love, Poetry, Politics

Moving parts

We make plans.

Enter into
………. contracts, marriages, mortgages.
Look up weather forecasts
………. for the week, the month, the year
when our city will be six feet
under water.

We make telescopes
………. to see stars already dead,
We read horoscopes
………. to see futures all ready made.
We have children
………. to see what cannot be said.

We make plans.



Singapore is really big on plans. We plan time and space ever so finely, trying to cater for every eventuality, cover every position, hedge every bet.

It’s something you see right from the moment you step out of the aerobridge at Changi Airport: a cold, clinical obsession with the best laid plans.

On the surface, it’s great – almost everything works and runs on time. On the rare (although slowly increasing) occasion when there are failures, it’s because (pesky, frail, human) humans didn’t stick to the plan.

We fancy we’ve gotten so good at planning that we even use a lack of planning as a reason to justify poverty and income inequality, (ironically, this article is behind a paywall as it is labelled by the Straits Times as a “Premium Story”).

There’s a timeline for everything, from birth to death, to keep the wheels turning. Keep up the pace and stick to the plan – you will have a reasonably safe existence.

But there is just one tiny, nagging little problem.

We make our plans based on the past prejudices, on what what has happened rather than what we want to happen. We make our plans on what we want to avoid rather than what we want to achieve. And in doing so, we make our future small.

Yet, enough of us are content to pace this treadmill, blinkers on, banking our futures on the past.


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