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Maria-Syamsi

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The Roadside Booksellers of Jakarta

I did not go to Jakarta to shop, but I thought, if I were to buy anything, I would buy a few books by Hamka, Soe Hok Gie or Chairil Anwar. I absolutely love Hamka, I fell in love with Mr Soe after watching the movie Gie, and I wanted to know why Chairil Anwar is a celebrated poet in Indonesia.
The movie Ada Apa Dengan Cinta showed a scene where Rangga brought Cinta to his favourite book shop. It is a small bookshop with loads of books, spilling onto the pavement. Thing is, I do not know where to find them. I heard that they don’t print Mr Soe’s Catatan Seorang Demonstran anymore.
Knowing the literary history of Indonesia, I was pretty sure that they have those kinds of shops in many places in Jakarta, and my mom said there are many bookshops in that city.
I browsed through my Jakarta guide book but found that the old bookshops are not within the areas that I planned to go, and I did not think I will have that much time to get there. 
While we were riding on Transjakarta and the bajajs, I did look around for signs of any bookshop, but I could not see any. Though that afternoon I saw a man carrying a tall stack of books walking on the road side.
And then night fell, we came back from Monas and stopped by for supper at Jalan Haji Agus Salim near our hotel.
A middle-aged man came with a stack of books and asked us if we wanted to buy any books. Immediately I scanned his books and I saw what I wanted. My heart leaped but I tried not to show it.
“Lihat yang ini boleh?” I pointed at Catatan Seorang Demonstran. (Journal of a Demonstrant). May I see this book?
He took that book out, and a few more. 

“Ini satu set dengan yang ini, ada empat dalam satu set,” he said.

This is within this set of four. He’d give a special price if I bought all of them.
I looked at the rest of the books, it would have been nice to buy all of them, but as much as I love the character portrayed in the movie, since this is the first time I’m reading his book, it is better if I try one of them first.
Then I pointed to Hamka’s Falsafah Hidup (Philosophy of Life). He took out not one, but three from his load. He said the other two books are also part of a series, and the one I picked was the second of them. He kept on telling me that he has special price if I took all of the books. This time, I really wished I could buy all of them, but I really did not have enough cash to last until the next afternoon.
He also showed us a few other books, one of them was Kisah Nabi-Nabi by Ibnu Kathir (Indonesian translation of Ibnu Kathir’s Stories of the Prophets). Again, it would be really nice to get my hands on it but I did not have enough money, and I have seen it sold in Malaysia. Luggage wouldn’t have been a problem as we were flying back on Malaysia Airlines.
I said sorry and I paid for the two books (without any special discount. Oh well..). While putting back the books in a neat stack, he told us about how he’s been selling books like this since 1968, carrying books for sale on the roadside. I did not ask, though, where he put the rest of his stock, because I worried that he might think that I wanted to see more of it.
Maybe next time I can ask more questions.
I made a mental note to bring more cash to Jakarta during my next trip.
Before leaving us, he took out one last book: Aku by Sjuman Djaya.
I felt rather embarassed at that point, I will tell you why. Almost immediately, in a chorus, my brother, his wife and myself said, “Sudah adaaaaaaa.” I have it already, thank you.
You see, many of my recent connections to Indonesian literature was through characters played by Nicholas Saputra in the movies Ada Apa Dengan Cinta (AADC) and Gie. Personally I have been interested in the Indonesian (particularly Javanese) culture, for so many reasons, and these two movies, especially Gie, has exposed me to a different view of the country.
Nicholas spoke highly of Rangga during an interview, saying that Rangga is a brave young man who loves helping out people no matter who they are, even if that person have beaten him up before. He also said that Rangga was inspired by Soe Hok Gie, a man born right after Indonesia’s independence. I read from the predace of Catatan Seorang Demonstran that the character Rangga was indeed born out of an awe towards Mr Soe.
I watched Gie recently just because I heard that Nicholas won an award for his role as Soe Hok Gie. He said he did a lot of research about this impressive young man prior to filming the movie. He read the books written about him (which may have included compilations of Mr Soe’s articles), and spoke to people who knew him while he was alive.
I loved Gie much more than I do Rangga. The movie Gie moved me a lot more than AADC could ever do. Hence I was interested to know more about this inspiring man. He lived a short life (like Chairil Anwar), but he was so influential, even back then without all the social media. Therefore I searched for a book related to him.
Why was I embarassed?
You see, when I saw the book I was excited but I tried to hide it. I even bought another book that is not connected to Nicholas Saputra at all. But at the end, the man still took out the book that made Rangga and Cinta possible (in AADC). The book that says, “This lady must be a huge fan of Nicholas and she’d get her hands on anything related to him.”
Well, yes, and no.

