mercredi, décembre 15, 2010
In the course of my work as an event organiser, I love it when I get to organise an event that reflects my interest. And this year, for New Year's Eve, we are holding an Egyptian Ball!
So, I have been immersing myself with middle eastern flavoured music and was thrilled to find this on youtube.
jeudi, décembre 09, 2010
Have you ever gone out into a garden in the dead of winter and found an unexpected flower blooming? I feel this way at One Stop Poetry. I am constantly being astounded at the beautiful writing and talent of the poets we have the honor of featuring. Here are two of those talents. Ninot Aziz and Shashidhar Sharma entered the fall poetry competition and were finalists. Their poetry submissions are below.
If you have not already read the winner's poem, we want to remind you to go to Spark Bright Magazine and read our Renee Sigel's poem.
Ninot Aziz was one of One Stop Poetry's fall competition finalists. I'm giving you a tiny peek into her life as a poet because we want to come back and do a feature after her book comes out.
Read the feature by Moondustwriter and poem by ninotaziz at One Shot Poetry here.
lundi, novembre 29, 2010
It is the most beautiful video I have seen in a long while. And my pledge to make a difference is to try and save as many legends and folklores of the world from disappearing.
And I thank my publisher Utusan Publishers, especially my Editor Fuzana, for their support and encouragement in making this a reality.
dimanche, novembre 28, 2010
vendredi, novembre 26, 2010
jeudi, novembre 04, 2010
Shakespeare could turn any subject on earth to poetry. The obvious would be love, legends and drama. But politics and war too became bold and dramatic when given the Shakespeare treatment. Homer turned the Trojan War into the story of the face that launched a thousand ships, but who actually penned those famous words? Shakespeare's nemesis, Christopher Marlowe. Today, a hen can launch a thousand pens. And magic can inspire poets to stay glued to a 10" screen in the witching hour.
Did Shakespeare, Marlowe or Homer and countless other poets and writers know that their names would be immortalised, beyond kings, the beauty of the day and the fame of the infamous criminals of the century? With the exception of the prophets, writers are the most recognised names throughout time. And their work, unlike Science, Mathematics and Astronomy remained relevant and readable by the masses, not only scholars and academicians of the sixteenth century, those of the 21st century still read them just as much! Children read Bronte, and adults read Rowling. Lovers read Austen, cynics read Jung.
It cannot be emphasised enough that language and poetry are universal. There is Kahlil Gibran, Verlaine and Tolstoy. Tagore, Keats and Li Po. Shakespeare, Bronte and Hugo. Poets from every continent and country. Their words heal, calm, ignite. Kill, inspire, drown one in misery.
An expert is not an expert until he has written a lengthy thesis followed by a best-selling book. It is said that a writer never takes a vacation. He is either writing about his thoughts or thinking about his writing. One is compelled to write, sometimes to feverish heights. It is inborn, instinctive, incroyable.
The power of the written word of which poetry is the highest form - is the question of legacy. That is why writers are compelled to write. Not so that their name would be immortalised.
But that their words be whispered reverently upon a white page forever.
You can find poetry by ninotaziz here, ici and di-sini.
samedi, octobre 30, 2010
Cikgu Rahmah Nik, young teacher in her teens. She taught school children during the day and adult literacy classes at night in Pekan, Pahang. At a school fair, a visiting teacher - Jaafar Awang Pekan bought a blue muffler she knitted from her. Little did she know, Jaafar fell in love with the hazel eyed vivacious teacher in kebaya there and then.
Puan Rahmah Nik, married at eighteen years of age. This was not an easy endeavour as Jaafar was engaged to another in Chenor. The break up caused a minor family riot which took years to settle. But both Jaafar and Rahmah were very much in love and remained so for the rest of their lives. Remembering the war, she spoke of tapioca days and thread made of pineapple leaves, saving matches to last the day. Hiding neighbours in the kitchen, masquerading as maids. Sisters masquerading as boys. Later they were involved in the National Teacher's Union, fighting for a better life, then for the country. There were conferences and rallies to attend. She gave up jewellery and time for the cause.
Good neighbour, quick witted
Passionate about Malaya
Tok Rahmah Nik, grandmother at age 41 when first granddaughter was born far away in Australia. Together with Tok Jaafar, they were pioneers, he as headmaster and she was a teacher at the first Felda school in Lurah Bilut. Life was hard at the Rumah Kongsi - she negotiated with the Orang Asli for supplies as they loved to barter for batik, and other household stuff.
