Rambles

I write & shoot (photographs) occasionally

moments

a moment

as I write is already fading away

retreating leaflets of a mimosa plant folding

in on itself

revealing less and less mental images until leaf faces touch

each spoken word like an echo growing fainter until

it falls into a memory of disuse

in no time this uninterrupted passage will be lost

leaving our minds to plot the points encompassing

shocks of adrenaline

the unforgettable highs that negate the order

of the rest of our lives

we bid the most natural and orchestrated goodbyes to monotony

my heart

sometimes my heart is more alive than me

sometimes it just wants to be free

tired, resting, body, still

but my heart is in a thrill

it rattles my ribs like prison bars

aflame with the fire of burning stars

frenzied heat of my pulse

dull finality judges’ gavels pronounce

life sentence within shackles of flesh and bones

debilitate me, break my hold

race faster, you are almost bursting out of me

but my body cannot let you be free

cny weekend

lethargic mornings

i thought singapore would be enlivened into festivity but

the world is tucked away into a soft, dreamy mood

quiet golden afternoons easing the way from vibrance and noise

back into the humdrum of everyday life

we live for the excitement but time lives for fading away

dempsey hill

I only captured shaky pinpricks of light, but the sky was filled with stars last night.

dempsey 1

dempsey 2

dempsey 3

dempsey 4

doubt

vulnerable, incomplete, distrustful (of self)

marking my assertions upon loose sand

the ocean steals my ungrounded thoughts from me,

tosses and turns them in waves that rise and crash

dirty, insubstantial foam- the remnant of my beliefs

all it takes is someone stronger to make bubbles of what

you thought you knew

the shore shimmers lightly,

wounded with glass cuts, bleeding with doubt

grandma

she is already growing old

with her

aversion to stairs

hair and skin wrinkling, graying like subtleties of

layered marble

it strikes me that a time will come when

she will not be mobile enough to

dye her roots black,

head bent over sink in the dark bathroom

hair helplessly blossoming into

meadows of fallen snow

when her trembling hands cannot still themselves

enough to secure the clasp of strung pearls

at the nape of her fragile neck

i must be growing older too

if i am beginning to see ageing as a process

instead of a state which we are

inevitably gravitated towards

(almost) valentine’s day

overkill of yellow, orange and pink sunflowers

emerging deformed from rock-heavy schoolbags

sudden influx of chocolate and affection

heart-shaped balloons bobbing behind ponytails

alone; in twos and threes

what strikes me most

is the grandfather on the train who

envelops his little girl in his lap,

his little girl in a pink top and minnie mouse jeans

who rests protected from time hurtling forward

in this dark tube that none of us completely fathom

he lulls her to sleep in his reassuring embrace

when she wakes up and it is valentine’s day no more

still she will find his hand on her shoulder

head jerking upwards intermittently as he tries not to fall asleep

writing over the years

i.

When I was 7 or 8 my teacher taught the class to make books that required no staples, tape or string to bind together. We used a piece of drawing block, divided it along straight lines to create 8 equal parts, and somehow by folding it along its length and tearing the middle section, a little booklet could be formed. We worked with our classmates in pairs, and each of us wrote a little story about our friend, replete with illustrations (printed or drawn). When you’re young, somehow the trivial skills you acquire are considered bouts of brilliance, and that’s why I repeated the same trick over and over again, making multiple booklets and writing and illustrating short stories. I vaguely recall a mediocre illustration of a hamster (inspired by Hamtaro if any of you remember) which had huge and sparkling eyes even on a lifeless page.

ii.

Growing up, I was never an intellectual reader. In preadolescent years I was still reading books about girlish fantasies of fairies and princesses, and in fact I loved them. I guess reading them influenced my mind somehow, because I became caught up with the idea of pretty words and sentences, lines that hold no deeper meaning beyond them. Whenever I came across a pretty phrase I recorded it, and now I have a book filled with sparkling shells and gold dust. That was where I was geared towards growing up, head clouded with books swimming in superficial shine. At that point I believed that I could refer to my Book of Beautiful Descriptions when I wanted to write about anything like that, but I never truly went back to it.

My teacher encouraged me to join a writing competition when I was 12, and I wrote some sort of mystery story that seems absolutely childish now, but I was absolutely proud of then. My story eventually got compiled into a booklet of selected stories from the competition. I think that was the beginning when I started to gain a little confidence in writing, and my interest expanded.

iii.

It’s very easy for education to overtake your interests, especially in an education-oriented society like Singapore. I wrote in a personal diary, but besides that I don’t remember doing much writing in early secondary school. But every year, Literature students would be forced to write poems for Valentine’s Day (the poem constituted part of our grade as well). Although I found it burdensome to be forced to write poetry, I gradually (and unexpectedly) found out that I enjoyed doing it. That was when I started trying my hand at some bad poetry, and I grew to like the process more and more.

iv.

I really take to writing to express my feelings and record my experiences nowadays. For most of my life I’ve been living in a closed bubble, but last year I took part in a writing programme that really opened me up to a world of writing: an uninterrupted 5 days of workshops and sharing sessions with experienced local writers. I met many, many like-minded individuals who know so much about what they enjoy doing and that is really uplifting and inspiring.

No matter what happens, I can always turn to writing to make sense of myself- that’s one of the most heartening things.

pockets of peace

lone drowsy soul wandering the third floor

passing quiet staff cubbies suffused with currents of caffeine

they inspire energy in soporific late afternoons when i would much rather be

tucked away in slumber

soft, kind sunlight illuminates deep green and off-white,

gentle on the eyes

looming compound washed over with a tranquil tenderness

hushed bodies lightly droop over stress-free work in a

mutual, beautiful silence

winds ripple through the school, moving tall grasses and glowing leaves

but the people are unmoved and unperturbed

in their own states of stasis; little pockets of peace

natural-born

intelligence in our society is

cultivated like a crop

seedlings do not grow in pure earth

instead forced to

thrive in soils drowning in fertiliser (the more up-market ones)

tweaked and clipped and twisted and sheared until

they produce luscious red fruit

with seeds more poisonous than pesticides

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