comeback with big burst blows up into amoeba big colossal amoeba and pricks itself so so hard then splits its sides with laughter it jets out many,

so many Lines that hobble over themselves some knocking some out flat others walking plat-plat-plat over some out flat so many stilts on stilts playing bat. When Many Lines get tired of haphazard swing bang wreck often often not long after it sits one line on top another line head to foot? or foot to foot? to tickle the sky to tickle tickle the pelt the sky down. Many Lines so many many lines unsame lengths even playing stacko, sometimes climb up or down like acrobats, sometimes knock knock for inspiration, sometimes knock knock for impression; flying lines the most dangerous because they stab the stacko blind right in the middle and all binding lines thrown sprawling harrowing to the floor. Then so Many Lines sit up and stake through the ground stomping stomping for more knocking knocking for more falling falling for more stomping stomping stoooomping..

while calmdown Lines beat themselves into mash, sucked into amoeba: deflate, decay, understate, simply make, Many into Any; a very, a very unruly

LC Low

x - why - z
the quiet child

he does not know of the loneliness
that hides in the palm of his hand

his mother's hands weaving
velvet flowers at the kitchen window
suddenly trembling weak

his mother's hands washing
clothes by the riverbank
suddenly frozen stiff

he does not know of the loneliness
that hides in the palm of his hand
the emptiness that had ambushed him
until one night
his hands found their calling
strangling the neck of a kitten
at the back of the house.
Latiff Mohidin, translated from Malay by Alfian Bin Sa'at

Karla says that nerds-gone-bad are the scariest of all, because they turn into "Marvins" and cause problems of planetary dimensions. Marvin was that character from Bugs Bunny cartoons who wanted to blow up Earth because it obscured his view of Venus.
Douglas Coupland, Microserfs

Almost everybody wants something else from it. I'm afraid if I ask for more, it'll all disappear.
If U would be soo kind as to look at my painting...?

Foetus paints for the first time... "Do I paint with my head, or my heart?? If I paint with my head, the trees would be green and brown.. but if I paint with my heart, the trees would be a cool blue, for it shelters us from the warm heat... and that makes me happy."


"I would paint with my heart and see with my soul... and I would tell of the many strange and beautiful stories that the world has never seen before, because they are mine... and mine alone... and I am unique... and I am me... and the world has to accept me... my little 'U-niverse'."


"My canvas lies in my mind's eye. It embraces my thoughts and carries my ideas, sometimes, putting more meaning into it... new ideas spring forth - imagery adding onto imagery and they dance merrily to the waking world of sleep walkers..."

"... Can U picture that ... ?"

"I'm not sure if U can? But, if U would be soo kind as to look at my painting, U would see the world in my perspective. Maybe, U would join me and we could paint a picture together... *Just U & Me* All we have to do is to close our eyes and... imagine... "

"We can create wonderful ideas onto our canvas - our canvas that will formulate a multitude of dreams... "


"I wouldn't need brushes to paint with, I would take the sun directly from the sky and the stars from the heavens and put a rainbow where U're lips are. Yes, I would like to paint an image of U, painting me... painting... painting... each other..."

"Would U like to join me and add to that rainbow of smiles... a shooting star from the sky, perhaps? We can make a wish together and propel our dreams onto the heavens and create a myriad of fantasies to glaze onto our little 'U-niverse'. Each stroke of creation would maketh it's mark into our hearts and the pigment would last forever... and then our little 'U-niverse' would be complete." *Just U & Me*


"There is no palette in this world that can hold all the colours that I would like to use... for what is U're colour? It would take a lifetime for me to discover that secret, and years just pondering on the right shade. I cannot give a name to something soo beautiful; for it bleeds the colour of life... that brings forth the creation of U and me.


"I do not need an easel, for my painting stands in the hearts of those who want to view them. Take it as U will, for when U step into my Gallery, U may choose to view or ignore my painting. My gallery has no shape or size, it has no limits, no prejudices, only an entrance to those who wish to step inside and to perhaps... take a closer look?"

"Would U like to step inside...?"


"I am Painting... "

"Would U like to join me and paint another picture together, just U and me? If U don't mind, we can start all over again... after all, we have a lifetime to think about it...?"

"My gallery is open, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All you have to do is to open U're door and let me in..."
Ng U-Lynn

Cloud city

Instant Cafe Radio Episode 1 © 2001 Selection and mix by Koh Beng Liang
The Five Senses 2: Touch © 2001 Alfian Bin Sa'at
Love Child © 2001 Koh Beng Liang
Musica Obscura © 2001 Daren Shiau
Taxi-Dance © 2001 Photo by Jason Tong
Shape Monster © 2001 LC Low
the quiet child © 2001 Latiff Mohidin, translated from Malay by Alfian Bin Sa'at
If U would be soo kind as to look at my painting...? © 2001 Ng U-Lynn

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