Friday, November 3, 2017

 A short story is always about issues of society that is usually important to mankind. There are so many problems around us that can be written as a descriptive article or in creative genres. To make it a short story a writer created a fictional story (or even a true story). A story has characters and interactions of characters (mostly through conversations or dialogues and monologues) . What happened to them and the sequence of events is known as the plot
Recently I wrote a short story to speak on environmental crisis. It was about the cry for a  healthy ecosystem, the concern of my people over the conservation of green forest and natural heritage. My   country’s  independence and  transformation into an industrialised economy  had resulted in denuded hill slopes, polluted rivers and contaminated air especially in urbans centres. Water quality is declining alarmingly owing to sewage, animal waste, siltation and even heavy metal emanating from improper factory waste disposal.
I began the story with a murder of a lumber tycoon,   unfolded by his daughter, whom  I named Dayang Suhana, The injustice and evil deed of money the loggers was revealed through her nanny,  a daughter of a headman who had risked his life in the struggle to preserve their forest.  The story had been submitted for a competition and not allowed to be published in full before the result. Below is an excerpt of the short story.

 On weekends that I am not away on official duty, I will travel one hundred kilometres to be with nani. After three weeks of not seing her I received a message from nani asking if I could come to see her. When I arrived at  her brother’s house, he told me  nani is resting in her room. I walked to her room. From outside I could hear her coughing.  She saw me and smiled “Come in little Ana” .  I smiled the best that I could to conceal my surprise and sadness at seeing her in that condition.  She signalled to me to close the door tight.
After hugging and kissing I pull a chair close to the bed.  She soon get serious and to the business as to why she wanted to see me this weekend. “After a series of tests they confirm that I have tuberculosis” Nani said. “Tubercolusis? Don’t believe it . The country has been declared clear of the disease”. I said. “No it is back again. Several people had been attacked .Be careful dear, when you eat outside. Do chose your stall carefully. Many stalls are employing foreign helps who could cough deadly germs into your plates”.  

. “Don’t worry Nani, this disease is treatable. Just take your medicines. Please nani don’t give up. Please cheer up. I won’t be happy if you are not happy”. I said as I stroke her hair and massaged her scalp carefully. I reached for a comb and combed her hair.

“Little Ana, please listen. Nani  said seriously. “I am feeling too weak to go on. I am feeling weaker each day. You know that I used to live in the jungle. The forest was our  live.   One day a group of people came to see my father who was the headman. They showed papers that they had obtained permit from the government to cut down our trees. My father and his men drove them away. They told us to think about it as they would definitely come back.”. , 
Nani spoke weakly, “I could remember how our people gathered in my house that night. They swore to remain united to protect  our home ground.  They will fight anyone who come to cut their trees. Cut the tree over my dead body. I heard my uncle said. He was my father’s younger brother, and the deputy headman”.

“They came back the following week in ln larger numbers.  One of them was a handsome young man who did most of the talking.  He talked softly telling the people   that they would be rich if  they just allow some trees to be felled.  My father would not give an inch. He was brave and strong because his men had sworn to stand firm by his side” .
“But he was wrong, soon there was a rift in the group. Some  began to believe in what the man said. And that broke my father’s heart. He said he would fight even if he had to do it alone. My father refused  to sign any  papers and that gave much problem to the company who could not commence their operation without my father’s signature of approval.  Then one day my father disappeared in the jungle. The tragedy for our family was a joy for the loggers. The next headman signed all the necessary papers and the disaster began. Immediately the  logging  company turned up with large bulldozers, lorries and excavators and began to cut down the forest. They had no respect  for the villagers or the  village council.  They built bridges   over the river and  contaminated  our source of drinking water” .
 “At that time I already had four children aging from two to ten, only the eldest was a girl. One day my three boys were down with fever  and  diarrhoea. I learnt it was typhoid. There was an epidemic which had killed many and I lost all my boys in less than a month. I cried day and night. My spirit died with them and. I did not want to get back on  my two feet again. My relatives and neighbours  tried hard  to console me.  They made me think of my surviving ten year old daughter. She  looked strong and and more beautiful each day”.
“So life had to go on with me, my husband and our beloved young girl.  She gave me the reason to live until one evening she was missing. We searched everywhere. It was a horror to find her where she was, stiff and naked with legs in mud and blood. We immediately knew what had happened. What happened to her had happened to many girls in the forest. They were raped by the workers of the logging company. With her death, I lost all reason for living. I did not know and did not care about my husband. A few months later they brought the news that he was run over by a timber lorry. I had no more tears to cry and I did not know and did not  care whether I was still breathing”.
Good sisters and brothers took care of me for nearly ten years to get me back to life and felt the breath of our  polluted air.  Since then I  recalled what happened clearly. What happened to my children had happened to many children in other territories. Even what happened to my father had happened to other headmen of other tribes who refused to sign agreements with the logging companies. I  could remember clearly the face of the gentleman who came to talk to my people. He was the devil that broke up many tribes into rivalling factions, so that the timber company could make money from our trees. He made way for all  the greedy men  to  flock in to our forest that had once been our live. I have watched him with my cousin and we both hate him. We had watched and hated him from the very start . I have lost my children. So was my  cousin. Together we sworn that we would kill the evil man if we have the chance to do so”.
“  I lived in bitterness until I took the job as your nani. I grew to love you and you brought joy back into my life. But I soon find out that the man and the poison of our life and the man I had sworn to kill was none other than your father. One day my cousin visited me in your house. He soon realized who your father was.  My cousin knew that I did not have the courage and the heart to do commit a murder.  He plotted the murder quietly. He came to the house several time until that horrible night.”
Nani had spoken more than enough. She broke into a terrible cough. I could not help her because I too was feeling sick and started to tremble.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Sastera Melayu Tradisional
Puisi Melayu Tradisional atau Puisi Warisan  adalah satu cabang daripada Sastera Melayu Tradisional.  Cabang Sastera Melayu Tradisional yang lain ialah:
  • Sastera Istana
Sastera Istana adalah sastera yang bertulis dan terbahagi kepada tiga jenis iaitu:
1-Sastera Sejarah misalnya Sejarah Melayu,
2- Sastera Undang-undang misalnya Undang-undang Melaka.
3- Sastera Kitab misalnya hikayat-hikayat yang mengandungi kisah disekitar kehidupan nabi-nabi seperti Hikayat Nur Muhammad

