(Closest to) Silence. 

I remember watching this entire film that was silent. Yet it wasn’t called a silent film, because its exploration is about silence and not about the genre itself. I remember being fascinated, intrigued and a huge sense of calm wash over me. 

Today, I wonder if I can find silence but I know I can’t. The world is too noisy and the city never sleeps. 

Here’s a list of experiences I have that I think are closest to the silence I am searching for. 

Echoes in the mental chamber

Radio play on an Uber

Highway at 3am 

Heart beating in ear drums 

Air-conditioner whizzing 

Speeding motorcycles every blue moon 

Flickering toilet lights 

Wasp hitting the mirror persistently

Applying make up on my face 

Breath of the sleeping body next to you

Rustling leaves during windy weather 

Flowing tap water 

Construction workers digging underground 

MRT doors closing at every station 

Buzzing of traffic lights 

Yawns in a quiet classroom 

Shifting in bed under comfortable comforters 

Purring of a lonely cat under the void deck

Applying body foam to skin during shower

Clicking of high heels 

Lights going off past midnight 

Lights coming up past midnight 

Shy kisses on closed lips – slow and deliberate 

Running fingers through hair


Crickets in the dark 

Echoes of the heart

Alpha Beta Love. 

(SingPoWriMo. Last month.)

Adversity is merely 

Bruises that will 

Cure themselves fully, once

Days get better. 

Expiry can just mean numbers, 

Forever; a nuanced concept of

Going nowhere. 

He made promises to have them broken. 

I, still trying to search for reasons

Just to bridge lessons never taught. 

Kiss the undeserving goodbye, let 

Loneliness keep me company. 

Man is not an island, but I am born in a

Nation only as big as its mind – 

One is a crowd.

Pride is where I lost him, ego just the

Question he can never answer. 

Return home to recover – where is my heart anymore?

Surrender to feelings and rub out 

Tyrian purple bruises; pain just an 

Undercurrent for healing. 

Violence is a language 

Where he still lives; he is a

Xerarched soul and my dried lips a reminder. 

Yearning, still, for the twilight 

Zone – after all, bruises heal. 

Train Ride, 29th March 2017. 

I was standing a carriage away, listening to the songs I’d like to accompany me for the ride home and spacing out. 

For some reason or other, I turned to face my left and there she was. 

Sitting in between other riders on the red seat in her red dress. Black heels crooked to the side and her black laptop bag crumpling the skirt on her lap. Her posture broken as her spine leans forward and face hidden in her arms. Her face has gone pink with uncontrollable sobbing. Eyes just lines and lips in a painful frown. Her curled hair flowing down her curved shoulders and tears running down her face. 

I look away but my sight kept going back to her. Most times, the crying woman would’ve me but this time I am on the other side of the frame. 

What should I do? What would I want someone to do if I cry? Ignore or approach? Will she take it wrongly if I walked over and tried to hand her a tissue? 

If I don’t try, I will never know. 

I picked up my bag and went searching for my tissue packets. Trying to calm myself and go over with the white sheets ready. 

But at the same time, the train stopped and somehow she picked herself up and got off the train. Her face still pink and skirt still crumpled. 

I paused for a while and kept my tissue packet back in my bag. 

Bare arms. 

(End of March. April is beckoning and the insomnia is back, so is school. Plenty of things have happened. Many reactions I have or had, but now I am still processing and wondering about the side of events I am unsure about. Hazy and all grey in view. Some quiet will help but when the silence is plagued by endless questions, my overthinking will swallow me alive.) 

Left the house with 

No rings or bracelets 

No sleeves to hide my ink

No hand to hold

No baggage to strain my fingers 

Left the house with 

Bare arms 

And a face bare to share 

Sleepless nights without words said 

Left the house with 

Freedom in no pretence 


Bare arms to gesture my thoughts 

Shape the air when I speak 

Hold onto the thoughts I take back 

And wave away

Bugis MRT. 

A foreign worker lifts a ladder and walks across the station. 

His colleague, a Filipino, goes to ask for permission to start work. 

A Chinese man in orange pants collects a Today newspaper, leans on a pillar and starts reading. 

A Chinese woman drags her slippers across the station, only to stop in the middle of the crowd and go the other way. 

A young Malay woman wears her hot pink curls proudly as she is waiting outside Guardian; eyes never leaving her phone screen. 

An old Indian man with vertigo shuffles quietly across the station once the crowd has gone; a forlorn look across his face. 

An English lady comes to ask the Citibank officer for directions to Bugis Street, before politely saying thank you and leaving. 

A crying baby on a stroller hollering and wailing as the Chinese mother speeds up the pushing in embarrassment. 

An elderly man sits on his wheelchair patiently, trying to make his living by selling tissue packets to anyone not rushing for time and willing to stop for a minute. 

And then the crowd comes

And goes. 

And they all vanish into different 



Waking in morning 

Shadowed view of room in blue 

Melancholic blinds 


Walking down the street

Nobody in sight, just rain 

Dying on stained floors 

Wild hair in the winds

Suffocate and blind the face 

A kind death; if only 

Radio play in car 

Driver trudging in silence 

I sigh with relief 

Hardworking wipers 

Breaking their backs side to side 

Purposeful living 

Roadside trees stand strong 

Moving ever so slightly 

Resolute beauties 

My eyes are red-rimmed 

Lips sealed, fingers shake, breath short 

Looking for meaning