Knew hardship first hand
She kept the family together
Mak Chu Rahmah Haji Nik, back in Chenor was mother of ten, and Wanita UMNO leader. The household doubled up with nieces and nephews coming to stay. It was not luxurious but everyone had enough to eat and most importantly, the discipline to study hard. Everyone of the children and adopted children earned a place in residential schools.
Generous as she knew how
Problems to be solved - now
Tok Rahmah Haji Nik took in her eldest grandchild, yours truly who needed to be schooled in AlQuran and religion. At age 10, I could not read the Al-Quran nor understood the need to pray. Grandfather, Grandma and Tok Lebai took charge and I finished reading Quran the year after. Long after I left Chenor, I was told how Tok Lebai Ismail praised my ease and determination to read the Al Quran until his dying days. He passed away when I was overseas in Canada.
My grandma cooked breakfast for the poor students in school and entered craft fairs. She held Tupperware and Arcopal parties for the ladies. At night, she would faithfully prepare her notes for lessons the next day and she wrote in the most meticulous and beautiful handwriting I have known.
We watched Peyton Place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, P Ramlee on Friday nights. School holidays started with Tok Jaafar going to the train-station in Mentakab to fetch my aunties and uncles who returned for the holidays from MCKK, STF, SDAR, SEMSAS, STAR and more. She took me to do my IC. When I was to be sent to boarding school, Sekolah Seri Puteri, Tok Jaafar and Tok Rahmah drove me to Kuala Lumpur. We stayed at Hotel Asia.
Showered me with attention
Told me stories - Ken Tambuhan
To think through problems
Hajah Rahmah Haji Nik went to Mekah after Tok Jaafar recovered from a prolonged illness which left him bones and skin. Whenever he was ill, that old blue muffler faithfully kept him warm. He recovered and they went for pilgrimage the year after. This started a passion for travelling in Tok Rahmah. After Tok Jaafar passed on, Tok Rahmah travelled to Jordan, Turkey and Egypt. She bought a little camera and used it with sheer delight.
Late starter traveller
Stories from abroad
Hajah Rahmah Yang Chik, passed away after being cared for by my mother in Taman Melawati. She was in pain, we told her stories and she wanted to hear Ken Tambuhan for the last time. As always, the Classic Nasional on the radio was by her side. She had always wanted her final resting place to be in Pekan where her father and husband were laid to rest. So we gathered as family in Pekan, the sky was overcast, there was the gentlest of drizzle.
Is no longer with me
Her last quiet breathe
She left gently
A lifetime of purpose.
You will find more reflections on Grandma here.
mardi, octobre 26, 2010
vendredi, octobre 22, 2010
Auguste Rodin of France must be the greatest sculptor of the modern era. Among his most famous sculptures are The Age of Bronze (L'age d'airain) 1877, The Walking Man (L'homme qui marche) 1877-78, The Burghers of Calais (Les Bourgeois de Calais) 1889, The Kiss 1889, The Thinker (Le Penseur) 1902.
Au lieu de la Porte de l'Enfer
All were doomed, unless
Queen Phillipa's intervention
The Queen's tears for her unborn child
Saved the burghers of Calais
Copyright 2010 © ninotaziz.
mardi, octobre 19, 2010
who longed for a fortress home.
So that his words take centrestage
Life's greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved - Victor Hugo
There is nothing like dream to create the future
- Victor Hugo
Love is like a tree
is entitled La poesie de ninotaziz et Victor Hugo
A lovely letter from Alliance Francaise today!
Dear Ms Aziz,
Many thanks for your contribution to our newsletter and your beautiful poems! We will publish them in our next issue.
Cultural Events Coordinator
Alliance Française de Kuala Lumpur
15, Lorong Gurney 54100 Kuala Lumpur
+60 (0)3 26 94 78 80
vendredi, octobre 15, 2010
Some things when they fall they shatter and seem beyond repair
while others seem to brace the fall but invisibly they are impaired
a heart can see another's fall and then itself break in two
but tears like glistening diamonds will fall and make it new
God bless the heart that is broken for another's pain it has truly felt and seen
but God help the heart that will not break for it is surely broken indeed.
