Sunday, October 25, 2009
Given that this week is dedicated to the Singapore Writers Festival, I read some poetry by Arthur Yap-- one of Singapore's foremost poets. I first encountered his work at the National Library when I moved to Singapore five years ago. I was looking for local poetry and literature, and his collection of poems -- The Space of City Trees-- struck a chord.
I'm happy to post one of his poem here. It deals with the dilemmas inherent in the forging of postcolonial identities. There is also a great essay that analyses this poem and others like it in QRLS -- the Quarterly Literary Review of Singapore.
The Correctness of Flavour -- By Arthur Yap
waiting for the lime sherbert to arrive,
mother turned around to her vacuous child:
boy, you heard what i said earlier?
nowadays, they emphasise english.
boy rolled his squinty eyes to the ceiling.
waitress returned, flustered, and started
on her own emphases:
lime sherbert today don't have.
mango got. strawberry also don't have.
mother, upset and acutely strident:
today DOESN'T have.
today DOES NOT have