Encyclopedia of Emotions 6

The Meaning of Home

By: Coralyhr

She stepped towards one of the walls with the photographs. They depicted stick figures with faces were all coloured in with a dark pencil. Rane idly guessed a 6B pencil. The glass from some of the framing was cracked. There were knife marks in the walls and marks of furniture having crashed into the wall.

Rane noticed the windows had a curtain bar above them but there were only tatters of the cloth once used as a curtain.

She turned to look at the four doors. The knobs of the door were grey but there were red handprints smudged all over. The carpet at the edge had uneven dark red patches. Her stomach churned uncomfortably.

The old woman still had pale white skin and pure white hair and black eyes with no irises. But now, her frown was a smile. She was still holding the glass. It was empty since Rane had drank the liquid inside but now it was half full again with a swirling red liquid the same colour as the stains below the doors to the rooms.

The old woman held up the cup and swirled the liquid. The smell of blood filled the air. “It would have been better,” she said, her smile un-twitching, “if you hadn’t struggled.”

“I…” Rane said, swallowing the bile rising in her throat, “would have wanted to know anyway.”

“Now you do. What difference does it make?”



Encyclopedia of Emotions 3

The Mirror of You

By: Coralyhr

The humanoid creature saluted at them, spraying water as it did so. “Hello there, my name is Rane.”

Rane took one step back and reached for the wooden stick.

“No. I am Rane,” she said.

Bai laughed, a mocking sound that echoed at the foot of the Great Wall.

Water Rane shrugged. “You are Rane. But my name is Rane.”

Rane frowned at it. “I am Rane and my name is Rane.”

Water Rane found a rock and perched itself on it, folding its legs under itself and stared at her. “Listen to yourself.”


Bai laughed again. Rane wanted to find a way to shut him up. Water Rane beat her to it. With a wave of its hand, a stream of water rose from the lake and drenched him. “I am you. Get it?”

Rane stared at the water version of herself. The facial features were unnerving to look at, even though the creature was made of water. It was a resemblence that she was not sure she liked.



This song has been sung every year on our our national day since my birth. Every Singaporean knows it. It permeates our identity. It permeates the many languages spoken on this island.

Music is our universal language. English is just for commercial use.

I am not particularly patriotic and sometimes I feel like a stranger in my own country.

But home is not a feeling. It is an identity. You may dislike the ants that form an army camp through the corners of your house. You may disdain the cracks in your ceiling and the way the water drips imperceptibly from the water pipes at 11:59pm. You may want to tear your hair out when someone decides to hold a party below your apartment block the night before a major exam.

All those quirks make up your home. Home is not really a decision for you to make. It is something part of you that you slowly learn to accept. It is a place, a location where you can navigate with your eyes closed. It is somewhere you unconsciously return to someday because you want to meet your family or your friends.

It is somewhere you can move the furniture about as you wish.

It does not matter if you dislike where you live or if you don’t know anybody there. So long as at the end of the day, you are saying, “Oh, I’m going home after this,” it is home.

The reason I decided to write this post all of a sudden is because my country is celebrating its 50th birthday on 9 August 2015 and the whole country is preparing for this event.

People whom I pass on the street turn their heads at the sound of the national day songs playing on the MRT (our subway system) .

People with vacant eyes smile when the airplanes practicing their skyward spiral roar across the expanse between the high-rise buildings.

People I always thought were cold and cynical queuing up for three hours to get a ticket for a local film production while talking to each other like old friends.

These are my countrymen I lived with for seventeen years now. I guess I don’t know my home very well.

But this process of figuring out is like exploring corners of your house you were never interested in before. Sweeping aside cobwebs to reveal something precious or something to be discarded.

What part of your home do you want to explore? What part of it do you dislike? What part of it can you change?