"Some time ago, his followers, his clowns, returned to haunt me. They lurked in the darker corners of building sites masquerading as foreign construction workers. As I passed looming edifices of unfinished concrete and steel, I heard them giggling. I had this sense I was being watched. I was almost certain someone followed me armed with a custard cream pie. One day, in the middle of a crowded underpass on the way to the MRT station at Raffles Place, I stopped and turned around abruptly. Amidst the flurry of movement I was sure I caught a glimpse of orange curly hair and a red blur on someone’s face. Those clowns were at it again. In the crowded MRT carriage, as the train stopped at Dhoby Ghaut, just as the doors opened and people flooded out, someone grabbed at my head and tore a clump of hair out. I did not, could not, see who had viciously attacked me. There were too many bobbing heads, and I was overcome by so many unknown faces. There were too many people, too close together, and everyone was a stranger."
Excerpt from Death of a Clown, a story in We Rose Up Slowly
In Death of a Clown:
- a son finally meets his father in a Johor Bahru nursing home after many years apart
- confronted with the past and memories he's unsure are real, he attempts to move beyond the patriarch
- stories help him avoid the pain of the past