CIII | Minority

I finally decide

to submit
a blank vote

this is ridiculous.

But when I reach the cashier
and am about to insert

my voting slip
into the donation box,

the cashier lady
puts her hand over it.

‘Sorry, sir.
‘You can’t vote.’

‘Hah?’ is the only thing I end up saying.

‘You’re Chinese,
‘you’re straight,
‘you’re pro-life,
‘you’re christian.

‘You’re part of the majority
‘so you don’t get to vote.’

I stare at her.
‘Then, who get to vote?’

She smiles.

It’s clearly a smile
she’s practised
many times to get it perfect.

‘Only the minority, sir.’

A Malay man behind me
tells me to hurry up,
don’t hold up the queue leh.

So I have no choice
but to step aside
and let the rest vote first.

Does this mean
I’m stuck here
in this supermarket


Despite being allowed to leave,

many who have
already voted

chose to stay back,

gathering around the man
they voted for,

talking to those
who voted for
the same man.

It’s surprisingly
the uniformed man
who’s popular at first.

The other customers
notice this

and begin to whisper
about the ‘right thing’
and ‘future generations’

before placing
their votes.

In the end,


the red-haired man won.

The majority,
even though they were not
allowed to vote,

now voice their thoughts

which is of course,

the majority opinion
of the minority

—the red-haired man is the policeman.

The receipts,
having fulfilled their purpose,
are dumped in a trash bag

and the crowd begins to

The ‘typical Sunday afternoon’

as though
none of that absurdity
just happened.

I’m about to leave too,

but I notice
the two men

arguing with each other.

Their voices are raised,
they’re still angry,

even though both of them
to this arrangement.

The red-haired man
reaches into his back pocket

once more,

points the gun
at the uniformed man
and shoots him
in the mouth.

For the second time
in my life,

I see brains

He falls
like a mannequin,

and from where I stand,

I watch light
fade from his eyes

like a birthday candle
blown out
by the wind.

This time,

there’s no police.
There’s no doctor.

The pool of blood

just gets

bigger and bigger.

Everyone walks past the corpse
like it’s a puddle someone made
that the staff haven’t cleaned up yet.

The red-haired man
vanishes into the crowd.

‘Stop him!’ I yell

but the cashiers
nearest to him

let him pass
with a nod of their heads.

I storm up to them
to complain
about this.

One of them hisses,
‘Shut up!’

and the other,

‘Don’t make a fuss
‘just because
‘we didn’t let you vote.’

When I finally reach home,
the cat demands its hotpot.

But my


are empty.

‘Go buy it yourself,’ I tell Mr. Ahmad,

flopping down on my bed,
staring at the ceiling.

Something happened?
It sits beside me.

I sit up.

‘You had me go there
‘not for hotpot
‘but because of this,’ I accuse.

The cat curls its tail
over its paws.

What did you learn?

I sigh.
‘The minority is important.’

The cat yawns.
Wrong, try again.

I close my eyes.

But that just makes
the gunshot louder,

the blood splatter
more vivid.

‘Democracy is flawed.’

Mr. Ahmad steps on my knee.

Wrong, its voice is
irritated, snarling.

I push the cat away.

‘I don’t know!
‘How would I know
‘what’s inside
‘your cat-brain?’

With an offended sniff,
the cat curls up into a ball,

and closes its eyes.

I’m left

to think

for the entire day

about what 
I should have




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