inanutshell

Singapore

she/her/illiterate

Message to Readers

read footnotes for more insights into the different meanings!

ok so i def could have written this better but i think this is as good as i'm gonna get from my fuzzy brain this week, i'm just glad i got something not-terrible out!

hope it's ok that i decided to focus on singaporean culture instead of my personal culture (chinese), unfortunately i don't have much to say about that of my own experiences and also figured since every piece i've written about Singapore is somewhat critical, it's about time i write something nice about it bc it's really not all bad.

nostalgic girl of the red dot #childofyournation

July 2, 2020

FREE WRITING

13


i am a child of the garden city / fifty years in the making / of skyscrapers and lush juniper / the harvested labour of our ancestral kampung town / ixora plants bloom aplenty / their succulent nectar ever-present in the vignettes of my childhood / blistering sun blazes on / bestowing gifts of life on our blossoming island/ so the orchids can greet me every morning

i am the little girl rooted in this melting pot / hailing from the majority / chinese-malay-indian-other, in that order / booming lion dances for chinese new year / snapshots of flashing green for hari raya / incandescent lights in little india for deepavali / ideals of celebration, not tolerance / displays of excellence and racial harmony / as cultures and religions should be 

i am the daughter of the hybrid singlish / english, our lingua franca / made it our own / our tongues curl over the familiar vowels, encase them in memory / people may sneer at its informality / but isn't it lovely how an adopted language can connect us as brethren? / a few simple syllables are all it takes / to remind me of home / kiasu is no longer an insult / but a term of endearment 

i am the baby born again in hawker centres / of ethnic food stalls transcending space and time / where morning kopi washes away our differences / but preserves our diversity / here, we're all just waiting / in the queue of life / as hypnotic scents of prata and char kway teow / waft their way into our consciousness / so say a prayer, let them nourish your soul / invite another slice of home into your bowl
inspired by sunny.v's original elegant daughter of asia, for the #childofyournation prompt!

some important notes:
- red dot is the nickname for my country bc it's so small that it's barely visible on the world map, just a dot. 
- kampung: traditional villages
- 'other' is not a race but that's a conversation we'll save for next time (CMIO is a problematic classification here :/)
- Chinese new year: lunar new year; Hari Raya: eid, or Ramadan; Deepavali: festival of lights, also known as Diwali
- kiasu is basically slang for going out of your way (or being hella extra) to achieve something bc of the fear of losing (negative connotations)
- kopi: coffee; (roti) prata: fried flatbread from Indian culture; char kway teow: stir-fried rice noodles from Chinese culture

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  • July 2, 2020 - 10:31am (Now Viewing)

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8 Comments
  • Dmoral

    "our tongues curl over the familiar vowels, encase them in memory"
    the way language is described sometimes is so chilling

    "so the orchids can greet me every morning"
    such a refreshing line, truly!

    this piece was gorgeous!


    5 months ago
  • spectral

    beautiful work! aesthetic is 10/10
    replying: thank you so much! i actually didn't know how to spell ha gau originally, i had to look it up and it does have several spellings.


    5 months ago
  • pineapples

    replying: thanks!
    and of course you can do a review! reviews are ALWAYS welcome :)


    5 months ago
  • chrysanthemums&ink

    *bursts through double doors* OKAY I'M HERE-
    i've always been absolutely enraptured by Singapore, being a melting pot of cultures and hawker centers and the rich cultures blended together in one tiny nation. wow, this was an amazing here, hearing all about singapore. you describe it in a way that seems so foreign yet so familiar at the same time, i could feel your own experiences soaked in every single word. this piece is just so... rich? so storied? when i'm reading this, it's like i'm living through your eyes, experiencing everything. i'm going to reread this just to relive this unforgettable experience. this was absolutely breathtaking wow. i'm coming back, just to re-experience this masterpiece again. wow, just speechless. <3333


    5 months ago
  • erin!

    replying: hey! thanks for being so nice and welcoming! i really loved this, it made me feel nostalgic for something i've never had and i would love to visit singapore one day.


    5 months ago
  • naomi ling

    hi lovely, i'm back again in ur comments <333 this is gorgeous, i've always wanted to visit singapore in particular. "so say a prayer, let them nourish your soul / invite another slice of home into your bowl" love the rhyme scheme oooooouuu *jumps giddily* OKAY BYE


    5 months ago
  • outoftheblue

    I loved this! Especially all the references to Indian and Malaysian culture, which truly showcase the diversity of Singapore. And that ending was just brilliant and really ties it together. <3


    5 months ago
  • sunny.v

    aaaaaaa this is so so lovely!! “ i am the baby born again in hawker centres / of ethnic food stalls transcending space and time / where morning kopi washes away our differences / but preserves our diversity” yessss that’s so lovely! you seriously showed me such a nice vivid window into your world that I seriously hadn’t experienced before! i especially love “ snapshots of flashing green for hari raya / incandescent lights in little india for deepavali / ideals of celebration, not tolerance /” there’s a little blend of cultures there that I adore? aaaa it’s so lovely ;-; tysm for doing the challenge, I’m so honored to have you in it!!! ty ty for showing me ur world, Singapore seems lovely <3


    5 months ago