They face what the wind blows in, and together they shall stand.
When autumn's wind reaches out to them her subtle hand,
the leaves turn hue and fall and still together they do land.
The forest knows a certain hope that lingers in winter's cold.
It is the certainty of spring when new leaves will all unfold.
Yet, in the swelter of summer, at the hand of man alone,
a flicker becomes a flame and takes back what nature has bestowed.
Still, trees know a certain peace that man cannot recall.
For united they will stand, and still together they will fall.
Like A Forest
This life is like a forest and our world is but a tree
and humanity is a flow of many colors like an abundant growth of leaves
each spread out and grow reaching toward the sky
and when the time is right we break loose and start to fly
but like the changing seasons our flight is soon a fall
we reach out like a weary hand and embrace heaven's call.
Like most of us in the poet blogsphere, we have a separate blog as a journal and Carrie recaps her special thoughts in her blog Dancing with Elephants. And I guess when Carrie turns philosophical, she escapes to her blog What A Seagull never Told You.
I love her all the more when I see that Carrie loves the movies The Curious Case of Bejamin Button, Under The Tuscan Sun, Forrest Gump, Ghost and most of all Willow! Carrie is one of the many special friends I have had the privilege to know over the blog. Here, we do not really know the lives behind the poet in great detail. Which is why Robert at Poets United is doing such a marvelous job introducing us to each other in his Life Of A Poet interview series. Nevertheless, the poetry is the first and foremost link that strikes a connection, a bond that grows stronger with time.
To Carrie, from half way around the world - keep on writing!
lundi, octobre 11, 2010
The Orient Express - a once in a life-time romance
Enjoying the sunset
Browsing through the inherited Encyclopedia
Dictionaries and thesaurus
Reading unabridged Charles Dickens at one sitting
Receiving a pen pal letter
Turntables - adjusting that needle onto your favourite single
A moment of bliss
dimanche, octobre 10, 2010
Memory woven garden
To you I come for solace
For - it is here I remember
I am born of gentle grace
Today, in my garden, I felt closest to my late grandmother. She was beautiful, a great cook and maybe above all, loved her garden.
An account of my reminiscence can be found here.
dimanche, octobre 03, 2010
mercredi, septembre 29, 2010
Photo taken on one of the happiest day of the writer's life.
Have you ever met a person, where after no more than 10 minutes, you have complete adoration and respect for them? I recently did when I took the time to sit down and shape my most recent interview. This week for our The Life of a Poet Interview I was lucky to have a wonderful back forth exchange with Zalina Abdul Aziz, known to us at Poets United as Ninot Aziz.
For full interview, click here.
mardi, septembre 28, 2010
This is my list of the most romantic movies ever.
Just the thing to fall in love again...with all time classic Romeo and Juliet 1968 as my favourite.
Chocolat - Sinfully delicious
Moulin Rouge - Heartbreaking...
Shakespeare In Love
I will have poetry in my life
Titanic - Thunderous
Notting Hill - a bubble of joy
Cyrano de Bergerac - A movie of epic proportions
Romeo & Juliet
My only love sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, & known too late!
dimanche, septembre 26, 2010
samedi, septembre 18, 2010
The Gamelan Pahang of Malaysia originated from the Riau Lingga courts. A Lingga princess brought with her the full set of the gamelan orchestra when she was presented as a bride to the Pahang prince in 1811. The original set is kept at the Royal Museum in Pekan Pahang. In time, Tengku Mariam Sultan Ahmad took the gamelan to Terengganu in the early 1900s. There used to be 77 songs, faithfully recorded by the Pahang princess before she became the Sultanah of Terengganu. Now, less than 40 survive. As for the accompanying dances, less than 10 are actively performed.
Terkenal seluruh Nusantara
Cintanya pada Raden Inu Kertapati
My gamelan class at Actors Studio - Haris, Keiko, myself, Ana, Suchin, Maya and Candice with teachers from The Gamelan Club Susan, Gillian,Shahanum, Wai Fan, Engu and Datuk Faridah Merican.
Mum and Grandmother with Iman, Inas and Irani attended the graduation performance.
mardi, septembre 14, 2010
This smile on my daughter's face reminded me why we 'Balik Kampung'' every year. This picture was taken at her Tok Mek's house. I have detailed and placed pictures of this year's trip home in my family journal blog here. It was a memorable trip to say the least.
