TOC guest Ho Cheow Seng writes a poem to express his thoughts about Singapore. A personal and honest expression of his feelings, it perhaps will resonate with you as well. Have a look.

False Dawn

false dawn

‘merdeka’, the people they assured,

was the road foward to a new dawn of

more jobs, better food, a greater well-being,

in a free and just, and more equal society

regardless of race, language or culture.

these the ‘action for the people party’, pledged.

the people soon realized they had been sold

on bold promises that were never delivered,

of an equitable sharing of the nation’s wealth-

the fruit of the people’s sweat, toil and tears.

‘meritocracy’ too the people had never sought to build,

especially one that fronts a ‘paradize’ for the elite few.

denied the right of a people free to think,

the people could think no more and so lost

the freedom-spirit of spontaneity and enterprise.

in the wake of globalization the toll begins to tell,

the people work harder for less, only soon to be told

citizenship assures them not the right of a livelihood.

one people, one nation and forevermore,

only in fulness of time to know, nationhood

confers on the nation’s pioneering builders,

not a jot more to claims for privileges or rights

than those freely gifted to quitters who’ve come

masquerading as ‘talents’ from some fereign shores.

which mother knows not

the children of her loins?

what shepherd heeds not

the bleating of his flock?

aye! what nation worth its name

cares naught for her very own?

and what champion of the people,

the people’s welfare he trivializes?

the people not any longer need to wait,

for now is the time their lot to remake.

only that they remember at the end of the day,

the people’s dream indeed has come to stay.

it would be a tragedy indeed for the people

at the end of the nation re-making process,

to find themselves similarly in the position of a man

who has many roads he could choose to travel on;

only that not any of these roads could he choose

would lead him on to a place he could call his home.

20th November 2008

by Ho Cheow Seng

Picture from John Ryan Recabar