Our Thoughts Are Free: Poems and Prose On Imprisonment and Exile

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Nietzsche’s words, now a popular saying, asserts that "that which does not kill us makes us stronger". What is seldom observed, however, is that the real threat often isn’t an external force but an internal one. The real danger, for example, from physical incarceration and enforced exile – as this collection Our Thoughts Are Free shows – is the mental and spiritual asphyxiation that isolation, loneliness and deprivation can cause. To survive these is the greater struggle and, as history has given us in countless examples, language as creative tool may be instrumental in saving us from ourselves. This collection of poems and writings is such a record of survival; of those who knew by instinct to let words open doors and windows to connect with a world denied them, the outside, and the one within, the more imperilled. Highly articulate, their voices uphold the inviolability of the human inner life, and attest to the fruitful relationship between art and adversity. It is said that adversity introduces a man to himself. This collection has the potential to do that: to surprise us with our own empathy, and to move and fortify us with the conviction of our essential freedom within circumstances few of us will experience at first hand.
- Lee Tzu Pheng


1. Introduction for Poetry collection
2. James Puthucheary
3. Said Zahari
4. Ho Piao
5. Tan Jing Quee
6. Francis Khoo
7. Teo Soh Lung
8. Wong Souk Yee

Our Thoughts Are Free: Poems and Prose On Imprisonment and Exile

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Tan Jing Quee, Teo Soh Lung, Koh Kay Yew