That’s Good Enough For Me

All I want to do 

Is hide in a corner

Fold my arms

And cry my essay away

Tears don’t come easy for me

I’m more of a 

yell-into-the-pillow sort

But if I could I would

Practice crying an ocean of an essay

Let it melt into a puddle

And jump

If you hear the odd sigh

Or the stray moan

Sometime for the next thirteen days

Don’t be too alarmed

They are simply

The groans of my heart

Creaking under its load

An essay is

A well crafted labyrinth

Where the easiest way out

Is mine, my way

And all the other ways

Are malleable enough to challenge

But taut enough to keep

Now I’m lost

In my maze

The threads too thin

So easily dashed

If you just lean a little

To the wayside 

It all comes apart

Into pieces

There is no clear way out

You kind of just forge one

By hacking through

This tangle of threads

Yet this man made jungle

Is just another grey cloud in the sky

There are other battles 

In another war 

Which demand more than tears

Whether they be

A little woven work of words

Or a large field of sowing, of reaping

I am not alone,

You are always with me

And that’s good enough

That’s good enough for me. 

A Most Extraordinary Man

We just lost one. We just lost one of the world’s most extraordinary men. And I don’t think we will see another like him.

Since Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s passing yesterday, there have been endless tributes, art works and stories going around on this one man’s life. Never have I seen my country so fervently passionate about recounting Mr Lee’s life, his contributions, his habits, words of wisdom and his love. For a country labelled as one of the most emotionless in the world, it was personally rather touching to witness all of this.

We had a memorial service today in school for Mr Lee. We watched a couple of montages and some speeches from the principal and the student head and the school’s provost. It was a surreal experience for me.

For one, I didn’t expect so many people to turn up. There were just throngs of people in black or semi-formal attire heading for the hall. In fact, too many people came such that we had to overflow into another lecture theatre for a live feed. There were teachers and students alike and I had to admit, I was surprised because I had the impression that this age group, the young adults, were the apathetic, cool kids kind. I didn’t think we were especially patriotic. But so many people came.

When the montages came on and they got to the part where Mr Lee wept over the separation of Singapore from Malaysia, you could hear audible sniffs around the hall. It’s surreal because this large, almost father figure could have such a personal impact on so many people. It’s surreal because he meant so much to so many. This man of action allowed his life to show his love and dedication for his country and his people. Now this country is mourning for him.

There have been so many more eloquent tributes about how great and how wise Mr Lee was, how Singapore would not be what she is today if not for him so I won’t repeat all of that.

Bottom line is: Yes, without Mr Lee, we wouldn’t be what we are today. I think that every Singaporean would know the truth of that.

I think Mr Lee is one of those extraordinary persons that comes around once every long while to do some life-changing business.

I just marvel at all the large hurdles he had to face. The water, the lack of resources, lack of land, lack of healthcare, basically everything needed a major overhaul. To take up this challenge is already a feat in itself.

I deeply admire the drive and passion Mr Lee has. If you ever watched his speeches, especially the early ones, you can see that he doesn’t bother to hide the fact that he wants the best for Singapore, he means to really improve society as a whole and he will do everything in his utmost power to get us there. That pure passion and fire never ever loses its austere even in the later parts of his life. He means business. He is absolutely serious about what he is talking about. He doesn’t bother mincing his words or sugarcoating anything. He had counted the cost of what it will take for us to move up and he presented them as the hard facts for us. He really meant to get things done and not just make these big empty promises to win elections.

I admire Mr Lee’s wisdom. I admire Mr Lee’s tenacity. As the Prime Minister of any country, a lot of the biggest, hardest decisions affecting a lot of people becomes your call. Sometimes, there is no clear cut, textbook right or wrong answer, or even a better or worse answer. Sometimes you have to make the most unpopular decisions now because it may benefit the country in the future. The thing is, no matter what decision you make, there will be the naysayers, the skeptics, the complainers and so on. You can’t please everybody and for the people you can’t please, you’ll get a lot of flak. It’s ok if the naysayers have constructive criticism, if they have legit concerns but even then, whatever decision you make, there will be people falling into the cracks. To make decisions where you know that it won’t benefit some people…that’s hard. Normal people wouldn’t want to be the ones calling such shots. They wouldn’t want to be blamed for the hardship of the people who get marginalised by certain decisions. It’s too big a responsibility to bear. But Mr Lee bore it. And he keeps at thinking up policies to benefit as many people as possible. He keeps going despite the flak. I’m sure I’d just throw in the towel if the people I’m slaving for criticise me all day long. He didn’t.

His single-mindedness to move us up is admirable. The absolute discipline with which he lives by is admirable.

Some people harp on some of the old policies he had which were unsuccessful/insensitive/unpopular and others gripe about how all the emotional posts circulating will only fund for more sympathy votes for the PAP and stuff.

