Rites of Memory


I was in a writer’s residency two weeks ago. We were taken on a two-hour walking tour by Architect tour guide Vikas and then made to submit a writing assignment based on our genre by next morning.  I cracked my head the whole night and suffered a writer’s block,  envying my poet colleagues who told me that they have done it quite easily.

Just ten minutes before meeting began, I managed to come out with something and guess what,  there was no time for us to present our assignments and it was promptly forgotten.  Well, since it took so much effort for me, someone has to read and critique it. So readers,  you shall do my peer review then.

Rites of passage
It was something he’d done often, and was even passionate about,  these walks that he conducts for tourists and locals alike. So why did he feel a sense of drag today? Perhaps it’s the looks on these peoples’ s faces- bland expressions,  almost to seemingly boredom.  Well he can’t blame them. They hadn’t signed up for this walk voluntarily.  This was part of a package deal, came without options,  much like those Chan Brothers’ package tours where in the itinerary,  an optional sunset cruise down the scenic river was compulsory.

To their credit, they tried to look curious,  whipping out camera phones to take the obligatory photos at the things he brought their attention to, which somehow seemed ridiculous now that you think of it. I mean,  what is so interesting about road signs, or car park spaces? He used to applaud himself for churning out narratives that turned the mundanes into interesting artifacts for his guests.  He tried again this evening,  pointing out the haphazard choice of pavement tiles at a cross junction,  the gaudy green in stark disagreement to the almost neat handiwork of blue mosaics from yesteryears. The writers group took a cursory glance. One didn’t even bother to stifle his yawn. Couldn’t they see it? The way the soul of their city is being destroyed for the sake of progress?  Couldn’t they tell how his heart broke, every time he stood at this junction and see more and more concrete cement encroached onto the fragile blue pieces, defenceless against nature and progress?
No, they didn’t see it. Of course not. For they lived in their dream world,  their fantasy land, the imaginary place writers go to mentally. Unlike him, who is here,  now, among the broken mosiacs at Jalan Sultan.

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About vickychong

Just an ordinary woman.
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