balik kampung edited by verena tay

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Balik Kampung / stories edited by Verena Tay


// MATH PAPER PRESS MATH PAPER PRESS, an imprint of BOOKSACTUALLY is a small press publisher of poetry, new wave novellas, full-length novels, and essays. Its eclectic range of literary and visual works also includes photography collections, memoirs and young adult fiction. MATH PAPER PRESS also distributes books by small selected presses. . . . // BALIK KAMPUNG edited by Verena Tay

B ALIK K AMPUNG is a collection of eight new tales written by authors who have lived in their neighbourhoods for 10 years or more. A mysterious lighthouse in Marine Parade calls you home. A missing monkey in Changi recalls your carefree childhood. A red plastic bag in Nee Soon tells you who you truly are. We invite you to read our stories, reminisce, and return once again, back home. Published by MATH PAPER PRESS (2012) Distributed by MATH PAPER PRESS ISBN-13: 978-981-07-3804-4 Retail Price: SGD 21.80


Death is only a sadness. Tragedy lies in waste. ~ Herman Wouk I DO NOT remember that precise moment of crossing over. From the prime of life into the imprisonment of death. There must have been trauma and great distress, of course, I struggled against my assailantor assailantswho had pounced upon me out of nowhere and snuffed out my earthly existence. But thats not something I can recall in complete clarity now. Even as I try my hardest to remember, only blurry apparitions and flashes of light come to mind. I was 16 years old when I was murderedjust one day short of my 17th birthday. Of what I do remember of that fateful day is the fact that it was just another ordinary day. School ended earlier than usual, as it should on a Wednesday, so I was back home in my Ewart Park bungalow by late afternoon. And as was the norm on a Wednesday, I would put on my jogging shoes and go for a run around my residential neighbourhood at around 6 p.m. Dinner was 7:30 p.m.; so there would be sufficient time for a shower after the workout. I rarely veered from my running route, which would start off from my house and pass by the railway track towards the main road. I would run along Holland Road for a short while, before turning left into Maryland Drive, which leads to Greenleaf Road. At the end of Greenleaf Road, I would loop my way back via Greenleaf Rise and Greenleaf View, to cross over Old Holland Road to get back home. My parents nagged me constantly about the danger of going towards the other end of Old Holland Road. A teenage girl was raped and murdered on that quiet stretch of road in the mid-1980s, and the notorious case had remained unsolved after all these years. That particular Wednesday, probably out of curiosity, or for specific reasons I cant remember now, I decided to take a detour and run along Old Holland Road in the direction of Holland Plain, past a canal and what used to be cemetery grounds. Sitting in my dads BMW, we had driven past this area

countless times and, with the graves exhumed and new houses being built, the road just didnt feel as spooky as compared to a decade ago. The last thing I remember of that day was the water level in the canal. There was nothing more than a shimmering stream of water, which looked clean from a distance, and I was wondering about how high the water level would rise during a monsoon-aided downpour. The music that is stuck in my head now is the song Skyline Pigeon by Elton Johnit must have been the iPod track I was listening to when my memory came to an abrupt end. Excerpt from The Great Dying by Yong Shu Hoong (in Balik Kampung edited by Verena Tay)

Published by

M ATH P APER P RESS by BooksActually No. 9 Yong Siak Street Singapore 168645 t / +65 6222 9195 Math Paper Press is a small press publishing by BooksActually that deals with short experimental novellas, poetry and essays. Math Paper Press also distributes books by selected small presses.

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