the way my grandparents drive


my grandfather in apparent command of the wheel, yet “later kena hit, ah”

my grandmother was his pair of eyes, her aged hand           

“aiyah.” slipping out the window, 

signalling to the car behind, 

“watch, behind, watch.”

for after years of driving, 

“wah piang ah, almost.”

my grandfather has not learned to use the indicator lights. 

(they are one mechanism, functioning in synchronised harmony)

a venomous flow of words from her mouth, “siao, 

the blue car that one, cannot drive.” 

shouting through the breath-stained windows, 

“cannot see is it?”

while my grandfather softly grumbles, 

“mai ani kuan lah.”

and she would slump, in annoyance, back in her seat, 


his stoic uninterest extinguishing her furious flames. 

(like acid and neutraliser, their balance keeps them steady)

there was an online GPS, but my grandma would insist “no,

it’s wrong, it’s wrong,”

that the turn at the right

“Ang mo kio avenue 3, here-”

was the right way to the restaurant

but my grandfather would reluctantly give in,

“aiyo, just follow the GPS lah.” knowing that nonetheless

“Ma fan…

she would realise that google maps was right. 

(they have paved routes in each other’s minds, walked them over and over) 


and the mountainous yellow of parking tickets that sits on

the aged leather dashboard

because his right hand unsteadily clutches the wheel

while the other is intertwined tenderly with my grandmother’s

hands, those rusted rings embracing

then, and now,

and that is the way my grandparents drive,

(that is the way my grandparents love.)


Kena (malay): to be hit or afflicted with something

Wah piang (hokkien): an exclamation of astonishment or despair or annoyance

 Mai ani kuan (hokkien): don’t be like that

 Ma fan (Chinese): troublesome




Maegan Tan (Class of 2024) is an admirer of all forms of poetry and novels of the past. She explores themes from her childhood and past, and views writing as a bridge between herself and the world.