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Wednesday, 25 May 2011


Tight deadlines are the anathema of all writers. You can tear out all your follicles overnight and look like a plucked goose in the morning after you hit "SEND".

You may plead for more time. But leisurely writing is a luxury: nice job if you can get it. In some strange roundabout way, deadlines will make your writing better. Leaner and tighter. It's like a bootcamp or a performance run - it's the universe's way of saying "Enough pussyfooting and get on with it, soldier!"

Here's a challenge for May and June- pick a competition or a call for submission with a tight deadline. It will feel arduous but very rewarding in the end.
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Monday, 2 May 2011

Poems for the Underground

I wrote them because these are the type of verses I'd like to see on the MRT in Singapore...or any underground public transport system in a major city

After Ruyard Kipling's "If"

If you can be on the platform at 6 in the morning,

While no one is out and about.

If you can refrain from yawning,

As other passengers scream and shout.

If you can seize your seat nearest the door,

When the train doors open with a shudder.

Or, giving it up upon the sight,

Of a third trimester pregnant mother.

If you can Twitter- and not make typos in your tweet.

If you can sms- with both thumbs on your Blackberry

If you can multi-task with Iphone and Ipad without a seat.

And make both devices necessary.

If you can bear to starve until Shenton Way,

Buying your breakfast from McD's.

Or make do with hot water,

And your desk-drawer stash of Maggi Mees.

You'll be a Working Stiff, my Son!!

...After "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"

Train after train, train after train

We wait, inside a cramped compartment.

As cheerful as an extended family,

In a one-bedroom apartment.

Adverts, adverts everywhere,

And nothing you want to buy.

Adverts, adverts everwhere,

The last sale was in July.
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