Nobody, no crime and How you live on – Salt water

– Ying

Prelude

These two poetries are the verbal form of the sensual connection I, as a foreign activist, has formed to the Spring Revolution, and to Myanmar – a country I have never set foot in.

Following the escalation of the Spring Revolution and the Civil Disobedience Movement via the news, research articles and social media since the beginning, I am extremely impressed and inspired by the resilient revolutionary spirit of the people from Myanmar. But at the same time, for a long period, I had been feeling a deep sense of helplessness as a Southeast Asian citizen, for not being able to voice up and take action upon the humanitarian crises in Myanmar, out of fear.

Fear

is a sneaky monster that insidiously slitted its way out from your spine, just to maul you from behind and feed on your livelihood. 

As the urge to act grew, the growl of fear echoed louder, became an overwhelming infatuation. I entered the most depressive period of my life.

4 am, after a relentless cycle of Eat-Shit-Cry, I finally sat up and attempt to induce somewhat of a word vomit, to release all of the chaotically interweaving emotions and thoughts, in search of some tranquility. 

That was when poetry became the vomit of my distress, my overwhelming desperation for a cure to Helplessness. 

Nobody, no crime

Air-conditioned room

Western food and Westlake view

I see the Myanmar flag wavering across the lake

Continental Hotel

 

Three stripes

           of federal dream

           of unity and solidarity

           of dictatorial power

 

But does it matter?

Lives and bloodshed on others’ land?

When I’m barely able to look after my own well-being and livelihood…

Why even care?

Their ever-persisting struggle for autonomy and self-determination?

When my throat was numb against my own abuser

                                                                                   not to mention

                                                                                                               of the people far away…

 

Helplessness

The discomfort rumbling my sickened stomach

Following the acidic reflux

Making it to my throat

               chokes me to sleep

                                          every night…

We were raised to be ‘good’ people

                 Instilled with ideas of morality and ethics

                                To do good deeds, to care

                                To help those in need and to become ‘humane’

Yet

Injected with fear and indifference

Just enough

                                To not get involved, to not care

                                To stay obedient, to behave

Then what does it mean?

Internationalism and Regionalism?

Global citizen and ‘ASEAN identity’

Just to appropriately remain silent

  When the roars of violence and mortality 

      the cries for support and empathy

   Are right next to our homes

      and vividly audible to our ears

      from the People, with whom we claim to share a mutual ‘identity’…

 

Intellectuals and elites

What has given us the audacity

To discuss and mock corruption and dictatorships

Yet remain inactive and silent

        more stubborn than ever

        start calling ourselves ‘nobody’

        when it comes to voicing up

pointing out

the ridiculousness we made fun of 

in between the walls of our classrooms…

.Deep in our consciences

We all know

This region hosts more than diseases, drug trades, or human traffics

And when the Russian roulette spins

Some of us will be on our last legs

          As resilient and determined as ever 

          Calling for the non-existent solidarity

                 that we turned our backs upon 

        when the problems were not ‘ours’…

   

How you live on - Salt water

Salt water purifies

             Salt water sanitizes

                          Salt water disinfects

So 

I clean my wounds with salt water

 

 

Salt water rolls down my face

Salt water dampens my pillow

Salt water 

             in the veins of your friends

             in the corners of your eyes

                          and in the streams between us

Salt water 

             sanitizes the stitches we sewed

                                                    on open wounds

                                                                 and our cut-opened hearts…

 

Don’t want to expect the worse

But cannot force myself to demand the best

So one day

If that day ever comes

Salt water will evaporate

And in the atmosphere that it goes to

I peacefully breathe in your existence.

 

 

I’ll plant a mangrove tree of hope 

             and nurture it with salt water

Wishing that one day

If that day ever comes

In the air that this tree produces

I feel your presence with me

                                       through my nostrils

                                                        fills my lung

Keeps me alive

Nurtures my spirit

Carries me on…

P/s: Written when the fear that one day

 something may happen to my activist-turned-PDF 

soldier friend crept in.