some things about some of the poems I have put up:
Almost Like Kissing:
One saving grace of my junior college in Singapore was that I signed up for this Overseas Community Involvement Project. The idea was to send a lot of 17 year olds to a nearby country that was poorer than Singapoer to involve them in ‘improving’ a community there so they could rack up a lot of hours of community service and put it on their CV and get into a good university. That, and it was also a requirement to fulfil X no. of hours in order to graduate from junior college.
Anyway, I went on this trip with 30 people of varying levels of cynicism (but probably not as much as they have now!) and we went to stay with an indigenous Iban community in a village called Rumah Lulut in Sarawak, a state in Malaysia on the island of Borneo. Ibans are the largest indigenous group in Sarawak, and many now live in the cities, or are moving to the cities. Amidst some confusion and language barriers, we made friends with the people, got fed a lot of catfish and rice wine, and everyone was crying on the last day. The villagers collected snails from the river nearby (Sungei Rejang) and taught us how to eat them. They really did describe as kissing.
I wrote this poem some 4 years later after living in America. It has something to do with the wtf-ness of trying to capture and distill your experiences in ‘exotic’ places. The cool thing is, we still kind of keep in touch with the one guy from the village who spoke fluent English, who went on to work on an ship in the North Sea. In summer 2010, we got an email from him that said the village had been burnt down by some ‘sick crazy’ guy. I don’t know exactly what the details are, but I do know Sarawak state government is steadily buying up more and more indigenous land for ‘development’ purposes.
Basically, strangest 45 minutes of your life between Tottenham Court Road and Green Lanes. There is something about public transport that equalizes people. The other day I saw a man in a business suit passing on his Anthony Robbins book to a more simply-dressed woman next to him, who seemed very excited to read it. He told her, don’t trust everything it says. Then he asked her if she’s seen Shallow Hal. But that was on the tube, not the 29.
The Hokkien Mee Poem
To those who don’t know what Hokkien Mee is, I feel sorry for you. For those of you who do and have taken more than two pictures of Hokkien Mee in your life and put them on your facebook, alongside everything else you have eaten since the digital camera was invented, I feel even sorrier for you. Kind of a long ranty eye-roll at Singaporeans who are obsessed with food (yes I know someone called it our National Pasttime but they were being ironic! Realise this!). I enjoy Hokkien Mee as much as the next person but I just don’t believe in being passionate about noodles at the expense of everything else. I performed this in a roomful of Resorts World employees but they were not offended at the idea of Resorts World being flooded.
LDN (you’ll know what I mean)
Wrote this as a sort of love/hate/meh letter to London en route to the Edinburgh Free Fringe, that ended up becoming the ending of the show. I imagined London to be some kind of gorgeous dysfunctional fuckbuddy with a thousand years of history/baggage it was not yet self-aware enough to own up to. Absolutely nothing to do with anything in real life. Also, I liked the idea Famous People leaving their mark on every street corner in London. Anyway, Pete the Temp liked this poem at the Edinburgh Fringe so he recorded it and you can hear it here on Indiefeed.