damn good way to clear entries and shift them down the page.
my fault?
hey. i'm less experimental these days,
Anyone looking for a book to write should try "Seven habits of highly seductive people."
Would be nice to know.
Now and then, occasionally when friendship or conversation reaches that level where one feels it would actually be interesting to know about someone's beliefs, yet not good enough but to pose the questions in anything but the vaguest terms, comes the question, "Do you believe in fate?"

Actually, do you think it's possible to tell if someone believes in that from what they do? Well.

My well-rehearsed answer will now be: I guess, destiny means you can't really screw things up even if you tried. Not that you should go on being lazy, slothful or generally hateful but I guess it means that you may be all those in some stage of your life yet you're around to wake up when it matters?

Something like that. Actually, that was badly expressed. More generally, it means that very few things you do matter in life, but you never know which ones will.

What a bitch ain't it.


The bourgeoise ethic of hard work. Unfortunately it seems that bourgeoise is a bad word now. Okay actually hard work applies to the hoi polloi as well.

Preliminary Conclusion: Hard work is good. Hard work backs up good ideas.

Anyway. You can't escape nationalism or culturalism when it comes to poetry of a young country, not least a post-colonial one.
But slowly the focus is turning on the individual, and so society will continue to look inward. What is the country, then?

Today once more

Years ago, where that old Bedok road suddenly
Swung inland, I felt you breathe. Benedicting
Sunlight by the pillbox lit a quiet in which I heard
My heart's first cry. It grew into a circling eagle,
Whose thermal eye kept free our dome of blue.
Far below the tide rippled, turned and gripped
Removing sand from under where I stood. You
Held me citizen as I grew, wondering in awe,
What made darkness come at noon, or why sea-salt
Bitterness, and the wind's lamentations, can cleanse.

From there a tale of colony, war and occupation;
From here a past we made from careful politics
For better history, and bright embraceable evenings.

Hunting for a future leaves memories and images
Of crucial moments: gritty challenges which, for some,
Are high despair and doubt; a time to think of leaving.
Stay and be damn'd, or prosper in our fashion.
We re-arranged ourselves, besieged our hills, re-made
The contexts of our lives as we gardened city and island
Now petal, shade, octaves in the night, and young faces,
Shift the mood and margins of our hopes, our seasons.
Side by side, old and young split Merlion thoughts, giving
Reasons, while savouring those two durians by the bay.

Each generation has its songs and destinations that assert
A different destiny. Theirs more digital; keyboard-bound.
I learn, adapt; process words to stalk and refresh nostalgia.
Today, no smoke from burning half-dried wood to smudge
Our skyline's signature. Eyes tearful, not from fumes,
But the death of friends. Gopal and James now live in
That ever present past. So does Lim Boh Seng. I cross
The Padang as banzais echo again, rolling down city steps
as Coleman's demolished home haunts the new with gusto.
I taste the stalls in Hock Lam Street, feeling the chillies rise
as Ah Lau cuts his fruits. Foodcourts are less friendly.
Regret? Yes and no. All is still here, as I pass the latest Bedok,
Knowing epiphany, tide and crab are still a mile away.

Edwin Thumboo.


And here it is.

"And here, here it is. This is where I make wrong things right."
"Look, Mother, I make all things new!"

hahahahahaha. you know. i'll cry over the littlest things, but it's as if showing them will just vindicate everything that's wrong about it.

a few starters. i don't mean to always try to fudge things and make them sound less important than they seem nowadays, but you understand it. i mean, i can take it even if you say stupid things about me, i mean, i can't, because it damn well affects me, , or even if i say stupid things by myself, but there is a distinct difference to the world. like i'm some cheap moronic bastard that only cares about my immediate welfare over the next 24 hours.

1. Condoleeza Rice. I am not a supporter of the Bush administration, but I must say Ms Rice's performance while being grilled over security lapses sounds like politics, but you should have seen how stoic and steady she was, assuredly defending herself and her administration, when Bush just as well left her to the dogs. Point 1. Take the good and learn.

2. Bill Clinton. The bastard lied about his affair. "No, I never had sexual relations with that woman." Amidst the maelstorm, he did conduct his daily duties with consumnate professionalism and one thing I have learnt from him is if you're in the wrong, just shut up. That moment where he just stood still and stared differentiated him from someone who would grovel to save his own character from phillistines who would never get it. yes he cheated on his wife. Point 2. Take the good and learn.