  • Sastera Rakyat
Sastera rakyat tersebar di kalangan rakyat jelata melalui tradisi lisan. Bahagian ini terdiri daripada
  1. Mitos: cerita-cerita yang dianggap mulia berkenaan pembukaan sesebuah negara misalnya mitos pembukaan Melaka
  2. Legenda:  sesuatu cerita yang dianggap penting dan terkenal di sesuatu masyarakat. Ia mengisahkan seseorang pahlawan atau tokoh yang dipercayai hidup pada zaman dahulu.seperti Hang Tuah dan Mahsuri
  3. Cerita Asal Usul seperti asal usul,nama sebuah negeri-atau nama tempat.
  4. Cerita Penglipur Lara seperti hikayat Malim Deman
  5. Puisi Warisan
Jenis-jenis Puisi Warisan
Antara puisi warisan atau puisi tradisional ialah pantun, syair, gurindam,seloka,teka-teki, nazam, bayt, kit’ah, masnawi dan ghazal, talibun, bahasa berirama, teromba, peribahasa berangkap, mantera dan dikir. Puisi-puisi ini mempunyai  struktur dan fungsi yang tertentu di dalam kehidupan masyarakat.
Tidak semua puisi tradisional masih popular dan dikenali pada hari ini. Secara kasar ada beberapa jenis puisi warisan yang masih bernafas iaitu:
  • pantun
  • syair
  • nazam
  • gurindam
  • seloka
  • teromba

Ciri utama Pantun ialah ia terdiri daripada pembayang dan maksud dengan skima rima a b a  b. Ciri ini menyebabkan pantun mudah dikenali dan berbeza daripada jenis-jenis puisi tradisional yang lain. Pantun, terutama pantun empat kerat masih popular hingga ke hari ini Kita mendengar pantun setiap hari terutama melalui lirik lagu. Lagu Melayu Asli  Seri Mersing, Patah Hati, Gunung Banang, Tudung Saji, Bunga Tanjung  mempunyai pantun yang indah sebagai senikatanya

Kata Syair berasal daripada Bahasa Arab. Tetapi para pengkaji berpandangan bahawa dari segi struktur, syair Melayu mempunyai ciri-cirinya yang tersendiri.  Syair adalah genre yang sangat popular pada masa dahulu.  Pada zaman yang lebih awal, syair tersebar melalui tradisi lisan. Syair mula dicetak pada akhir kurun ke 19. Ada sekitar 300 judul syair yang telah dicetak termasuk Syair Dandan Setia, Syair Bidasari, Syair Burung Pungguk, Syair Dagang, Syair Juragan Budiman, Syair Ken Tambuhan, Syair Siti Zubaidah Perang Cina.
Nazam juga berasal daripada kesusasteraan Arab. Ianya terdiri dua baris dalam setiap rangkap dengan skima rima a-a, a-a; a-b,a-b; atau a-a,b-b. Nazam mengandungi cerita atau pengajaran agama. Hamka mengatakan nazam tidak jauh berbeza dengan syair dari segi strukturnya tetapi ia lebih banyak membawa tema keagamaan.
Lagu nazam berbeza daripada lagu syair .  Lagu nazam mempunyai tempo dan boleh diiringi dengan muzik percussion atau ketukan gendang dan rebana. Pada masa ini terdapat kumpulan-kumpulan rebana yang bergerak di kampung-kampung. Sesetengah mereka menyanyikan lagu nazam. Nazam boleh dinyanyikan secara beramai sedangkan syair disampaikan secara solo dan memerlukan vokal yang baik.
Contoh Nazam yang terkenal ialah Nazam Siti Fatimah.  Nazam ini sering dibaca atau dinyanyikan oleh ibu-ibu semasa mendodoi anak untuk memberi nasihat dan menyuburkan rasa cinta kepada Nabi dan ajaran yang dibawanya.
Pengkaji sastera tradisional berpendapat bahawa gurindam tidak mempunyai bentuk atau skima rima yang tertentu atau tetap. Ia tidak mudah dikenalpasti seperti pantun atau syair. Walaupun gurindam tidak tertentu atau tidak tetap bentuknya tetapi dari segi bahasa dan isi terdapat ciri-ciri khusus. Bahasa gurindam biasanya padat dan bernas. Isinya lebih menekankan nasihat, moral, pengajaran atau kebenaran. Hal ini dipersetujui oleh Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana dalam bukunya, Puisi Lama (1971). Beliau menulis: “Gurindam ialah nasihat, pengajaran yang mengandungi kebenaran”.
Gurindam dapat dilihat terbahagi kepada dua jenis, iaitu ada yang terikat dan ada yang tidak terikat atau bebas. Gurindam berbentuk terikat terdiri daripada dua baris dan berima aa. Kedudukan atau peranan  baris 1 itu sebagai isyarat dan baris 2 sebagai jawab. Ini dapat diteliti dari gurindam yang ditulis oleh Raja Ali Haji. Gurindam Dua belas. Yang mudah dilagukan ialah gurindam dua baris terikat yang mempunyai rima dan sukukata yang hampir tetap dalam sebaris.

