Posted 01.11.11 in Writing
Everything I say, you also bochap1.
Like revered surya2 drumming his bored tune,
Wanting to rain, boh3 wanting to rain.
Then later suddenly kena hit by lightning!
Why always kachau4 me?!
And then when I turn away, determined to dao5 you,
You knead my shadow! Goreng6!
Toss it about like prata7.
Alamak! All because of you lah, I everyday
Kena dance so wildly in my tousled dreams.
You tekan8 me, you do lorh!
Kay kay9 with me with Mona-Lisa smiles.
Picking at my hind-eyes from behind,
Ah, then morph into scornful winter
Once I turn around to look at you, a bodoh10.
Why don’t you go fly kite11 leh?
Why I so suay12 one? Kena picked this poison flower?
The lake cradles its own feathered swans;
While I nobody-wan bit of sky,
A blue-chip tumbled over a cloud too large.
A cloud that play-play with me like casino game-piece,
Which it selfishly, laughingly hoards.
A blue-chip that miserably and helplessly,
Eternally kena prodded and nudged by callous fingers.
Buay song13 ah, buay song me!
1 bochap: indifferent, not bothered
2 surya: the sky
3 boh: not/no
4 kachau: confuse
5 dao: ignore
6 goreng: deceive, fool, mock, ridicule
7 prata: an Indian flour-based pancake that is tossed and flipped to give it a springy mouth feel
8 tekan: bullied, ill-treated, dominated
9 kay kay: pretend, ‘act blur’; confusing behaviour
10 bodoh: a fool
11 go fly kite: leave me alone or get lost
12 suay: unlucky
13 buay song: unhappy
Helen Zhou Huiwen wrote Tekan in response to Liz Berry’s feature on using your own words. Helen chose to write in Singlish or Singapore-English. You can read Liz’s original feature here.
Liz Berry says: “I loved the Singlish in this poem. Little phrases like Buay song ah, buay song me! and Why don’t you go fly kite leh are just fantastic and so much more lively and exciting than their alternatives in standard English. I’d love to see more of Helen’s Singlish writing and think she’d find lots of inspiration in Look We Have Coming To Dover!”
Liz Berry selected Helen Zhou Huiwen to receive a copy of Daljit Nagra’s Look We Have Coming to Dover! in recognition of her achievement with this poem.
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