The Road People: Poetry and Urban (Im)Mobility in Singapore

December 31, 2008

This article was published in Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, Volume 2.2 (2008).


The extent to which dromological desires, the desires of the roads, have become intertwined with the Singaporean condition may not be underestimated. Life in the island city develops through a unique range of circumstances from limited land resources, economic aspirations, and political harmonisation to the constant evanescing of its ground for national identity. The mix of modernisation, claustrophobia, result-oriented policy-making, and endless cultural renewal creates an explosive context for the resident to embrace speed. This essay aims to study the impact of Singapore’s excessive but necessary reliance on its roads and will explore both the observations of its poets and how they compare with regular political answers. Some of the most representative poems from the last four decades will be examined in order to outline the human experience of urban speed as a catastrophe.

To read the full article, click here.

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