Loss/Lost & Found

“…Morning comes to this city vacant of you.

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Pages and windows flare, and you are not there.

Someone sweeps his portion of sidewalk,

wakens the drunk, slumped like laundry.

And you are gone…”

***

My floral arrangement for Chinese New Year is holding up.

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Peered from this angle, I marvel that tulips, flowers I personally associate with Dutch culture, look almost, Chinese.  Together with the pussy willows, they even look, artificial– calling to mind the wonderful, gaudy mess of flowers you see extravagantly arranged back in Singapore, this time of the year.

Originally we were going to start celebrating Chinese New Year in London.  My friends in London got excited about steam-boat, lo hei, itek kiam chye soup, hokkien mee, and nonya ayam curry when I told them.  Summie who will be having exams, and who has missed Chinese New Year for the last 3 years, was over the moon.

154943_109288189139799_8158449_n-2 (Summie’s 1st CNY, 6 months old, Popo’s house)

Unexpectedly, as with life, sometimes plans change.

***

Do you need a new dress for Chinese New Year?  He asks me.

Yes.  But is the dress too expensive?

It doesn’t have straps?

1034320_1(Googled image, dress by Peter Pilotto)

No, it’s off shoulder- this season’s silhouette.

I see.  It could be rather fetching on you!  (Dr Chan is very sweet to me.)

May not look good on me, because I have broad shoulders…

Just have them call it in for you, and try it?  (Dr Chan is very kind to me.)

But, it’s black?  You never wear black for Chinese New Year.  (Dr Chan knows me very well.)

No, it’s navy.  But is it too stupidly expensive?

Expensive is relative to me.  As long as you like it, and will wear it.

(Groan.  This is one of Mrs Chan’s “problems”.  She has to be very careful with what she asks for, because he will never deny her anything she articulates.)

I’d prefer to just buy a black dress.  But I can’t do that for Chinese New Year.

Maybe wear, bright accessories?  (Dr Chan makes me laugh.)

L1080744 (Bright accessories and home-made laksa fixed post weeping.)

***

“Morning comes to this city vacant of you.

Pages and windows flare, and you are not there.

Someone sweeps his portion of sidewalk,

wakens the drunk, slumped like laundry.

And you are gone.”

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***

Tell me, he once asked many years ago.  When your grandmother goes, would you still want to live in Katong?

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No, I said then.  No, I say now.  But what I never expected then, was this feeling of utter displacement, of severed roots, now.

Well, Mrs Chan, he says today.  You (still) have, me.

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  •  “Morning comes…” is extracted from The City in Which I love You, by my favourite Asian-American poet, Li-Young Lee

 

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