Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Melayu Manchester

Melayu itu orang yang bijaksana
Nakalnya bersulam jenaka
Budi bahasanya tidak terkira
Kurang ajarnya tetap santun
Jika menipu pun masih bersopan
Bila mengampu bijak beralas tangan.

Melayu itu berani jika bersalah
Kecut takut kerana benar,
Janji simpan di perut
Selalu pecah di mulut,
Biar mati adat
Jangan mati anak.

Melayu di tanah Semenanjung luas maknanya:
Jawa itu Melayu, Bugis itu Melayu
Banjar juga disebut Melayu,
Minangkabau memang Melayu,
Keturunan Acheh adalah Melayu,
Jakun dan Sakai asli Melayu,
Arab dan Pakistani, semua Melayu
Mamak dan Malbari serap ke Melayu
Malah mua'alaf bertakrif Melayu
(Setelah disunat anunya itu)

Dalam sejarahnya
Melayu itu pengembara lautan
Melorongkan jalur sejarah zaman
Begitu luas daerah sempadan
Sayangnya kini segala kehilangan

Melayu itu kaya falsafahnya
Kias kata bidal pusaka
Akar budi bersulamkan daya
Gedung akal laut bicara

Malangnya Melayu itu kuat bersorak
Terlalu ghairah pesta temasya
Sedangkan kampung telah tergadai
Sawah sejalur tinggal sejengkal
tanah sebidang mudah terjual

Meski telah memiliki telaga
Tangan masih memegang tali
Sedang orang mencapai timba.
Berbuahlah pisang tiga kali
Melayu itu masih bermimpi

Walaupun sudah mengenal universiti
Masih berdagang di rumah sendiri.
Berkelahi cara Melayu
Menikam dengan pantun
Menyanggah dengan senyum
Marahnya dengan diam
Merendah bukan menyembah
Meninggi bukan melonjak.

Watak Melayu menolak permusuhan
Setia dan sabar tiada sempadan
Tapi jika marah tak nampak telinga
Musuh dicari ke lubang cacing
Tak dapat tanduk telinga dijinjing
Maruah dan agama dihina jangan
Hebat amuknya tak kenal lawan

Berdamai cara Melayu indah sekali
Silaturrahim hati yang murni
Maaf diungkap senantiasa bersahut
Tangan diulur sentiasa bersambut
Luka pun tidak lagi berparut

Baiknya hati Melayu itu tak terbandingkan
Segala yang ada sanggup diberikan
Sehingga tercipta sebuah kiasan:
"Dagang lalu nasi ditanakkan
Suami pulang lapar tak makan
Kera di hutan disusu-susukan
Anak di pangkuan mati kebuluran

Bagaimanakah Melayu abad dua puluh satu
Masihkan tunduk tersipu-sipu?
Jangan takut melanggar pantang
Jika pantang menghalang kemajuan;
Jangan segan menentang larangan
Jika yakin kepada kebenaran;
Jangan malu mengucapkan keyakinan
Jika percaya kepada keadilan.

Jadilah bangsa yang bijaksana
Memegang tali memegang timba
Memiliki ekonomi mencipta budaya
Menjadi tuan di negara Merdeka

Almarhum Usman Awang


doktorfirdaus said...

Perhaps the best poem by Usman Awang. It reminds us malays not to be complacent and not to "believe" too much of the bangsa asing.

Pretty good stuff

DIN said...

Abg Ngah,

It was YOU who introduce me to that piece, in one of your many emails in NZ alumni :)

Ada satire, ada nasihat.

I and Kak Teh sempat borak about almarhum, I think he and his works will be more appreciated valued in the future.

I have here a piece from kakiseni:

10. 12. 2001
USMAN AWANG 1929-2001 (in English) by Faisal Tehrani

It was God’s will that Malaysia was to lose two of her luminaries during this blessed month of Ramadhan. Before we were over the grief of losing our head of state with the demise of the late Almarhum Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah, our local arts fraternity received the heart-wrenching news that our beloved poet with a heart of gold, Dato’ Usman Awang, had passed away on November 29th.

A really sombre atmosphere pervaded the Muslim Cemetary at Bukit Kiara Taman Tun Dr. Ismail for there now rested two National Laureates - Tongkat Warrant had joined Keris Mas. Among the renowned writers seen to pay their last respects at the gravesite were Dr Anwar Ridhwan, Sutung Umar RS, Dato A.Samad Said, Dato Baha Zain, Dato Shanmugalinggam and Professor Muhammad Haji Salleh.

This is just a humble note about Dato’ Usman Awang. I cannot claim to being close to the great persona as I only met him three times, twice for the documentary Ilham shown on RTM1, but every time I was filled with pride for somehow representing the 90’s generation of writers, quite removed from the late great, who even then was often bed-ridden.

Inside Dato’ Usman’s room I saw pictures of him with opposition leaders, Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Dr. Wan Azizah, and it was then that Dato’ Usman told me how he was eagerly waiting for the anthology of poems ‘Dari Derita Bangsa’ which included his last published poem titled ‘Saudara Anwar Ibrahim’ (please refer to ‘Tongkat Sakti Yang Berani’ (The Brave Magic Wand).

On the day we met, he spoke for quite a long while. Although tired and worn out, he still shared his memories enthusiastically with Imri, Tan, Roshihan and I. Among other things, he told us that he was not the initiator of ASAS 50 as described in academic books. “I was just the driving force behind it. Just the movement’s secretary.”