Yes, I am a fan.

But that doesn’t mean I must read everything that he reads. Although I must say, it is one of the ways you open your eyes to a whole new world. Like we have Emma Watson’s reading list, and a list of hundreds of books mentioned in Gilmore Girls, JK Rowling’s suggestions etc. I read Murakami because it was mentioned by Redza Minhat many years ago, but I ended up not liking it so I will read other authors instead.
Even my latest reading obsession is inspired by Dian Sastrowardoyo, who said that she used to read one book per week (of Indonesian literature) when she was in school, and discussed the books with her mother. It was such a great blessing to have come across her statement; it opened me up to a whole new world of knowledge and discoveries. I already have a soft spot and interest towards Indonesia since I was a child (this is a story in itself), now is the time I open up that new chapter in my creativity and literature life.
* * *
After that man, another man came by to show us his stack of books. Obviously we had to turn him down because I already bought some books from the above-mentioned man.
I took his photo, though (the second man):

My Reading List – Part 2



1. Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern

This is a story about a beautiful yet mysterious young woman who lives alone in the hills near Cork, with a special talent of mimicry matching that of a lyrebird. The story moves with the world trying to understand her, and her trying to understand the world.

It is really interesting to see how the plot develops, especially the kinds of details that Ahern puts in the book. For example, how depth of communication would not only depend on effective listening and relay of information, but also personality and perception of life among the people involved too. As with many of her other work, it shows the depth of her knowledge, intertwined wity a imagination, which opens our minds and hearts to a lot of possibilities. The style of the narrative is what we know of Cecelia Ahern, but it is the finer details that makes each book different from the other, while keeping our attention to them.

I would give this book 4/5, for its depiction of Lyrebird’s life and the description of complexities of human interaction.

2. The House of Wisdom by Jonathan Lyons

This book, as the cover tells you, is about how the Arabs transformed Western civilisations. It started with the completion of Islam and goes on explaining us the thirst for knowledge amongst the Muslims of those age, which brought about scientific discoveries, development of printing press and ultimately turning a world of darkness into light.

This is the first book that I have read about Arab civilization, so I could not comment on the accuracy of its contents. Of course, I need to dig deeper into each major personalities that he mentions in the book, with their contributions to the modern world of knowledge and discoveries. Personalities such as the amazing Al Khawarizmi (without whom we would still be calculating with the impossible Roman numerals!), Al Idrissi, Ibn Rushd, Ibn Sina, and so many others that we have heard briefly a during history lessons in school.

I found that the narrative is all over the place. It goes back and forth from one century to the other, which made it difficult to figure things out in a chronological order. Although at the beginning the author did draw out a chronological map. 

I would recomment all Muslims to read books like this for a number of reasons:

(1) We would realize that all the initial discoveries and developments were done because Muslims wanted to follow Allah’s book: the Quran. Like the development of astronomy because Muslims away from the Kaabah needed to find a way to determine the Qiblat. Or development of a good water supply system because Muslims need to clean and perform wudhu’. The use of a more efficient numbering system because Al Khawarizmi was trying to calculate the divisions in our inheritence law, which gave tise to algebra, without which modern engineering would not be possible!

(2) Us Muslims should learn from ANYONE in this whole world. We should travel and learn more, as Allah has made this world with its colours and cultures. The Muslims of old time learnt medicinal knowledge from Indians, learnt to make papers from the Chinese (because they needed to print and spread the Quran), learnt philosophy from the greeks, botanics from various people of different places. The Muslims of those times were not afraid of knowledge, they would NEVER say things like “this is not Islamic knowledge” or “the Prophet did not tell us to study this” or “we should only learn from another Muslim”. NEVER. This is the kind of book that will make us open our minds to more discoveries in this world.

(3) The rise of Muslims depends on how close we adhere to the Quran, and the fall of Muslims is when we get away from the teachings of the Quran.

I noticed the same pattern with the fall of each Muslim civilization – womanizing kings, re-emergence of slaves in the houses of the riches, luxurious lifestyles. Life comes with responsibilities, the place of rest and luxury is only in jannah. 

(4) The Arabs were ethical in their journey of searching for knowledge. I could conclude from this book that they mention the source of their discoveries, whether it is the Indians or Chinese or Greeks, because up to this date we could gather those information. However, the West were much less ethical than that. Some of them merely mentioned the Arabs, and some poorly translated the works of the Arabs and claimed them as their own! 

