Thursday, July 28, 2011

The shoulders of giants

My strength comes from the knowledge that I walk with my ancestors; they have paid for my crown, how can I not wear it? It's 2011, I'm a Malaysian woman making a decent living and doing what I love and I am making art. All this is possible because of the people who fought for my independence before I was born. Thank you so much.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"Poetry has now become something extraordinary; it has now become a weapon"

National laureate probed over 'seditious poem'. (27/6/2011) "Poetry has now become something extraordinary; it has now become a weapon," he told a throng of journalists jostling to hear the soft-spoken man.



Unggun Bersih

Semakin lara kita didera bara—
kita laungkan juga pesan merdeka:
Demokrasi sebenderang mentari
sehasrat hajat semurni harga diri.

Lama resah kita—demokrasi luka;
lama duka kita—demokrasi lara.
Demokrasi yang angkuh, kita cemuhi;
suara bebas yang utuh, kita idami!

Dua abad lalu Sam Adams berseru:
(di Boston dijirus teh ke laut biru):
Tak diperlu gempita sorak yang gebu,
diperlu hanya unggun api yang syahdu.

Kini menyalalah unggun sakti itu;
kini merebaklah nyala unggun itu.


--

24—25, 6.11. A. Samad Said, Malaysia's national laureate.
Listen to our dear poet's recital (with guitar accompaniment!) here.
An English translation has been attempted here.