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
Singapore
26th October 2018

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One Response

  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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