The Sneeze

The Sneeze

That hawker there,
Selling mee and kway-teow 
Is prosperous, round,
Quick moving
With practised grace
He blows his nose,
Tweeks it dexterously, secures complete evacuation
Then proceeds to comply with the slogans,
The injunctions on the need to

Keep Singapore clean —
Keep Singapore germ-free
Keep Singapore …

By wiping his fingers thoroughly on his apron.
He is not going to dirty the drains,
Clutter the spittoons.
he obeys the law,
Deals with his cold seriously.

If you sneeze after a meal
Of mee or kway-teow 
It is really the steaming-hot soup,
The chillies and pepper that discomfort you.

By Edwin Thumboo

Gods Can Die

Heinemann Educational Books (Asia) (1977)


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