The protector of free speech squeezed through the crowd of international journalists and adjusted his hat, for he knew the cameras were on him, not on the mad doctor with the large spectacles and loud jaw. He thought that if he made a good enough impression he might host the next episode of Crime Watch. But he was nervous, stammering, and suddenly ungrammatical. He turned subconsciously William Carlos Williams:
"You'll likely to cause
a breach of peace
and an offence
may be committed.
I am advising you
Unless you leave now,
no action will be taken
I live in a country where the state believes they have the right to decide whether people should be digits, creative or entrepreneurial.
I live in a country where the ministers claim that the ruling party's majority votes means "the people want to be led." (Dr Wang Kai Yuen, ST, April 4 2002) I live in a country where before the general elections, the ruling party redraws constituency boundaries to have more walkovers, bankrupts opposition politicians and castrates the national press while its ministers tell everyone to speak up, not to fear being "hit by a big stick" (Raymond Lim, ST, April 4 2002). This is safe because the people who spoke before MPs encouraged them to are either overseas, silenced or dead.
I live in a country where no minister has campaigned publicly for the abolition of the Internal Security Act even if they believed that it was a violation of human rights. Even if they knew that the Communist threat is demonised by the authorised history, and that most of the population heads down to Orchard Road on Sundays.
I live in a country where the ministers who determine the political process are paid private-sector salaries. There are few other reasons to join the ruling party, so certified talents are worth their price.
I live in a country where the state announces that we must have a vibrant arts scene. So they build the Esplanade which is too big for most local performance groups. On National Day they say that promoting the arts is another way to attract more tourists.
I live in a country where the front shelves of bookshops are crowded with one man's words. Until recently, anything that disagrees these words could only be found in Select Books (Tanglin Shopping Centre, call 67321515) or overseas.
I live in a country where my parents have friends who were tortured by the Internal Security Department. So for them and others, an 18-year-old girl talking to the press about politics will never be seen as invulnerable. An 18-year-old girl who comments on a minister in a newspaper interview will be told she could cause someone in MOE to lose their job. When she wants to use the word "tortured", she will be advised to write instead "indirect pressure was applied" in case she is charged with defamation.
I live in a country where the national paper will announce that a poem has won a foreign prize, but they will not willingly add (until much later) that it is written from a lesbian perspective. What the paper's employees think of homosexuality and its criminalisation has nothing to do with this.
I live in a country where the state makes its arguments too simple. Such as: the PAP = the country. Such as: democracy = protests = violence = disorder = national disaster. Such as: human rights = confusing Western concept that our people don't need to learn very much about. Such as: history = one man's story. Such as: Chia Thye Poh = opposition = Marxist = dangerous = 32 years of imprisonment = non-existence in the authorised history.
I live in a country with a population that is constantly hit by men in white with invisible and visible sticks. I live in a country where it is hard to expect people to value anything more than protecting themselves from these big sticks, or getting their own stick and white uniform.
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Too deep within layers of her skin, Jill lies waiting. While an old Chinese rock tune plays on the jukebox behind her. The coffee is warm and doesn't kick; the air is muggy and it bugs her.
Images, tastes, feelings and question marks fill her head as the hot city air suffocates unlike the sea. It isn't just the air.
But she doesn't move from where she sits. Waiting for things to change.
(on the arrest of terrorists in Singapore, December 2001)
how we have tamed the lightning,
encircled it with ingenuity;
taught the waves to stand
at our command behind a silver lining
and from the beginning we knew
this was an is-land, the present
now announcing the arrival
of the future, our waterfront view
so to insure what we invested,
in the interest of sundry lives
that hear no more than evening news,
agents of terror were swiftly arrested
but now we know our outspread reach,
our worldwide digits and open arms
have touched the thunder of a savage storm
and washed its sparks upon our beach
That wasn't me in the photo, and she's computer generated I swear.
I'm a Marxist, but ask me again when a sale is on.
We're being controlled, subjugated and 'influenced' all the time in Singapore.
Deny it? Hmm... Look around. 20 years from now, and when in positions of power, look around and decide.
As long as we have draconian laws, anti-communist laws from the 60's that give the government power to do anything (yes they have Sweetie!), I think that its scary sometimes.
Need more kids? Lets have a campaign! Clean and green? Lets have a campaign! Think that anal and oral is 'unnatural'? Lets have a fucking campaign.(Pun intended)
However, it works lor. What to do? I don't know. But it works. But fear the day when someone corrupt gets in, the framework of our island dictator-democracy is ripe for abuse. Pray that it won't.
Singapore is doing amazingly well for our size, location, etc. blah blah blah. I think we should ask: At what price? Will it come back to haunt us? And is there a better way now?
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
Hmm. I guess that makes me a problem.
"You bet I did. And I enjoyed it"
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
on whether he smoked marijuana.
Hot toasted flakes of sweat
Beats of hand bout
Coil touch lovers
tightly strung coiled hair
sweet musky taste
of rough feathered tongues
touch and go
Spiraling from twisted nostrils
Excesses of heat
& rough love-
Twisted in contorted heels of ecstasy
When all else fails, dance.
Why I am cynical about Singapore's political process, Buddha © 2002 Teng Qian Xi
Security © 2002 Gui Wei Hsin
Bottom Line © 2002 Hanging Bloke
Breakfast at Zoukette © 2002 Sherlyn Xie