Perseverance

Here is a 5-line tanka for your reading pleasure. 🙂

Perseverance

Focus attention
On attainment of success
Determination
The goal is within your reach
Believe that you can achieve

 

An original tanka by
Khor Hui Min
31 July 2014

 

Poetic style

This poem was written in the style of a tanka. A tanka is a Japanese poem (also known as a waka or uta). A tanka poem is similar to a haiku poem, but has two additional lines.

A tanka has 5 lines and 31 syllables. The structure is as follows:

Line 1 – 5 syllables
Line 2 – 7 syllables
Line 3 – 5 syllables
Line 4 – 7 syllables
Line 5 – 7 syllables

I’ve shown my poem with the number of syllables per line as below:

(5) Focus attention
(7) On attainment of success
(5) Determination
(7) The goal is within your reach
(7) Believe that you can achieve

To find out more about tanka poems, visit the Young Writers’ Website.

 

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Once upon a time in Ipoh

The capital of Perak State, Ipoh, is the third largest city in Malaysia, with an estimated population of 710,000. Ipoh is known for many things, but historically, it was instrumental in the tin mining industry, which led to an economic boom in the region around the turn of the 19th century. Some people remembered the city fondly as the town built on tin, and even the city of millionaires – which alludes to the riches excavated from the mines of Kinta Valley. Ipoh is also known as Paloh, which refers to the gigantic mining pumps used in the process of tin ore extraction in the early days. On 27 May 1988, Ipoh town was granted city status by the much-loved Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah.

At the pinnacle of production, 75% of the world’s supply of tin came from Malaya where the mines were open cast and excavated by monitor pumps. However, as with most finite resources extracted from the earth, the mines eventually ran out of the precious metal everybody wanted. The machines and implements used for tin mining were slowly but surely reduced to relics of the good old days.

Tin ore on display at the Heritage House, Gopeng Museum, Perak.
Tin ore on display at the Heritage House, Gopeng Museum, Perak.

It is quite hard these days to find an actual tin mining dredge in good condition, as most had been in disuse and eventually fell into disrepair. However, there is one such dredge in Chendrong, which can be seen along the Batu Gajah-Tanjung Tualang Road. The dredge has now been hailed as a heritage icon and proposed to be turned into a museum. It is managed by Osborne & Chapel, and visitors may enter the place to view the dredge during opening hours.

The last tin mine dredge in Chendrong, Perak
The last tin mine dredge in Chendrong, Perak (side view)

It is undeniable that the mining dredge is a very impressive and gigantic structure, easily visible to the casual onlooker from the main road. The first thought that came to my mind when I saw it from afar was that it reminded me of a huge steam ship. But that’s just me. 🙂

The last tin mine dredge in Chendrong, Perak
The last tin mine dredge in Chendrong, Perak (front view)

Some people have found creative ways to utilise the mining equipment. For example, in 1997, the artist Yeoh Jin Leng built a sculpture called ‘Goodbye Tin-Mining’ that stands over 30 feet high. She used dredge steel buckets, a drive wheel and steel girds to depict the closure of the tin-mining industry in the Kinta Valley.

Sculpture entitled 'Goodbye Tin-Mining'. The sculpture is located inside Clearwater Sanctuary, Perak.
Sculpture entitled ‘Goodbye Tin-Mining’. The sculpture is located inside Clearwater Sanctuary, Perak.

Here’s the side view of the sculpture:

Sculpture entitled 'Goodbye Tin-Mining'. The sculpture is located inside Clearwater Sanctuary, Perak.
Side view of the sculpture entitled ‘Goodbye Tin-Mining’.

The plaque in front of the sculpture:

Plaque in front of a sculpture entitled 'Goodbye Tin-Mining'. The sculpture is located inside Clearwater Sanctuary, Perak.
Plaque in front of the sculpture.

Dredge steel buckets have also been converted into decorative objects. They weigh over a ton each, so the decorators probably needed a crane of some sort to move them around.

Dredge steel buckets used as decoration at a small roundabout in Clearwater Sanctuary, Perak.
Dredge steel buckets used as decorations at a small roundabout in Clearwater Sanctuary, Perak.
Dredge steel bucket on display next to the main entrance of the Tourism Centre in Ipoh Old Town.
A dredge steel bucket on display next to the main entrance of the Tourism Centre in Ipoh Old Town.

When I looked at this raincoat in the Heritage House @ Gopeng Museum (see below), I envisioned the workers in the tin mine wearing this type of raincoat when they worked in the rain.