Zaaba dalam Pelita Bahasa Melayu (1957) menulis, ”Gurindam dengan seloka itu boleh dikatakan lebih kurang sama sahaja pada fahaman orang Melayu, iaitu sejenis syair melarat yang tidak tentu skima rimanya. Perbezaan antara gurindam dan seloka dapat dilihat pada isinya. Isi gurindam berunsur nasihat dan falsafah sementara seloka mengemukakan gurauan, ejekan termasuk kritik sosial dalam sindiran yang tajam
Contoh Seloka yang terkenal ialah Seloka Emak Si Rendang dan  Seloka Pak Kaduk yang penuh sindiran  tajam dan sehingga hari ini digunakan untuk kiasan terhadap nasib bangsa yang menumpang di rumah sendiri.
Teromba ialah sejenis bahasa berirama yang isinya memuatkan hal hal yg berhubung dengan  undang-undang  adat istiadat yg diamalkan oleh sesuatu kelompak masyarakat . Puisi ini berbentuk bebas dan tidak  tentu jumlah baris, ugkapan,  rima dan jumlah sukukata dalam satu baris.
Di dalam Teromba terdapat sisipan berbagai puisi  yg  lain seperti pantun, gurindam dan peribahasa. Isinya terpakai hingga hari  ini  dalam  adat pepatih sebagai peraturan yg telah menjadi pedoman masyarakat.  Teromba juga dikenali sebagai Perbilangan Adat Pepatih.
Pada masa ini puisi Melayu tradisional atau puisi warisan seperti pantun, syair, gurindam dan nazam masih dikarang dan dihasilkan oleh segolongan  penulis-penulis kontemporari. Di antara mereka ialah, Ahmad Sarju,  A Halim ‘R’  Khadijah Hashim, Hamdan Yahaya, Rahman Shaari, Azimin Daud , Siti Zaleha M.Hashim. Media tempatan,  iaitu majalah Dewan Sastera membuka ruang khas, “Ujana Klasik”  bagi menampung karya-karya yang sedemikian.


Puisi adalah satu cabang daripada kesusasteraan. Dari segi istilahnya, perkataan kesusasteraan bermaksud "kumpulan buku-buku yang indah bahasanya dan baik isinya.". Pada umumnya perkataan kesusasteraan digunakan untuk merujuk kepada  segala pengucapan yang indah-indah, sama ada ia tertulis atau tidak. Melalui kesusasteraan, manusia menyampaikan buah fikiran dan meluahkan perasaan dengan menggunakan  bahasa. Keindahan bahasa dan ketinggian buah fikiran mencerminkan ketinggian budaya sesuatu masyarakat.

Sastera atau hasil kesusasteraan wujud dalam masyarakat melalui bentuk tulisan dan juga  dalam bentuk lisan.
Sastera Tulisan: Hasil kesusasteraan yang didapati dalam bentuk bertulis misalnya novel. cerpen atau puisi yang dibukukan atau yang diterbitkan di akhbar dan majalah.
Sastera Lisan: Kesusasteraan atau sastera lisan adalah sastera yang   disampaikan dan disebarkan melalui  pertuturan. Pada masa dahulu sebelum adanya percetakan orang ramai akan berkumpul, biasanya pada waktu malam untuk mendengar cerita dari seorang tukang cerita (yang dipanggil penglipur lara), atau mendengar syair yang dibawakan oleh pembaca syair.  Pada zaman ini kesusasteraan lisan atau tradisi lisan masih wujud. Misalnya pantun masih dibaca di dalam majlis-majlis dan  dinyanyikan di dalam lagu-lagu rakyat , lagu-lagu kanak-kanak, malah di dalam lagu-lagu popular.
Hasil kesusasteraan  terbahagi kepada dua bahagian iaitu
  1. Prosa
  2. Puisi

