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Maria-Syamsi

From My Heart

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Mendalami Jiwa Seorang Gie

Malam ini aku dapat mendalami melankoli kehidupan seorang Soe Hok Gie. Penuh pengharapan bahawa pemimpin negara yang dilihat semakin menekan bangsanya sendiri agar digantikan dengan seorang pemimpin yang adil dan bertanggungjawab. Pergantian itu akhirnya berlaku tetapi keadilan yang diimpikan tidak juga muncul, malah lebih banyak kezaliman yang berlaku.
Aku sendiri dapat menyelami jiwanya. Mengharapkan perubahan yang baik, tetapi nampak seolah-olah mereka yang ingin menggantikan kepimpinan yang ada itu sama tamak kuasa, sama rasis, berpura-pura menolong golongan yang miskin semata-mata ingin meraih undi. Aku belum nampak keikhlasan sesiapa pun di mana-mana pun parti politik yang ada di negara ini.
Maka apakah akhirnya negara ini akan turut merudum sepertimana negara yang Gie diami dan cintai? Yang korupsi meresap di segenap lapisan masyarakat sehingga menjadi suatu budaya yang sukar dipisahkan lagi? 
Beliau berjalan seorangan sambil menyandang beg bukunya ke mana sahaja beliau pergi. Buku-buku dan alam menjadi inspirasi bagi tulisan-tulisan perjuangannya. Aku merasa kerdil berbandingnya. Pastinya pengetahuannya begitu luas dan penguasaan bahasanya begitu hebat untuk bisa berjuang demi masa depan negaranya. Terasa tidak layak untuk berkata apa-apa di alam maya mahupun di alam nyata.

Seperti kata Orchida Ramadhania daripada Universitas Indonesia:

“Saat ini….semua mulut dan jari bersuara, padahal entah buku-buku apa yang mereka baca. Dulu, yang dimusuhi adalah orang-orang visioner dan punya gagasan. Saat ini, hanya dengan olok-olok pada pemerintah seperti ‘kecebong’, atau posting kata dan gambar vulgar lainnya, sebagian orang sudah merasa paling berani dan revolusioner.”

Aku cukup terusik dengan kata-kata itu, nampak benar aku tidak cukup ilmu untuk berjuang tentang apa pun; biarpun soal kesihatan, agama, apa lagi untuk kekuatan bangsa. Yang aku mahir cuma mungkin soal patah hati sambil cuba hidup kembali!
Menonton filem Soe Hok Gie, aku tidak dapat memberi komentar sebaiknya, kerana aku bukan seorang yang biasa menonton filem, apa lagi filem sejarah seperti ini. Aku belum lagi membaca buku catatannya, dan kisah hidupnya sendiri aku baca di internet sahaja, maka sukar untuk ku katakan mana yang benar atau salah. Tapi dapat aku katakan bahawa Gie penuh dengan sifat kemanusiaan, penyayang kepada semua. Gambaran Gie membantu seorang tua berbadan kecil melintas jalan masih terbayang di mataku. Rasa bersalahnya terhadap kebangkitan militer yang akhirnya mengorbankan temannya sendiri dapat aku selami daripada ekspresi wajahnya.
 
Lakonan Nicholas Saputra ternyata begitu berkesan, hilanglah Rangga yang kita kenali. Gie ternyata lebih banyak tersenyum berbanding watak Rangga dalam Ada Apa Dengan Cinta. Jika melihat usianya ketika memerankan watak Gie, Nicholas juga pada ketika itu sedang kuliah di Universitas Indonesia dalam bidang arkitektur, memang cocok dengan usianya. Semakin jauh kisah ini dibawa, semakin convincing wataknya.
Pada akhirnya aku lihat Han dan Gie bermain di pantai, suatu simbolik yang membuatkan aku mengalir air mata. Puisi yang dibacakan pada penghujung filem dengan suaranya yang sudah hampir matang sepenuhnya memang amat meruntun hati, teresak-esak pula aku menangis walaupun aku sudah tahu bagaimana kesudahan hidupnya.

Kita pastinya perlukan ramai anak muda seperti Gie. Di Indonesia, di Malaysia, malah banyak tempat di dunia ini. Berilmu, dan berani menentang kemungkaran biarpun disisihkan oleh insan lain.
* * *
Puisi nukilan Soe Hok Gie bacaan Nicholas Saputra dalam filem Gie:

Puisi oleh Soe Hok Gie

Ngobrol Soal Politik

Talk about politics.
Actually no. I don’t want to talk about politics. 
I just want to say what would be lovely. 
It’s a cold night right now and I am imagining a rainy evening, lights dimmed, we’re talking with mugs of coffee in our hands, at times sitting quitely just listening to the beautiful harmony of the rain falling onto our roof.
We’re talking about books.
Books we have read and why we read the books at the first place.

Our favourite genres, or rather how we don’t have favourite genres. We read whatever we need or we feel like at that time. The languages we read in. 

The kind of knowledge and inspiration we gained from each book.

The characters in the fictions that we indulged in, the mysterious stories, the emotions we had during our encounters with those characters.

The situations in our lives or our countries while we were reading those books. How some books happened to resonate with our lives at those points of time.

The scent of a new book.

The smell of an old book.
Real books versus e-books.

The habit of reading. 

How we ended up with each other after reading all of those books. Our own little book club. Just the two of us.

And then the night deepens.

“Ayuh tidur. Esok kita ke toko buku lagi.”

