Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Lenggok Rembulan

sebentar lagi matahari akan tenggelam
malam akan tiba
cicak - cicak berbunyi di tembok
dan rembulan berlayar
tetapi pertanyaan kita tidak akan mereda
akan hidup di dalam mimpi
akan tumbuh di kebun belakang

WS Rendra (1935-2009)

(With thanks to AbdullahJones )

When it comes to sheer artistry and poetry, Bahasa Melayu is pretty hard to beat.

I believe truly that it is made for the informal writing that reading a well written prose and sentence is akin to being in a theatrical play or even an opera.

You might not understand whatever the heck the whole episode means, but all the same, you stand, tears welling in your eyes and start clapping your hands in full bravado in an emotional job well done.

Written informally, Bahasa Melayu loses its inherent “clunkiness” (for want of a better word), the sort that made me stop reading the vernacular newspapers.

It has been a while since I last read a good novel in Bahasa Melayu, but those that I did tended to leave a much longer impression that anything in English.

Unlike French (which, in my humble opinion, is beautiful only when spoken), Bahasa Melayu can be beautiful spoken as well as read.

Do note the word “can be” as there are but a few who are capable in pulling off such mastery in the language’s use.

It doesn’t even need to be the full blown artistic rendition ala the late WS Rendra’s poetry above.

Take Lat’s Mat Som.

It’s one work that is as simple as it could be, and I believe it does because it was written and conceived in Bahasa Melayu.

The translated version missed by miles cultural nuances that Lat had strewn within the Bahasa Melayu version.

Then again, Lat’s artwork works well enough to convey some of these without even the need for words.

But in Mat Som, the words completes the art.

Rhyme and rhythm in a beautiful sonata.

(And NO, this posting has nothing to do with the recent U-Turn in the teaching of Maths and Science in English policy.

Notwithstanding the perplexing ding dong by the education Supremo himself in an apparent stand of assuaging concerns from parents who seemed dead set in pushing their sons and daughters to persist with the policy anyway.

Makes you wonder why Referendum didn’t feature as a decision making apparatus, eh?)

Cedric Rivrain's

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