To this, I say: We don’t credit Mr Lee with more than what he has done. What we respect and are grateful to him for aren’t made up. He did these things, gave us houses and transport and water. His actions speak for themselves. Neither do we gloss over or forget his lesser policies. But let me ask you, which other leader can make the mistakes Mr Lee made and still bring us to where we are? Or rather, which other leader didn’t make any mistakes and bring a country so far in 50 years? You answer me that.

Mr Lee is a human. He isn’t perfect. But for a human, he really did an enormous lot. He has given his best which I feel exceeds the best of most men. He gave a lot of people the best Singapore possible in 50 years.

So unless you can do a better job, shoo, you trolls. We are all properly fed and clothed and educated because of this man, ok. Some things are the way they are because this island geographically lacks a lot of things but I think Mr Lee made the best out of what we have.

Yes, we have areas we can work on as a country. Mr Lee and his generation did what they could. If we don’t like it, then we improve it.

Maybe I’ve over romanticised Mr Lee. But when I look around at how well I’m provided for, how safe my environment is, how far and fast we have come, I think my admiration is not unfounded.

I respect Mr Lee a great deal and I know there is the fine line of being grateful for what he has done and moving forward to meet the needs of a changing world. Mr Lee always told us to keep up with the rest. The man had foresight to bring us to where we are now. I fear that we won’t ever get such a wise and strong leader like him for a very long time, but from what I’ve seen today, and from that ridiculously long line spanning several kilometres where Singaporeans are queuing up to pay their last respects to Mr Lee, maybe Singaporeans will grow up to be just that little bit more like him now that he isn’t around, to stand on their own two feet and make a change instead of just complaining all the time.

It’s up to us now guys.

We have lost a most extraordinary man, and yet, hopefully, we haven’t lost him at all.

Muse

So my room mate said something surprisingly profound while I was griping about how my essay was not coming along. She said:

“Don’t ask me. I have many thoughts but no opinions.” 

That is all. 

Mindblown~

Oh well, as tragic as that sounds, it kind of describes me. Which explains my sticky essay situation. 

It’s not that I don’t have any opinions. It’s just that, as of now, I don’t have one about my text. 

Somebody give me a thesis on Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy already. 

A Kind of Quiet

What’s it called

When you feel like

Sinking to the bottom of the sea

Floating, suspended

With all that water around you

The sun playing lights, fairy lights

The moon silvering the cool, dark, deep

The whole world quiet

Save for the bubbles from your lips

Or just lying in the snow

Drifting down like a dream,

Stacking up in inches, then in feet

Burying you in fresh cold

Flakes of white, hiding you in plain sight

The whole world quiet

Save for the clouds you make so lightly with a breath

What of rolling down a mountain green

The sky gold, then inky, studded with hopes

Caressed by a warm summer breeze

Scented by the flowers, gentle friends

Lying by a gurgling stream, a lamb at your feet

The whole world quiet

Save for Nature’s own sweet song

Or simply taking flight

Up, up, into the sky

Not too high to feel lonely

Not too low to be seen

Just up, and a little further

The whole world quiet

Save for the voices below

Maybe a conductor of an orchestra

With your hands in the air,

Cautious then comfortable

then passionately driving

Not knowing where the music is going

And after it all ends,

When your heart’s still beating fast

The song echoing in the silence,

The glimpse of a lovely dream

Fading away,

You open your eyes,

In what feels like forever

To see that you’re

Right where you started.

Are there no words?

For feeling like a blank page?

Clean and pristine, brimming with potential

Or being the quiet in the ocean, or snow,

the middle of nowhere?

Where were my once beautiful thoughts

My many, many thoughts

So deep and wonderful to think of?

So deep and wonderful to think?

What am I without thoughts?

Can there be feelings without them?

Why so apathetic? Where’s that spark

the light and fire?

Where are you?

If this be the start

 some new beginning

where I need to be

nothing

then I shall be

I shall remain

A kind of quiet

Musical of the Moment: Jekyll and Hyde

I am in love and this is the object of my affection~~~~~~~~~~~

Jekyll and Hyde is an old story, one of the prescribed readings this semester but I read it last semester to do a comparison with Frankenstein. Lately, I Youtubed J&H because the lecturer was showing us the various transformations of Jekyll to Hyde and they were all the same: choking, gasping, the final transformation into this ape-looking grinning person with the big crooked teeth. And I was like “I’m sure there has to be a version where Hyde doesn’t look that bad.” I didn’t expect to find this version because while there were versions where Caliban was the hot one in plays like Tempest, the idea of appearance and inner character was the theme in J&H.

What Youtube threw up was even better than discovering a hot Hyde. I discovered J&H the musical ❤ ❤ ❤

I had to skim through it because I was supposed to be writing an essay on it and then I got…sidetracked… and stuff… but I liked what I skimmed. And that says a lot. Because I read that by a certain age, people’s musical influences kind of just cement and they aren’t as open to new influences anymore. But I was so into this, the music, it’s amazing. To find something new that I like so strongly. Perhaps it was because the music sounded very much like the music I already liked, typical Les Mis, Phantom stuff, but still.

