Facilitation Techniques & Behaviours

Have you ever had to facilitate a group discussion? It could be a work brainstorming meeting, focus group or accountability small group.

Every so often, we may find that the discussion is veering off course or losing steam, some voices drown others out, ideas or content get stale, or things get heated.

Here are some tools and techniques to help facilitate group discussions.

Continue reading “Facilitation Techniques & Behaviours”

Poem: The Final Evening

29 December 2014

Bodies somersault in silent currents;
dancers and stumblers separate in rhythm.
And there was evening and there was morning.

Nimble winds weave around falling metal,
separating head from tail, wings from body.
And there was evening and there was morning.

Heads drop like fresh fruit fallen on damp fields;
knives, like seasons, separate ripe from unripe.
And there was evening and there was morning.

Stray cells burst out all around like spring bloom,
separating the faint hearts of lovers.
And there was evening and there was morning.

The conquered echo hymns of foreign gods;
words separate the trembling from the inert.
And there was evening and there was morning.

Crusts of earth unclasp their quiescent hands,
separating flesh from dust and dry bones.
And there was evening and there was morning.

Pure light gilds new trees by ancient rivers,
separating never from forever.
And there was evening, the final evening.

And there is morning.

Poem: Burning Time

Photo by Micael Widell from Pexels
What words burn the tip of time’s arrow
shot from the height of the last morrow?
When did you stop watering the bonsai?
Was it after her leaves had turned brown?
When heat brings chaos, time must follow;
where would the final fire make you go?
When all of you have been swallowed up,
where and how should I store your ashes?
Where would time for two be true as one
despite distance, detours and demands?
Where did you take me when I was three?
Was it you, or me, or us who were free?
Inspired by The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli

Poem: Transit

1 December 2019 

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? 

Psalm 13:1-2


I’m the traveller waiting in transit,

whose flight is not yet fixed or known to him,

in a foreign land whose food he now eats, 

whose language he now speaks fluently in. 

The boarding time—that’s still a mystery, 

but the retail offers make up for it, 

and the cheap spa’s soothing soul therapy, 

one would give up checking every minute. 

Crowds or jostling bother not much longer

than the dated movies showing on screen, 

so other travellers ‘round drinks gather,

forget the land they were meant to be in:

the land of ancestors and native tongues,

of healing and soulful songs to be sung.

Poem: God in Geylang

“Hallelujah people lai liao!*”:

lanterns lit our path into a house of—God

have mercy—sex, flesh hiding beneath

frail smiles, our offers of cookies and prayer.


A dark-skinned girl wearing

a cross, which I could not bear

to look, reached for us; we embraced

her in a cocoon of indistinguishable bodies.


Clasped hands catching crumbs

of lost words and bowed heads

sculpted petitions to our Father. Amen,

we said, a thousand questions


unspoken among us,

each struggling to soar, to find a home

where every answer burns

a gentle fire to light up a long, long night.


* “lai liao”: literally come already in Chinese 

Poem: Reserved Seat

Hunched, with a cane, under whipping echoes
of foreign men’s curses, he half-squatted, half-

sat pregnant with, heaving, a chest-full lifetime of
lies slipping through the shackles of his blank gaze;

on his trembling lap sits his children’s hopes
crafted in Hindi on generic postcards; one falls

onto his scabbed foot swollen from the earth’s
protestations against his lot – his only worth.


Published in SINGPOWRIMO:THE ANTHOLOGY, edited by Ann Ang, Joshua Ip and Pooja Nansi, Math Paper Press (2014)

Poem: Visiting Mrs Tan

9 November 2014


Your daughter feeds you. Baby

spoon lingers on pale lips, like

a question, I imagine, drifting

at the edge of your memory


as you search for me there–

a letter without a word,

folding, never touching itself–

aimlessly. The Elder gestures


for me to hold your hand.

I feel your dry skin open,

swallowing the wavering

unfamiliarity between us


as we pray. Our eyes are closed:

I am comforted by their shadows,

where distance is immeasurable.

You do not know me, or I,


you, who are related

only by the name

by which our pleas coalesce

then dissipate like vapour.


As the last of the Elder’s

words journey towards their destination,

I look up. Your eyes light up

as we say together, amen.


Poem: Words are poor things

Words are poor things

I have loved
the peacefulness of an ordinary Sunday.
It is like standing
in a newly planted garden after a warm rain.
You can feel
the silent and invisible life.
Any human face
is a claim on you, because
you can’t help but understand
the singularity of it,
the courage and loneliness of it.
But this is truest of the face of an infant.
I consider that to be one kind of vision,
as mystical as any. Love is
holy because it is like grace–
the worthiness of its object is never
really what matters.
There is no justice
in love, no proportion in it,
and there need not be,
because in any specific instance it is
only a glimpse or parable
of an embracing, incomprehensible reality.
It makes no sense at all
because it is the eternal breaking in
on the temporal. So how could it
subordinate itself to cause or consequence?
There are a thousand thousand reasons
to live this life,
everyone of them sufficient.
Grace has a grand laughter in it.
There’s so much to be grateful for,
words are poor things.

Published in SingPoWriMo 2016: The Anthology (Math Paper Press: 2016)

Review of Netflix’s The Sandman: The Power of Story 

Review of Netflix’s The Sandman: The Power of Story 

Netflix’s “The Sandman” is a dark fantasy series adapted from the cult-hit graphic novel written by Neil Gaiman and published by DC Comics’s Vertigo from 1989 to 1996. 

I read the graphic novel in secondary school and was taken in by the vastness of Gaiman’s vision in upending various comic and literary genres to tell a metafiction of myths, legends and fictions. Gaiman drew from the Bible (Lucifer, Cain & Abel and God’s angels make significant appearances in the series), Greek and Norse myths, European, Asian and Islamic folk-tales, as well as Shakespeare, Dante, Blake, Milton and the likes. 

Continue reading “Review of Netflix’s The Sandman: The Power of Story “

Poem: Punggol

Silver river softly rolled, its winding passages
charted on atlases of green veins rising
under tanned skin wrapped over forearms
of men rowing on slivers of sampans

Chinese farmers with their poultry and pigs,
Malay fishermen who have delicately drawn
from provisions of the generous sea, and
between them, a sacred distance of fellowship

Past chapels from which soulful voices rise
heavenward and fall clumsily on zinc roofs
of quiet neighbours like grey singlets slipping
from laundry lines onto a bed of dried leaves;

Beside Babujan Zoo, where the Bengal tiger
wistfully watched the water, wishing,
perhaps, it could drift away, off the edge
of the story of a land, which idly bided

at the tip of a long road paved with loss,
overrun by men on bicycles, chanting
foreign anthems of liberation, lips longing for
their wives and children, which shall soon cease

to give life, but open wide its mouth to catch
the felled, where the river will no longer
carry the wishes of a people who
shall soon be called by a different name.

This poem is featured in Punggol Regional Library’s Words That Move animated digital showcase at its launch in 2023.

This poem was featured in Singapore Poetry On The Sidewalks in 2019.

It was also used in this collage work by Lidya Kamal, 3rd year Art & Design student, Glasgow School Of Art Singapore