I’m taking a most eye-opening module this year – Criminology, Sentencing and the Penal System – learning everything from the UK’s criminal justice system, to various philosophies of punishment (utilitarianism/ deontology/ retributivism/ restorative justice), reasons for offending/ recidivism/ desistance, institutional biases, sentencing guidelines, discretion, politics, economics, actuaries, culture. I thought psychology was complex. Well, apply psychology to one of the most complicated populations in the world and you get thrice the convolution, twice the hopeless despair, and just as much head-spinning.
In this brief, breathless pause, having just seen my cousin’s snapchat about her loving father, I just want to say how incredibly lucky we are… how through no actions on our part, we’ve ended up in this comfortable bubble, miles away from mess, from Them. How unthinkably underprivileged They are, in comparison.
I guess this isn’t anything new, but having it thrown at me so starkly makes me struggle to reconcile this supreme disparity. How can we make the most of the life we’ve been given?
It’s a genuine question.
I think I’ve been bandying that word around a bit too much now, and it’s starting to almost lose it’s meaning. We could analyse it literally, perhaps – life. change. A moment when your life, the continuous flow of minutes, days, weeks, years, alters. Like a stream which, meeting an impenetrable wall, is forced to turn one way or the other. But like the river which never stills, doesn’t life change at every moment? Does a wall really exist, which can alter the course of your life so drastically? Or is the truth far less dramatic (as it often is), and do we bubble over and around rocks, shifting them, sweeping them up, changing ourselves incrementally?
Maybe the truth is just… hindsight – that solemn wisdom which can but nod sagely at a past that stretches back, from a second ago to years ago.
Whatever the case, we’re not a shapeless liquid, and something that working at i! and CCN has taught me, is that we can grasp our futures if we truly wish. New Zealand, Malawi, Japan – bringing life wherever life brings us.
For all the words in my head (those which drift to mind and those which elude), I don’t think I can quite capture the tranquility of spring. Sitting perched on K’s (ground floor) window sill, feet dangling out. Admiring the knobby gnarled tree which supports life on its rough bark, refrains of bird song clear and lilting, scent of virgin air (the freshest offering of every living green), blue sky and cottony clouds – moments like these slip through the cracks of my words. (Though is it not through cracks which light may enter?)
I can only look, and taste, and hear, and feel, with a tremble of delight, the brush of the wind; expand my lungs with desperate, longing, open-mouthed breaths and invite the moment deep, deep, deeper still – won’t you please leave your indelible mark on every fiber of my being?
Another brilliant day: I see picnickers dotting parkers piece, from end to end, children kicking footballs around, a cavalier king charles spaniel loping along with a very in-kingly tongue sticking out, short sleeve shirts outnumbering long sleeve ones, a girl lying under a tree with no book no work nobody just music (I exchanged an envious grin with her). Plans to take my bike for a spin, the hum of anxiety when I realise that I’ve missed a few days of an important-ish revision week (one I desperately need), plans broken, hours in a classroom with resignation hung on the tips of my lips, first conversation ever with D and the sun set and I outfitted my pretty bike and another talk with E (who’s jetting off again) and D. And revision.
I don’t think I’ve written many (if any??) Grand Reflection Pieces this year, but I shall endeavor to capture moments and freeze them, and one day I’ll gather a large handful and…
bask in their shimmer, knit them into a scarf, sow them in my garden, Do Something.
Singapore Poetry Writing Month 2017
Too late to switch on my laptop and hit the Ctrl+F, so I flick the screen down till my finger is sore. It’s quite amazing to see the poetry scene in Singapore coming to life; the breadth and depth of thoughts expressed – in English and Singlish, by amateurs and professionals, strangers and friends. I have 6 days of catch-up to do, perhaps my poetry kit will help.
Head over to the poetry convergence to check it out. Note of warning: poems may be dodgy or inspired, sleepy or stilted, bold or brilliant – no promises!
swaddled in the best I can find
(bubble wrap and cotton candy clouds)
it walks out the door with a mind of its own
it’s gonna show the world, it says
with a beam and a hopeful shine
I watch it go
my last glimpse shows
a stray tendril out of place
make a grab, come back!
make a snatch, regret
it’s too late
it’s gonna show the world
its mussed-up hair and cheeky dare
its courage rare, and treasured wares
shone with loving care
She dashes moisture from her eyes, hides a sniffle in a cough (or am I imagining it?). I shoot a startled glance, say something silly that draws a groan from my supervisor and a weak laugh from her.
Individual differences fascinate me.
Every other day I bury my face, half in despair, lost glances unanswered as he chugs on relentlessly. But it doesn’t scare me anymore (maybe it’s the constant pummeling), it’s a challenge I will learn to handle.
Pretty pale blue deepens into dusk.