The poet of the poem “The Planners”, Boey Kim Cheng, uses many techniques, including but not limited to an extended metaphor and personification, to effectively communicate his views on the planners. In the beginning of the poem, the poet states what the planners do. “They plan. They build. All spaces are gridded,” shows that the planners are very organized. The word “permutations” shows that each space is tightly packed to its full potential by the planners. “The buildings are in alignment with the roads”, and the reference to mathematics, since mathematics can create a one and only solution to any problem, shows that the planners have only made one possible outcome for everything they build. One choice. One perfection. But it is their perspective of organization and perfection, and people with different views, such as the personna, many think them as intrusive of their own perspectives and creativity of variety.
Up to this point the poet has successfully used language to persuade us that the builders have planned and built exactly as they want it. Everything uniform and perfect. However, at the end of the first stanza there is a twist. The poet claims that they will “build and not stop.”, stating that they will do what they believe is right without stopping from both physical obstacles and the obstacles of people that oppose their ideas. The next lines show that how nature, which is personified to give it more of a lifelike feeling, draws back and recedes from the builders. Waves do not normally draw back, and skies cannot, obviously, surrender, and so the exaggeration within the personifications shows that the builders have so much impact and effect on the world that even nature is afraid of them. The three lines cast a shadow over the builders and make us wonder whether what the builders do is actually positive or negative.
In the second stanza, the poet uses an extended metaphor to describe and to criticize what the planners do. The poet constantly refers to the metaphor of a dentist. A dentist can be seen as someone who fixes up the broken things; someone of corrects things that are not perfect or correct. The planners are first said to “erase the flaws” and the “blemishes of the past”. The word “flaws” show that the planners are trying to make a perfect world, one without any mistakes or anything within their idea of “imperfection”. The word “blemishes” are usually related to artificial flaws, and mistakes, and so the “blemishes of the past” may just as well be the mistakes that they made in history. The also knock off “useless blocks”. In the planner’s opinions, the blocks may be useless, but to someone else with a different perspective, the blocks may be still of use and does not need to be destroyed. The poet refers to the dentists by saying that the planners knock of blocks with “dental dexterity”. This shows how negative the poet thinks about the planners, destroying things that might be still of use to someone else, similar to the saying of “one man’s trash is another’s treasure.”
The planners are said to plug the gaps. The word “plugged” usually mean that it is blocked and nto allowed to come in or go out. From the previous stanza stating perfection of the planners, we can infer that the “gaps” are the creativity of people. The have built and planned the city with such uniformity that the people that live there are under their spell and have no more creativity. The creativity is plugged and blocked, with “gleaming gold”, which, as gold is considered a rare and perfect element, may suggest that they are instead replaced with what the planners regard as “perfection”. This could mean that the people who have different views with the society as a whole may be suppressed and forbidden to show their opinions. In addition the “plugging” of gaps refer to the actions of dentists. These all add up to show how much the poet believes that the planners are discouraging creative minds, which may...