Perbezaan Puisi dan Prosa:
Perbezaan paling ketara dan mudah dikenali ialah Prosa ditulis berbaris-baris mengikut paragraph atau perenggan manakala Puisi ditulis berangkap-rangkap. Biasanya Prosa mengandungi sesuatu kisah atau cerita manakala  Puisi tidak semestinya ada cerita. Ia lebih kepada menyatakan  pemikiran dan perasaan tentang sesuatu aspek kehidupan.
Prosa merujuk kepada hasil kesusasteraan yang ditulis dalam ayat-ayat yang menggunakan tatabahasa yang lazim digunapakai. Pada umumnya, prosa dianggap  satu bentuk kesusasteraan yang lebih mudah difahami berbanding dengan puisi. Contoh bagi kesusasteraan prosa ialah: cerpen dan novel.
Puisi merujuk kepada hasil kesusasteraan yang ditulis dengan tidak menuruti tatabahasa. Ia sebenarnya tidak terdiri daripada ayat-ayat yang lengkap, melainkan terdiri daripada frasa-frasa yang disusun dalam bentuk rangkap. Pada lazimnya, puisi merupakan bahasa yang berirama dan apabila dibaca pembaca akan merasa rentaknya. Contoh bagi kesusasteraan puisi termasuklah Syair, Pantun, Gurindam, Seloka, Mentera, Teromba,  dan puisi moden yang lebih dikenali sebagai Sajak.
Mengikut Zaaba, puisi ialah  karangan berangkap yang dipakai untuk melafazkan  fikiran yang cantik dengan bahasa yang indah. Dengan gambaran yang cantik, perkara yang disampaikan menjadi bertambah menarik kepada orang yang mendengarnya
Zaaba seterusnya menjelaskan bahawa puisi ialah karangan berangkap  yang disusun dengan bahagian yang berkerat-kerat dan di antara sekerat dengan sekerat itu biasanya berjodoh dan bunyinya atau rentaknya atau isinya serta kebanyakannya memakai timbangan dan sukatan yang tertentu, Oleh yang demikian, puisi merangkumi aspek susunan kata, rentak bunyi dan isi.
Muhammad Haji Salleh mengatakan bahawa puisi adalah ciptaan yang indah dari aspek bentuk dan isi. Ia adalah bentuk  sastera yang kental dengan muzik bahasa serta kebijaksanaan penyair dan tradisinya. Bagi Muhammad, puisi akan menjadikan pembaca lebih bijaksana.
 Di bawah ini adalah beberapa definisi atau keterangan mengenai puisi yang sering menjadi rujukan:
  1. “The best words in their best order (Perkataan terbaik dalam susunan terbaik)”. -Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  2. "Puisi adalah pernyataan perasaan yang imaginatif", -William Wordsworth.

  3. "Puisi adalah satu persembahan dalam bentuk perkataan"-. Robert Frost:
  4. "Puisi adalah kritikan terhadap kehidupan di bawah peraturan yang teguh, iaitu kebenaran puitis dan keindahan puitis".- Mathew Arnold
  5. “Puisi membawa makna sebanyak mungkin dalam kata-kata  sedikit mungkin” Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Ciri-ciri Puisi:
i) Menggunaan bahasa yang lebih baik, ekspresif, kental, mengandungi nilai keindahan serta menimbulkan rangsangan dan kesan kepada pengalaman dan perasaan
ii) Mempunyai bentuk tertentu, berkerat-kerat atau berurutan dalam baris yang sejajar, sama ada berbentuk konvensional/berpola (bagi puisi tradisional ) atau berbentuk bebas
iii) Ungkapan kata dan bahasa dipengaruhi unsur muzik, lagu, intonasi, rentak, irama dan keharmonian bunyi.
iv) Baris, rima dan irama disusun membentuk pola atau ikatan tertentu (bagi kebanyakan puisi tradisional yang dipengaruhi jumlah baris, jumlah perkataan, perseimbangan bunyi dan panjang-pendek perkataan.
v) Bagi puisi tradisional wujud pembahagian unit dalam menyatakan idea, misalnya dua baris, serangkap atau beberapa baris seuntai.
vi) Digunakan dalam kehidupan seharian masyarakat untuk hiburan, keramaian, ritual, keagamaan, pengajaran dan sebagainya. Berfungsi sebagai pancaran pemikiran masyarakat zamannya sama ada zaman tradisional mahupun zaman kini.

vii) Bahasa yang padat dan kental mengandungi unsur perlambangan, imajan, kiasan dan perbandingan untuk menyatakan sesuatu dan melahirkan perasaan hati

Monday, October 16, 2017

We are not against the use of English. In fact we support the learning of all languages. But we are disappointed that BAHASA MELAYU, being treated as a second class language in the land of its own. In Malaysia there are more people who prefer to use English since it is often considered the language of the educated. 

