playlist: hiroshima

On a scale from pragmatic (1) to over-idealistic (10), I always thought I would probably be an 11, given my all-time addiction in ignoring reality and directing episodes of apocalyptic or utopian movies in my head. I used to feel ashamed, of getting lost in reverie and spending so much time on counterproductive mind-wandering.

Until recently, when I came across a story told by the American poet, Sarah Kay, about the bombing of Hiroshima, I became aware of the fact that reality and fantasy need not talk in parallels. Most of the time they are interwoven together in a camouflaged criss-cross pattern.

When the United States dropped the a-bomb over the city of Hiroshima in 1945, all living things — including animals, plants and of course, humans — that were in contact with the rays were instantly turned to ashes, wiping away any traces of human existence within the snap of a finger.

Among surfaces that were bleached white by the intense heat rays are walls permanently imprinted with shadows of victims, who stood in front of these places and blocked the rays from hitting. What was left since that very moment were haunting shadows surrounded by positive light.

Photo: The Sun

As much as I tried putting myself in the shoes of these vaporised victims, let alone walking in it, I feel like opening my mouth but the words just won’t come out. It’s almost like putting soundtracks in a silent film, only to have the fourth wall growing taller and taller, till it melts into thin air.

Not that I think the following list of tunes is the best way of telling the story, or that it can do any justice to the victims and the positive light that wraps around them. But whether it’s the destruction of Pompeii, Sewol ferry disaster, Syrian Civil War or bombing of Hiroshima, victims are more than just a statistic, as these numbers belie stories and heartfelt feelings that call for more than just a skim.