Top image: Viva Luna Studios / Unsplash
It was a hot day out when a member of the public stumbled their way into the RICE office today, clearly distressed by the recent happenings in Singapore’s political landscape.
“What’s going on?” he cried, doubled over from anxiety.
“This is insane! You guys write about the news, right? What’s going to happen next?”
We tried explaining that we don’t have the power to write events into existence, but he didn’t seem to understand. We weren’t getting rid of him unless we gave them a satisfactory answer. But how were we, mere stewards of fate, to know what was going to happen?
The answer walked into the room a moment later: Our Editor-in-Chief Ilyas, deck of tarot cards in hand, face grim.
“I’ll do it,” he announced, and with that fateful announcement, we embarked on our journey.
Tan Chuan Jin – The Lovers
When drawn, this often means that an aspect of your life will have to be sacrificed, whether that’s the cushy job you were handed or your marriage.
Perhaps both, if you fumble the bag that hard. Seriously, you were counselled and you still didn’t stop? Dude.
A pregnant silence fell over us few (read: the entire office) who’d crowded around Ilyas, before I said, “So… what does this card mean?”
“Love, obviously,” he winced.
“And choices. When it’s drawn as a card, it means that the person’s going to have to make some choices about an existing relationship or a temptation of the heart.”
“I’m gonna be honest, this feels almost too on the nose.”
Cheng Li Hui – The Hermit
The Hermit signals that you’re ready to withdraw from the noise of the outside world and focus on your own growth and energy—perhaps now isn’t the right time for any big changes.
It’s time to look deep within your soul. Perhaps a retreat to your corpo-family roots will help you find the answers you seek.
“Checks out. She’s my MP, and I didn’t even know she existed till yesterday.” (No Googling, try to guess which GRC she represented.)
“I still don’t know what she does.”
“You know, board member of six companies, airlifted into Parliament.”
“Ah. The usual.”
(Done thinking? She represents Tampines GRC. Oops, represented.)
PM Lee Hsien Loong – Strength
When the Strength card is drawn upside down, this may mean that you are about to experience an incident that causes you intense anger.
You may be losing the very passion that you used to have in your work and the fulfilment you felt working with the very best.
You want to retire so bad. Some days you want to call upon your forebears…
“Hey, why’s this one upside down?” I asked, frowning.
Tarot cards being drawn upside-down almost never bode well. For instance, the Sun card being drawn upright symbolises happiness and success, but when it’s drawn upside-down, it takes on a reverse meaning; It means you’re struggling to find happiness or see the bright side of things.
“Did you watch his speech yesterday?”
“Who didn’t? The poor guy. Just let him retire already. He’s probably had to reset his countdown to retirement at least five times by now.”
The man who’d barged into the RICE office seemed a lot calmer now. But his brow still creased slightly with worry.
“But haven’t you heard about… you know? The other stuff happening with the Workers’ Party? Can you do a reading for them, too?”
“Good idea,” someone said—probably me, because I was enjoying this too much at this point. I might be living in Aljunied, but that doesn’t stop me from relishing the mess that was going on.
Ilyas pressed his fingers to his temple and began reshuffling the deck.
Ms Nicole Seah – Temperance
The Temperance card being drawn means you’re a go-getter—you know what you want from life.
You’re an intelligent person, and everything has become clear to you now: Your goals, your ambitions, your aspirations. You almost defeated the East Coast Plan, remember?
You’re able to work well with other people… A little too well…
“Temperance…? With the wine in that video?”
“Be quiet, and let me do the reading.”
Ms Seah was pretty much the last person any of my friends would’ve expected to be caught up in a scandal like this. She was supposed to be the one!
Someone giggled.”Maybe the woman in the video has a cramp in her hand.”
“Must be a bad cramp.”
I resisted the urge to put my head in my hands. She was supposed to be the one…
Mr Leon Perera – The Hierophant
The Hierophant often points to you being a staunch follower of convention. You’re not the guy who offers new, innovative ideas. You’re more of the archetypal gentleman, performing the classic stroke-her-hand move so as to avoid anything too risqué.
The Hierophant is telling you to stay on the beaten path—but it may be better to ignore that advice and leave if you’re inevitably asked to. Ownself check ownself and all that.
“My dad was saying that the people who filmed that video were being too nosy.”
“Well… I can’t say I ever wanted to watch something like that, but it’s good to keep our politicians accountable. Even if it made me want to puke.”
Leaning back in my seat, I remembered the day the news broke. It was just yesterday really, but so much time had passed, so much gossip spread, that it felt like a lifetime. I remember my father thrusting his phone into my face, that famous video playing, and the familiar feeling of bile creeping up my throat.
My mother refused to watch the video. She’s seen enough cheating in her K-dramas, she says.
Mr Jamus Lim – The ‘Fucking Populist‘
“I don’t think this card exists,” Ilyas said after a full hour of looking through his deck.
Mr Leong Mun Wai – The Wheel of Fortune
The Wheel of Fortune symbolises—as the name suggests—a change in your fortunes. What goes around comes around, and the clouds have cleared.
It’s your time! Probably.
“Do you guys think they’ll have a chance now?”
“Eh. Probably after Mr Leong learns how to be a politician.”
The Cards Write Themselves
“So…” I ask. “What does this bode for the future of Singapore’s political landscape?”
Ilyas shrugged. “No idea. Now, get back to work.”
Even tarot can’t make heads or tails of what’s going on in Parliament right now. It’s up to the politicians to figure that out.