When you are alone in a cell with nothing to do; when you only have irregular supervised visitors; when you are left to rot for two-and-a-half-years… What do you do to seek solace and companionship and to maintain sanity?
Teo Soh Lung was detained under Operation Spectrum in 1988 and held in the Internal Security Department’s Whitley Road Detention Centre. There, she morphed from a practising lawyer into a poet-cum-naturalist.
Unknown to the authorities, she had regular visits from a series of unsupervised visitors to her cell. She interacted with them, had monologues with them, sketched them, studied their behavioiur and eventually wrote poems about them.
Her visitors included spiders, ants, lizards, a cricket, a cockroach and mosquitoes.
When Soh Lung gained her freedom, she compiled her sketches, poems, etc. into a book, Creatures Big and Small: Poems and Drawings from Behind the Blue Gate (Function 8 Ltd., Singapore) that was recently published LINK. Listen to he singing her ode to a lizard below.
Soh Lung’s first book can be viewed HERE.
Teo Soh Lung
26th October 2018