*The Pointless Writer*
has a life you're completely uninterested in. But it's okay because I can write. No abbreviations. No shoddy grammar (though I'm not immune to mistakes). Just quality writing on sometimes completely pointless topics.
UnPoints of Note
1. I write when fancy takes. Sometimes, fancy takes many months of leave.
Living in the Neighbourhood: Next Door
I stand in the shower, relishing the sensation of warm water sliding down my body. Warm water possesses a rare power, one that God no doubt placed in the natural spas of this world. The knowledge that grime is being swept away by this comforting blanket of heat is physically and emotionally pleasing, cathartic.
A dreamy fog fills my mind like the hazy mist of water droplets that is suspended in the air, thickening the air I breathe as it thickens my mind. It is difficult to know if I am asleep or awake in this twilight zone. The sounds of the outside world wash over me like the water; I am unalert, and they echo against my heartbeat.
I live in one of a circle of blocks that tower over a common park. The effect is amphitheatric: every sound from the playground is carried upwards in an auditory swirl of sound smoke - the screams, the shouts, the laughs... Even the caterwauling from the cats. They muddy together in indistinguishable echoes; one cannot tell where two sounds end and an echo begins.
I seldom listen to the screams. Children laughing. Playing catching. A couple of rowdy teenagers yelling at each other without thought for the amplifying effect of architecture which makes all their secrets unsafe. Tonight, as the screams fog around me, they take on a hard edge. Inadvertently, I tune in.
The scream. There's something wrong with it. It doesn't sound like the happy, excited cry of a child at the playground. I cannot tell how I know this. A mysterious sensitivity of the ear to tone, perhaps, to the invisible contours of uncoloured sound. It's amazing how much we can tell even from an unfamiliar voice. I'm about to brush off the darkness of the sound as an effect of the dreamy fog, where reality and dreams collide, twisting together and breaking apart into new existences, making it impossible to distinguish truth from imagination. Then, the man's voice shouts.
I cannot hear his words. They eddy with happy sounds from the playground, television noises from an unknown apartment - perhaps another, perhaps his own. Consonants are lost and vowels deformed. As garbled as a digitally warped recording. The knifed scream is cut off and all I hear of screams are the happy ones. Almost seamlessly, the sobbing begins. Heaving. Racking. Maybe fearful. It sounds like something hard has been knocked over or thrown, but the sound has splintered into a million pieces that colour with other sounds. It's hard to tell if my imagination is affixing a creative label in the absence of fact, or if those are truly the echoed tones of an angrily tossed object. It's impossible to deliberate on the woodenness or tinniness of the sound that reaches me. Are the shouts and the sobs and the screams even from the same location?
I wonder if this is merely an angry father berating his son, or a darker soundscape. I barely dare to think the word.
I don't like to think about it, but I am forced to accede that it is possible. With at least four people living in any of these large apartments and four apartments on every floor, there are easily the sounds of a thousand people that reach my ears via these echoes. What is the rate of known abuse in Singapore? The rate of unreported abuse is no doubt higher.
How much do I know about my next door neighbours?
Jurong West Primary School Art Exhibition: Jurong West Public Library
I had a pleasant surprise when I went to the Jurong West Public Library on 25 July 2013. More than pleasant, in fact. The feeling started as a mildly astonished "huh, would you look at that?"
Glue Batik by various P2 students
Being a terrible photographer and possessing shaky hands, I took a few shots and have uploaded the two best.
A lover of all things colourful, my brain gave the order to release happy hormones at the sight of these delicious batik palettes. This batik quilt of sorts hung like a majestic tapestry of yore (perhaps similar artworks hung in San Nila Utama's palace) along the winding staircase, commanding attention with its regal presence.
The feeling then grew into a semblance of awe when I reached the second level and was greeted by panels of student artworks, which included the following:
More glorious rainbows: Tie-dying on paper and cotton by P3 students
Charcoal drawings by P6s: Eye by Lim Say Yaw, inspired by Rene Magritte's The False Mirror (T), Son of Man by Nadiah Bte Mohamad Azman, inspired by Rene Magritte's Son of Man (B)
Water colour paintings by P6s: Sunflower by Ding Mohan, inspired by Van Gogh's Sunflowers (L), Milestones by Nur Syafina Bte Imran, inspired by Rene Magritte and Van Gogh (R)
Acrylic Painting by two P4 students
As I walked from artwork to artwork, the feeling blossomed, just like this acrylic flower, into a rainbow splash of awe, amazement, and wonderment at the love of the school for its students--to put up such an extensive display, spanning all levels--more than a hundred students' works were put up for public admiration!
I proceeded on to the third floor, eager to see what else could be seen, my initial mission to find a book all but forgotten.
Koi, acrylic paintings by Mdm Suriati Binte Samuri
This beautiful three-piece series of Singapore's most iconic fish (second only to ikan bilis) was part of a collection of works by teachers of the school which included painting, drawing, and photography.
This exhibition and its location are a beautiful amalgamation of two distinct art forms--language and art--as well as a trailblazer for the path forward. The rich culture of the library has long been fused with the local heartbeat in the form of the public library in Singapore. It is apt that the first art form now presents the second, once more representing the local heartbeat by showcasing in pride the unspoken talent of the general population--the talents outside of our niche schools, from overshadowed youths to undervalued teachers.