(5) Muslims should understand that science is WITH religion rather than against religion. Science is merely a discovery of the laws of nature, but the laws of nature itself is created by God. When science does not seem to tally with God’s words, you will find that either the research technique is wrong, or flawed, or biased towards what they ‘expected’ to find, rather than the real findings. Science theories that are against God’s words will end up as difficult-to-prove theories, with many loopholes and flaws. 

(6) As Muslims, we should not lament on the good-ol-days. We should get back to our Quran and push ourselves into the path of knowledge and discoveries.

3. Di Bawah Lindungan Ka’bah by Hamka

This book is actually a brief love story between two young people in Indonesia, with a background of the Hajj season in Makkah. It was written beautifuly, although this book was written in the 1920s, but the description of Makkah and its pilgrims could not be more similar than it is now.

Just reading about the Ka’bah and the desperate pilgrims (we are all desperate for something) made me tear up, because in the end of the day, no matter which age we live in, human nature remains the same.  

The book has some kind of Romeo-and-Juliet tragic feel but with the values of a Muslim and an Asian. It was an easy read, the book can be completed within a few hours.

Hamka was the man who wrote the first ever Indonesian trafseer of the Quran, which made it possible for millions of Muslims in this region to understand the Quran in better depth. Therefore his work depicts the kind of manners and linguistic profeciency that is expected to be seen in a person so deeply immersed in the study of the Quran. It is so much different from Sjuman Djaya’s script book, it is even different from A Samad Said’s, obviously I will be in search of more of Hamka’s literature produce in the near future.

The Melody

There are songs

When you listen

You feel like singing along

But you just could not do it

Because the music is too beautiful

 

You need to listen intently

To the melodious quiver of the violin

To every strike on the piano

To the deep emotions of the bases

The palpitation-inducing drums

 

You immerse yourself

In the harmony of them all

With the sweet voice like a clarinet

In the heart wrenching drama

That inspired the words

 

Deep in the orchestra

You sit still

Yet your mind

Wanders

Picture Perfect

Some moments are just picture perfect.
But a lot of times, I’d rather live in those moments.

* * *
I love photography. I really do. I inherited this love from my uncles (and even perhaps my dad). My favourite subjects are flowers and events. By events, I mean taking candid shots of people working hard to make the function go smoothly, people behind the scenes, people enjoying each other’s company, kids running around. By events, I mean laughter and colours.

When we first got the camera, we wanted to photograph everything. However as time goes by, I realize that it is worth putting the camera down. Instead of clicking away capturing those moments, it is as nice to just stand there, watch, listen, and feel the moments. Just immerse myself with the sights, sounds and emotions of it all.

Like just now, in the afternoon. My younger brother with our young male cousins, putting sand into holes in the parking space, to make the ground level. Under the durian trees they were working, some pitching the sand into the wheelbarrow, while the little kids tried to chip in. Some leveled the sand and make sure the holes are properly closed. Some watched while talking and laughing.

I watched, smiled, even teared up a bit with pride.

Then there was a time during a recent wedding. A car was stuck in the mud in the parking space. My uncles and some of the boys helped pull the car until it came out. All with laughter.

Or that day when I was driving to work. The sun rose slowly, amongst the hills, while the fog lifted. Flocks of birds flew across the road, out for the day’s sustenance.
Made me think of paradise.

Or the market, the fish stall to be exact. The old fishmonger, leaning on his wooden cash box, with cigarette in one hand, counting his change. His son was busy packing the seafood for their customers. The cat looked around with high hopes, tail moving left and right.

Or when my brother sat in front of his fiance’s father, about to be married. The father asked something about the dowry, my brother answered with a few words, barely audible to all of us. The father then pat my brother’s cheek in such an affectionate manner. My brother was so surprised he started laughing.

Or when the boy peeked, smiling, into the hospital room, where the mother is resting. The girl who came together beamed from behind him, having not seen them for more than a year.

* * *
It is too easy to take out that smartphone and snap a photo.
It is too easy to capture those moments on our DSLRs.
But often we fail to notice, while being busy with our cameras, the setting and quality, we could not truly immerse ourselves in those moments. We could not fully appreciate the beauty of the sounds and the sights around us.

Most of those moments, are better captured in our hearts.
Those moments etched in our souls would last so long that no one could take them away from us.
  

