Over the years, my creative writing has shown up in various publications in different parts of the world. Some works have also been broadcast on radio; performed on stage; analysed in academic dissertations; and used in creative writing workshops. From time to time, schools in Singapore also use my works as teaching materials for their English Language or Literature classes.
I am pleased to announce that I will soon be publishing a poetry book. The book will be launched sometime next month. Thereafter it will go on sale in a number of bookstores around Singapore. No, I do not expect to make any significant money out of it - but it does give me a strong sense of personal satisfaction.
What kind of poetry do I write? Well, the poems cover all sorts of different topics - love, life, family, politics, travel and other urban realities. Sometimes the perspective is intensely personal; sometimes I am wry and ironic. A significant number of poems comment on social issues in Singapore.
Thought I'd share one of the poems from the upcoming book. The poem below is about Paddy Chew, the first Singaporean AIDS victim to come out to the general public and speak openly about the disease. In the last few months of his life, Paddy performed in a one-man play, to raise awareness about AIDS. Some people condemned him, others applauded him for the bravery. My own take below - hope you enjoy the poem:
Oh, if you are interested to know more about my book or its launch, do feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paddy Chew’s Last Show
Life is real. Art is its mirror. Or is it the
other way round? Paddy Chew has forgotten.
His life is here now, on stage, Paddy starring as himself,
the final act, before the curtain falls
and the lights go out forever.
“This is me,” he says to the audience, “take a look.”
He lifts his shirt up. A stunned silence.
Ribs cast shadows on other ribs. The flesh
has fallen away, the body a territory conquered
by the relentless virus.
This is what Paddy tells his audience:
I liked women. I liked men too.
At least that is what he remembers.
These days his body yearns for nothing, not sex,
not food or water, nothing but its own breath,
exhausted, in and out, in and out,
an almost unnatural thing.
Lies are for the living. Truth is for the brave.
Masks fall away when death comes close.
“I am so close,” Paddy says, “to dying.”
All he wants is to show the audience
what he has seen. That all of us are dying,
and none of us should die alone.
Paddy dies, but not alone. In a way, he lives on too.
Love is his message. Love endures. I did not know him,
but I know what love is. I wrote this poem
so that others like him will live,
and die, but not alone.