Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Bus Route Poetry #1

April 2017 is SingPoWriMo, the Singapore Poetry Writing Month, where participants are challenged to write poetry daily for an entire month, and are given daily prompts on what to write on. I'm not an active participant because most of them so cheem there (got degree in linguistics somemore dey) and the only form of literature training I have was from o'level days. And my grammar's shit anyway. 

Day 17's prompt was to write about your favourite bus route and I thought, okay, let's give this a shot. I posted these on twitter under the hashtag #busroutepoetry, and some people on twitter participated in this exercise as well. Some poetry were very delightful and accessible to everyone, while others were based on its authors' personal memories. 

Here's mine. Along with some explanations. 

Bus 190

You bring us to Orchard
Using the PIE 
You pass the school 
Where the girls don't need to wear a blouse
Beneath their light blue pinafores
And another school, where the girls had to.
Both really good schools, mom had said
But she knew that I was not up to that

A friend living in Jurong once told me his envy of how Bus 190 is of easy accessibility to me. With half its route on the BKE and PIE expressways, 190 brings Choa Chu Kang and Bukit Panjang residents to Orchard Road in around 30 to 40 minutes. (pretty impressive in comparison with the drudgery that is Bus 174 that serves people of Jurong).  Its first stop at Orchard is Far East Plaza, a meeting point for my friends and I, and where a blond David Bowie once graced his holy presence (long before I knew who he was). As a young child, I never asked the same question like I asked myself now: how much are these homes on Stevens Road, and what must you do in order to live there??

Bus 700

Bus 700
700 is 190
That goes to CBD
Last time we no downtown line
So boh bian have to squeeze.

Bus 176

I knew that a little before 12
That the last bus would come along
Sparing me from spending 12
To get me back to Bukit Panjang

You pass by River Valley High
And Commonwealth Sec too
Jurong East Library
Science center too
I took you when I donned pinafore
And also in office wear
I loved that you stayed the same
In the routes that you took.

Bus 176 takes up a huge portion of my life so far. It was one of the buses which took me to my primary school, Bus 176 also took me to Jurong East Central, where it had one of the few public libraries, and a huge cinema multiplex. Not forgetting that it took me to Bukit Batok, a town that I'm fond of as loads of memories, good and bad, were formed there in my teens. In my 20s I still took it as my best friend once lived on West Coast Road. We hung out till late, but I would rush out early enough to hop on the Bus 176 that would flash the words "Last Bus" on its front. 

Bus 184

Wah lao yeh
NP kids
Lao niang already want to sleep
Mai kao pei lah go and die
Faster get down at Al Ameen

I was once that Ngee Ann Polytechnic kid, still bursting with energy at 10 pm after drama club, creating havoc when we board Bus 184 with friends as we head to Al Ameen on Bukit Timah road. The 30-something me, exhausted from 8 hour work and 3 hours of part-time university at SIM says ain't nobody got time for hanging out and the metabolism to burn off a cup of Teh Peng... so SHUT UP AND FASTER GET DOWN THE BUS LAH POLY KIDS. 

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