Prophetic Parenting – A Book Review

This is a book written by Dr Nur Muhammad Abdul Hafizh Suwaid, originally in Arabic titled “Manhaj at-Tarbiyyah an-Nabawiyyah lith Thifl”. It was written in 1983, and translated into formal Indonesian in 2010 that is rather easy to understand, except for perhaps a few unfamiliar words and concepts which would have been more accurate in its original Arabic version.

As we face the question of the quality of our education system, we must first ask ourselves, what do we expect from sending our children to school?
What is the outcome measure?

In Islam, the aim of education would be to produce a wholesome Muslim who is God-conscious and could contribute with his own very beat towards his society as well as the nation around him, as Prophet Muhammad (SAW – Peace be upon him) said, “The best of all people are the ones who gives most benefit to his people.”

That benefit would encompass spreading their knowledge, service towards the people, saving lives, spreading smile and happiness, and yes, making scientific discoveries that could benefit mankind for years to come. Each person has his own inclinations and abilities. Recognising this fact is one of the Prophet’s (SAW) traditions, and is evident as seen throughout this book.

This book is a good guidance on raising such a person. It gives us a picture on how Prophet Muhammad (SAW) raised and lead not only his children but the children around him, which became the key to the rise of Islamic civilisation in the 7th century.

Parenting begins with finding the right partner, and of course, BEING the right partner. The journey of raising good children is full of challenges, hence it would lighten the burden if it could be walked through with a partner who shares one’s views and ambitions. It is also to avoid confusions with regards to a child’s beliefs and principles, as both parents would show the same correct teachings. This is one of the reasons Muslims are told to only marry another Muslim, regardless of the colour of their skin, so that they will have similar objectives in raising their children.

It is clear from the beginning until the end of this book that Rasulullah (SAW) acknowledges the fact that every child is born with his own potential. This book guides us on the way Prophet Muhammad (SAW) recognised and encouraged every talent. He did not expect every child to have the same inclinations.

This brings us to our education system that teaches the same thing to every single child, and measures success as the ability to excel in all these subjects. Obviously this is unfair, and Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has shown the correct way more than 1400 years ago. Education should not be rigid. It should cater every single child in the nation.

Rasulullah (SAW) also gave room for the child to grow – mentally and spiritually – and encourages the child in what the child loves. He would attend to the child’s questions and teach the child what he knows.

This book also spoke about the eternal bond that exists between parents and their children. It emphasises that this bond is not to be broken, no matter what comes in between them, regardless of whatever mistakes that the parents or children made towards each other. There should be forgiveness and a good relationship is to be maintained.

If every son and daughter complies to the Islamic teaching of caring for their parents until the end of their lives, there would be less elderly people left alone on hospital beds. There would be less unhappiness amongst the older generation and their general health would improve. Therefore this book stressed on the importance of being good to one’s parents throughout one’s life – even after the parents have passed away.

The author went on talking about the three fundamental things to teach a child, as soon as the child could speak (in addition to knowing Allah SWT):
(1) To love the Prophet (SAW)
(2) To love the family
(3) To teach the Quran

What follows is the importance of developing a good character (akhlak). The great Islamic scholars of the past were taught by their mothers to have good manners first before learning other religious and worldly subjects. The children of that era were also sent to other scholars to learn from their manners first before learning about their religion.

We could see the outcome now from Japanese education system of which the young children were taught develop good manners, character and discipline before proceeding to other kinds of worldly knowledge.

Amongst the traits of good conduct that were mentioned in this book were respect, integrity, honesty (most importantly from parents towards children), refinement of one’s appearance, in asking permission, suppression of jealousy and even etiquettes related to food and dining.

In raising a complete person, there needs to be emotional growth and balance. Rasulullah (SAW) himself showed the people around him that love could be displayed with hugs, kisses and play. The importance of listening to our children’s stories, concerns and questions were emphasised to enable a balanced emotional growth.

The importance of physical activities in cognitive development was also discussed. It is sad that these days, a lot of school bans all sorts of extra-curricular activities against the kids sitting for major exams in an attempt to achieve greater academic excellence. However, this idea is not in line with the thoughts of our Islamic scholars.

Imam Ghazali said, “After school, a child must be allowed to play, as recovery means from the exhaustion of studying.this is because a child will never tire out of playing. Preventing a child from playing by forcing him to keep on studying would kill the soul and reduce his intelligence. The child’s life would feel constricted, until he intends to escape all that even by lies and deceit.”

Seeking knowledge is OBLIGATORY for every Muslim. Education should begin as early as possible in view of children’s ease of learning, as compared to adults.

