BURN

 

 

Thrown it in the sky,
Let the flames catch it,
Caress it, smoke it,
Let it burn,
Burn with all the pain it’s caused.

 

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Peace (My Royal Commonwealth Essay Competition Piece)

Today’s post is a little different. The result for The Royal Commonwealth Essay Competition were recently out so I decided to share with you guys my piece 🙂
P.s If you were wondering, I received a certificate of participation. 
P.s.s Thank you for supporting the poetryandproze.com and have a great week ahead! 🙂

In January 2015, my family and I had to leave Singapore, a country we had called home for 12 years. Although no official explanation was provided for refusing to renew our respective visas, the socio-political and economic atmosphere was telling. Not long after the 2008 financial crises, a significant number of locals started to complain about the worsening economic situations, from the depressed incomes to the decline in the availability of high-paying jobs, from the overcrowded public spaces to the perceived spike in crime rates. For all these, a growing number of people blamed the immigrants, and the government’s soft position on immigration. The results of subsequent elections were generally interpreted to be a rejection of relevant government policies. The government was quick to respond with corresponding change in policies.

While a government has the duty to listen and act on the wishes of its people, the ramifications of doing so, even though unintended, can be more than expected. The shift in government policies may be too sudden for families, especially the youth, such that they may experience psychological dislocation, including self-doubt and mental stress. With this essay, I speak for the numerous youths like myself who have been in similar situations and the many more who would, as governments across the world respond to the increasing denunciation of globalisation and the wave of populism. My take on Peace is that it is not just about the relation among the constituent parties within a Country, or among the individual Countries; but also about the emotional and mental calmness of the different peoples who call the country home.

Peace, in this sense, is often lacking if not ignored when individual governments enact their policies. In my experience, I faced the risk of overstaying and forceful deportation within the period of one month. I had to deal with the fact that I would not be able to complete my GCE ‘O’ level examinations. I felt that I was being abandoned by the country that I had called home all these years. She had expected me to suddenly undo all that I had been accustomed to in those 12 years, to untangle myself from our relationship, to bid farewell to the friends that I had made and to instantaneously separate the part of her culture that had become intertwined with mine. Most importantly, she had left me in a dark cloud of uncertainty for the future.

Unfortunately, my experience is one of many. In fact, I am considered one of the lucky ones as I have managed to move on given other opportunities elsewhere even though it still brings back tears whenever I think about it. The same however, may not be said about others. Some youths are undocumented in the countries that they call home, thereby facing the constant threat of dislocation. Some had ran away from their motherland with their parents in fear of prosecution. Others had to brave the high seas because home had become a battlefield. For those who fall under the above categories, the threat of or actual dislocation is a much larger and longer crisis.

Across the world today, there is an increasing desire for stricter immigration regulations. Whatever adjective we may use to describe it or whatever name we call it, be it ‘Brexit’ or ‘Make America Great Again’, this country-first sentiments devalue globalisation and create tension in many parts of the world. Despite the numerous outcries against populism as a political rhetoric, there is still an increase in the immoral political campaigning and the religious discrimination it motivates. There has been a spike in the alleged cases of discrimination and targeted-attacks against people who are perceived to be different thereby creating a constant atmosphere of fear for personal safety.

Britain’s apparent exit from the European Union, a decision made primarily because of her desire to take back full control of her borders, is creating a cloud of uncertainty for the youths of European citizenship living in Britain. They are in a complex situation because they aren’t sure what exactly the outcome of Britain’s negotiations with the European Union shall be. However, the possibility of not having their student visas renewed and of having to pack up and leave Britain is very real.

Recently, in the United States, with the excuse of keeping borders safe and with just the stroke of a pen, youths, who had been hoping and praying that their grandparents from war-torn countries could join them safely in America, were overwhelmed by the fear that it would not be so. Even as, youths from some Muslim-majority countries under the travel ban were filled with the nerve-racking fear of having to return to their war torn or politically unstable countries.

In conclusion, governments need to understand that their policies could have serious ramifications such as psychological dislocation, self-doubt, constant fear and mental stress on youths especially, foreigners who call the country home. Hence, it is crucial that individual governments ensure that a voice is given to the youths that their policies could affect before they consider a policy change. In turn, we as youths have a part to play by making the effort to have our voices heard. By a collective effort of not only the commonwealth, but the rest of the world, we can bring about lasting peace!

Deeper Than A Lifetime

In response to “The Knife” by Keith Douglas

Keith Douglas describes his poems as “extrospective” meaning that they are focused on external impressions rather than inner emotions. I believe, “The Knife” does not fall into that category and thus intrigues me the most out of all his poems. I would describe “The Knife” as a love poem; a love poem written in the midst of war at the point where dead was most evident. Hence, I believe it is one of the most sincere love poems that could be written. Although it is a love poem, its title is a word associated with danger, hurt and death for which I believe the poem was written for Ying Cheng. Ying Cheng also known as Betty Sze was an elegant Chinese lady who dated Keith during his university days. Unfortunately, her love for Keith was not as deep as his and thus the refusal of his proposal which lead to her being the unrequited love in Keith’s life. “Deeper than a Lifetime” aims to give Keith a second chance at a love that seemed so pure, to tell Betty all the things he wished he did and how differently he would have done things.

 

Dear Betty,

To turn back time and make my choices again,

I wish I could say that I would do everything exactly the same,

But unrequited love is only less painful when compared to once-requited love.

I wouldn’t have loved you as hard.

I wouldn’t have dived into the deep end of the pool just like that.

I would have tried much harder, with more suave to make you fall at your knees for me and my love.

I would have made you shed the sophisticated coat you wore whenever you met me,

The one I knew you wore to mask your true form.

