‘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