Nature under detention: A lizard’s tale

posted in: Miscellaneous | 1
A Common House Gecko (Photo: YC Wee).

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?

A cockroach came for a visit (Photo: Dr Redzian Abdul Rahman).

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.

Ants moving house – they did not visit Soh Lung’ cell, only some of them did (Photo: YC Wee).

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.

A cricket did visit (Photo: YC Wee),

Her visitors included spiders, ants, lizards, a cricket, a cockroach and mosquitoes.

Many mosquitoes visited Soh Lung (Photo: Johnny Wee)

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

  1. Lee Chiu San

    Soh Lung, you are more inspiring to listen to than Shamas, Straw-headed Bulbuls, or Merboks for which fanciers will pay more than the price of a Mercedes Benz.

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