A Catalogue Of Many Angers

A picture of the cover of catskull, (A boy facing side-view with a cat-skull mask against green background) against a red background.

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In 2015, I read about a Singaporean teenager who assaulted several migrant workers, allegedly to “hone his fighting skills”. He was sentenced to a detention of 10 days, a lighter punishment in recognition of his satisfactory academic performance and to avoid marring him with an “indelible criminal record”.

The case frustrated me immensely. What reparations would be provided to the migrant workers, whose bright futures were not taken into consideration? What was the point in our punitive-centric justice system if it would not deliver justice when needed? Why, in other cases, did it kill in our name, when we did not ask for blood?

I remain frustrated about that case, and about many cases since. Largely because those questions remain unanswered. All I've become more certain of is how debatable, subjective and objectionable justice can be. We all may see Lady Justice holding the scales, but what we imagine on those scales differs greatly. Ram, the protagonist of catskull, believes the scales to be lopsided. And he will add as many pounds of flesh as he sees fit to it until balance is achieved.

Ram is a catalogue of many angers. He is the anger of a Singaporean student, suffocated by his predictable future. He is the anger of a country that absolves and punishes the wrong people. He is the anger of a kid who realises he will never be Batman. He is the anger of a boy who never understood how to speak his sorrow.

I imagine you are frustrated too, reader. It is hard not to be, today. Writing catskull helped me recognise some of my own frustrations, my anger, and gave me a place to feel it fully. I can only hope that it will do the same for you.

Author of catskull

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