Old fashioned raincoat from the olden days.
Old fashioned raincoat from the olden days.

To see old black and white photos from the days of the tin mines, visit the Kinta Tin Mining page.

To read more about the last dredge in Chendrong, Perak, see the Ipoh Echo article on ‘Saving the Last of the Giant Tin Dredges‘.

To find out more about Ipoh, visit the Ipoh Tourism Board page and the Ipoh page on Wikipedia.

The white beacon

Today’s poem is an inspirational piece. It was inspired by the many lotus flowers I saw on my outing today. The white lotus flowers were really beautiful.

 

A beautiful white lotus flower in Clearwater Sanctuary, Perak.
A beautiful white lotus flower in Clearwater Sanctuary, Perak.


The white beacon

The first time I laid eyes on you
Your beauty took my breath away
Delicate charm, fresh as morning dew

The vision of you shone, bright as day
Your snowy petals, unfurling
A beacon, lighting the way

All that is pure, symbolising
All that is wholesome and good
Your splendor is uplifting

As well as you could
You grew and flourished in the mud
Of the lake in the woods

Rising up to the surface; a bud
Blossoming into a ravishing beauty
While the clouds across the sky scud

A reminder that if one is willing and ready
It is possible to rise above troubles
From the dismal and murky

If only you believe that you are able
To build anew upon the rubble

An original poem by
Khor Hui Min
28 July 2014

 

Symbolism

The lotus has always been a symbol of things which are pure and good. It begins life in the mud at the bottom of a lake or pond. And its leaves and buds reach towards the surface of the water. Its striking flowers bloom at the surface. It therefore symbolises that people can rise above their troubles and turn their lives around.

Poetic style

This poem was written in the style of a terza rima – an Italian form of poetry first used by Dante Alighieri.

A terza rima consists of stanzas of three lines (or tercets). It follows an interlocking rhyming scheme, or chain rhyme – the middle of each stanza rhymes with the first and last line of the following stanza. However, there is no set length to this form, as long as it follows the pattern as follows:

ABA
BCB
CDC
DED

The last stanza will be a couplet rhyming with the middle line of the previous stanza. In this case, EE.

So here is my poem again with the rhyming scheme shown:

The white beacon

(A)  The first time I laid eyes on you
(B)  Your beauty took my breath away
(A)  Delicate charm, fresh as morning dew

(B)  The vision of you shone, bright as day
(C)  Your snowy petals, unfurling
(B)  A beacon, lighting the way

(C)  All that is pure, symbolising
(D)  All that is wholesome and good
(C)  Your splendor is uplifting

(D) As well as you could
(E) You grew and flourished in the mud
(D) Of the lake in the woods

(E) Rising up to the surface; a bud
(F) Blossoming into a ravishing beauty
(E) While the clouds across the sky scud

(F) A reminder that if one is willing and ready
(G) It is possible to rise above troubles
(F) From the dismal and murky

(G) If only you believe that you are able
(G) To build anew upon the rubble

To read more about the terza rima poetic style, visit the Young Writers’ Website.

The Ancient Mariner

UPDATE: The Ancient Mariner was published in the September 2014 issue of The Malaysian Naturalist, a quarterly magazine published by the Malaysian Nature Society, the oldest and largest homegrown environmental NGO in Malaysia. The magazine is sold through subscription and also available on newsstands. To find out more about MNS and the Naturalist, visit www.mns.my.  🙂

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Here is the fourth poem in my social commentary series. Hope you like it. 🙂

The Ancient Mariner

She swims the oceans tirelessly
By instinct, she navigates the waters
A skilled veteran mariner, truly

Legends of her, the ocean whispers
Her courage and grace, admired by all
Countless battles won; triumphant survivor

Tales of her and her kind enthrall
Told as folktales to children of all ages
Her victories could fill a noble hall

Stories written of her filled millions of pages
Some true accounts, some fiction
Her conquests and successes outdo mages

An inspiration for many a generation
Her survival has now been threatened
Problems must be addressed by nations

The ancient mariner’s ranks have been decimated
The ocean has become a minefield
Her home with dangers riddled

Trawlers and fishing nets to increase yield
Egg collection for consumption continue
Will the polluted beaches ever be healed?

