Poetry, Politics

our empty shelves

Last Friday on the way home from work
I stopped by a supermarket to buy a bag of rice.
The usual 2.5kg. We’d run out at home.
So had the supermarket, almost.

Spent the next hour in a snaking queue
surrounded by other snaking trolleys
piled with canned food, sacked rice, disinfectant,
dragged by smiling smug masks.

On my left trundled four hundred dollars
of instant noodles and toilet paper.
Two and a half kilograms in my hands felt
empty. I contemplated going back to snag
another bag.

Empty was not just the shelves,
hoarding just because we can.
We should be ashamed of ourselves,
what it means to be Singaporean?

(pictures taken at Khatib Central NTUC, 8pm on Sunday, 9 Feb 2020)

Last Friday, after the Singapore Govt announced the move to a higher level of alert, DORSCON Orange, in response to the community spread of the novel coronavirus in Singapore, there was widespread panic buying of daily essentials at the supermarkets.

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