Landowner's Wife to Building Contractor

(Conversation in Singlish)

Angeline Yap

Why like that?
A shrug. Like that is like that lor.
Hor? Like that ha?

His face is loud with thought.
What? You think I so free ah?
For nothing want to find trouble is it?

How can! Like this one, I very kek sim you know --
can change or not?
Resigned -- change, change lor, or else how?

She, balancing on espadrilles,
Well versed in Chablis and in Chardonay,
adjusts shades, looks pleased to have gotten her way.
He, grimy, balancing chisel and handphone,
More acquainted with Tiger beer and ABC stout,
Could probably find a use for the word "punctillious",
Settles for mumbling the simple "why so neow!" instead.

First published in Fulcrum -- an annual of poetry and aesthetics (USA), No. 1, "A Map of English-language Poetry," 2002

Postcolonial Web Singapore OV Singaporean Literature Angeline Yap

Last modified: 10 July 2003