To Dwell in Hope

Plants climbing up a fence


Loneliness is a tricky thing. We think it’s something to do with the self, but it’s usually the isolating effects of capitalism, the exploitation of human and nonhuman life, the disconnect we feel from ourselves, each other and the land. I find myself succumbing to fatigue, to disengage from the world when things get overwhelming. I talk to my friends, to my therapist, to my cat—they are all comforting in their little ways, but the temptation to dwell in apathy and lethargy is still strong.

Since spending time with the essays in Making Kin, edited by wonderful collaborators Esther Vincent and Angelia Poon, I’ve been taking long walks and seeking out nature in my neighbourhood. I notice bunches of mimosa growing along a walking path, calling me to touch them like how I used to as a child and watch them close, fall asleep. I see Pasir Ris Farmway boarded up, cranes and mountains of sand where large fields used to be. Then I marvel at how foliage makes its way through metal cracks, climbing and creeping over the grey construction walls. As if to say, I’m still here, I see you, I hear you. In that moment, I realise that if I’m intricately connected to an ecosystem of lifeforms, that their flourishing is also mine, then I am never truly alone.

Just as I am grateful to the mimosas and the green creepers, I am grateful to these personal essays for holding me and nourishing me. Words on care, reciprocity, interspecies encounters, living and dying, the semangat of the land and sea, indigenous ways of understanding the world we inhabit. They’ve offered me some respite, a different way to live, a reason to dwell in hope. And I wish for you to feel held by them too.


(From October 2, 2021)

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