The Hexacoto

Listening to the sound of one hand clapping

Tag: anger

Faith ignites a message that falls on stone ears


A red glow spreads as
electric lotus lamps burn
from a rosewood altar.


Three sticks of incense
stuck into the ashes of previous attempts
to reach you.
I flick the dial of a lighter
and it goes “schick, schick.”
A few sparks and the flame is lit,
a covenant made on one end.

Three sticks of incense
rouse and extend fragrant tendrils skywards.
An extension to the heavens —
patch me through, operator.
The sandalwood dance this way and that,
seemingly reluctant to secure the connection,
but like all prayer,
one speaks regardless
of whether the other side is listening.

A Message

“Tua Pek Gong ah, Tua Pek Gong,
my grandma looked to you
for conferrings of harmony
the pious could achieve.
For those who hold their faith each day
in sticks of burning wood.
Structured sutras calm the heart;
metrical relief.

I washed upon these concrete shores,
a boat with much to give.
And countless leagues I’ve had to cross
to berth my anchors in
a port of gold, or so I’m told,
where dreams are to be had.
But all I have to moor the tide
are merely ropes of tin.

Tua Pek Gong ah, Tua Pek Gong
I do not know the form in which to speak
the words that my ancestors would beseech
protections that would sooth the stormy seas.
But would your red auspices run its course
In lands where red is mixed with white and blue?
Where ships are not the vessels they were built
but kindling from the boards that have been stripped.
I rely on mantras that I borrowed
in hopes of days where boats could be ships

That Falls On

Rectitude is all I have when
circumstances bend my back

My communion withers
as three sticks of incense stand
on their last legs.

Stone Ears

A ceramic smile
glazed upon a statuette
could never waver.


Meandering road

I surround myself with beauty
to distract myself from grief
and throw myself to the reckless wind
to let myself feel alive
yet I myself know that to be a lie
for floating myself amidst these currents
that I myself have no control was
to delude myself
that somehow I have gotten over


        left us behind
you left us with all this hurt
you took off without a warning
you didn’t say goodbye.
But there is no more you anymore, is there?
We’re left behind
We’re left with all this hurt
We’re sitting around here
We didn’t get to say goodbye

Dérive, you told me, was a concept originated in Paris
where people criss crossed, crossed people and streets,
where there is opportunity, crisis
unplanned journeys across the cityscape,
getting over delusions that somehow
we have control amidst these currents
when we are really just floating lies to each other
to feel alive recklessly,
throwing grief at beauty
to come to the solemn reckoning that
in the end there is only just



[1 month]

The Darkness

(This is post is backdated, written on 23rd July, 2016)

Being one step behind
when chasing the sun
is all that’s needed
to be steeped in darkness
and mired in the shadow of

Those, bright eyed and
fixated on the light,
forget they cast shadows
on those trailing them
who chase the same fire that

Do gleam so pretty,
these are our dreams
with passions that burn
but do give no heat
as we fear dying cold and in ignominy.


<– DAY 2

DAY 4 –>

The Dishes


(This is post is backdated, written on 23rd July, 2016)

It is 6.30pm and I need to do the dishes to make food. I haven’t eaten all day. I have a lot of groceries that you had left behind that I need to use so they don’t go bad.

Josh, I can’t do the dishes you left behind. The cup with the poppy seeds for your stupid poppy seed tea, I’m sorry for getting mad at you for leaving poppy seeds all over the floor. I’m washing that giant measuring cup you filled with Lactaid because of your lactardness. I don’t know what the fuck was in that bowl that was your last meal you had while alive. I don’t know how to grieve in company. You were the only one I ever cried openly to. I don’t know how to do this. Yes I always noticed when you cleaned the house. Yes I always noticed when you did things for me. I just never said it. I want to be able to call you a cup slut again, when you use up all the cups in the house. I know you went on reddit Singapore to ask them about what to get me for my birthday. I really appreciated it and the gifts you got me, even though you were tight on cash. I just never told you that. I don’t know how to do your dishes, Josh.

It is 9.30pm. The dishes are done. I can finally cook now.


<– DAY 0

DAY 2 –>

I want to hold your hand one last time before it turns cold but I don’t know how.

The Death

(This is post is backdated, written on 23rd July, 2016)


My alarm gargled. Why had I even chose this alarm on my phone? Whatever, I’m awake, but I didn’t want to wake. Waking up to make a living to live is hard. I stay in bed for another 5 minutes.


More gargling. Ok I’m up. I walk down the hallway to the bathroom to shower and get ready for work.

The door was locked. I opened the room to his door, he was not in the room. Well, he’s in the toilet. I could hear snoring sounds. Seriously, why couldn’t he have just slept in his bed like a normal person? But I guess if he were sitting on the toilet till he fell asleep, he must be having some intestinal issues. It’s happened before.

