Poetry, Politics

View from across the causeway

Race-based politics,
State-controlled press.
Gerrymandered elections,
Freedom-rights-liberty supressed.

They say one man is an assembly,
One man – an illegal procession.
Because one man is all they need
To teach everybody a lesson.

A lesson we have learnt so well,
Lessons we’ve taken to heart:
Our hands, minds, wills we’d sell
To keep our little part

Of paradise. A garden city:
An Eden in the East,
Disneyland with the death penalty
And snakes in the grass beneath.

Note77_0(2)

Picture credit:
(top) Straits Times, Nov 19, “MRT incidents like Joo Koon collision should not have happened; we must put things right: PM Lee”
(bottom) V for Vendetta, Warner Bros. Pictures, taken from Nerdist, Matthew Hart, “V for Vendetta is the perfect story for our current political climate”

 

Background

Living in Singapore is a really surreal experience.

Every time I return from a trip abroad, especially if it has been a long trip, I feel as if at the terminal of Changi Airport, I re-enter a bubble, a portal to another dimension.

Where everything is smooth, from the glide of the escalators to the flush of the toilets.

Efficient, like the five seconds it takes me to clear immigration through automated gates, the ten minutes it takes Changi Airport to send my bags from plane to baggage claim and the five more minutes it takes me to get to the head of the taxi queue.

Manicured grass verges, pristine flyovers, smooth traffic, shiny buildings all laid out in a row. Everything works here.

But all of this comes at a cost. A cost that enough people have been willing to pay out of ignorance, fear, apathy and self-interest.

And that is how everything works here.

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