This poem was written on a Bencoolen St hostel wall back in 1990. Thanks to David Edwards who took a picture of it and to Karen Brown who managed to find it after all these years.
Come to our city: It’s big and it’s clean.
The people get down like a well-oiled machine;
With designer suits and well-designed smiles
We’re making big money with our eastern style.
It’s an ideal for living – clean cut and bright:
We cut out the deadwood in the middle of the night.
And men, if you’re lonely, we’ve girls by the score
To suck out those dollars and beg you for more.
So come on you fat cats, you big western boys:
Take the strain off your wallets, we’ve all kinds of toys.
Lips painting a smile as the register rings –
We’re all riding high on the Singapore swings.
But if you carry a backpack, and your shirt shows the sweat,
And you’ve less of the dollars, and more of the debt,
You won’t find us smiling, or eager to please,
Because free spirits here are an ugly disease.
So they confine and restrain to further their gain,
And any deviation is treated the same
Same old story: It’s just the big guys that win,
They’re all getting fat on their Singapore swings.
Crash pads and travellers aren’t worthy of respect,
They don’t have the cash to buy that just yet.
In the words of the police who visited one night:
‘You’re only a tourist, you don’t have any rights.’
So if you aren’t another big wheel on the treadmill of life,
And you’ve got nasty habits that sharpen their knife:
Don’t exhale your freedom for the joy that it brings,
Or you’ll end up hanging from the Singapore swings.
© by Anonymous