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Jakarta Post

Page Turner: (Poem) Tongues for the one who did not like singlish

  • The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, May 8 2016   /  06:44 pm

i never thought the th- sound convenient thus counting to three — one, two, three — for your amusement was a fresh experience but only the first time. in singapore,

the rules of accent are completely fair. stress everything the same. no need to pause.

and don’t need tense. just stress, stress everywhere

but note the pinyin of the rise and falls — speak faster, swallow all your consonants, add lahs and lehs and lors — but all of that was swiftly steamrolled by embarrassment leaving my accent flaccid, feeble — flat.

so it was surprising for me waking up next to you one morning to hear my tongue in your mouth whispering “i — love — you”,

each equally stressed syllable finding its way around unfamiliar rises and falls learning a new way home.

Joshua Ip is a Singaporean award-winning poet. This poem has appeared in his book Making ...