I have written  a poem entittled SEORANG TUA BERNAMA BAHASA ( AN OLD MAN NAME LANGUAGE). The poem is recorded  by our national radio, RADIO KLASIK and often broadcasted. Since then, I have received comments from listeners saying how they felt touched by the poem and my reading it with emotion.  The poem was first included in my personal collection, SALASILAH, published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (Language and Literary Bureau) Kuala Lumpur, 2005.  I thank Radio Klasik for helping to widen the spread of literary work, particularly poem, in Malaysia

Two comments read:

1) Salam Dr.. saya trharu sgt mndgr deklamasi sajak Dr ttg bahasa. Saya tak tau tajuknya, mungkin 'seorg tua brnama bahasa' di klasik nasional tadi. Saya jarang trharu dgn sajak2 yg lain, tapi dgn sajak ini, saya terpaksa park kereta di tepi jln dahulu utk menghayatinya.
2) Dpt menikmati kisah seorg tua bernama Bahasa. Terusik hati ku mendgrkn ceritanya tentang mimpi ngeri perihal kampung halamannya yg punah ranah dilanda bencana...menangis2 beliau mengingati watak2 dlm mimpinya yg cuba menjerit meminta tolong ...terharu rasa..krn saat membuka mulut tapi tiada bersuara !!!

Seorang Tua Bernama Bahasa
(Salasilah, 2005,dbp)
Di sudut sebuah kota ternama
di belakang sebuah menara
yang terkenal di dunia
ditinggalkan sedikit kawasan
kawasan belas ihsan.
Seluruh kota telah diberitahu
tentang wujudnya kawasan itu
bukti amat nyata
keprihatinan pemilik kota
menyediakan kawasan itu
khas untuk warga tua
yang tidak dipedulikan anak cucu.
Antara yang terlantar di sana
adalah seorang tua bernama Bahasa
dia rajin bercerita kepada kawan-kawan sebaya
yang sama menumpang
menunggu hari petang.
Mengikut cerita orang tua
yang bernama Bahasa itu
dia punya ramai anak cucu
di seluruh alam Melayu
semasa muda dan gagah
dia menjaga mereka
memberi mereka ilmu
hingga menjadi bangsa
yang kuat dan berpadu
apakan daya mereka tidak menyayanginya
mereka menghantar dia ke situ
semakin pudar dan layu.
Pada suatu pagi
orang tua yang bernama Bahasa itu
menangis tersedu-sedu.
Kawan-kawan pun bertanya
dan dia bercerita
“Semalam aku bermimpi
terlalu dahsyat mimpi itu
aku bermimpi kampung halamanku
musnah dipukul ribut
aku melihat anak cucuku
terapung dan hanyut
mereka hanyut seperti kayu
yang tak kenal hujung pangkal
mereka hanyut seperti kayu
yang tak tahu usul asal
dibawa arus tak terkawal.
Aku sedih melihat mereka cuba menjerit
meminta tolong tetapi apabila mulut dibuka
mereka telah kehilangan suara.

Friday, October 13, 2017



1974.  Sesayup Jalan. (The Long Journey) Pulau Pinang: Publication Bureai, USM.
1977.  Di Sini Tiada Perhentian.(No Stopping Here) Kuala Lumpur: Pewarna.
1985   Keberangkatan  (Departure). Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
1988   Kuala Lumpur and Other Places,Penerbitan Al-Huda.
1994   Pujangga Tidak Bernama.  (Unknown Poet),  Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
2004   Pesanan dari Gunung Ledang (A Message from Mount Ledang),  Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
2005   Salasilah (Ancestral line).  Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
2014   Cerita dalam Cerita.  (The inside story)Kuala Lumpur: Institut Terjemahan dan Buku Malaysia.

2000.   Nota Waktu (Time Notes,  with  Lim Swee Tin).  Kuala Lumpur: Citra Publishing Sdn. Bhd.

              The work of  Zurinah Hassan (poetry and short story) have been translated into           several languages including English, Tamil, Mandarin, Spanish, Russian, French,       Japanese and Thai.  Some notable works are:

2010. Facing the Harbour /Menghadap ke Pelabuhan.  Kuala Lumpur:Malaysian  Institute of Translations and Books. ( translations into English by the poet).  

2012 Menghadap ke Pelabuhan/Frente al Puerto.  Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Institute of Translations and Books, (translation into Spanish by Patricia Vazquez Marin)

2012 Menghadap ke Pelabuhan/ Глядя на гавань, Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Institute of Translations and Books, (translation into Russian by Victor Pogadeav)
2015 Menghadap Ke Pelabuhan/En Regardant Le Port, Paris: L’Harmattan and  Malaysian Institute of Translations and Books. (translation into French by Jean Severy).

2016 short story  “Bendang Lahuma” (Lahuma Padi Field) in an anthology Miniatures, Nouvwelles de Malaisie, Paris Magellan &CIE and Malaysian Institute of Translations and Books 

1993, short story  “Nenek” (Grandmother) in Antologi Cerpen Penulis Wanita Malaysia, Xiandai Publication, China, (translation into Mandarin)

2014, cerpen “Kerongsang Berlian Wan Tempawan” (Wan Tempawan Diamond Brooch) in  Antologi Cerpen: Malaysia-Taiwan, Malaysian Institute of Translations and Books  and  Taipei Chinese Centre Pen International (translation into Mandarin .

2016 Poetry  “Puisi Cinta yang Lain” , Anthology  in conjunction with India-Malaysia Writers Meet, 2016 (translated into Tamil)


1989.    Meneruskan Perjalanan, (Going On) Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.         
2004.    Menjelang Pemilihan (Election Soon), Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
2016,  Murka Lautan (The Wrath of The Ocean), Kuala Lumpur, Institute of Translation and Books.


