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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
So, do you agree or disagree with my opposition against ocean parks? Why and why not? Do leave your comments!
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.
Nothing could have prepared me for what I had to do next. I ran into the woods and towards the soccer field, running uphill with only the vaguest sense of direction. In the dark, fallen branches and moss-covered rocks appeared. There was a fuliginous fog thick in the air giving an eerie feeling.
An omen of what was to come.
I tripped and fell repeatedly and worried but I have never felt so sure of doing something before, not ever since the accident. I ran. I ran like I had golden shoes.
Five minutes later, I was crouched behind the trees fifty feet from the soccer field. My heart thumped like a techno drum-beat.
The plan? Simple. Light and run.
It lit with a sizzle that reminded me of every July Fourth spent with her. I was mesmerised. The pooping started. The fireworks bangbangbang in sync with my heartbeat. When the firecrackers finished, I heard, “STOP OR I’LL CALL THE POLICE!”
I mentally cursed. I should have ran before the firecrackers ended. Regrettably, the distraction had failed. I doubled my speed, my heartbeat that of someone suffering from asphyxia. I avoided the brightly lit areas, moving zigzag, wishing that the overweight security guard would not catch up with me.
I finally reached the stairway. Taking two steps at a time, I traveled to the third floor science lab. As foreseen, the doors to the lab were locked. The fire extinguisher near the lab aided me in breaking in.
Upon entering, my nostrils were attacked by the fetid lab. I walked straight in, passing through the labyrinth of cabinets with bottles of chemicals to turn on the gas chamber.
I walked to a table bent down, took a Bunsen burner from the cabinet, connected it to the gas pipe and turned it on. The flames came alive and I was instantaneously hypnotised. I chortled and then came the waterworks.
The addiction began exactly a year ago today after I drove my best friend into a truck that had jackknifed. I was in the thousand -yard state of intoxication, we both were, but common sense had flew through the window when I entered the car turning me namby-pamby. She fell into a deep slumber to the highway’s monotonous lullaby while my right-side burnt.
For a year now, I have failed to comprehend my survival. I think of her every moment and see her in my dreams, the exact identical dream each night. Her weight falls dead on me, crushing my chest, stealing my breath, and she is cold and wet, like melting ice. Her head is split in half and a pink – gray sludge oozes from the fracture in her skull and drips down my face, and she reeks of formaldehyde and rotting meat.
Guilt, cold wrenching guilt had formed deep in my heart, thus the need for warmth.
Thus the need to finish the job.
I walked back to the cabinet full of chemical, picked bottles labelled with ethanol and splashed them around the lab. I got another bottle this time labelled methanol and watered myself with it. With a hand full of wooden splints and the Bunsen burner, the science lab is aflamed.
I laid on the table in the middle of the lab and waited for the fire to engulf me. Second thoughts began to leak into my head but I did not move an inch. As I watched the ceiling, I played back the accident, replaying how I killed someone and lost half myself in the span of seconds.
Footsteps and shouting resonated through the corridor as I had begun to lose consciousness but it was too late.
At least, I hoped I would have been dragged out to sea by the undertow before they arrived.
“Whether or not you believe in Fate comes down to one thing: who you blame when something goes wrong. Do you think it’s your fault – that if you’d tried better, or worked harder, it wouldn’t happen? Or do you just chalk it up to circumstance? I know people who’ll hear about the people who died, and will say it was God’s will. I know people who’ll say it was bad luck. And then there’s my personal favourite: They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then again, you could say the same thing about me, couldn’t you?”
– Nineteen Minutes, Jodi Picoult
April 14th, was the third anniversary of the kidnapping of 276 girls, from the Government Girls Secondary School, school dormitories, in Chibok, Nigeria.
This poem is a cry for the safe return of the rest of the 195 girls that have yet to return.
It’s been three years now. Three years since the 276 girls were taken by force, in the dark of the night from the place that was the foundation of their aspirations. It’s been three years since 195 girls have last seen their families.
It is hard to comprehend. Always has been. It is difficult comprehending how people said to be human beings could celebrate the kidnapping of girls on the path of a better future. It is difficult comprehending why the government has yet to rescue the 195 of them. However, it’s a luxury for those whose problem is in comprehending how such an evil could happen and not in how it had happened to them.
There are things many of us will fail to fully understand. The emotion the parents feel when the next girl, who was managed to make it back home, isn’t their daughter. The emotion a mother feels when her daughter comes back with a baby although she is almost half the age, her Mother was when she had her first child. The agony some of the girls felt losing their babies while escaping.
However, despite the mess, a few thing are clear. Justice shall prevail, we are not afraid, and we shall #BringBackOurGirls.
In celebration of World Poetry Day and as a lover of poetry, I created a simple presentation for school, in hopes of encouraging students to write and perform poetry too. I would like to remove the stereotype that people have about poetry, that it is boring and hard and share with them the wonders of poetry.
I hope that after the presentation, students shall have a more positive opinion of poetry and be able to see how simple and beautiful it is.
Here is the power point presentation:
Of course, here is an original poem to celebrate the day:
Let’s talk about things we don’t usually talk about.
Let’s talk about the pain people hide beneath the cuts.
Let’s talk about the secrets students bury because they are afraid to talk.
Let’s talk about the dust that old hunchback cleaners with warm smiles sweep out of classrooms, creating sandstorms.
Let’s talk about the whispers flown miles away from circles of teenagers.
Let’s talk about the books we are dying to read but won’t discuss.
Let’s talk about the corrupt we motivate.
Let’s talk about the things we hate, that boil our blood underneath the skins we dread.
Let’s talk about the sky.
Let’s talk about death and how the unknown prevents us from sleeping.
Let’s talk about the spirits within us that are begging, begging to take over.
Let’s talk about the words we said, didn’t mean to say, wanted to say, couldn’t say, wished to say, lived to say, and died trying to say.
Let’s talk about the future we hope to see in a crystal ball.
Let’s talk about those dodging bullets and bracing violent waves.
Let’s talk about the dreams that have shattered and have yet to be reborn.
Let’s talk about those without a place to call home.
Let’s talk about love and how we all secretly wish for it.
Let’s talk about how selfish and greedy we all are.
Let’s talk about how cruel we’ve made the world and how we are going to make all of it stop.