Tapai pulut daun rambai
Masak ranum dek taburan ragi
Mari kita beramai ramai
Balek kampung beraya lagi
Masak ranum dek taburan ragi
Di makan bersama teh bunga
Balek kampung beraya lagi
Hari Lebaran sungguh mulia
Dimakan bersama teh bunga
Tak tinggal jua lemang dan rendang
Hari Lebaran sungguh mulia
Yang dekat tersayang, yang jauh dikenang
And yet I feel a bit blue coming back in KL. Before Hari Raya, I was upset over the advert on TV3. After Hari Raya, all over the news, the investigation of the gruesome murder of self-made millionaire Datuk Sosilawati is scrutineered in detail. The murder of the Ustazah and child by a neighbour is resolved in lightning speed. Three teenagers go gallivanting during Hari Raya for days whereabouts unknown causing heartache to a worried mother.
In the days surrounding Hari Raya, a pastor from Florida showed how me crazy the world can get. I was therefore gratified to see a post by a fellow poet and blogger, Stafford Ray.
Stafford demonstrated there is still hope for this world.
vendredi, septembre 03, 2010
dimanche, août 29, 2010
My precious bird nest ferns and our flag
Merdeka will be here soon as we can see in the neighbourhood - and pretty much around the country. This is our Jalur Gemilang flying in the wind in our garden doing double duty for our household and our wonderful neighbours - Cikgu Rahim and Cikgu Ani. And those are my precious bird nest ferns which you will see in abundance around our little garden.
Now, while I do not subscribe to the notion that my homeland is merely 53 years old, Merdeka is just as good a time as any to celebrate the coming of age of our nation. First let me explain my earlier statement. For me, my home - which we now call Malaysia, has been in existance millions of years ago when the tectonic plates moved to severe Australia from the continents. A 400 year colonial rule does not obliterate this reality and history. It is however, part and parcel of our country, as necessary to the story as any other part.
My homeland witnessed the birth of the oldest rainforest in the world.
And the most beautiful coral seas surrounding our shores.
The peninsula saw the movement of people to and fro the Kra Ithmus from the ancient cities Langkasuka to Gangga Nagara. Settlements began to fill out at the mouth of major rivers, sea-masters braved the pirate infested seas to seek new territories.
...and bewitched Ptolemy to call it Aurea Chernosese.
At the end of the 16th century after the fall of Melaka, copies of the ancient manuscript Sulalat us-Salatin or Sejarah Melayu began to appear. And the pantun was a unique feature of the highly stylised Malay literature. In no other form of poetry that a relationship between the metaphor and the reality is so intricately woven.
"By the terms of the Pangkor Treaty, the Resident was an adviser whose decision were binding in all matters except for custom or religion. The first Resident had been murdered in 1874, precipitating a war that left nearly all high-rankingMalay officials either dead or in exile. Low's appointment marked a return to civil authority.
The intrigue, for now, can wait. It suits the purpose of my story to relate that the then Sultan of Perak, Sultan Abdullah was exiled to Seychelles. Described in Seychelles as a most Universal of Man, the Sultan mastered French, Creole and English. His favourite tune among others included a classic 18th century chanson de Francais - La Rosalie composed by Pierre Jean de Beranger. It has now been established that this is the origin of our national anthem Negaraku.The story here.
Back to Sultan Abdullah. The Sultan travelled to England and certainly, it is not too farfetched to deduce that he visited France. This was in the 1880s. Victor Hugo, himself a political exile during the reign of Napolean III, championed the cause of many and constantly took up cases with the government of Queen Victoria.
And now I come to the matter of the pantoum. The Larousse Encyclopedique says:
Pantoum ou Pantoun, n, m, (mot malais), Poeme a forme fixe, emprunte par les romantiques aa la poesie malaise - Encycl.. Le antoum fut introduit dans notre poesie par V Hugo (Orientaales) et Th Gautier, et epris par Baudelaire(Harmonie du soir), Banvillee, Leconte de Lisle...
In short,it says that the pantun was introduced into the french poetry by Victor Hugo and Theophile Gautier. However, Victor Hugo was already aware of the pantun form in the 1830s. Nevertheless, in the 1880s there was a surge of interest in the pantoum and translations of original Malay pantuns into French.
