#atozchallenge: Thursday poetry reading with A. Samad Said

If Walls Could Talk – Poetry Open Mic celebrated its first anniversary last Thursday, 9 June 2016, with a big ‘1’ shaped cake, and poetry readings by a bunch of passionate Malaysian poets, among which was our famous Malaysian Literary Laureate a.k.a. Sasterawan Negara, A. Samad Said, fondly known as Pak Samad.

The founder and organiser of If Walls Could Talk, Melizarani, said over 200 people clicked on ‘Going’, so you all better come early, because Gaslight Cafe can only fit 120. So, we did!

There are many kinds of poets – quiet, and reserved, loud and boisterous, entertaining and funny, serious and thought-provoking, plus some rapper dudes too. At the first anniversary, we saw the whole range of them, and listened and watched them.

The show of the year

Music is a form of poetry, a poetry of sound, and the show was aptly opened by Az Samad, the very talented guitarist of international acclaim, who also happens to be A. Samad Said’s son. His fingers moved deftly and fluidly. Every note was as it should be, and everybody enjoyed his performance.

As the evening progressed, we saw and heard many poets, from the very young Team DemiGods, to the veteran writer Dato’ Dr. M. SHANmughalingam, and everything in between, but a common theme emerged. Poets individually and collectively expressed their belief in unity in diversity. No matter what was our skin colour, hair colour, eye colour, mother tongue – they felt that these were only surface deep. We are all human, and we should not let our differences divide us. I thought it was a positive movement that I also agreed with.

Hidup Bersama (Living Together)

The star of the night was A. Samad Said, and people came far and wide to see him. I got there really really to book a seat, because there were only a few chairs, and the rest of the people had to sit on the floor. They trickled in at first, but kept on coming, and the people on the floor had to squish together to let more people come in, until finally, there was no longer any sitting, squatting or standing room at all. So, the people at the door, and the people queuing on the stairs, all the way from the top floor to the ground floor, had to be There were definitely more that 200 people were there in Gaslight Cafe on 9 June 2016, maybe even more than 300!

You can see A. Samad Said’s reading of his popular poem Hidup Bersama, accompanied by Az Samad on the guitar, by clicking on the following videos, which were recorded using mobile phone by Amy Yu.

 

Here is his poem:

HIDUP BERSAMA
By A. Samad Said

Kita sudah sampai di lereng amat indah, di bawah pelangi,
dalam ufuk yang masih mencabar;
dan kita ikhlas berjanji untuk bermaruah,
tenang dalam segala uji cabar dan debar.
Kita mencari hanya yang tulen dan jati,
sekata hidup, mengerti dan berbudi.

Kita wajar mendaki lagi kerana puncak
yang jauh. Dalam gelora dan taufan
tak tercalar tekad kita kerana kemerdekaan
mengasuh kita bersuara dalam sopan,
yakin menyanggah musuh, tulus menambah kawan,
inti tunggak dan menara kebahagian.

Kita datang bersama anak-anak yang sedia menyanyi –
sihat, teguh, bertekad dan berani.
Mengelilingi tasik, mendaki gunung,
kita mengajar mereka berjiwa besar dan berbakti.
Tanah air akan indah, megah dan bermaruah
jika kita sentiasa mensyukuri anugerah Allah;
dan bumi akan subur, makmur dan mewah
jika kita bekerja dan berikrar hidup bersama.

Tanah air memberi banyak, mesra mendakap kita;
kemerdekaan mendorong kita berdiri dan berbakti.
Dan kita sudah sampai di lereng indah, pasti tetap mendaki juga,
menyanggah musuh, menambah kawan tanpa jenuh, khuatir, juga tanpa rawan.
Dan dalam alaf baru semangat kita wajar padu,
berjalan kita atas nama tanah air dan bangsa –
bangga kerana merdeka, megah kerana bahagia.

Anak-anak kita bakal datang tangkas dan berilmu; dan kita, dalam sejarah,
bakal syahdu dan bangga, kerana awan yang indah, lapis pelangi lebih mesra,
wajah diri dan inti peribadi kita tunjang bagi kehidupan dan kemerdekaan bangsa
yang sentiasa sedia belajar mengerti dan tekun hidup bersama.

 

Here is the nice YouTube version of Hidup Bersama:

 

All in all, it was a great night, and everybody got cake! 🙂

Read another article I wrote about the If Walls Could Talk First Anniversary:
Up, up and away! If Walls Could Talk First Anniversary

 

 

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A poem in Malay for today: Kemboja merah jambu

For the first #‎MYWritersPoetryPrompt‬ for February 2016 in the ##‎MYWriters‬ FB group, I put up a photo of frangipani flowers, which I took on a marine biodiversity education trip to Terengganu in June 2014.

 

IMG_2242a

I thought of writing a poem in Malay, because the photo was taken in Terengganu and frangipani flowers always reminded me of local and traditional culture. So, here it is: 🙂

Kemboja merah jambu

Kemboja merah jambu menawan
Di laman rumah senyap sepi gunawan
Tepi pantai riuh ombak samudra
Penuh dengan bisikan hati bergelora
Tiada siapa mendengar rintihan pilu
Yang sunyi menanti kepulangan mu

Khor Hui Min
3 Feburary 2016

 

Here’s the translation for the poem:

Pink frangipani

Enchanting pink frangipani blossoms
In the quiet gardens of the virtuous
Beside the beach where waves crash unendingly
Full of the passionate whispers of the heart
Nobody hears the melancholic sighs
Of one who awaits your return in loneliness

Khor Hui Min
3 Feburary 2016

 

This poem is about the fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers in the little villages and quaint towns, who await the return of the youngsters who, attracted to the bright lights of the glittering cities, have migrated to the west coast to make it big. Enshrouded by the excitement of city life and materialistic success, the youngsters live their days busy with their work and newfound life, and memories and thoughts of their loved ones on the east coast are pushed further and further into the recesses of their consciousness.