Education is at its utmost importance to Prophet Muhammad (SAW), that the prisoners of war at that tine were asked to teach Muslim children to write and read as a pre-requisite to their release. Rasulullah (SAW) also encouraged people to learn multiple languages as it would ease business dealings and spread of the religion.

A man told his children, “Learn all sorts of knowledge, for men are enemies against what he does not know, and I don’t want you to be an enemy to any fields of knowledge.”

The author wrote a out the role of parents and teachers to discover a child’s potential. One of the greatest recognition of a child’s aptitude in Islamic history was when the young Imam Al Bukhari was learning the science of fiqh (Islamic law). Muhammad bin Hassan realised that the science of hadith (Prophet Muhammad’s sayings and actions) was more suitable for Al Bukhari’s abilities. So he adviced Al Bukhari to busy himself with the knowledge of hadith – he grew up to be the most renowned scholar of hadith that the Islamic world has ever seen.

There are many other stories with lessons on how parenting and education should be, to ensure that growth of each and every child would fulfil his own unique potential, so that he could serve the people around m to his best ability.

* * *

This book should be read by both parents and teachers alike. It is also suitable for leaders as it guides a person towards developing a balanced, successful character.

It is a good book for engagement or wedding present, in view of its encouragement for development of exemplary character amongst parents, so that it could be followed by their future children.

I would give this book 9/10, and would keep it for my own reference, even when I don’t have kids at the moment. There are few topics that are a little unclear, or rather, not well integrated by the author into the needs of this age. Having said that, most of the lessons are applicable until the end of time.

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Hearts of Gold

I’m not finished with M Nasir (and Kembara) yet.

* * *
Like I said, his music is a mixture of literature, philosophy and some spirituality. Although I grew up with Kembara’s music, especially during childhood, I am more familiar with songs like Andalusia, Apokalips, Bonda, Mentera Semerah Padi, Tanya Sama Itu Hud Hud, Phoenix Bangkit Dari Abu, Salam Dunia, Suatu Hari Di Hari Raya, or even love songs like Suatu Masa (my ultimate favourite) and Dua Insan.

Recently I was brought back to more than 25 years ago as I was “getting ready” to go for their recent concert, Hati Emas. When my aunt asked me about it, I just said yes, only to realize that the music I am more familiar with are the recent ones. So I opened Deezer and started listening.

You see, when you’re seven years old, it is more likely that you do not really understand the hardships of life, and you tend to take poetry literally. So I did not fully understand the meaning or significance of their songs, hence I did not appreciate them that much.

When I listened to them properly, after years, I realized that those songs are real gems, shining like the stars in the dark skies. Having gone through a lot more than I did all those years ago, I could finally comprehend the meanings of the songs.

My interpretation may not be similar to others, and may not be in line with composers’ message, as they often write in metaphors, or words that could have various meanings. But this is what I get from their songs:

Hati Emas

This song is about the difficult journey of a man looking for a heart of gold. He described the empty, dusty roads and the scorching sun on his search, while small voices telling him that his search is futile. He wandered around and wondered whether he has found that pure heart of gold, and “may I be your best friend until the end of time?”. In the end he pondered, perhaps he might not find it ever.

I thought he was searching for someone who has the heart of gold, so pure and kind, for him to be friends with, to learn from that person so that he could become a better man in his life. Perhaps he was just looking for a nice girl to be his life partner.

Or maybe he was looking for guidance to help him grow and mature, but his search has been difficult, and his questions about life unanswered.

But then I thought, from my experience in life, you should not look for hearts gold as you will always be frustrated by the search. Human nature, there will always be flaws and dents. Instead, we should all purify our hearts and become that person with a heart of gold that we have been looking for elsewhere. That is the only way to appreciate the struggles one faces everyday to become better people, hence we will start to see hearts of gold appearing everywhere, in different shades.

Impian Seorang Nelayan

This is one of those songs that has more direct words. It is about a fisherman who went out to the sea for the day’s catch. However, it became cloudy and thunderstorms began, so he never returned to the land. He left behind his wife and baby. The song went on to describe the young mother, whom, while feeding her son, wondered about what her future would be like without her husband. She looked at the crying son and said, “you might not understand this now, but when you grow up to be a fine man, please remember your father’s sacrifice for you.”

Dalam pondok kecil beratap rumbia, seorang ibu memandang hari muka, sambil ia menyusukan bayi yang kehausan..