3. Ted Hughes. There's a movie now that ends with Plath dying. Plath, who wrote little vignettes, sonnets and aubades as a child, was the typical whirlwind, flying into life and love in a typically haphazard pattern. (she bit hughes the first time they met.) and Hughes saw in her, at least, a precocious intellect, and himself he was rather accomplished. then he cheated on her and she lapsed from misery to misery, ending her palpitating life inhaling oven gas in the dreary london clime, having made sure to put towels in the doors protect young Frieda and Nicholas. And all the feminists were up in arms, pillorying Hughes as the traditional male infidel, unfaithful, self-centered. Yet who consumed who. He dealt with it in most metaphorical terms, if not avoiding it altogether. Before he died, he managed to get "Birthday Letters" out, a loving record of responses to Plath's own poems, and also leaving one for his dignity (he couldn't really stand it anymore you see.). It was, "They have fed your mother to the dogs." Damn right they have.

4. Oh and Dogville when Vera started throwing the glass figures one by one. "If you can demonstrate stoicism to me, perhaps I'll just stop at 2". And oh how she tried.

4. Jesus Christ, drawing a line in the sand.

It's all this. That dignity can resist hurt just a little. That by being stupidly proud and quiet, you keep whatever you have left in reserve, someday, for the right people. There are always people. Being a cynic, you would say purity and innocence are that. Not really, it's there, just that often the well doesn't run deep enough for grace float away from hurt.

You see, nobody has to understand. It would be nice to have it, but you have no right to demand it.


As Michelle was complaining about needing a niche yesterday i didn't realise how i'd already rather thought through this issue somehow before and instead i was concentrating on what rhymed with niche. quiche, wish, fish.

but it came back to me, but first things first, the choir concert. i think i will continue this tomorrow have a run to sleep for.


Warning: Spoiler and eulogic praise again. Do not read if you hate hype.

Dogville dies in dramatic denouement. Gosh I love this film. I had to break it up in parts but it was heart-rending at time, and "fuck you" and cathartically satisfying at others, though morally it leads to a dead-end. It's really great cause it's so original, which many films try to be but by some stroke of luck this pulls it off because it isn't original for the sake of being original. like ermm, yes... stylistically it varies but it has this sense of tradition and gravitas and it has the dramatic elements of a good old fashioned story, which is what most likable things are about. characters and story. can't wait for the rest von Trier's so-called "american trilogy"

the slide show at the end is genius too imho.


Dogville part 2

where the little wispy dandelion seeds drift upon the stage on the 4th of July.

and the love scene between Ben and Grace occurs.


"The beautiful fugitive's name was Grace."

"Tom really was enchanted by this beautiful, mysterious creature."

"I think Miss Laura is something like what Ovid would call a Maenad."

I find Dogville lovely. It isn't minimalist crap. Well it's an interesting play and a nice original idea. The acting was solid, the narrator infused the film with a healthy sense of authority. May sound stupid putting a play on film but how many people can watch a play? 2-300? Movies give you thousands.

It's clever and not doesn't go out of its way to be deliberately obscurantist cum controversial (think IRREVERSIBLE). Will wait for Kill Bill 2 now.


had dinner with ms drama incarnate and my ct tutor.

ms drama incarnate did show off her complete repertoire, up right to punctuating conversation with loud bouts of laughter, drawing the attention from neigbouring tables. having established her credentials and the fact that she was not butch, did much to assuage me. she should go into theatre, though that's a sore point with her, so i guess its economics and gasp she may even be my senior.

and of course, friendly bio tutor ms wong makes a perfect foil to her cause she's sort of the more reserved, but she too is more than capable of manipulating things behind the scenes. what was notable was that i sold my dinner to someone else because i didn't feel like eating it when it arrived, which meant i couldn't replenish nutrients lost on gym.

really, days are just so much different from nights.
I think what was whispered at the end of lost in translation was something like this

"just remember to tell the truth, okay", "okay."

at least that was the audible part, you can infer what was inaudible before, probably something like "you can write about this, or tell your children about it or whatever."

okay i heard "tell the truth" on the dvd, maybe even "just remember" is variable.
Pange lingua gloriosi
Corporis mysterium,
Sanguinisque pretiosi,
Quem in mundi pretium
Fructus ventris generosi,
Rex effudit gentium.

Nobis datus, nobis natus
Ex intacta Virgine
Et in mundo conversatus,
Sparso verbi semine,
Sui moras incolatus
Miro clausit ordine.

In supremae nocte cenae
Recum bens cum fratribus,
Observata lege plene
Cibis in legalibus,
Cibum turbae duodenae
Se dat suis manibus

Verbum caro, panem verum
Verbo carnem efficit:
Fitque sanguis Christi merum,
Et si sensus deficit,
Ad firmandum cor sincerum
Sola fides sufficit.

Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et iubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.


