Decidedly, a bookworm who loves life and has been blessed with a warm quirky family in a quintessential country
vendredi, avril 09, 2010
THE LURE OF MALAYA
In the last scene of Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland, a map of Malacca leaps to attention. Map on the table, Alice rambles on about going on to China etc etc etc but I couldn't think of anything else except that map and all that it represented.
The lure of 19th century Malaya once called upon the world and held it spellbound. Among many others, Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham and Anthony Burgess relied on Malaya for landscape and imaging of a forgotten era, the enchanted, and sometimes bizarre land in their best-sellers ...and French writer Henri Fauconnier's Prix Goncourt award winning book was a tribute to our country simply titled Malaisie. Chapter One begins; Jikalau tidak karna bintang masakaan bulan terbit tinggi Jikalau tidak karna abang masakan datang adek kemari
The French in particular, were fascinated by our pantun, with none other than Victor Hugo and his band of followers adopting pantoum for high fashion pastime. Francois Rene Daillie wrote in his book Alam Pantun Melayu with a tinge of patronising tone, "the pantun has never obtained the fame it deserves, in spite of its introduction into XIXth century poetry."
I, for one, long for the moment pantun is celebrated alongside Shakespere's sonnets and Japanese haiku for its ingenuity, form and sheer beauty. The pantun of old can be witty, passionate to the point of being downright erotic and hilariously funny. And always with a lesson to impart.
Well, the pantun evolves with the times. An sms competition is on-going at the moment up to the end of the month. The theme - 1Malaysia. I hope the beauty and wit does not suffer. At the very least, pantun is given a chance to return to the mainstream.
And I rejoice in that. Note: I recommend this lovely book by Mak Ungku Azah Aziz for all Malaysian households.