The Road People: Poetry and Urban (Im)Mobility in Singapore


  • Gwee Li Sui, National University of Singapore


The extent to which dromological desires, the desires of the roads, have become intertwined with the Singaporean condition may not be underestimated. Life in the island city develops through a unique range of circumstances from limited land resources, economic aspirations,and political harmonisation to the constant evanescing of its ground for national identity. The mix of modernisation, claustrophobia, result-oriented policy-making, and endless cultural renewal creates an explosive context for the resident to embrace speed. This essay aims to study the impact of Singapore’s excessive but necessary reliance on its roads and will explore both the observations of its poets and how they compare with regular political answers. Some of the most representative poems from the last four decades will be examined in order to outline the human experience of urban speed as a catastrophe.


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Author Biography

Gwee Li Sui, National University of Singapore

Gwee Li Sui teaches in the Department of English Language and Literature at the National University of Singapore. He researches on eighteenth-century literature, science, and philosophy and often writes on modern Singaporean literature as well. He is also a visual artist and a poet and has published a graphic novel Myth of the Stone (1993) and a collection of poems Who Wants to Buy a Book of Poems? (1998).




How to Cite

Sui, National University of Singapore, G. L. (2008). The Road People: Poetry and Urban (Im)Mobility in Singapore. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 2(2), 38–51. Retrieved from