More snoring. I knock loudly on the door. No response, but the snoring continues. I knock even louder; knuckles, palm, heel of hand all rapping the door. I rattle the doorknob. Five minutes must have passed, probably. I am starting to get irritated. “I have a job to get to, you know,” I thought to myself, with a further thought in parentheses (why do thoughts even need parenthesis?) “…unlike you.” More rattling, more rapping — I was an irate rapper.


Then the snoring stopped.

“Josh. JOSH.” I was slapping the door, the door had offended me. Rattlesnakes rattle because they warn that they represent death. I rattled the doorknob and I was murderous. Should I kick the door down? Nah, I don’t want to pay to replace the door. Maybe if I did I’ll have Josh pay for it. But he won’t be able to pay for it. Let’s not do that, let’s not tax his financials.

Do our bathroom doors even have master keys? I peered at the doorknob that has its keyhole cap removed. No, it seems, but I spy with my little eye: a screw. The master key is a screwdriver.

Turning around and into the tool/everything closet, I tried to look for my small flathead screwdriver. Where is it? Josh probably took it and never put it back. For some reason, I suddenly thought about that episode of Family Feud I saw on TV with my friends when we went upstate for a holiday, and the phrase was: “Stop using my _____!” The third most voted answer was “tools.” I finally found a small flathead and unlocked the door from outside.


He was keeled over the bathtub, completely naked. It looked like he had fallen asleep/passed out, leaned over the bathtub. His head laid sideways in the bathtub. There was a small puddle of brown vomit in the bathtub. He can’t be asleep in the bathtub. The vomitus was putrid and a slurry in the bathtub. I need to get him out of the bathtub.

Finger to nose test: indeterminate
Finger to jugular test: no pulse

What do I do now?

/system override: panic; uncertainty;
initiate: forced calm
feedback: grunting heard
processing: state=asleep?
initiate awakening processes
/slap /shake
feedback: no response
initiate emergency systems: CPR memory retrieval
andrenaline booted up, please wait
retrieval results: A-B-C
[commentary: isn’t that outdated? isn’t it like CBABC at this point?]
detecting breath; detecting pulse
= 0; = 0
commencing compression: start cycle 8 counts; check for breathing
feedback: loud wheeze accompanying 4 compressions

override failure: composure broken

What do I do now?

compressions resumed, 8 counts achieved, loud wheeze with each compression


composure regained
status report:
URGENT — pull him out into hallway
URGENT — place him on side
URGENT — call 911
URGENT — email boss that you’ll be delayed

And so I did.


The EMTs arrived.

“What happened?” “Tell me about the person,” “Name? Age?” “How are you related to him?” “Does he have any form of ID?” “Any known drug allergies? Health conditions?”
“No pulse, no breathing.” “Let’s hook him up.” “Asystole.” “You got the drugs?” “Yea I have them ready.” “Can’t do compressions, lungs not inflating.” “Need head elevated.” “Do we have a pillow or something?” [yes] “Intubate him.” “Is that blood in the air pump?” “Seems to be. I don’t think it was intubation puncture.” “Pneumothorax?” “Not sure.” “Still no pulse.” “Time?” “Eight minutes” “Is that all the drugs?” “We still have one more.” “Let’s use it.” “Ready?” “Secured into leg.” “Keep doing compressions.” “How’re we doing?” “No response.” “Time?” “14 minutes.” “We’ll keep going until the doctor says to stop.”

“Sir, it’s been 18 minutes of attempts to resuscitate. We’re in touch with the doctor, but because it’s been 18 minutes”

“He might tell you to cease resuscitation. I understand.”

“Right. You know that the moment he shows any sign of life we would have whipped him to the hospital immediately.”

“I understand.”

“At this stage you might have to prepare for what comes next.”

“That he might be pronounced dead. I understand.”

(Ma’m, we’ve got in touch with the doctor. We’ve told him that we’ve attempted resuscitation for over 20 minutes. He says that we can stop resuscitation now.)

“Sir, I’m sure you’ve heard that. I’m sure you know what this means.”

“I understand. He is dead.”


I understand that he is dead.


DAY 1 –>



Yesterday, I was feeling very affected by the attack on LGBT nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida, but I wasn’t quite sure why. I did not directly know any of the victims, was not there, nor was I Latino — the majority of the victims — and my only connection to the incident was that I was a QPOC. But it wasn’t that connection that stirred something inside me. It was the idea that our sanctuary has been so easily trashed that struck me.

In 2009, I was bound for New York for college, and it would have been my first foray into the United States. In preparation for the journey, I researched as much as I could about the city, and learned that it was a haven for the LGBT community and the Stonewall Inn was where the LGBT rights movement first started. At the time, I had never experienced or dabbled in anything of that nature — I was too concerned with school and extracurriculars to be even bothered. Never been inside a gay club, never kissed, never held a hand.