Thomas Aquinas


a meditation

"Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world."

to be awoken at such an hour, sometimes i feel is a tremendous blessing. just when life starts to sink into tepid routine, and sleep is the easier way out, an insomniac, respecting no clock whatsoever, comes a calling.

and you listen and you weep. sometimes you feel so woefully inadequate. sometimes you feel maybe this is your calling, that if you were just to do one thing in your life it would be this.

searching over shared regrets, you find yours. and for someone who knows me, i am a person who very much has regret in my vocabulary. many people live life without regrets, but that's just a fantastically absurd play on the meaning of the word regret. failure is regret, no matter how much you've learnt from it, or tried to make up for it. "you know there's no success like failure, well then, failure's no success at all".

and for someone who knows me, they also know why i am writing like this. it is hard to believe two people can feel the same, because it is so difficult to find someone so compatible with you. but if we are but experiences aggregated make man, then i guess experiences, emotions can easily transcend corporeal barriers and that is the spirit. "walking around in someone elses skin". that is the language we understand.

you have gone through so much, and i respect you for the profound bravery with which you face things. you indulge me with so many truths, "quid est veritas?" , that in your grief you probably illumine others. i am being elegiac, and as you ask of yourself "have i gone through much. have i lost an arm, a leg?" you have. i can say that i know what you feel. even a baby knows sadness, having gone through nothing particularly much at all. and there are specific instances where i have felt what you have felt, and so i try to empathise.

we are less than perfect. maybe we have established that long ago but we emphasize it again. you envy me because i have not burned my bridges, made enemies or anything, and you have. but i call to mind the penitential rite, where we ask mary to forgive us, "for what we have done, and what we have failed to do. and i ask blessed mary ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God". and you begin to realise the extent of our failings, that we need so many people to pray for us. unbelievers all, looking for a home.

i have failed many and i am sorry. if i could think of one reason why i am so ineffective it is because sometimes i worry too much with guilt. less nowadays but you have just reminded me.

and i have suffered too. in this way. watching, commiserating. i hurt myself when i misread the careless actions of others. in this consolation i dwell. knowing i could die because i understand a little. hoping to change little by little so that some day i can bring up a good daughter, or son, or something. I know I am shifting already, but there is still plenty of growing to do.

when you asked me to pray for you i was aware of how little i have actually prayed for myself. i have never been religious, but as i understand where personal limits stop, and institutions start, i do begin to accept why for one we have to have common terms of reference and a coming together.

it is inadequate. we share in our yearning. i hope for the best for you, and it's not going to be a fairy tale, but the best of your life lies ahead, and i thank you for being there. i hope you never read this, because it is better that you know what you do know, the simple things, and though hopefully there will be fewer nights like this, we know life will always throw us lemons.

i have some words for myself but i don't remember them. and it was thus that i wished to end this night.

goodnight and tomorrow.



Why the hell did you sail away
to leave poor Dido on her pyre?
What temptations have overcome you
I'll never trust you again, you bloody liar.

And so it went that hatred bred
festered, cocooned, metamorphosized, hatched
turned into a raging monarch butterfly
flew half the world to find its home
and died.

you laid your roots down again
in some english speaking country
confusing taxonomists using the old
dichotomous keys, trying to classify you
by your roots, the only ones you had
were highlighted so your hair would look better
producing a daughter somewhere
on a scale of 1 to 10
an 8 or qualitatively,
which is simply being inaccurate quantitatively
residing somewhere between average and beautiful.

you'd never tell given how happy you were
concealing some urban sadness
save a bit more and we could consider
to upgrade to suburban madness

meantime back to your daughter
who had a businessman father
which meant she read more books than some girls her age
otherwise she was perfectly normal

dreaming of pixies and faeries and wands
opulent dances, rollicking balls
never really smiled much though
to the drooping mirror she looked sad

even through the windows of the taxi
the eyeballs of her primary school teacher
oh! how they misunderstood
your thinking look which curled into a frown

interspersed by deep throaty laughter and flashes of embarassed genius.
doola la doola ley. rim drim do dam dey.


If there's tragedy once, then there's tragedy twice
presaging death in clairvoyant eyes.
first i'm getting older too,
and secondly, so are you.

only your hubris redeems you,
that your cry could mean a million things
more formula, mashed prunes or a change of diapers
mathematical formulas, mashed hearts and a change of friends.

Are these your fingers that tickle my spine?
Because a two year old knows no strangers?
Only your mother knows
knows that tickling strangers is wrong.

Do your fingers roam as you lie supine?
Do you, age 20, try to get to know strangers?
Only this time your mother knows
knows avoiding strangers is wrong.

"Unwept, unfriended, without marriage song, I am led forth in my sorrow on this journey that can be delayed no more.
No longer hapless one, may I behold your day-star's sacred eye, but for my fate no tear is shed, no friend makes moan."

You dream of pictures I can only see, orate in tongues I can only understand, and I may never know more than that.

You have been cursed by Hecate
To see happiness and feel only envy
To look at love and feel only lust
And to do the minimum only when you must.
To smirk at other's goodwill
To laugh when they are ill.
To calculate and tabulate
loans at exorbitant interest rates
your idea of getting high
is sucking all your debtors dry

And the only way to lift the curse
is to try to put all others first
even if in the end that means
having only one pair of jeans.