Beaches with confusing lights of every hue
Black market demand for hawksbill shells unabated
Dangers to the ancient mariner, to name just a few

Leave her eggs to hatch in the sand, uninterrupted
There’s no data to support the claims
The purported benefits are not validated

Leave the ancient mariner to fulfil her aims
Her world, we should let her reclaim

An original poem by
Khor Hui Min
26 July 2014

Turtle hatchling who dug its way out of its nest at Ma’Daerah Turtle Sanctuary, Kerteh, Kemaman, Terengganu. It will be released later at night.
Turtle hatchling who dug its way out of its nest at Ma’Daerah Turtle Sanctuary, Kerteh, Kemaman, Terengganu, Malaysia. It will be released later at night.

Message 

Sea turtles are ancient creatures who have roamed the planet’s oceans for a very long time. They have been around since the age of the dinosaurs, along with the sharks and crocodiles. They are unique because they are air-breathing reptiles who live in the sea. Once the little hatchlings emerge from their eggs and head out to sea, they will remain in the sea indefinitely. The adult females will only return to the beaches where they were born to lay clutches of eggs once in a few years. The adult males never come back to land.

Imagine if a turtle comes back to lay eggs on her beach only to discover that a busy resort has been constructed on it, or it is a popular tourist spot flooded with confusing lights at night, or that it has been polluted beyond recognition. These are just some of the hazards that sea turtles have to endure to lay their eggs safely. In addition, sea turtles drown every year because they get entangled in fishing nets. Unable to come up to the surface to breath, they die a watery death.

So, do your part to help the turtles. Keep your nesting beaches clean and free of obstructions. Don’t flood them with lights at night. Last, but not least, don’t buy and eat their eggs. Don’t let the sea turtles go the way of the dodo.

Poetic style

This poem was written in the style of a terza rima – an Italian form of poetry first used by Dante Alighieri.

A terza rima consists of stanzas of three lines (or tercets). It follows an interlocking rhyming scheme, or chain rhyme – the middle of each stanza rhymes with the first and last line of the following stanza. However, there is no set length to this form, as long as it follows the pattern as follows:

ABA
BCB
CDC
DED

The last stanza will be a couplet rhyming with the middle line of the previous stanza. In this case, EE.

So here is my poem again with the rhyming scheme shown:

The Ancient Mariner

(A)  She swims the oceans tirelessly
(B)  By instinct, she navigates the waters
(A)  A skilled veteran mariner, truly

(B)  Legends of her, the ocean whispers
(C)  Her courage and grace, admired by all
(B)  Countless battles won; triumphant survivor

(C)  Tales of her and her kind enthrall
(D)  Told as folktales to children of all ages
(C)  Her victories could fill a noble hall

(D)  Stories written of her filled millions of pages
(E)  Some true accounts, some fiction
(D)  Her conquests and successes outdo mages

(E) An inspiration for many a generation
(F) Her survival has now been threatened
(E) Problems must be addressed by nations

(F) The ancient mariner’s ranks have been decimated
(G) The ocean has become a minefield
(F)  Her home with dangers riddled

(G) Trawlers and fishing nets to increase yield
(H)  Egg collection for consumption continue
(G) Will the polluted beaches ever be healed?

(H) Beaches with confusing lights of every hue
(I)   Black market demand for hawksbill shells unabated
(H) Dangers to the ancient mariner, to name just a few

(I)  Leave her eggs to hatch in the sand, uninterrupted
(J)  There’s no data to support the claims
(I)  The purported benefits are not validated

(J) Leave the ancient mariner to fulfil her aims
(J) Her world, we should let her reclaim

To read more about the terza rima poetic style, visit the Young Writers’ Website.

Moo Moo Moon

Today, I thought I’d do something lighthearted and fun for a change – a bedtime story for preschoolers. Hope you get a good laugh from it. 🙂

 

Moo Moo Moon

 

Billy was a naughty little cow.

One day, he looked outside his garden.

There was a nice meadow beyond.

He wanted to eat the juicy grass there.

He asked Mama Cow, “Can I go to the meadow to eat the juicy grass?”

“Which meadow?” Mama Cow asked.

“The one next to the oak trees,” Billy replied.

“Oh, no. You can’t eat the grass there, Billy,” said Mama Cow. She had a serious look on her face.

“Why not, mama?” Billy did not want to give up yet.

“The grass will give you gas. You will be very bloated,” replied Mama Cow.

Billy did not believe his mother.

“But, mama…” pleaded Billy.

“Mama knows best. Now go to bed. It’s late,” replied Mama Cow in a final tone.