Sultan Abdullah was a cultured Universal Man of presence and style who appreciated music and poetry. Victor Hugo was the French poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist and exponent of the Romantic movement in France. I can imagine HRH and Victor Hugo together with their many friends and associates having political and cultural discussions including exchanging pantun at the end of a chilly winter evening. Such as this...
Les papillons jouent alentour sur leurs ailes;
Ils volent ver la mer, pres de la chaine des rochers
Mon coeur s'est senti malade dans ma poitrine
Depuis mes premiers jours jusqu'a a l'heure presente
I became acquainted with this wondrous history in part during my days at the Royal Lake Club. I would like to acknowledge the extensive research and article written by Jon Azman -Negaraku and its Parisian Roots. More importantly, the first hand information supplied by the great grand daughter of Sultan Abdullah, Raja Teh Zaitun Raja Kamarulzaman, aka Mak Ungku.
However, the tale of the pantoum's origin is my conclusion, albeit with heavily romanticised slant, based on facts and timeline involved.
More references from Wikipedia, from Indonesia, here and here. Also, do refer to Francois Rene Daillie's Alam Pantun Melayu.
vendredi, août 27, 2010
This week’s prompt, quote and photo was provided to us by Nino Taziz. Thank you Nino for an inspiring prompt and helping us out here at Poets United.
If you would like to know more about Nino please visit the blog below:
dimanche, août 22, 2010
Jikalau tidak kerana bintang
Lama lama jadi bukit
dimanche, août 15, 2010
This week, over at Poets United, poets all over were prompted to wax lyrical over the subject of eyes. For my take on the prompt, come over . Somehow, I went a bit off tangent and did a tribute to one of my favourite authors growing up, Agatha Christie.
jeudi, août 12, 2010
Do you remember the first day you fasted?
I was seven years old in Standard One in Kuantan. It was the last day of Ramadhan. I remember my uncles teasing me that if I did not fast, I won't be able to celebrate Raya. Raya meant balik Chenor, main mercun, hugging my grandfather, being spoilt silly by my grandmother. It meant playing in the garden in the moonlight while the lemang was cooking.
So I fasted on the last day without anyone knowing. When I got back from school in the afternoon, I was dead tired. I wanted desperately for someone to know, but I was too shy to say it. Finally, I heard my Auntie Yah say,"Budak Na ni puasa ke? Pucat je...Tik! I think Nina is still fasting!" Tik is my mother. She came to ask, " Are you fasting, Nina?" I just nodded.
Ooohhh...everyone made a fuss. I felt very good inside. I can't remember what we had for breaking fast, but I remember the pride I felt. Thereafter, I fasted more and more days each year.
When I was in secondary school, I was in the band and gymnastics. Somehow, it was important to me that I still train during the fasting months. After band practice in the afternoon, I would walk up three flight of stairs to my dormitory. I felt invigorated.
In Canada, we fasted from 4.30am to 8.45pm in the summer. But I did not tire. I was spurred to do more as the days were longer.
Today, I find, during the fasting month, my mind is the clearest. My prayers are focused. I do not worry about lunch. I do not worry about petty office squabbles. I work, work and work. Incidentally, I noticed that for the last few years, I also write the most during the days approaching Raya. I used to think this was because the Hari Raya reminds me of the traditional music, my kampung and the food. Now I believe it is because Ramadhan releases me from petty concerns. And what I love the most comes forth , pouring from a chalice of inspiration.
Thank you Ramadhan.
samedi, août 07, 2010
The first time I heard Adi Putra recite this sajak, I cried.
Aku lah Adi Putra
Melayu tidak pernah lupa
Aku berfikir rasional
Aku berfikir internasional
Hujan biarlah bertempat
Marah biar bersopan
Kurang ajar biarlah berbudi bahasa
Tersirat mereka tak nampak
Tersurat saja mereka lihat
Di mana silapnya
Ayuh bangsaku! Bangunlah...
Kita jadikan Melayu hebat dipersada dunia
Akulah model insan anak Melayu jati Wawasan 2020
Takkan Melayu hilang di dunia
Pantang Melayu menderhaka pada Sultannya
Mengapa bersembunyi diri di sebalik ibu pertiwi
sejengkalpun tanahair ku di jajah
Biar puteh tulang jangan puteh mata