But I learned about the concept that there are spaces where one could go and be amongst like people. Places where for while, one could let one’s hair down and not worry — nay not think — about disapproving stares, much less the fear of rebuke and reproach. Sanctuaries.

One of the very first few things when I had landed in New York and had generally unpacked was to pump up my unicycle (my preferred mode of transportation) and go for a ride in the city. I was curious about this Greenwich Village and Chelsea, spoken of in Wikipedia (Hell’s Kitchen had yet to be linked into the Gay Village Wikipedia article at the time, or I wasn’t looking very closely) and unicycled down the legendary Christopher Street I had heard so much of.

I wasn’t too disappointed. Back then in 2009, the West Village was on its way to being gentrified but still clung on to the vestiges of its gay subculture. I still saw, in broad daylight, men in leather suits and heels and caps, LGBT people openly holding hands and kissing, bears, daddies, twinks, dykes and all shades of the rainbow and I smiled.

“This isn’t too bad. I think this place could work,” I thought.

I hit the end of Christopher St, past the leather and daddy bars, past McNulty’s (love that tea/coffee merchant) but did not go to the piers, as I didn’t know about it then. I then made a U-turn and then back up 8th Avenue, all the way into Chelsea.

There, I saw a different gay people of a different ilk. Men with buzzcuts in their 30s and 40s bulked up with muscles exploding out of their inexplicably tight tank tops (I dubbed them the Chelsea gym bunnies), skinny gay men yakking all the time and the smattering of sex shops selling underwear, poppers and porn. I didn’t dare go into any of them then, but yet I still felt safe standing in the streets even as I was among some of the people physically quite unlike me — in skin colour, size, and much more. Yet I felt like I belonged.

I was merely standing in the streets of these gay-bourhoods and already I felt for the first time I was surrounded by a community of people like me, a refreshing change from the dour looks back home. I wasn’t even in a gay club (that’s another story) but even though I was in a strange land, I felt safe, despite having been traipsing New York City roads and traffic on one wheel on one of my first few days here.

“Welcome to sanctuary” the city seemed to be saying to me.

And over the years, I have made many friends, created many communities, have been accepted by many communities, and created my own family here in New York.

The Pulse club was one such sanctuary for many gay men and women to enjoy a night out without the fear of “faggot” being yelled their way. A place where LGBT people who were not yet ready or able to openly hold hands in public without being attacked to hold each other. A space where the only judging going on were eyes sizing you up whether to say “hi” and bring you home for the night, and not whether you were abominable sin.

But that night, all around the country, LGBT people were reminded that they were still from being safe to walk upright. That despite being surrounded by “allies” and the recent developments in gay rights, all it takes is one mentally ill person, one hateful person, any straight person welcomed into a gay space but ultimately striking fear into the gay people around him because he was told to quiet down, to make us question how safe are we, even in our sanctuaries.

And that was why I was perturbed.


It has been a couple days since the shooting happened at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The conversation has been continuing in the days since the shooting, and we are still feeling the emotional outflow of anger, pain, and shock that something like this has happened again. We’ve seen coverage of self-serving political candidates capitalising on this as a self-promotion opportunity, speculation about the sexuality of the shooter, the nation’s inability to act to prevent further shootings because it is crippled by lobbyists, intense coverage of the final moments as victims died, outrage at Muslims, people defending Muslims, Muslims being outraged, so on and so on and so on.

But amid the whirlwind of content outpouring, I find myself thinking about hate. I find myself thinking about what it must feel like to be living with so much hatred. What it must feel like to hate someone’s very existence without even having known them, hating them because they are labelled as something that goes against one’s “values”.

I tried to imagine hating the shooter Omar Mateen that took the lives of 49 sons and daughters that night in the club and I couldn’t do it. I could feel anger as I imagined what might have happened that night, but I feared that if I found myself capable of hating Mateen, I would be no better than anyone else hating someone else without knowing what they’re about. I thought about how I would have done had I been in that club, how I would have felt had any of the victims had been direct friends of mine. I was very cognizant of how removed I was from this incident, yet how connected I was to this issue at large. I was once again reminded that there were people who hated my for no particular reason, and wondered if I had been guilty of similar hatred.

People claim that this incident shouldn’t be about any individual — the problem is a systemic failure of the society at large. But larger problems are expressed at local levels, and if we don’t deal with problems from the ground up, how much less so can we attempt to solve problems at a larger level? I want to learn more about myself as I ingest this incident and I want to grow from it. From there, I hope to become a stronger person equipped to handle such complex issues and will be better equipped to talk to other people around it, and ultimately effect change that matters.