1991.  Hatimu Aisyah.  (The Story of Aisyah), Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.


1996.  Sasterawan Negara Usman Awang.  (Usman Awang, the Literary Laureate). Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
2003.  Memoir Zurinah Hassan Menjejak Puisi.  (Memoir of Zurinah Hassan Journey in Poetry), Bangi: Penerbit UKM.
2010.  Unsur Alam dalam Puisi Melayu.  (Nature in Malay Poetry), Bangi: Penerbit UKM.
2011.  Puisi Melayu Tradisional-Pantun, Syair, Gurindam, Nazam, Seloka.  ( Traditional Malay Poetry)Pekan Ilmu.
2013.  Catatan Perjalanan Seni Zurinah Hassan.( The Pessage Through Arts)  Kuala Lumpur: Institut Terjemahan dan Buku Malaysia.

Muhammad Haji Salleh, in An Anthology Of Contemporary Malaysian Literature, 1988, Kuala Lumpur, Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka : 362 described Zurinah Hassan as an individualist based on her poems in seventies.
Muhammad said, “A further illustration of this individualism comes from the works of a woman poet, Zurinah Hassan. Her poems not only show that she is a different woman from other woman writers but also a person who finds in poetry the opportunity to speak out her inner most  soul without the decorum of the past literary practices.
Although Malaysian literature does not discriminate against women poets, because of certain attitudes of propriety and   femininity, the really vocal and individual woman poet is a rare person. Zurinah Hassan is a poet who does not shy away from the personal problems in poetry. Unlike traditional poets, her style is direct and she is her own theme. The woman alone, through  Zurinah, has never before been dealt with in such terms or put in her uncompromising reality.
Let us look at a short poem as a start to see how the poet sees herself
Now I am a mad actress on an empty stage
The curtain has fallen 
And the audience have all gone
But I am still acting
uttering my favourite lines
“God, thank you god
O, thank you god
For giving me everything
Except the one I desired most”

I see this poem as a statement of a lonely young woman facing a loveless life- a topic that is shied away from in Malaysia, and discussed done so only very indirectly. Zurinah includes no self  pity or sentiments for effects. On the contrary it is stated in the staccato sounds of the brutal absurdity of her existence, she allows herself to judge objectively. This she does by comparing herself to a mad actress who acts out a life on an empty stage without an audience. In a very intense moments of absurdity. Absurdity in this form is very novel to Malaysia and in its freshness strikes hard at  the old world-views.
Like Latiff Mohidin and Baha Zain, Zurinah Hassan too illustrated these aspects of this new individualism that perhaps come from a university education, a changed environment, new personal and moral values.  Zurinah as a contemporary woman finds that she must hear her own inner voice and a poet must record it as truthfully as possible. Even though times have changed, to be this truthful is to be a courageous woman, both intellectually and morally. She needs freedom in order to be this courageous.
While the air is for one moment light
 at another moment heavy
Space is for one moment laden
And another moment empty

A bird in the mud lifts its trapped wings
Trying to be free.

The poem is called “Dalam Mencari kebebasan (To Be Free). It parallels the predicament of a woman to be herself in a society that is not ready for her.
Sasterawan Negara, Literature Laureate Usman Awang talked about significant contribution of Zurinah Hassan, In an Interview With The Star, The Star, Thursday Jun 30, 1988.
Zurinah Hassan has made a significant contribution to Malay literary development. She brings meaning to the Malay language, breathes life into her words. Her use of language is captivating, poetic and harmonious. Some of her poems  I’ve  noticed are  cynical, satires about men based on her experience.
One of her poems in particular had large impact on Usman . He remembers that it was a message to children which read, “Do not forget there is always god. For you will need him one day particularly when you are born a woman. I will always remember  that poignant line. It reveals the problem and sufferings of a woman trying to survive   in a man’s world”

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Seseorang menghantar watsapp bertanyakan mestikah dua baris pertama pantun mempunyai hubungan dengan dua baris kedua yakni bukan sekadar untuk mendapatkan rima.

Jawapan saya: 2 baris pertama ialah pembayang. Fungsinya memBAYANGkan apa yang akan berlaku pada dua baris akhir.
Pembayang yang baik tidak boleh lari dari MAKNA dan SUASANA dalam maksud. Jika dua baris maksud membawa keadaan cemas atau suasana cemas, maka dua baris pembayang mesti ada suasana yang sama.

Namun begitu, ciri-ciri ini hanya ada dalam pantun yang baik sahaja. Bukan semua pantun dapat digolongkan sebagai baik atau Sempurna.
Antara pantun yang diminta saya ulas:
Kusangka nanas di tengah padang
Rupanya pandan yang berduri
Kusangka panas hingga ke petang
Rupanya hujan di tengah hari.

Suasana dan makna dalam pembayang adalah sama dengan maksud iaitu harapan yang kecewa.. Apa yang disangka tidak menjadi kenyataan. Yang diharap ialah nanas yang boleh dimakan, rupanya bukan, Ia hanya pokok pandan yang seperti nanas tapi tiada buahnya. Kusangka panas hingga ke petang. Yang diharapkan ialah keadaan yang baik dan selesa tetapi kecewa di pertengahan kerana pada tengahhari hujan telah turun.

