Sunday, September 20, 2015

one day in Batam

A few years back, I visited the Indonesian island of Batam. Just slightly larger than Singapore, and only 20 plus kilometres away by high speed ferry, it felt like visiting your own backyard. I expected the place to be quite laidback and backward, from the stories my friends brought back, from their days of working on the island.

But it is really not so. She is doing catching-up, and at a fast pace. The power lines on pylons crisscrossing the island, the satellite dishes on almost every rooftop, and the SUVs on the new highways are telling a new story. I have not been back there since and I wonder how she is doing today.

photo of a bridge at Batam by dsnake1

one day in Batam

We came down from the tour bus to a hot dusty track. The guide was saying this is how the locals still lived. The zinc roofs of the village huts shimmered in the noon heat, and I was half expecting them to melt, or burst into flames. In a field, an old man walked among the scrub and stones, shoeless. He was carrying a sickle but there were not many weeds to cut. We can feel the heat of the road through the soles of our shoes. A dog ambled like an old friend to the shadow of the bus, sat down and scratched its face with a dirty paw. A lady, wiping the sweat off her face with a blot of tissue, grumbled and muttered, and returned to the aircon comfort of the bus. I felt like we have landed on another planet.

lunch time -
        the flies buzz
        to another feast.


photo by dsnake1

"Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us."

-- Calvin, Calvin and Hobbs

Shared on Poetry Pantry #270 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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Sunday, September 13, 2015


A re-post from my 2012 NaPoWriMo attempts. Too much sci-fi perhaps? :)

Didn't post anything the past two weeks. Was following my country's General Elections. Sigh..

photo by rosevita, image from



      from a past
      that was a murky
      distant memory was
      the dust of stars and
      generations have lived
      propagated warred killed
      loved and died on this ship
      carrying rain forests and
      oceans and an armour of
      air and treasures and
      myths and species
      hurtling through
      its destiny
      this ship



"It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.”

Neil Armstrong

Shared on Poetry Pantry #269 at Poets United.

P.S. Do you like the new blog header image, which I designed myself?

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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Sunday, August 23, 2015


It is almost coming to the mid point of the Chinese 7th month, better known as the Ghost Month.  So I think it's quite appropriate to re-post this poem. :)

photo by dsnake1, image manipulated with xero


it used to lurk
behind curtains
silent, still
till a breeze
stirs the cloth
you thought
you saw it
long straight hair
slant eyes
pallor of wax
but then there's
those flapping cloth


it's just the eyes
that were too tired
so now
my windows
have no curtains

it glides past
the window
on the corridor
a hesitant shadow
a dark patch
on frosted glass
while i am
killing demons
in a video game
or trying to type
some poetry like this
i expect the clump
or clip-clop
of heels on concrete
that will be
my neighbour
back from clubbing
there is no sound
only the hissing
from the tv
through air
that had




"I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow.”
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Shared on Poetry Pantry #266 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

in a blog spot

Urban Poems is ... 10 years old. And that's a long time in the cyberworld.

And what was my first post?

in a Blog spot

excuse me.
totally lost.

feeling my way around.

no wonder there were no comments. :)

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

not off to a good start

Playing with strikethroughs. I think it's quite fun.

photo by krosseel
image from

not off to a good start

when mother came to send me off on my first day of the ns army enlistment, she was almost crying. i said, "don't worry, i promise to write dun worry lah, i will call back, okay?". i heard you have to wait ages maybe an hour or so for your turn at the only payphone in the camp, and then to utter a few words like "the food sucks" or "you won't recognize your son, me." that might worry her a bit majorly but it was the truth.

"take that fucking pendant off your neck, yelled the sergeant on the first day. "but sir, my mother gave it to me as a good luck charm". "take that fucking pendant off before i wring your neck" yelled that fucking sarge again, obviously not charmed. and i had to take that fucking pendant off. it wasn't going off to a good start.


Army storeman : Did the uniform fit you ?
Soldier : The shirt is ok, but the pants are a bit loose around the armpits.

-- Totally Useless Stuff

Shared on Poetry Pantry #265 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ), 2015

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Sunday, August 09, 2015

a young girl does not understand this old soldier

Today is my nation's 50th birthday. A half century as an independent country. What am I going to write about this then, what do I see on this special occasion? The parade, the fireworks, the Leopard 2s and Apaches? No, others will write about these, and take better photos, than me.

I will then write something about our National Service, something I felt was a waste of time in the past, but a tenet that I supported now, if we are not to be bullied again.

photo by dsnake1

a young girl does not understand this old soldier

"Dad, did you really carry all these bags and guns
and march around with them for days? Isn't it kind of dumb?"

Packs, i corrected her. It's kind of dumb, yes, but then
darling, we did this so you and mummy can sleep safer.


© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

this is a night of werewolves

When it is a late cold night and you can't sleep, and you decide to update your blog, but it gets kind of boring and you click on social media instead...

photo by chrystel-lux
image from

this is a night of werewolves

outside, the night is oily with shadows
the rain smacking their cold hands
on my window panes.
faintly a woman's scream
from the opposite apartment block.
it could not be another murder,
i wonder.
just this morning yeah
there was one splashed
all over the papers.
people are getting stressed
grabbing kitchen knives
and not just for cooking.
then again this is most likely
some mother shouting at the kid.
always happening.

in my room, dark, shadows silent on walls,
only the light from the monitor screen.
i should have known better.
should not have clicked on youtube.
not on a night like this.
top 10 world's unsolved mysteries.
20 mysterious photos that should not exist.
why Vlad was called the impaler.
should have known better.


This is a night of evenly spaced-
out escalators. This is a night of werewolves.


from “This is a Night of Evenly Spaced-Out Escalators” by Zachary Schomburg

I was inspired by the lines from the above poem (and some idle web surfing on a late night). This is a prompt from the Bibliomancy Oracle. It can work in dark ways.

Shared on Poetry Pantry #263 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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