Wahai anak yang sedang menangis, mungking kini kau tak mengerti. Bila kau dewasa dan pandai nanti, pengorbanan ayahmu, sayang, jangan kau lupakan.

For many of us, work is not as hazardous as it is for those who brave the unpredictable nature for a day’s wage, but we still struggle to get the most of our days and face many different dangers along the way. Some of us still do not return from work for various causes: motor vehicle accidents, the rare landslides, major heart attacks or strokes, or even snatch theft that turned very nasty. We do what we’re doing for many reasons, be it our own passion, interest, pushed by some parents, or simply out of desperation to survive in this capitalist world. But when it comes to supporting our own families, work becomes more important, and we’d go through anything so that our children will grow up fine.

So the mother in this song hopes that her son will grow up to be a fine man, despite the absence of his father. She wishes that he would remember his father’s sacrifice for him, as that reminder should prevent him from going astray.

Lagu Untuk Seorang Ibu

Ibuku, mengapa engkau menangis? Apakah yang kurang? Walaupun ayah telah tiada, itu tak bermakna akhirnya hidup kita. Ibuku, tenangkanlah hatimu kerna suria kan pasti menjelma..

This song is not related to, but somehow sounds connected to the above song. It is a heartbreaking song from a son to his mother. They have just lost the father in a battlefield, and the son is convincing his mother that life needs to go on, that there will be light at the end of the tunnel, and that he will take care of her, no matter what happens. He promised himself that he will be the leader of his people so that he could fight for all of them.

Dari itu hentikan tangisan, pandanglah masa depan. Betapa ku cinta padamu, perlukanmu menguatkan semangatku..

People come into our lives, and leave, for many reasons. Some leave this world forever, some leave for what looks like greener pastures, some has forgotten the sacrifices that their loved ones did for themall this while. Nothing lasts forever in this life, happiness will turn to sadness one day, but even darker days aren’t eternal. The rain will subside and the sun will shine brightly again, this time even more glorious. Those left behind should stay together and be there for each other, as that is the whole point of human relationship.

Kepadamu Kekasih

This song is about a man who is giving all that he has; his heart, his soul, his everything; for his love, wondering if all that he has given is enough, or shall he render himself worthless of a lover.

My young primary school self asked, why would a person want to give everything for someone he loves? She’s not even his mother. It did not make sense to me to live your whole life for the love of another person. That person might not even appreciate our precious tokens of love and sacrifice.

So this song was not one of my favourites.

Until one day, the song is sang by M Nasir as a duet with Jamal Abdillah. I was at least a teenager, or in my early twenties. Then only I understood this song.

That love he was talking about was God. He was giving all that he had for the love of God, so that God will love him back. He wondered whether the deeds that he had was sufficient, or was he a worthless lover who should not even exist in this world, but where could he go? The entire universe is His! He hoped that his gifts were accepted, and that when his time has come, he will live with God forever. At the same time, he knew that only God would understand his struggles and his efforts, and to answer his questions and ponderings about the meaning of this life from the signs that God showed.

Kepadamu, Kekasih, aku bertanya, apakah Kau akan menerimaku kembali? Atau harus menghitung lagi segala jasa dan bakti? Atau harus mencampakku ke sisi tanpa harga diri?

Apakah Kau akan menerima penyerahan ini? Apakah kau akan menerimaku dalam keadaan begini?

“Tanpa harga diri.” Without any worth. Like dust.

Which made me think, if we were to live in this world just to end up as pieces of dust, what is the whole point? What would life mean, when all you’re going to become is shrivelled and shrunken, or swollen and puffy, and then end up dead, becoming just particles of protein, fat, calcium and iron. Why all the struggle in life, why all the hardship, why the sacrifice, why the love, the loss? Just to end up as dust? What does it all mean, then? This temporary world, where nothing is fair and just, the kind living poor and oppressed, the crooks rich and continue oppressing.

When it’s all going to decay, then it does not seem to worth living this hard life. Might as well leave before it gets too hard, right?

Then I realized, you will never comprehend the meaning of life, if you do not understand the meaning of death.

And many of us are still struggling to grip on the purpose of life.

* * *
After finishing two articles about M Nasir’s (and Kembara’s) songs, it dawned on me that when it comes to poetry and literature, it is best to appreciate it in its original language.

I suppose my translation is good enough, but reading through these two articles again and again, I did not do justice to the beautiful poetry inspired in the great minds of these men, who have struggled through their journey trying to achieve their dreams while aspiring to comprehend the purpose of this life.

I wish them a blessed life here and in the hereafter.

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