(Let’s go to bed. We’ll visit the bookshop again tomorrow.)

That would be really lovely.

Doa dan Jawaban-Nya

Have Faith, I Will

I hoped.

And then not.

And hoped again.

And then decided not to.

But as the train moved into London, my heart was filled with hopes and dreams.

My dear,

We’ve been through this for so many years, it is unbelievable. Well, at least I have. We’ve been close, and then we fell apart, but never too far. I thought I was fine, I was ok without hoping anymore. I thought I did not care. But I do. I do so much. I jumped with every moment of pain that you went through. I cared not only about you, and you know that very well.

My dear,

That big smile of yours meant so much to me, and it still does. It is amazing how you could still make me smile after all this while, for that I am forever grateful.

My dear,

You know very well that I have you in my prayers. You and I know that God will answer me in His own special way, His own timely schedule. You and I understand that His answers will only be good. I know, even if I don’t have hope on you, I have hopes on Him, to bring me everywhere I should be, and to give you and me the eternal happiness. 

I don’t know why we are where we are, I don’t know why we are doing what we’re doing, I don’t know why there is too much struggle to go through, at least on my side. All I could do is to look into myself; maybe He wanted more from me, He expected better, much much better from me, for perhaps I have not lived up to my potential. 

Until then.

Hold on, I would.

Keep on trying, I should.

Have faith, I will. 

Always.
  

Kembara with M Nasir

Kembara’s (and M Nasir’s) music happens when you mix music with literature, philosophy and some spirituality.

Nobody makes music like that anymore.
* * *

I had the opportunity to attend Kembara’s Hati Emas concert last night. It’s a band that was set up the year I was born, yet I knew most of the songs played, as I grew up with them. We used to travel around a lot, and my father always played their songs in the car, along with other names like Ramli Sarip, Alleycats and Search.

Their music is one of those few that you can listen to time and time again without fearing that it might corrupt your soul – as it is deep and makes you reflect on the purpose of this life and its journey.

Well, “kembara” means journey in Malay. The general theme of their music is journey through life’s ups and downs; while trying to reach your destination of eternal happiness, there are many obstacles that would try to distract you, obstacles that are more of a mirage than true happiness. Deep inside, understanding that these are just distractions, you soldier along, knowing that eternal freedom is the most important thing for you.

From the song Kupu-kupu (which he sang in almost a trance):

Yang benar tetap benar
Walau dipertikaikan
Yang salah tetap salah
Walau diselindungkan
Dari itu jangan kau tangkap aku
Aku di sini hanya sementara waktu

It says,”Truth prevails, even when denied. Whatever is wrong would still be wrong, even when it’s hidden. So don’t catch me, I’m here just for a moment.”

They started with Ekspress Rakyat, a song about the train they took between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur when they first started out. The rest of the earlier songs were about the places they stop or pass by, like Di Perhentian Puduraya, Bas Nombor 13, and Sesat di Kuala Lumpur.

Then the were a few songs that I barely recognise, but the words, I could relate and reflect. Somehow it reminded me of the things that I have done, or I have not done, those people I have met, patients I have seen…and all the way to the oil price hike which will make the poor get poorer. We’ll be seeing more and more of desperate faces trying to make ends meet while making sure that their already ill health do not deteriorate further.

I have always felt that M Nasir’s music could be seen and painted, that the music could be felt and that we could visualise the things that he experienced – the green and endless paddy fields, the hustle and bustle of bus and train stations, the tall buildings and the dusts of Kuala Lumpur, the still of the night that he had inspiration upon inspiration from.

This is taken from the song Malam (The Night):

Malam

Bila rinduku bertambah dalam

Kau datang lagi dengan kenangan

Oh betapa dinginnya malam ini

 

It says, “At night, when the loneliness deepens, you came again in my memories, oh such a chilly night.”

The use of metaphors made us wonder, contemplate and reflect on our own lives and the things that we see around us, the people that we meet everyday. The words indirectly shows us the way our lives has turned out, and encourage us to gather strength to go on with this challenging life.

Gelora jiwa ku
Dalam perjuangan
Bagai musafir yang sedang kehausan
Inilah masanya aku mempertahankan
Apa yang selama ini milikku

It meant, “The struggle of my soul in its fight, like a traveller in need, this is the time for me to fight for what’s mine all this while.”

The use of flowers in their songs would usually signify love, or loneliness. Last night they sang Bunga Bakawali (the flower Moon Cactus/Queen of the Night), Kiambang (in English this flower is called floating fern), and Sekuntum Bunga Plastik (A single fake flower).

Kiambang,

Kau mekar di pinggir kali,

Ungu warnamu berseri.

Walaupun baumu tak seharum mawar,

Namun kau masih tetap menawan.

* * *

None of their songs sounds the same. They could be keroncong, country, pop and ballad, or Malay traditional like joget. Their creativity rendered their songs timeless.

Watching M Nasir perform on stage with the band was amusing. He is not as good a dancer as a singer, and he’s not as good a singer as he is a songwriter. Nevertheless he seemed to have enjoyed himself, dancing haphazardly to the tunes. He did not only communicate with the audience, but he also turned his back on us and faced the musicians – I assumed he made eye contact to all of them as he appreciated the fine music they produced. He felt deeply into each song, and at times he appeared as if in a trance.

They tried to close the concert with the songs Hati Emas (Hearts of Gold), and the hall lights were switched on after that. However, the audience refused to budge, so they shut the lights off again and the band sang their final song, Gerhana.

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