On a significant milestone
By Toh Hsien Min
I can't imagine what it must be like to be born in 1965. It's not, of course, that I suffer from a failure of the imagination. After all, I'm at that age when I cherish the time I have with my parents simply because I do have an imagination. Rather, what I wonder about is being the same age as the independent nation so that every July or so you would have an approximately 1-in-500 chance of being asked by the national broadsheet if you would like to be in the 49 people turning 49, 50 people turning 50 or X people turning X feature they were intending to run. Heck, if Singapore and you make your first century, it'd be sure as heck that the whole country would know. Who is that old fart?
It could be the traveller's perspective, but I happen to think milestones are that just - markers on the wayside that one passes on the journey. Nobody stops on the East Coast Parkway to celebrate passing the 7km mark. If anything they tell you how much further you have to go.
Then again I suppose if you pass the 50km mark (which of course means you're not on this island) and if you've been walking all that way as opposed to sitting in a car, you might just take a moment. It seems I'm going to. Despite the temptation of taking the extra-long weekend to travel with a friend somewhere I've always wanted to visit, I'll be here in just over a week's time, watching the parade as I've not done for fifteen years. After all, when you've walked for fifty years...
...perhaps you might expect to crash once or twice. Regular readers - yes, both of you - will know that QLRS was down for a few weeks in May. This time, it wasn't a router or a switch that had given way, instead the whole server that was hosting the site died of old age. That meant, unfortunately, that restoration had to start with our kind hosts ordering a new server in the first place. Then reinstalling all the software, and tuning the settings. And then finding out that the new Windows Server product doesn't have the extensions for the old classic ASP our content management system was based on, which meant there had to be some reconfiguration work at the code level. To top it all off, Alvin even had to sort all this out from halfway around the world, in Seattle.
It's one reason our issue is slightly slimmer than it usually is. Submissions were down by a noticeable fraction, and then circumstantial reasons did for our Criticism section. Nevertheless, we've managed to maintain the quality in our Poetry and Short Stories sections, and I especially liked the echo between Margaret Schumann's 'Baringan' in the former and Shelly Bryant's 'Case Study: Training Program' in the latter. We just about managed to squeeze in an essay rereading Boey Kim Cheng's admirable essays along with David Fedo's usual letter, along with a visual Merlion poem with a difference in Extra Media and two good Proust Questionnaires.
Happy Birthday, Singapore!QLRS Vol. 14 No. 3 Jul 2015