Open Edition Prints from Dreaming Cities Collection

I’ve made these open edition prints from my poetry and street photography collection Dreaming Cities, using archival-quality paper and pigment ink and hand-signed on the back with acid-free ink. They’re in A4 size for fuss-free framing.

I’ve placed them in acid-free sleeves each with a printout of the accompanying poem.

Am selling them at various readings, along with my books. Happy to say they’re doing well. 🙂

how hong kong works

This photograph was taken on top of a double-decker bus along Nathan Road at Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong. I saw him and pulled out my camera. The grungy hairstyle coupled with the meditative pose inspired the poem.

1 how hk works 640

how hong kong works

how hong kong works, no one knows,

though everyone says mm goi, mm goi,

thank you, small favour, another name

for waiter, excuse me, help.

 

it’s excessive when one says mm goi sai

at a pedestrian crossing – we simply turn and go.

 

how at the end of the day it’s the numbers

that meet, a shiny car going too fast,

the bottom line, a business suit,

a kind of bright easy love making

sense between tony leung and maggie cheung.

 

tony leung and maggie cheung,

we ready our mouths for the vowels,

those easy rhymes between money,

cha chaan teng, fame, a coach handbag,

happiness in a teacup.

 

hi in Cantonese is a vulgarity,

lei ho a politeness among colleagues,

ni hao these days is an estate agent greeting

a mainland buyer.

 

wai over the phone

pre-empts that unsolicited sales call.

 

(why, why do you call me.)

 

how hong kong works, no one knows,

though everyone says mm goi, mm goi,

thank you, small favour, another name

for waiter, excuse me, help.

 

it’s excessive when one says mm goi sai

at a pedestrian crossing – we simply turn and go.

 

how at the end of the day

we all wait to enter a building –

the locked door to the corner office opens

and we will hear well done, come in,

good good, thank you, hello, goodbye.

 

two cities in which i love you

This tree managed to be idiosyncratic, despite being planted in a regulated plot of land  against the backdrop of a HDB flat in Singapore, signifying the theme of individuality vs social conformity.

2 two cities in which i love you 640

two cities in which i love you

two cities in which i love you –

schoolboys in shorts run in summer

and we work through ringing phones,

alarm bells, discarded sweet wrappers

 

we are used to our feet aching

on pavements, pedestrian crossings,

tarmac with puddles and heat

we live like lampposts

 

sometimes our lives separate,

one calculates among tall towers

with office cleaners who do not speak,

in a cubicle of quiet desperation

 

the other dreams of a plumbing of language,

waking to a nightmare of commuters

swaying in an air-conditioned bus

we live like lampposts

 

two cities in which I love you –

rain lashes when it comes

and we ask why, why,

why are our feet cemented to the city

 

to shops selling smelly tofu, film camera stalls

at rude street markets, clean hawker centres,

refurbished hdb flats, promises of governments,

stately merlions, gungho star ferries

 

we are amputated trees

bathed in idiomatic sunlight

waiting for fresh water

to emerge from underground caverns

 

city

A homely scene – there’s harmony in the juxtaposition between the tree and laundry hanging from bamboo poles.

3 city 640

city

 

the city is in the ceiling

in my curtains

 

outside the kitchen window

at my door

 

in hard water i wash in

dust i taste

 

it is in my porridge

in cupcakes i hold

 

the city sleeps on my pillow

and i go to the couch

 

it sleeps on my couch

i lie on the floor

 

it sleeps on the floor

i look at the tv

 

it winks at me from my tv

i look at my feet

 

the city is in my son’s violin

in family photographs

 

in my wife

and my bicycle

 

on the pavement

in the playground

 

grass and trees i breathe

in the butterfly

 

in rain

soft as petals

 

in a flag

tough as nails

 

modern concrete

This is under a famous bridge (guess which one) in Singapore. The grey concrete structures are beautifully textured in the actual print. Yet they are confining. There’s light indicated by the flare on the right, indicate a possible escape route.

modern concrete

 

modern concrete

 

i try for colour

but the city’s concrete does not allow me

 

concrete is modern as airports

bridges pavements and the river still

a river and functional

 

the cars gleam silver like fishes

 

i try for colour

but the city’s concrete does not allow me

 

the new hermit

a snail of a shell is modern and not seen

like wi fi

 

he lives within a mountain

of pigeon flats

holes in an economy of a few million snails

by the bank of pale water

 

the cars gleam silver like fishes

 

i try for colour

but the city’s concrete does not allow me

 

so here’s the housing project in chunks

with mended words

the cars gleam silver like fishes

 

o every day is my national day

A pensive mood, amidst a recognizable Singaporean landscape.

5 o every day is my national day 640

 

o every day is my national day

 

o every day is my national day with the feel of pulleys,

my people neither here nor there and all that

looking neat, a man-made river, tuxedo and wine,

our children are fresh merlions in a service industry

 

paradise is my country:

 

trucks throbbing engines, the dance

of container ports, cranes, gears making sense

of crude oil, regional furniture of friction-free tonnage,

taking pride in making the most of workers

 

pumps making the most of themselves,

the feel of knowledge water economy is singapore river,

bumboats and tourists, cranes building up the skyline

holding us accountable for the worlds we live in

 

paradise is my country:

 

o surprising singapore, this lion of the sea,

this image of themselves, accounts receivable country,

we are no longer coolies, no longer a colony,

we are a country of obedient trees

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