Philip Greenall

Cover Image - Pauline Wu 2017
Red Dot Sunday

At market before the sun
And greeted with a smile
You're not the only one
But they go the extra mile

Geckos leave their hiding
Catch the cool morn' breeze
Squirrels leaping, gliding
In between the trees

Workers, willow and cork unite
Just one day to play their game
Foreign maids hold their men tight
Amongst friends, there's no shame

The void decks buzz and hum
Communal cats laze and bake
The tourist markets thrum
Ang Mohs buy good fakes

At the ice cream bells
Kids run and scramble
In hawker centre aisles
Pioneers can only amble

Porridge here, Otah there
Prata swings, Rendang bubbles
Long-neck bottles always near
To help forget your troubles

Uncles collect old papers
Aunties gather empty plates
Jets above leave vapours
Today's downpour's running late

Ex-shophouses get p.m. shade
From towers of success
Businessmen still drink and trade
While first dates try to impress

Tonight’s revelry, Central, East or West?
Put last week out of mind
Just make tonight the best
Come morning, it's back to the grind.

Philip Greenall. Born in Auckland back in '65, to British parents, I was raised there in a very multicultural area that included Avondale, New Lynn, Blockhouse Bay, Mt Roskill and Mt Albert. In my twenties, I left NZ and lived in Victoria, Australia, for around 13 years. Towards the end of that period, I was sent to Singapore, and monthly would also have to visit Malaysia and Thailand, and less frequently Indonesia. It was during this time that I met and formed a friendship with the Chinese Singaporean woman who would later become my wife. Having returned to NZ for the birth of our daughter, the 3 of us returned to Singapore when I was offered permanent residence here. And so, we have been here as a family for almost 9 years, living in a government built and controlled block of high rise flats next to one of the largest food centres in the country. This local living as an Ang Moh (literally "red haired" but commonly used for any white foreigner) has given me insight into Asian culture. The poem may be basic, but it is very accurate to life here.