Confucius!

April 2, 2007

This sonnet was published in The Other Merlion and Friends (2015). It first appeared in Mascara Literary Review, Issue 1 (2007).

Confucius!

Confucius! Thou shouldst be living at this hour:
Thy folks have need of thee! They have become
All bureaucrats: pens, forms, letters, tiresome
Ping-pong matters — O how our old men cower
To one corner and wet their Eisenhower
Trousers! Are we no more than this feared sum?
Then raise again thy cane and beat us mum;
Teach us good sense, manners not to overpower!
For thou alone art most qualified and smart:
Thou art the poster boy of this strange age
That sees in paperwork a privilege.
So mock us: in the name of Ancient China,
Save us from more red tape and its counterpart —
Even more circulars blowing its tuba!

Gwee Li Sui

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