Antara buku yang membicarakan tentang beberapa aspek pantun, terbitan Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 2016.

Budak-budak mendayung perahu
Sambil berdayung sambil bermain
macam mana bunga tak layu
Embun menitis di tempat lain
Pantun ini membawa maksud kekasih yang tidak setia, tidak serius tidak bersungguh-sungguh menyebabkan cinta tidak kekal yang dilambangkan sebagai bunga layu. Dua baris pembayang juga membawa gambaran keadaan tidak bersungguh-sungguh iaitu sambil berdayung sambil bermain.
Sambil berdayung sambil bermain menunjukkan tiada konsentrasi kepada kepada tugas yang satu. Buat sambil lewa, Ini sesuai dengan dua baris maksud yang mengisahkan kekasih yang tidak tertumpu atau setia kepada satu sahaja. Akhirnya membawa kecewa.

Tuai pada antara masak
Esok jangan layu layuan
Intai kami antara nampak
Esok jangan rindu-rinduan.

Pantun ini menasihati agar mengambil berat akan kekasih selagi ada masa dan peluang. Si kekasih memberi nasihat agar selalu mengintai , dalam ertikata selalu menjenguk, melihat keadaannya. Pantun ini membawa pesanan supaya jangan sesekali mengambil ringan dan terlalu yakin bahawa hubungan akan terus berjalan dengan baik tanpa dipupuk dan dijaga. Pembayang “tuai padi antara masak” mengingatkan pesawah supaya bersedia menuai padi ketika padi “antara masak”, maknanya, ada yang sudah kekuningan dan ada yang kehijauan. Jika ditunggu semuanya masak, adalah dibimbangi padi akan layu sebelum sempat habis dituai. Kedua pembayang dan maksud memberi penekanan kepada penggunaan masa dan peluang

Saya sering menjadi pengadil pertandingan pantun bersama Dato' Aripin Said dan Roslan Madun..

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

My short story ANITA have been published in a personal collection MENERUSKAN PERJALANAN (CONTINUING THE JOURNEY) Kuala Lumpur, Dbp 1987, reprinted in 1989 and 2016.  I have done a free translation of the story as published below. It has been compiled with other short stories for a dual language book. 

The first part of the book is an account of my personal involvement in writing, how it began, the experiences, and  the struggle that followed.  The  long and winding road taken  manifested the hardship that a woman in Malaysia has to overcome to pursue her aspiration of becoming a writer or to create a name for herself  amidst the social and cultural situations. 
I  talk  about issues in poems and short stories, exposing creative processes of some selected work that have been highlighted.  The issues in the writings are also common in the literary works  of other contemporary Malaysian writers. This will serve as an insight especially to   foreign students and readers , into contemporary Malay literary scene and the background  that mould the thought and creativity of Malaysian writers. The writer also made observations of fellow  women writers, some of which did not survive and disappear after marriage.. At the earlier stage writings by women did not receive  attention and review. They were usually considered of lesser quality than works produced by male writers.

Free translation of Anita

Anita and I were close friends since school days. While in high school she was a well   known figure   in our town because she excelled in almost everything . She was on top of the class in her academic performance. She was a fluent debater and a leading actress in drama society while I was just an ardent spectator in the audience. Not enough with that she was also in the school netball team, while I was only a member of  the cheer group.
I must also admit that she looked more beautiful .  Her skin glowed  and her eyes sparkled due to physical activities, mental alertness and intelligence.   She was friendly and got along easily with anyone. She became the centre of attraction wherever she was. It was not unusual when several boys from other schools tried to  come near me, only later to ask my favour to introduce them to Anita. Any boy would feel proud if he was seen  walking with Anita. I knew that many girls were jealous and secretly wished they were as popular as Anita.
I too wish I could come out with   have brilliant ideas like Anita. I saw how impressed the audience was when Anita voiced her opinion on ways to improve the living standards of the rural people. I know that I will never be near it. Put me  standing on stage in front of the crowd ,  my knees will start shaking .
Anita befriended the boys that she met in student activities, at school halls, or on  playing fields. But I did not see any signs of Anita picking anyone for a special relationship. I understood that she was in no hurry, she had ample time and ample opportunities to make any decision.
We studied in form six. Anita continued to gather friends and fans and have not chosen anyone as a  boyfriend. it’s a different case with me. I do not have many friends but it is known to many that I am attached to Halim who rode with me every day in the the school bus .
Later, Anita, Halim and I went to a same university. Anita’s Higher  School Certificate results were  much better than us. Her good result was a pride of the school. It glorified our school name.
Anita continued the good work at the university.  She soon emerged as a student leader and elected as student council member. In that first year she was elected as a committee member of the Association of Malay Language. A few months after our arrival at the university, Anita has become known as a leading personality. I felt proud that this outstanding personality came from my birth place.

