Friday, March 24, 2006

Cassia* blooms on the sidewalk

I lift my head, and look for
A falling foot;

My own strike the ground,
Grinding the ochre petals

Deeper into the concrete;
Delicate tissues and its crisp collapse! --

Putrid bruises will grow
Where my sole has rested;

But the expanse of wallpapered ground,
Of crushed blossoms too tense,

Stretches ahead and behind,
I am putrified.

I lift my head, and look for
The falling foot.

*Cassias are the trees that line the sidewalks of my housing estate, just so you know.

Right, that's the first thing I've seriously written in a long time since what, last September. Comments please - how is it, do you like it, or more importantly, do you get it? Because if you don't, then I'll quickly file it into the Bad, Embarrassing and Juvenile Poetry folder that if you must know, is quite bloated.

I think the problem is that I take myself too seriously.

Also a note to self: Must take care against reading too much Plath - her poetry fills my head with too weird imagery and discordent rhythms that leave me very unsettled.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Talking with Anisha and Zara today, and quite suddenly in the meanderings of the conversation, I realized that I really am quite angry, or frustrated, with rich people!

To be more specific, rich people who are hogging scholarships for the prestige.

Now I do realize that typing this on my three-month old laptop, this rant might stain a little of hypocrisy since I am no street urchin so to speak, but hear me out nonetheless. The thing is, and I am saying this out with no real figures but a good and strong general hunch of things, is that a lot of people out there who are getting the overseas scholarships are quite well off. A good portion of them I think, could have their daddy pay for their 4 years abroad without much financial burden. In other words, they don't quite need the scholarship, which might lead us to the conclusion that they do so for the Prestige.

Not exactly a revolutionary realization, I know. In Singapore after all, we do a lot for prestige. But I'm not quite sure you understand yet why I am so pissed.

What this means, is that the scholarship goes to a remarkably bright person who has had expensive tuition/enrichment classes for the whole of his life to go to a prestigious overseas universities that his parents could have paid for anyway. This then means, that out there, are a group of people who academically not as brilliant, but honestly REALLY cannot afford overseas education because the money has gone to someone who could and would have gone anyway sans scholarship!

Has it not occured to the scholarship giving organizations that the reason perhaps why there is an increasing rate of people breaking their bonds is because they are giving it to people who a) are rich enough to afford breaking their bond without being declared bankrupt for the say, 70 years of their entire life and, b) that therefore, hey, maybe they don't really NEED the scholarship after all?

I am not saying that the rich clever people do not deserve the scholarship because granted (haha!), they are academically brilliant, and I hope that you are not inferring from the direction this entry is going that I would like our education system to celebrate mediocrity, because I'm not.

What I think I'm saying is that the people who have been born financially advantaged, should maybe give some thought to those who aren't. Give them, or perhaps, what I'm trying to avoid saying is that, give me a chance okay because my parents can't afford to send me overseas and I wish people who don't need scholarships will stop hogging them. Ironically laughable how I'm preaching against selfishness when part of my motivation stems from the thought of self.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

It was odd how suddenly this afternoon the whitewash of clouds descended down, smothering us in thick humidity and it was as if the clouds had swallowed all the air, almost.

Does anyone else think that the DNA-double-helix inspired bridge that will be constructed across the Singapore River looks more like a rope barricading the island's citizens from god knows what? Then again, we can't tell which side of the zoo cage we are on and I suppose anything is a psychiatrist's ink splot to be interpreted by the individual. Art does not mirror life, it mirrors the spectator; how very true, my dear Mr. Wilde.

I don't have much to say today, and am only stubbornly typing because I am sick of essays including the document that is waiting for me in the other window. I am quite tired of school in that I am tired of the work - I am bored. So much so that I am even looking forward to tomorrow's P.E physical conditioning session because my brain, being inactive then, will not be bored. On a side note, am getting marginally better at softball in that more often than not, I can catch it. Batting however, is another issue entirely although I am glad to say that it is an issue that I share with most of the class.

Strange thing is, I do have many things to say to certain people, except that I haven't seen said people in quite a while or even if I have, or will, somehow I never do end up talking about it so it's all swirling in my mind and sometimes on bus rides home, I have entire conversations with said people by myself. It is at once, a most gratifying and unsatisfying exercise.

I just found ants inside my empty packet of Snek Perisa Udang (read: terribly tasty and nutritionless prawn flavoured flour sticks). I think they'll die of MSG poisoning.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Has anyone ever considered that maybe a contributing reason why Islam is recently prone to being the baseground for shooting off wayward terrorists is that because our religion doesn't have a concrete, physical, human representative of the religion?