I would not have hid the romantic that I was.

I would not have pretended not to be the simple guy who just wanted you to love him, who took this to be more than just a fling.

I would have took you to feel the breeze in your hair more often and to take long walks in the parks arm in arm, so that you understood the small yet important things in life.

I would have brought you to rooftops to watch the sunsets and sunrises that although were beautiful, weren’t as beautiful as you.

I would have brought you to water bodies to swim so that you could wash away all the uncertainties that you carried on your shoulders, so that you stopped calculating every move before you made them.

I would have ensured that you knew that time stopped when I looked at you, when I was with you.

I would have made sure that my ‘I love you’  s were loud and seductive but could only be heard in the wind as your long black waterfalls danced to its melody.

I would have made sure you thought of me every day without fail, the same way that not thinking of you each day felt like a bad day.

I would have made sure you understood that such selfless, aching love only came once in a lifetime and try to make you more courageous to follow the tune of your beating heart.

I would have made sure that you cried when I had gone to the army and that you sent letters, letters that would have been a small form of remedy and a reminder that you hadn’t forgotten me.

I would have made sure that the next time I saw you, would be as I, with you boldly held in my arms.

I would have made sure that I hadn’t die in a war when I had much more I wanted to say to you, to scream at you, to show you as Keith Douglas.

Don’t say that I am full of regret, because I am not.

It would be easier to forget you entirely,

But I guess I can’t.

My love for you runs deeper than just a lifetime and I can’t

Say goodbye until I have achieved what I truly believe is

Worth living for.

Nail Polish

credit @googleimages

For the first time in 18 years,
You dared to paint your nails.
Your selected colours, pastel purple and light gold.
You don’t know why you never dared to before, or do you?

Girls half your age doll themselves up with more gusto
Than you could ever dream of.
Yet, you have always been conscious of getting too mixed up in
All those stuff.
I think I know why.

I am proud though.
Proud that you are no longer afraid.
Proud that you are learning to do what makes you happy.
Proud that you are saying goodbyes to what ifs and embracing ‘how about now’s.

Simple thing have always made you happy.
You must have been over the moon these past few days.
I am glad you have realised that
You have been the one making yourself even unhappier.
It’s time to let go.
It’s time you start being yourself for yourself.

Your worth or lack of worth
Is not in how well you doll or don’t doll up.
Though you shall never actively wear make-up
Because you think it destroys ones skin, I wonder what shall happen in the years to come.
I hope that whatever the case, you never succumb to societal norms.

At least promise me that.

Bear

Last week, my family and I went to an ocean park. We didn’t know what to expect because we went with a tour group and it was frequently referred to as a water park. In hindsight, if we knew what was in store, we wouldn’t have gone.

Over time, I have come to have a strong opposition against circuses (although I have never been to one) because I believe it is cruel to force animals to act against nature. This opposition is rapidly extending to zoos and ‘ocean parks’. The animals are in small enclosures, much smaller than that of where they would be in the wild. This results in the animals being very stressed and thus affecting their health. In addition, they mostly look very sad. 

Hence, this poem in hopes of starting a conversation on this issue. I would love to hear your stand.  

 

 

IMG-20170620-WA0142
              Bear in the Ocean Park                           credit: Ayodele-Oja    

I am a grizzly bear.

A dark-brown usually 180kg salmon eating beast.

Yet, here I am

In this small place where the hundreds of kilometres

I walk is now back and forth in a small enclosure.

I myself aren’t surprised that my skin is slowly drooping.

It’s the same way I am losing my gusto.

The 3 inches long claws I have are being put to waste

As I am fed sweet potatoes by tourists whose targets aren’t accurate enough to reach me.

In addition, the 3 metres I can stand to is now simply a tourist attraction.

I am not sure where I came from,

But I am sure I cannot go back to the wild.

Still, this pain, this suffering, for the entertainment of others, is not what I deserve.

IMG-20170620-WA0017
Bear enclosure in the Ocean Park                                    credit: Ayodele-Oja 

So, do you agree or disagree with my opposition against ocean parks? Why and why not? Do leave your comments!

3.50AM

At 3.50 am in the morning,

I am awaken by a loud wail.

The foreign sounds of someone who doesn’t often shed.

Although clear that it is sincere, I am bewildered that it sounds fake.

What is wrong with emotion?

Why put up a tough front and wrap it with pride when truly,

No one wants you to,

Especially when no one wants you to?

Why succumb yourself to such torture when it’s so much pain?

My, the trouble and the difficulty.

I am not ignorant.

I see both sides and thus wake,

I wake at 3.50am in the morning.

Heartbreaks

She broke up with him today.

I’ve never seen her so distraught,
So vulnerable like ever before today.
For the very first time, her stubbornness had dissolved into water droplets.

It’s been said time and again
that love is a complicated thing.
There is a certain amount of courage, almost foolishness that makes you put your heart on your sleeves, each time.
Yet, almost like an addiction, I see them throw themselves at the risk.
Repeating the process that has now come to be normal with growing up – heartbreaks.

The thrill of a companion is what drives them most times.
I wish it wasn’t.
It’s a downhill fall if the solution to the hole within was to fill it with the sweet words of a companion.
For why would teeth be plucked out from excessive intake of sugar?

As ladies of a new generation,
I wish we wouldn’t be so vulnerable to societal norms.
I wish we would learn to see that self-worth is the best filling.
I wish we would learn to throw away the items society has thrown in our face to hide our flaws.
I wish we would learn to be comfortable in our own skins.
I wish we would learn to eat and dress for ourselves.
I wish we would learn to never be afraid to let out the warriors in us.
I wish we would learn to see how much more we could be,
if the strength came from within.