14 07 2015

7 children

5 boys

2 girls

1 dream:


Mum Basita is the wife of a barangay captain in Bohol, Philippines.

She used to work in Singapore because being a maid for a day paid more than being a farmer for a week.

Now, she makes 80 pesos for one kilo of brinjal.

That’s $2.40 SGD.

We were there to visit her barangay,

To understand their efforts of reforesting their land

To understand their reasons, their benefits, their personal stories.

But still, I didn’t expect to meet Mum Basita.

She walked us to her farm

And pulled out a stack of paper from her pocket

She had written her whole speech to us out, all seven pages

So that she wouldn’t forget.

She trembled. She couldn’t face us.

She didn’t want her tears analysed by foreign students

She didn’t want her feelings explained in academic language.

I held back any questions I originally had.

I forgot them all.

But my peers were still curious, still studious

Insisted she tell us more.

They scribbled her broken English down.

Her rough voice hit my ear drums in the same way

their pencils scratched at their note pads, desperately.

I’ve never had science fail me before.

Anthropology, I realised might be the study of people

But it is meaningless if we do not realise

that Anthropology is really the study

of people.



8 07 2015

(inspired by the Bohol Manmade Forest)

I mistook it for rain.
I’m so used to impending storms,
I put my rain gear on.

Only after that
did I raise my hand to see
how heavy it would be.

But there were no raindrops.
Instead, there were these tiny white flowers
pooling in my palm.

I looked up at the canopy
And watched them fall from the giant trees
It was raining flowers.

But it still felt like rain.
Sometimes, when we’re so used to the storms
We don’t recognize anything else.

It’s better to be safe than sorry
And when expecting the worse becomes a habit
Protection becomes routine.

You will not look up,
not until you’ve assessed its severity
and plan your escape route.

Any minute now,
your shoes are going to get muddy
and you will be drenched

from head to toe.
You are mentally preparing yourself
for the thunder and the lightning

You wait for the crash.
But it never comes.
But it still feels like rain.

Until you look up.
Until you see what is there,
it will always feel like rain.