GetLit! Part 3: 2035
#BuySingLit begins today, heralding three days of more than 40 activities in all four official languages to promote Singapore literature, aka SingLit. In print and online, The New Paper is profiling some of the talent involved. Today, we have a selection of work looking beyond tomorrow...
The year two thousand thirty-five,
an army of new holograms
greet the homeward-bound at Changi Airport.
Waiting for my dad to catch
the luggage, hawk-eyed, impatient,
I sidle up to the hollow visage
of Sir Stamford Raffles.
He's handsome like
how I thought British men should be
before I went to England. Like
the lead in a period drama -
but his stubble transparent,
ghost hair swaying in ghost wind,
his dead mouth in a half smile that opens to emit
the voice of Jude Law. 2035.
"Welcome to Singapore."
They made the choice not to dress him as a soldier.
The whirr of luggage on linoleum
as my dad calls me over, striding
towards the exit. I glance
at Stamford's boots before we leave.
Behind me, Jude Law
welcomes the rest
in perfect Mandarin.
And I can't understand it.
That's the little death there.
The tragedy. The ghost of a time
pre-2035, an alternate timeline
where the spirits of my nation
could've welcomed the British
through their own borders.
Or just an alternate universe
where Jude Law decided to become
a Chinese teacher.