University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
“How Does Boey Kim Cheng Powerfully Convey His Attitude to the Planners in the Poem?”
The Planners is a poem where Boey Kim Cheng describes how the planners effect the nature in a negative way. He talks about how every single thing is constructed to the point of perfection, where seeming human is a mistake. History is erased to make way for buildings made of glass and steel. Boey Kim Cheng portrays his distaste and disapproval of the planners in the poem and uses an accusatory tone to point out how they’re craving and planning for perfection. And this is shown in the first three lines of the second stanze where the poet writes “They erase the flaws, the blemishes of the past, knock off useless blocs with dental dexterity.” Their objectives of erasing the imperfections of the past is unnatural. As the mistakes we’ve made in history make us what we are today, and our imperfections are what makes us human.
The use of the word ‘blemishes’ conveys something negative. Blemishes are something you usually have on your body, something people vehemently try to get rid off by using countless methods to seem attractive to another. The use of the phrase “useless blocks” is almost offensive because who are the planners to decide which parts of our history, our past are of no use? The second stanza uses and extended metaphor for the country described in the poem with teeth, words such as ‘dental dexterity’, ‘shining teeth’, ‘anaesthesia’, ‘piling’ and ‘drilling’ are used. Here, the Planners obsession with perfection is emphasized, flaws are erased, useless parts (useless teeth) are knocked off, even the ‘blemishes of the past’. The Planners here are even trying to perfect their imperfect past, a near impossible feat. ‘All gaps are plugged with gleaming gold’, wealth and prosperity is used to cover up imperfections of the country, and it is made to be perfect in every way possible, wearing ‘perfect rows of shining teeth’. However, even if everything of the present is perfect, they will not stop, even trying to alter their history.