Suburbia: Jurong East

1 February 2018

Decentred centre. Regional hubnobbed, notquite heartland,
more ribcaged iron lung of the body politc; working protein;
a thigh muscle: hardly missioncritical, although would be missed.
Or else re-placed.  Swath of brownsites, postswamped, timestubbed,
grassrooted and faraway from tua por: no bigshored rickshawed
downtown comehitherness here. No one to impress, this corner of
the 21st C, so everything smallcapped, missmelt, mixmetaphoric, free
of storyboarded skylines or selfieready shopfronts. No toilets
glazed with ads above the urinals advertising legacy watches&
and holidays by the seine. Still, michelinguided porridge purveyors
and famous fromelsewhere meepok claimants stall here,
not for brochure rights but rent and proximity to locyal tastebuddies
who brave the PIE for lunch, sleeves rolled and merces parked by the town
council next to the atm queue next to durian tout next to mobile repair&
next to pawnporn creditready lenders, remitters, resellers, headbowed
men and women loaded with fairprice bags. More tuition centres than toy stores.
Beautiful, necessary employment embanking drenched and empty playgrounds.
Dollars to be stretched and places to stretch them in. Home is where hope’s
affordable.  Afternoons, coffeeshop voidsprawls enchair worktanned uncles
in checkered polos haranguing policy (safely offsite) over sips of kopi-c-siu-dai.
Ashfall soft on plastic tables. A son in dhaka squealing from a scarred phone screen.
The chickenrice auntie brisker and louder than presidents (having raised teens
and conquered cancer while hubby shagged shenzhen divorcees,
or so the tv soaps may script her), insisting on cheer and more chilli sauce.
Each chaw sharper than a good story, with no end in mind and no less love.

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