inanutshell

Singapore

she/her/illiterate

Message from Writer

find me on prose

Published Work

abandoning long-held ideals of peace


because i’d hoped it would be as simple
as waking up one morning with both feet steady on the ground
    sunlight leaking in, spilling clarity into every corner of our canvases
    birds chirping in a rehearsed symphony, the breeze delivering its soliloquy
i epiphanize on balconies with my lover and we breathe in the saccharine summer

but in keeping things bottled up i’ve learned that
there is an art in orchestrating peace amongst chaos
there may be no overarching theme to life but cyclical givings and takings
    a crescendoing gain, a cacophonous loss
and as mad as it sounds, serenity can co-exist with agony.

when i absorb news cycles, i do it with misplaced pride
    i let the horrors bore into my eyes, the static enmesh in my mind
and in this hollow home, compartmentalizing quickly becomes second nature
    drawers bursting with secrets, shelve any sign of weakness
with practice, staccato sounds eventually fade into the background.

so...

a split sense of self (+ a late thank you for 100 <3)

sometimes i stay in the darkest corners of the room,
between the sliver of space where my two shadows meet.

here, they blend into a singularity, a fusion of my competing
superlatives. this is where the light does not reach me,

where it cannot expose me for my incongruences. in this
i am but two sides of the same coin — you flip me to find

my tail ambiguous in value, my head as blank as cold static.
but conforming is what i do best, and i contort my body to fit

into the littlest corners, fleeing to my refuge with abandoned
rays nipping at my heels. luminous laughter trails to my ears,

taunting me relentlessly as i play this inane game of coin flip
over and over, each time desperate for a different outcome.

my shadows place their bets as to when i'll brave the light but
odds are, this seclusion will claim me before the coin lands.
 

Flash Fiction Competition 2020

First Memory

It is on these icy steps that my mother leaves me alone, afraid, and at the hands of an unpredictable world. She tucks my tiny blanket in, desperate to protect every inch of my fragile skin from the cold, but the more she pulls, the more it stretches at its frayed ends. So she makes do with one last kiss on my forehead, the warmth from her emaciated hand still lingering when she slips away with the daybreak.

I try to understand as I watch her disappear, the whispers of her apology floating away with the frigid wind.
 

Letter Writing Competition 2020

don't you mind?


Dear Dad,

The world is on fire right now, in case you haven't noticed. 

I hope you're doing alright wherever you are. I'm a little stressed about everything going on right now, but doing okay. The virus has really done a number on this country, huh? Remember the initial community complacency, and how quickly it was quelled by the surge in cases? That was really scary — to think we've been fine, that we're safe, only to have time unveil quite the opposite. To lose faith in the people who were supposed to guide us. But you and I already know what that feels like.

Back in January, during Chinese New Year, you picked us up to visit your mother's place. As per usual, I took the lead, ping-ponging between parents who were determined to never cross paths with each other. The first reports of the virus reaching Singapore surfaced, and even though it was a few isolated cases then, with...

a contradiction. #giveusbackourwords

To WtW admins,
 
As I am sure you are aware of, your announcement about the new “free writing” guidelines has sparked a backlash from many WtW members, many of whom (including me) wholeheartedly disagree with it.
 
WtW has limited its “free writing” to fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, where Q&As will exist as its own prompt, and other non-writing posts such as contests, updates and appreciation posts will be taken down if we try to post them. I understand that the surge in non-writing and social related posts may dilute what WtW is about at its core, but entirely taking that away from us users is unacceptable.
 
It is mentioned in your announcement that these changes were made to “to ensure that we remain a welcoming place where every writer can grow and explore their craft”. This is a contradiction – how can we maintain a welcoming place when you take down social posts that help us bond...

nostalgic girl of the red dot #childofyournation



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...

life advice no one asked for



it's hard for two people to grow and change at the same rate, and yes, everyone will learn that the hard way.

this hold she has over my heart / refuses to let go, like her / my heart clings to our past / disloyalty lurks in the background / did i create it? / or has this hesitation been here all along? / i need to stop pretending i know what i want / she thinks i've changed / i say you mean you haven't?

you may see an unbreakable future with someone, but i will tell you this vision will be split apart multiple times before you find the one you're meant for.

she sows the seeds of distrust / plants them in her own mind / without so much as a memo / was it that hard to let me know? / i don't need a knife in my back / to know what betrayal is /...

Collective Voice

all the colours of our flags

we hoist our flags up, bold stripes flying unapologetically high. against the stiff winds, we're relentless - the cold cuts us down and still we resist, marching on with our shoes planted firmly on the ground. they taunt us, yell at us to move, but we refuse. we're the movement, we chant. it's your move.

look out across the sea of colours and see waves of purple, pink, and baby blue lapping over the edges of our stripes, blending together to form the harmony we'd always dreamed of. here, any stark differences fade out into the background as we stand tall and unafraid, no longer content with existing - we want to live. taking centre stage, we keep marching on, our footfalls in sync all the way down the road that leads to our common destination.

through it all we wait, for ourselves and for each other. we're not defined by the colours we bleed or the colours...