Well, I have to admit that I’m a softie for anything with the large Victorian dresses and sets and speech. They adapted the story for the stage though, and I completely understand. You couldn’t possibly do a direct word-for-word from book to stage. Too much inner psyche. Can you imagine the soliloquies Jekyll would have had to do?

So while the focus of the story was still on appearances and characters, reputations and facades, there was a new element in the story: the love element. Don’t call me sappy just yet. At first, I was skeptical. I thought that love elements would weaken this story. After all, the fact that there was no prominent woman figure in the book was one of those glaring factors that might fuel literary essays. But it worked out very well, I think. For one thing, some of my favourite songs came from the love duets and the ballads. Having the love interests added this emotional, sentimental element into the story and songs that couldn’t otherwise have been achieved. It made Jekyll seem like he had a social life, that he cared for people besides himself.

Continue reading “Musical of the Moment: Jekyll and Hyde”

Thoughts from the Tank

Yawn. Ooo it’s cold. I see the light coming in. (twitches) Is it day yet? (stretches neck lazily out of shell and blinks) Ah, almost. (rests head outside of shell) Good. Hope they will change the water soon. (eyes the dusky water) Ugh, it smells.

I wonder about these humans sometimes. They’re so much more complicated to understand compared to the others, the ants or the lizards. (sluggishly shifts into another corner) I like the lizards.

There is one word that all the humans say though, when they come around my little pond. It’s funny. I don’t quite know what it means. They say it differently that I think it must mean different things but it’s the same sound anyhow.

Oh, it isn’t day. It’s only the house sun. It’s strange and cool. It comes on whenever the people flick a switch. Preposterous! If the plants knew, the people would never hear the end of it. Honestly. Ridiculous.

Ohh this is too bright. (retracts back into shell) Oh someone is coming in. (listens intently in dark shell) I think he’s friendly. (Peeks from shell. Spies a pair of black socks walking over)

Oh, it’s Black Socks! (Excitedly scrambles to the plastic wall and claws) Black Socks, Black Socks! (Clatters and claws the plastic wall)

(Black Socks pads over and booms) “Hello, Jerry! Hungry aren’t you?” (Lid clunks open and a stream of pellets fall into the water)

Black Socks doesn’t always feed me but he feeds. (chews on a food pellet) The water is taking out the flavour of these. (Chews some more) Ugh. (Lets a little bit go astray) Anyway, that’s the funny word. Jerry. What’s it mean?

Oh, ok ok, now the real sun is coming in. Where’s Hands? (splashes in water) Ugh, my water!

(A pair of hands lift the lid off the tank and picks it up) Eeek! It’s Hands! (retracts its limbs and head into the shell until it is settled) Oooh, I’m in Red now. (explores the dry red plastic pail) Hands is scary. But Hands treats me nice. After Hands brings me into Red and then back into my private pond, the water is all nice and clean. Then she’ll feed me pellets too! (Scratches the red pail contentedly) Here she comes!

(The hands lift it from the pail into the newly cleaned tank) Oohh… flight always makes me queasy. (stretches out and notices the water) Clean water! (splashes happily) Where’s the food? (Pellets stream in. Lid clunks shut) Yay food! Om nom nom. It’s funny. I like Hands the best but she never says the word.

Bored bored bored bored BORED. I think I’m going to have a go at my freedom by attempting to climb out of my little plastic pond. (Scratches and claws determinedly at the lid. Falls. Tries again.) 

“Jerry! Be Quiet!”

(clunks to the plastic floor and stops) It’s that Voice that comes from nowhere. Much higher pitched than Black Socks, and very pertinent. (Sulks in the water) You see how she said the strange word? What’s it mean?

(paddles) I think she’s gone away. (peeps cautiously) Freedom! (Claws the lid with renewed vigour and manages to pop the lid open) Oh my gosh, it’s happening, it’s really happening! (wrestles to get the front claws out of tank) Oh, the air up here is so beautiful! I could cry.

“Eww, Jerry!”

Oh, no no no. It’s Fingers! (Shrinks back as fingers reach to push it back in) Why does Fingers always come when I try to escape??? (Stubbornly tries to stay out of the tank) Go away, Fingers! Go play your piano or something and make yourself useful!

“Ugh, Jerry’s not going back in!” (Fingers wave frantically to shoo it in) “Do something!”

Egad, it’s Brother Fingers! (shrinks back from another set of fingers. It reluctantly clunks to the floor, defeated.)

“There. Stay there, Jerry!” (Brother Fingers flips the lid shut. Fingers secure its lock) 

Ugh, humans. Ugly, strange creatures. (Retreats into a corner) Always chanting the same meaningless sounds around. What is a Jerry? (Makes ripples with an overgrown claw) 

They say it so often and it means so many things…a Jerry must be very very important.

(Retracts its limbs and head into the its shell tiredly) 

Maybe I am Jerry. Hahaha. (Yawns) Ha. (sleeps)

Continue reading “Thoughts from the Tank”