Tag Archives: World Cup

Short Story: The Thief’s Funeral

By Mohd Salman

 

Everyone was happy when the Thief died.

It was the postman who had found her, sitting in her armchair behind the unlatched main door, eyes closed as if asleep. In that peaceful tableau, a reign of terror had come to an end.

For sixty years, the Thief held sway over Bijliya, a little hamlet of barely a hundred houses. Over the greater part of three generations, shopkeepers learned to put locks on their cashboxes, dhaba (roadside eatery) owners chained their plates and tumblers to the tables, landlords prowled the orchards, and families took care to not let on that they had money and valuables to spare.

This was not easy. The Thief operated in broad daylight, her identity known to all. Secondly, you couldn’t keep her out. In a place as tiny as Bijliya, she was practically family.

Her name, though, was not thief-like. Shehzadi. Princess. But wasn’t it thieving, plunder, pillage and murder that made people kings, queens, princes and princesses in the first place?

Generations came and went as Shehzadi pilfered money, food and valuables. The world outside changed over those sixty years. So did the façade of the village and the interiors of the houses. But out on the street, the Thief was a constant. At the stroke of midnight on 15 August, 1947, as the world slept, Bijliya awoke to picked pockets. In 1962, when China crossed the border into India, the first sethh (rich businessman) of Independent Bijliya noticed a rupee missing from his day’s earnings. When Bangladesh was born in 1971, so too were new grudges for the travelling Kashmiri salesman who found a rug missing from his cart. When men, women and children in Bijliya cheered the World Cup win in 1983, they didn’t notice the vanishing cartons of mangoes from the local market, the mandi, as they huddled round the Seth’s radio. When the villagers tuned into the Indian version of ‘Who wants be a Millionaire?’ — Kaun Banega Crorepati — in 2000, Amitabh Bachchan’s baritone masked the sounds of chickens being stolen, umbrellas disappearing, and plates of drying chillies and papads vanishing into the night. Every few years, the clergy of every religion practised in the village would be at each other’s throats. But in their hatred of the Thief, they were all united. Read more

Goal: An Interview with Poetry World Cup Winner Desmond Kon

PWC Brazil Slippers Border RGB Low Res

 

It’s already a moment ensconced in time. Singapore bagging the Poetry World Cup, in what we previously reported as “a keenly fought contest”. Singapore received 1295 votes, while Pakistan mustered 1270. It was hair-raising: a margin of 25 votes. We revisit the day, and speak to Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé about this incredible win, where Singapore actually brought home World Cup gold. At least in poetry.

Were you optimistic about winning? What did you think of your chances?

From the onset, I knew Pakistan would be huge challenge, what with their stunning turnout in the semi-finals. A half-hour into the Germany-Argentina match, I checked the score and we were 200 points behind Pakistan. And I thought that was it – that the game was already gone. But by mid-morning, our pace had picked up, and it was neck to neck from then on. The last two hours were terrifying to watch. I hadn’t eaten the whole day. My first meal was at 6pm that day.  Read more

Will Singapore take home the Poetry World Cup?

PWC Desmond Kon Global FootballWhat seemed unlikely has actually happened. Singapore has made it to the Finals of the World Cup. In poetry, that is. It’s the closest thing to this small country ever bagging the real thing.

Singapore has certainly been on the roll. Jacob Silkstone reported that Singapore “recorded the biggest win of round one and received the most votes in round two”, followed by “top form… recording a comfortable win over Trinidad & Tobago to set up a semi-final with Tunisia.” The semi-final match against Tunisia garnered even more votes for Singapore, “the highest-scoring game of the tournament so far”.

That’s until Saturday afternoon when Pakistan knocked out Laos, with close to 400 votes. That sort of figure from the host country will be tough to beat for Singapore, the Little Red Dot that approaches this game with back-slapping fun and laid-back candour.

Of who should win the World Cup, Singapore’s poet-delegate Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé was quoted as saying: “We’re all winners in this game. All of us who participated and joined in the fun. It’s a game of appreciation. Of appreciating one another’s wordsmithery, and each of our poems. These poems are no less than gifts to the reader.” Read more