Xiangyun Lim has a particular interest in translating contemporary works from the Chinese diaspora. Her works can be found in Living in Babel (Canopy), The Creative Literary Studio, and is forthcoming in Poem. Having grown up in Singapore, Xiang has lived in Seattle, Barcelona, Taiwan and United Kingdom. She is one of the recipients of the Singapore Apprenticeship in Literary Translation (SALT).  She can be reached at https://tweedlingdum.com.


State of Phobia


Train home:

A middle-aged lady sits, heavy

with plastic baggies of



“Smells good right? You want one? Cannot,

got fine. Fine how much money ah?


You know, we used to live in Sembawang, it was

a slice of kampung life,

a village of unending chatter

a village moved

into newly built flats. But


it is quiet where I stay now. No one talks.

‘Don’t speak to strangers,’ my son says.

‘Don’t be nosy.’ So

I stay silent.


(Doors open and

close. Train

moves on.)


Do you know? It’s so quiet where I live.

I want to move to Yishun. Nearer to my sister.

There’s this hill, once you see it,

soon you will get off the train.

Many urns on this hill.”


You say,

One could spy eagles then

wings spread

soaring in circles


You say,

Once it rained for so long

rivers of ashes seeped

into soil, flowed

onto roads