Right, I was flipping through some library books the other day when I came across a few things Aldous Huxley had to say about religion. Paraphrasing this almost verbatim here: Huxley sees the Christian doctrine of the Trinity from a naturalistic perspective. That the -

"God the Father represents the forces of nonhuman nature,
God the Holy Ghost symbolizes the ideals towards which human beings at their best are striving, and
God the Son personifies human nature as it actually exists – bridging the gulf between the other two by channeling natural forces into the pursuit of ideals."

Now in a sense, all religions we can safely generalize, embody the first two values. But Islam, apart from the vague effigy of the Prophet, lacks the human bridge needed to really connect the abstract concepts of religion and faith to the common man. Other people have huge statues of Jesus, Buddha and innumerable Hindu deities, and as some ignorant people would think, what do we have - a cube?

When you pray, let me ask, at the back of your mind, do you envision the physical representation of your own god? Sort of, right - hard not to when the visual image of the hanging body of Christ or the serenity of the Buddha has been emblazoned into your mind. Visual images are very underrated things, and are more influential in our psyche than people think. Transcending words, symbolism is the very core of our primal human selves. But when I pray, well, I honestly can't think of anything. Vaguely, I envision goodwill, but how in the world - it's just so vague!

Without that physical link that humans evidently need, I think it is easier for us to have difficulty in anchoring down the abstract concepts and sometimes, I think the wayward ones find their physical bridge so to speak, from charismatic but twisted extremist leaders. Simply because the leaders provide the certainty and answers that we all have difficulty in determining by ourselves.

So maybe that's why we have bomb-strapped people running around exploding themselves in the name of God - because the picture of God in their head has been completely warped.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

So walking to the bus stop on the way to school this morning, I came across a truck unloading its cargo at our friendly neighbourhood NTUC. The bright and cheery logo painted on the side of the truck proclaimed itself to be an emmisary from Lucky Chicken.

"Well, that's very cute," I thought, before noticing that the uncles were unloading boxes and boxes of chicken breasts that were - I kid you not - glistening in their shrink-wrap packaging under the orange soda street lamps. All I can think of is: "The poor chickens - they think they're lucky. But they are so not."

In fact, a lucky chicken I would think, would be the free-ranging kind, away from the coops and geez, the person who named the firm must have some very odd sense of humour. I would like to meet him. Nevertheless, free-ranging chickens! They have wild chickens in the residential barracks/cottages of Seletar Air Base, and saw them flying around the last time I visited my ex-neighbour. Yes, chickens do fly! They fly for about a 100 m or so, 5m of the ground before landing in somebody else's backyard to poke around the compost heap that..may have remains of yesterday's poultry-based dinner.

O what a twisted world we live in!

But it makes me giggle.

Right, if you are wondering why I am in such an odd mood, it is possible that it is because a) I'm having my Common Tests and am quite certain that They will finally know that I have only be surviving through a series of flukes and then they will realize that I am not clever after all and then the world will end, and b) I got my Malay AO results today, and it is the epitome of mediocrity so am mildly disappointed and mildly apprehensive about telling the parents.

It was rather entertaining though, having the seniors come back to school today and seeing them all dressed up. I would just like to take this oppurtunity to state down, concretely, some things that I promise – on pain of death – that I will not do:

I will not, after the A Levels, consider it mandatory, or neccesary, or even in good taste, to suddenly take the release from JC as the green light to plant myself in some hairdresser’s chair and impose on my head some odd, trying-to-be-funky-but-failing-miserably haircut and colour. All I want to say is: Why? It looks awful, is quite cheesy and predictable by now, and to me personally, reeks a little of a sad desperation to rebel and be oh I don’t know, wilder than the two years being constrained in a Blu-Tack coloured uniform. I think it’s okay and great to for something new, and most importantly, something that looks good, but it seems that not many people are aware of this.

Fortunately, among the sea of botak-head guys in small baseball caps in jeans/berms/indiscernible bottoms, there was this one whom I would like to applaud for his remarkably sensitive awareness of colour schemes. He had on a striped multi-toned red shirt – which I always found to be a tad overused, but he worked it. And light blue jeans with a buckled belt – a denim wash that I dislike and a style I always thought to be a little to brash, but he worked it. And get this, CREAM loafers.

You don’t get 19 year old guys wearing cream loafers anymore!

And think about it: red, blue and cream – which in my mind, is quite a dodgy colour combination but he got it to work! Enough for me to overlook the fact that his shoes were a tad too pointy and his bag was yellow which absolutely did not go but kindly, I will ignore this since it was slung to the back so all I saw was a brown leather strap, which is okay, yes, what yellow bag? Sartorially impressive.

Oh so many botak-heads today, and I am detachedly amused by the caps that they are all don on their newly-shaven pate. I don’t know why they still wear the caps, its not that I can’t tell they’ve been shorn, and the caps don’t look good and I have as of yet to see a newly-shorn person and end up screaming in fear: “OH MY GOD you are ugly now get away from me!”

In fact, I am more likely to say, “Your hat is too small for your head.”