Poem: What is it that we share?

“What is it that we share?”
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Just what is it
That you share with me
From those weeks at sea?
Stomachs, queasy
From rhythmic rolls atop blue waters?
Memories of euphoric music
From our smiles and laughter?

Or perhaps
We are connected,
Simply,

Because we share a loss
Of strangeness,
Now that we are strangers
No longer.

Published in Poetic Voices in their May 2005 issue (look for the 3rd poem from the bottom up). See also: Libraries as platforms for Community Publishing (May 8, 2005)

Poem was inspired by my experience during SSEAYP 2001. The motto for the Singapore contingent was “Be Connected”. We had a theme song and logo.

The 2001 voyage was marked by a tragic road accident in Brunei which resulted in some deaths. The programme was cut short. But I guess we made the best of the time that was spent prior to the accident, and after as well. Friendships and goodwill remains among Participanting Youths (PYs).

I wrote this piece in response to a call for contributions to a SSEAYP article that was being planned (I’m not sure if that was published). Was thinking of what to write when it occurred to me that we,  the PYs of 2001, started off as strangers and then we lost something due to the accident. Yet, the concept of loss was not entirely negative. 

We started the voyage as a bunch of youths bearing unfamiliar names and faces. Then we found ourselves strangers no longer. Whether we realised it or not, we were all connected by a shared experience, for better or for worse — more so the former.

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