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This is the city. This is Orchard Road. These are the metal structures and wooden beams that cages us in. These are the HDB flats. These are the little blocks of cubes that cages us in. These are the traffic lights turning red and green and the bright neon lights. These are the lights that cages us in.
These are the people. That girl with black hair and dark red lips that bleeds. That boy in shorts and a soccer shirt. That boy in shorts and a soccer shirt with dyed brown hair. No that's another boy. Strange why he dyed his hair. Everybody has the same brown hair. Everybody has the same colour of brown hair. This is the brown hair that cages us in.
There over there that girl in the car. This is the car that cages her in. Can’t you see her? See her with her white face and her white thoughts all floating all spaced out and her white palm on the window sliding down? This is the window that cages her in. This is the night that cages her in. The night that is black which refuses to forgive. The night that is black which suffocates and kills. The night that hunches over us like a glass globe without the sprinkles of silver. The night that hurts us and makes us lonely. This is the urban loneliness that cages us in. This is the solitude that makes us curl our bodies like cats and crave for some release.
She looks lost. She looks sad. Everybody always looks sad. They don’t smile much with their mp3 players blaring into their ears. There over there in the bus. They sit close to each other. I mean everybody. I mean everybody is packed together like sardines. Hands near hands and feet near feet, skin nearly barely touching, breathing in the air that others breathe in. I’m talking about their minds. I’m talking about their body. I’m talking about how intimate they are together- so close to each other- and yet their minds and their souls are somewhere else miles apart. I’m taking about mp3 players. How each of them holds a different tune and a different world far more complex than galaxies. These are the mp3 players that cage us in.
No maybe it isn’t the mp3 players. It’s those enclosed areas that cages us in. The shopping centres and the rooms within rooms in the houses. It’s the air conditioners that cages us in. We have to close our windows and close our doors and close our hearts for it. Yes yes it is the cold sharp air that strikes us dumb. It is the air that cages us in. If only we could breathe without it?
You think I’m crazy. This is the craziness that cages me in. This is the uniform. This is the standard conduct. These are the expectations. These are the desires. These are the secrets. Oh no no these are the secrets that cages me in. This is the face I will always show you. This is the soft and sweet smile. These are the eyes that look like half moons. This is the thoughtful nod I give as though I am really listening to you. This is the face that cages me in.
These are the words that I’m speaking that cage me in. These are the words that I’m speaking that sets me free.
I wish they would not tell me what to do.
I wish somebody could tell me exactly what to do.
I wish I could be unique and have my own identity.
I wish I could simply fit in with the crowd.
I wish I was not tied down to anybody or any commitment.
I wish I was tied down to somebody or some commitment.
I wish I did not believe in god.
I wish I believed in god.
I wish they would not tell me what I want.
I wish somebody could just tell me what on earth it is that I really want.
I wish I was confident.
I wish I hadn’t been overconfident.
I wish I could stop contradicting myself.
I wish I could start contradicting myself.
We're too busy trying to pretend it doesn't exist that we can't do anything to fight it.