I

Oh where, oh where has my lion’s tail gone?
Oh where, oh where can it be? 

Mrs Mildred Barrington-Smith
Wife of a V.I.P. in the C.S.O.,
President of the Inner Wheel,
Pillar of the Tanglin Club,
Diner at Raffles Hotel,
Refused to add to the birth rate,
But led a busy life,
As
Social Welfare worker,
Blood Transfusion donor,
SATA Committee member,
Golf-ball hunter,
And animal-lover,
And wondered why the natives were ungrateful–
(They only pick their noses and chew betel.)
Oh, to be in England–
Pavement-stuck queues,
Eight-penny meat rations,
And not many nylons–
But the policemen are solid and real.

Eeny, meeny, miny mo,
Catch a bandit by his toe,
If he howls, let him go,
(Three bandits were killed in
the Federation yesterday,
Fifty ran away.)
Feed him, pay him, don’t say No,
For No spells O-U-T.

II

‘Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in
nature, but he is a thinking reed.’ – Pascal 

Confucius sat in the cabaret
And picked at a melon seed.
The stale, sharp-prodding light fished up
A slant-eyed cheongsam reed.
Will no-one tell me what she sings?

Baby, it’s cold outside!
Old sir, your pocket’s full, I know
So cuddle by my side.

What d’ye lack? What d’ye lack?
Certificates, forms and passes,
Identity cards and licenses?
All printed on dollar bills.
Your name for an S.I.T. flat?
An O.B.E. for your brat?
Just count the dollar bills.
Culture with a capital C?
It’s yours for a moderate fee.
The dollar provides all your thrills.
The dollar will cure all your ills.
Venite adoremus.
Venite adoremus.

III

Let us now praise famous men
And our fathers that begat us…

Alphonso d’Albuquerque,
Francisco d’Almeida,
Ruy de Arajo…
The river Rajahs,
The Hang Tuahs,
Drake and Hawkins,
Lancaster, Van Diemen,
And the incomparable
Raffles.
For these went down to the sea in ships
And did business in great waters…
Rhinoceros’ horn and lice’s liver,
Sandalwood, ebony, ivory, camphor,
Tortoise-shells, dragon’s blood, pepper,
Peacock’s tails, opium, tin and rubber…
Forever and ever,
Amen.

Government of the people,
By the people…
Who are the people?
Tida-apa-la!
Mana boleh-la!
Let’s get out of this place,
And I on USIS News am fed,
And drink the Coke of Paradise.
Saikarei!
Long live Emperor MacArthur!

And now from Western windows only
A pale uncertain light is shed;
Merdeka’s chant comes faint and slowly,
But eastward, look! the stars flame Red!

By Hedwig Anuar
Published 1951