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: 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.


Acts Meditation 1:4, 14 – Waiting for Promise


“And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father…” – Acts 1:4

“All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” – Acts 1:14

Jesus ordered, not suggested, His disciples wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father.

In fact, Jesus had conveyed this promise before His crucifixion and after His resurrection (Luke 24:49). Why did the disciples have to wait for God to fulfil His promise? Surely, He could fulfil it in an instant?

Continue reading “Acts Meditation 1:4, 14 – Waiting for Promise”

Unger, Phang, Politics & Prayer

“When philosophy has gained the truth of which it is capable, it passes into politics and prayer, politics through which the world is changed, prayer through which men ask God to complete the change of the world by carrying them into His presence and giving them what, left to themselves, they would always lack.”

  • Roberto Unger, Knowledge and Politics (New York: Free Press, 1975) at 294.

“And, as the reader might have discerned by now, I do believe in God and in the higher knowledge that cannot be ours. And that explains why I believe that Unger (or any other theorist) cannot postulate an even close to perfect theory. That this is so is demonstrated by the complex mesh of critique and counter-critique that have, as their central focus, the influential theory or theories of the day. Indeed, Unger himself believed that to be so in Knowledge and Politics, although his present views are rather less obvious. I see nothing terribly frightening in this acknowledgment of the fallibility of human knowledge which we nevertheless continue to use whilst functioning as human beings. It also mandates a humility which has, in any event, always been the hallmark of the great scholars of our time.”

  • Andrew Phang, “Toward Critique and Reconstruction. Roberto Unger on Law, Passion and Politics”, Hull University Law School, Studies in Law (1993) at 78