When asked why he quit the police force and left for Singapore to become a writer, he quipped, ‘Most of the answers I ‘ve laid down in ‘Tulang-tulang Berselerakan’ (his one and only novel) but the main reason was that I couldn’t just become a policeman who whacked and shot people as he pleased and without remorse. I just didn’t see myself as a policeman. How could I when I saw some of them shooting a Chinese farmer who they alleged was a communist and thrashed goods belonging to roadside vendors.’

Dato’ Usman was also clearly dejected with the state of Bahasa Melayu in this country. Decades after the event of the Casket Demonstration 152 (Perarakan Keranda 152) of which he himself was among the leaders, the usage of Bahasa Melayu has deteriorated and Dato’ Usman said, “I am against the prejudice towards Bahasa Melayu. I am obviously saddened by the fact that our nation’s own leaders do not strongly believe in the capability of the national language.”

Dato’ Usman also voiced his displeasure at the influence Hindi movies currently enjoy in the nation and over the younger generations. “Even my small grandchildren know how to sing Hindustan songs like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. In Singapore back then, there were also those same influences but ASAS 50 wasted no time to make our stand very clear. But today I don’t see any serious effort from GAPENA against the influx of such foreign culture.”

Dato’ Usman also told us something which I think was quite shocking. “The National Artist Award by the Prime Minister was something I was not warned about [Dr. Mahathir with the cooperation of the Utusan Group handed out the award in 1999]. If I had known beforehand I would have avoided the ceremony [then the novel SHIT was selling like hotcakes and many of his friends in the opposition parties were very vocal criticising the government]. I was not told of Dr. Mahathir’s attendance. I felt betrayed. But by then, it was too late, pictures had already been taken and were published the next day.”

When asked why he did not protest afterwards, Dato’ Usman told us, “Let it be. Harakah did actually contact me for the real story, but I wasn’t well and did not want to prolong the issue. I was afraid that if it kept dragging on, my health would worsen”.

Dato’ Usman was also dismayed by the fact that not many writers voiced out their concerns regarding major issues in the country. The issue of justice was put to the side. “One must write true stories. Don’t just shut up. Though people might shun you now, you’ll be remembered for what you do later on. Don’t keep silent. It is hard to become a writer and it is definitely harder still to become a bold one. To me one can only earn the right to be called a writer if one’s brave enough to show one’s concern. If you’re not brave enough, don’t become a writer, tell your peers. This is my advice.”
Dato’ Usman really liked talking about Dato Seri Anwar. “He is the writers’ friend. When he was at the helm, writers were greatly and richly honoured. I was once paid three thousand to read a poem at the Ministry of Finance. He truly values poets. It’s hard to find a leader like that.”

Allahyarham Usman Awang was born on the 12th of July 1929 in Kuala Sedili, Johore. He had been a farmer, office boy, policeman, proof-reader, and the editor for Dewan Sastera (the zenith of his career). He received the National Laureate Award in 1983, SEA Write Award in 1982, and an Honorary Doctorate in Writing from the University of Malaya in 1983. He produced more than 200 poems and most people would forever fondly remember his plays Tamu di Bukit Kenny and Uda dan Dara.

Professor Muhammad Haji Salleh, another National Laureate at that time, followed our discussion closely. I felt some pride when Dato’ Usman said he had read my work, especially Cinta di Hari-hari Rusuhan (Love during the Days of Riot). I am also indebted to Dato’ Baha Zain who suggested that a documentary on Usman Awang be made rapidly. Too many things that were said by Dato’ Usman that day would not pass muster or be kosher enough to be shown on the government-owned RTM 1, but we recorded them nevertheless knowing that it could be the lasts words from a great poet who knew he was coming close to the end.

RTM 1’s Berita Perdana on the 29th November recalled that Usman had a leaning to the Left in his arts and political struggle. His friendship with Dr. Syed Husin Ali, how he sheltered student leaders in his house during the chaos that was the Baling Riot and among his now legendary works is his Telok Gong poems collection which he organized to highlight the plight of farmers and criticize the Selangor State government in the 60’s. Many knew that Usman was among those who were behind the Mogok Utusan (Utusan Boycott) to protest power politics in the media.

Much has been said about his greatness in the literary world. It is not an easy task to list down all his qualities. Many would have fond memories of this great man. Most would be pleasant ones of course. We will remember Usman and his sincerity. You’ve earned your eternal rest, O Most Celebrated Defender of Humanism. Usman, I believe, is the National Laureate more widely known by the non-Malays. His poems on humanity bridged the gulf of ethnicity and religion and their reach is impossible to fathom here.

Let history continue to unfold and forever record Usman’s deeds. I would like to end this requiem with an excerpt of his poem, Gadis Dari Kuburan (The Girl from the Gravesite):
The girl ran and enfolded the ground,
her shoulders shook from all her cries,
a warrior silent and heaven bound,
hidden below, wreathed with smiles.
Let us recite Al-Fatihah for Allahyarham.
Translated by Abd. Latiff Bidin

Beskal Biru said...

laaa.. ingatkan buat sendiri.. baru nak rasa kagum gilleh. karya agung usman awang ni.
assalamualaikum.. lupa nak bagi salam

DIN said...

beskal biru..aku juga macam kamu..orang biasa yang tiada kebolehan luar biasa!