Essay, Pages 3 (609 words)
In the poem “Void Deck” by Alfian Bin Sa’at, the poet develops the Singaporean Identity by utilizing the term “void deck” as the title of the poem. The term is unique to the Singapore context as it is not used in any other nation. The poem is also filled with the ‘voices’ from the HDB heartland which many Singaporean readers can closely relate to. The poet utilizes phrases such as “wet market” (verse 1, verse 2), “stone-table chessboard” (verse 5, verse7) and “caged birds” (stanza3, verse3) to portray the familiar sight at deep space decks of HDB flats.
The poem also shows the nature of Singapore homemakers in the verse 1 and 4, where it mentions that the “neighbourhood other halves” “trade snatches of gossip” “after a morning at the wet market”. Its shows that the spouses are gossipmongers and had plenty of time on their hand to be able to relax around after the marketing session in the morning.
The verse “Lazy children, who by some miracle or mistake always score well in class” is showing that the frame of mind of many Singaporeans, especially the older generation, who favour kids over ladies in the family.
This concern is extremely true specifically for the older Chinese, as it is in their culture that they perceive boys as transcending due to the reality that they carry down the household name, and ought to be dealt with much better than women who ‘belong’ to the partner’s household once they are married.
In verse 3 verse 1, the poet explains the elderly as sages.
This suggests that the senior citizens are appreciated by the more youthful generation, or it might also suggest that the senior perceive themselves as very wise beings and more educated than the young. The elderly are typically very obstinate and would insist that their method of handling matters are better, as the one of the Chinese stating “the amount of salt I consumed is more than the amount of rice you ate” programs.
The local issue of “high-rise killer litter” that emerges numerous years back, are discussed in “And that mad ladies who throws things from her window” (verse 1, verse 9 and 10). The locals could associate with the issue extremely well as this was a problem that make an outcry years ago when a variety of people are eliminated or injured by litter thrown from high-rise flats. This clearly reflects the thoughtlessness and inconsideration of the country.
The verse “when words falter and gestures take over” (stanza 1, verse 15 and 16) shows that the women are insinuating to the others to look at the direction of the person wearing many pieces of jewellery. The syndrome of people wearing many pieces of jewellery (stanza 1, verse17 and 18) signifies the nature of shallow women who wanted to show off their wealth.
“Teenage rhetoric scrawled, in liquid paper” (stanza 5, verse 6) refers to the graffiti that could be found on the stone-table chessboards. The inconsiderate nature of the teens in Singapore is evident in the mindless scribbling. “Where the king used to sit” tell us that the chessboards, which used to be for the purpose of playing chess is now used as “an outlet” for the teens to “express their feelings” through vandalism.
In the last stanza, the poet looks at the residents of the neighbourhood who “rushed through void decks”. They are probably those who are working and have no time to while away at the void deck. The working adults would be exhausted after work and would rather rest in the comfort of their homes than to spend time in the void deck.