Billy got ready for bed. He climbed into bed and snuggled under the blankets.

Mama Cow kissed him good night. She switched off the lights and closed the door.

Bill waited for a while, until he was sure his mother was gone.

Then, he got out of bed and opened the window. He climbed outside carefully.

He crept silently across the garden. Then, he climbed over the fence.

It was dark. It took him a while, but he finally got to the meadow.

The grass looked so green and juicy in the moonlight.

He took a mouthful and chewed slowly. It was delicious.

Then, he took another mouthful… and another… and another…

He had never eaten such tasty grass.

At last, he was full. But he felt more than full. He felt he was getting bloated.

He touched his stomach. It was round like a balloon. He was full of gas!

He got rounder… and rounder… and rounder.

He started to feel light. He was standing on his toes.

Then he floated off the ground! He could not believe it!

Slowly, he floated higher… and higher… and higher… until he could see the house and the garden. Then, the meadow and the oak trees. At last, he even saw the hill and the river beyond.

Billy floated higher... and higher... and higher...
Billy floated higher… and higher… and higher…

On a clear night, one can still see him high above the meadow and the hills.

He became known as Moo Moo Moon. He was round and white like the moon, with little black spots.

Do you think he ever came down again?

 

An original children’s story by
Khor Hui Min
24 July 2014

Change

Change
Is the only constant
In our lives
Every single day

Change
Is inevitable
As the sun rises and sets
As certain as the stars

Change
Is Unpredictable
And unavoidable
Woven into the fabric of time

Change
Permeates the universe
From the tiniest particle
To the largest constellation

Embrace it like an old friend
Accept the thrilling challenges
Welcome the opportunities
Live like there’s no tomorrow

🙂

An original poem by
Khor Hui Min
23 July 2014

Kindness

Like the fleeting wind, or a breath of fresh air
Kindness come and goes, gentle and caressing
Smile on a mother’s face, stroking her babe’s hair
Laughter of a young girl, with her pet, playing
A thoughtful umbrella in a storm, to share
Hands of a man, outstretched to a boy, helping
Kindness is soft as a feather, never hard
Comforting, considerate, never on guard

 

An original poem by
Khor Hui Min
21 July 2014

 

Poetic style
This poem was written in the style of an Ottava Rima. It is an Italian poem made up of eight lines that rhyme. Each line consists of eleven syllables.

An Ottava Rima poem is made up of an octave with the following rhyming pattern:

 ab
 ab
 ab
 cc

The rhyming pattern for my poem is shown below:

(a)  Like the fleeting wind, or a breath of fresh air
(b)  Kindness come and goes, gentle and caressing
(a)  Smile on a mother’s face, stroking her babe’s hair
(b)  Laughter of a young girl, with her pet, playing
(a)  A thoughtful umbrella in a storm, to share
(b)  Hands of a man, outstretched to a boy, helping
(c)  Kindness is soft as a feather, never hard
(c)  Comforting, considerate, never on guard

To read more about the Ottava Rima poetic form, visit the Young Writers’ Website.

Sunlight

The giver of life
Provider, nourishing plants
Lighting up the world
Always present, everywhere
Adore your warm golden glow

 

An original tanka by
Khor Hui Min
20 July 2014

 

Poetic style
This poem was written in the style of a tanka. A tanka is a Japanese poem (also known as a waka or uta). A tanka poem is similar to a haiku poem, but has two additional lines.

A tanka has 5 lines and 31 syllables. The structure is as follows:

Line 1 – 5 syllables
Line 2 – 7 syllables
Line 3 – 5 syllables
Line 4 – 7 syllables
Line 5 – 7 syllables

 

I’ve shown my poem with the number of syllables per line as below:
(5)  The giver of life
(7)  Provider, nourishing plants
(5)  Lighting up the world
(7)  Always present, everywhere
(7)  Adore your warm golden glow

To find out more about tanka poems, visit the Young Writers’ Website.

Clay

Cool, soft to the touch
Smooth, yielding and flexible
You can create much

 

An original haiku by
Khor Hui Min
19 July 2014

 

Poetic style

This poem is a rhyming haiku. A haiku does not actually have to rhyme, but if one fancies a challenge, try rhyming line 1 with line 3.

A haiku consists of 3 lines and 17 syllables. Each line has a set number of syllables.
Line 1 – 5 syllables
Line 2 – 7 syllables
Line 3 – 5 syllables

To read up about haiku, visit the Young Writers’ Website.