MG Kumar, ‘Singapore River at Dusk’, 2021, Oil on Canvas, 30 x 36 in
‘The operation was massive;
designed to give new life
to the old lady. We cleaned out
her arteries, removed
detritus and silt,
created a by-pass
for the old blood.
Now you can hardly tell
– Singapore River, by Lee Tzu Pheng
As more settled upon her banks, so the dirt fell upon her waters. Factories brought their soot and hawkers their deathly produce; she found herself choked, strangled, gasping, drowning in her own fluids. It became clear a massive clean-up was necessary. It would seem the sun had set upon the Singapore River, and in her place, a new moon was rising. Years later, many would stand upon her shores and lament that, with her blood drained, she had lost something of her character. Yet others, leaning over the railings, would gaze upon their reflections on her watery surface, and spot an image of themselves.