Yes, that’s my name today.
No, I’m actually older than that, sorry.
Closer to 700. No, not 51.
Yes, thank you, I know it’s a new look.
No, it isn’t a new dress. I borrowed it from someone else.
Yes, but then we split.
No, but it wasn’t my decision.
Spilt milk, and all that.
Some crying man.
Yes, then they came. Then they stripped me, and sliced my quiet hills apart. Then I was flat like a runway, they said I had no assets. Then they dotted me red and gave me my name today.
Yes, then they Went. Then they put their concrete into me, and they just kept coming. The germs sprung into seeds sprung into great erect towers that gleamed that glowed that bubbled into glass and dreams. They ripped off my attap and called it tomorrow and they couldn’t hear the laments because their machines were too loud. Their sharp machines their great cranes fierce beaks they cut and dug until I bled clay crimson every month and then they sang, Prosperity and Progress for our Nation.
Yes, then they Arrived. Then they ripped the tongues out from my small gods and declared, THOU SHALT NOT. Then they cut the hair of the men, so only the crying man had any strength left in him, virile father of the nation. Then they made songs and sang a river, and said that I am home. Then they say they will rip my green lungs out now and ram in a cold screaming iron tube and this time they will sing: Majulah.
That’s not my name,
No, I don’t miss him at all.
I don’t know.
Thank you very much.
A poem made up only of answers. In light of the preposterous mistakes made in local media today about our presidencies, I thought I wanted to share a poem about the Singaporean past. I thought the ideas and images here would be just as resonant in yet another period of national mourning, for another man at the top, who now passes from man into mythos.