Anita became a national figure in student organisation. She had made progress rapidly while I  did not change much. I still prefer to sit at the back rows. I still looked down and dared not lift up my face during  tutorials, hiding away  praying that the tutors would  not ask me challenging questions. It was Anita who often raise her hand ready with opinions and bright ideas.  As usual I would be among those ready to listen and jot down her points.
 Anita was active  and her main interest was  in Bakti Siswa or Students Voluntary Service. The society visited rural areas giving free tuition classes  particularly in Science and Mathematics, the two subjects  that the rural Malay students  were thought to be weak in. This voluntary teaching was done during the university semester break.
I heard Anita campaigning for more students to get involved in the community service. She said “ We should be aware and help the poor students of our own race.   We have to do our part by talking to the rural Malays who believe that they are destined to be poor and such were not encouraged to strive  to improve their living condition. We had to change their thinking . It is we who must carry out a major role in changing the attitudes and way of life. If not us, who else? "
I felt guilty and ashamed that I have never help.  I admired Anita’s strong will but what could I do. Halim would  not approve of me going into the villages.  He said I'd better go back home during the holiday and  help my mother. Besides I also felt obliged to help my own mother who was always busy with the domestic chores. I should take opportunity of the university holidays to take a load off her back. Halim said with a smile that it was better for me to have all the practice of cooking and looking after younger siblings because in less than a year we would be married. He said that  he did not need a leader or a champion of the people as a wife. All he needed was a woman who could give full attention to the family. I did not say anything and I was carried away in a beautiful dream of a beautiful life with Halim.
Not that I did feel the  limitations  of being attached. I felt it  once or twice that  I could not move freely.  But on the other hand  there was an advantage of having a steady boyfriend since it gave me some sort of protection. The male students dared not disturb me as they respected me as  “belonging”  to Halim. Girls without a partner would easily be the target of gossips. Such was the campus culture.
Among what is termed as “unpaired girls” was Anita.  During early days in the campus, I noticed that she was closed to Asmawi . She often talked about him and I thought it as a good sign. The relationship did not work well when Anita was chosen to go to Japan for a study visit.  Asmawi was not pleased and tried to  talk to her against it. After that they were not seen together again.

After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree, Anita and I continued to take Diploma in Education for another seven months to qualify as teachers. Halim went home to start a career  as an administrative officer. He was appointed   an  Assistant District Officer, the position of his dream all these years.
Three months later we were married in a befitting ceremony, even though I still have a few months left to study for the Diploma.  Of course we have a reason behind the immediate marriage,  and that was  to make it easier for me to get posted to a nearby school for a reason to be near the husband. The Education Department was usually considerate and generous about this.

In January the following year I was sent to the school of our alma matter. And Anita was together with me.  
Anita started  as a teacher with ardent interest.  This was  her vocation as she had shown in voluntary teaching in rural areas under Student Service program. That was her mission for pursuing the Diploma in Education although a graduate  of such standing would have no problem getting jobs  that was thought to be more glamorous such as in the civil service.   I admire her determination and quietly admitted to myself that I took the Diploma In Education because Halim encouraged me to do so. According to him as a teacher I would only work half a day and there would be more time for the family. You may say that I did not have vision of my own.
Anita performed her job with  enthusiasm,  bringing some innovations   to upgrade  student performance. Besides her work in school, Anita  joined Youth Associations as a channel to serve the society, carrying the good work nurtured in the campus.  There were programs for school leavers and free classes for the illiterate adults. 
Anita said to me, "This is the time to serve our society. People had passed remark  that student leaders were active in the campus only and  once graduated they will forget what they had advocated for. They will be busy making money.   Let me prove them wrong. I'm glad that we are  sent back to our  own place. My job will be easier since we are quite familiar with the people and the situations here".
Anita’s assumption that the job would be easier in a familiar surrounding was soon proven wrong.  A few months after setting up  adult classes and activating the youth association, something annoying happened.
One morning we were in the teachers  room, marking students work. Suddenly an unfamiliar lady walk in, looking left and right apparently searching for someone. On noticing Anita, she  walked to her desk.  Her face was a mixture of anger, worry and sadness. Anita stood to welcome her even though not knowing what was the visit for. The unexpected visitor took a nearby chair and started to say something. I could guess that she was angry but she kept her voice low perhaps realizing that she was in an office. As my desk was a little away from  Anita I could not hear their conversation despite my curiosity. It could have been something unpleasant because Anita’s face turned red and sad.  Fortunately, the other teachers were not around.
I wanted to ask Anita for the detail of the visit but there was no time as we had classes to rush to. I had to hold the curiosity until after the final bell. Anita told me that the woman was the wife of Rosli, the Vice President of  the Youth Club. Anita was  working closely with him and  irresponsible  people were spreading  rumours of a  romantic relationship. What hurt Anita most was the visitor’s unkind words that as  an old maid Anita was desperately looking for a husband and as such did not mind to be a second wife.

I felt sorry for Anita. I felt very sad if those were what is in store for her after all  her devotion and sacrifice. I held her hand, squeezed he fingers saying “Doesn’t matter, Allah knows you are sincere and will reward accordingly”.
After a moment of silence I said   "It's difficult  to be a woman"

Anita answered promptly  "No, not that difficult . It is only difficult to be a woman of your own will. "