Fiction: “Walking on Water”

Cover Design by Marie Toh (@flesssh)

“Walking on Water” | In This Desert, There Were Seeds
Editors: Jon Gresham and Elizabeth Tan
Singapore, Ethos Books and Western Australia, Margaret River Press | 2019

A Eurasian woman and her mother embark on a quest for ingredients to make a sugee cake, braving the raging tides in a sinking Singapore. In a world on the brink of collapse, what is left to salvage? Amidst chaos and destruction, how do our stories and heritage survive?

“We stop rowing out to what we assume is Pasir Ris Park. Ever since the reclaimed lands started breaking away from the island, we can never tell where the horizon begins, and when it will shift. The only way to tell if the land is intact is by the flats reflected in the water. I imagine the broken ends of the island, like a rip in a map. The waves lapping at our jagged shorelines.”

In This Desert, There Were Seeds is an intimate collection of past and future dreams, featuring exciting new and established literary voices from Western Australia and Singapore. From our shifting sense of community and identity, to our frustrations with existing political, social and economic structures—this anthology transcends boundaries and captures the persistence of ordinary lives in deserts literal and metaphorical.

The book was co-launched with my co-edited volume To Gather Your Leaving at the Singapore Writers’ Festival 2019. I was one of the panellists at the launch talking about the survival of culture through the persistence of radical love in “Walking on Water” and read Cathy Song’s “Cloud Moving Hands”, a beautiful poem about a mother-daughter relationship amidst the inevitable end of a life, which serendipitously resonates with my story.

The book is also available from Margaret River Press.

“We tilt over and slide across the floor, and through our broken window, I see swirling pockets of ocean tunnelling to the bottom of the sea, like currents returning home. In the distance, buildings crumble like sandcastles doused in seawater. They seem further away. And I realise that this is how it feels to be slowly ripped from a map, to rupture.”