31 January 2006



              The State Speaks

              Your identity is
              a number on a pink card
              that the law will not
              allow you not
              to carry.

              Now obey,
              or be deleted.
posted by Gilbert at Tuesday, January 31, 2006

9 Comments:

Blogger Aristocrat said...

Short and sweet, but somehow I feel that something is inherently missing in the second stanza. Like something is deleted...

The picture looks to me like one crying out from the dark depths of a totalitarian government though, asking oneself who am I?

January 31, 2006  
Blogger Gilbert Koh said...

The picture is "The Scream" by Edvard Munch. Stolen from a museum in broad daylight, in August 2004.

The poem is short, but I've tried to pack a lot in it. For the benefit of my foreign readers - the reference is to what Singaporeans call the NRIC (National Registration Identity Card). All Singaporean citizens have one. It comes with a microchip & barcode. Depending on who scans it with what machine, it will provide a host of information about the person - name, address, race, date of birth, medical records, gender, blood type, number & title of library books on loan etc ...

The poem is also about the challenges of being an individual in Singapore, where the government has its nose everywhere and regularly insists on intruding into what, in other countries, would usually be considered private matters.

February 03, 2006  
Blogger MB said...

The use of double negatives adds to the tangle. Thanks for giving the context.

February 04, 2006  
Blogger Rong said...

you'd be suprised at what's NOT considered "private matters" in other countries.

February 05, 2006  
Blogger floots said...

highly deleted to read this

February 06, 2006  
Blogger Gilbert Koh said...

Rong:

Oh. You mean, wherever it is that you come from, that the government also tries to give you financial incentives to have more children if you and your spouse are well-educated, on the assumption that if you are well-educated you must have good, smart genes which you can pass on to your offspring who will then be better equipped to serve the needs of the nation?

And that it is also a crime to walk around naked in your own home?

That the government will prescribe what are legal and non-legal ways for a husband and wife to have sex in their own bedroom?

Interesting. :)

February 06, 2006  
Blogger Anonymous Poet said...

This is not a pleasant set of options. Truly ominous. But very well expressed. Powerful

February 08, 2006  
Blogger Daniel said...

The product of fear.

Perhaps an errant asteriod will provide a cleansing blam to this planet's problems

Kind Regards

February 08, 2006  
Blogger Mr Jherek said...

While it is drawing on Singapore specifically, it could apply to any identity card or other means of identification and the attempt of the state to control it's citizens.

March 12, 2006  

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