Saturday, May 28, 2016




" The fort  was still standing like a lonely monument, overlooking the estuary where blood had splashed and thousands of his predecessors  tortured and killed.  There was a scar that cannot be erased. But how many people passing by it had stop to recall the history and read the massage?"

 Another issue that often appear in my stories and poems is the future of younger generation who are being lulled by the less worthwhile entertainments.  Perhaps the most frightening is their madness to race on the road, getting killed or permanently disabled. An example of a short story bringing up this issue  is Sumpah Kuala Kedah (The Curse of Kuala Kedah)

I built the story by adding another element of my interest that is history.The main character is from Kedah who was schooling in Alor Setar  when the Japanese invaded. He was bitter with the Japanese who interrupted his schooling and more bitter with the Siamese police  for kicking his grandfather who did not stand in respect when the Siamese anthem was being played. When the war ended Ayub was able to continue his study and even went to University of Malaya, then situated in Singapore. The second part of the story took place when Ayub had retired from his top government post and was celebrating his seventy fourth birthday at a restaurant in Kuala Kedah. The place held memories of the pain and miseries of his ancestors especially at the hand of the Siamese attackers. Now the land is free but he was sad that the youths are wasting their lives and inflicting their own injury on drugs and road racing.  


1- Ayub  had just started studying at Maktab Sultan Abdul Hamid when the joy of schooling was cruelly crushed by the Japanese invaders. The Japanese caused  havoc in the country, committing atrocities everywhere. Everyone lived in fear.
In the middle of 1943 Siamese guards and police ware seen patrolling   the town of Alor Setar. They heard that Japan had surrendered Kedah to Siam  supposedly out of  gratitude to the government of Thailand for allowing them to walk through to invade Malaya. Ayub felt bitter and sick over this He often grumbled " This is too much. How can you turn my state into a gift item. Are we mere slaves who must obey with no right to say anything?”.  But  he dared not speak out. The bitter words had to swallowed, stuck in his throat causing more pain in his heart. To Ayub, both  Japanese and Siamese weree foreigners who had no right to do as they please in his inherited land.

2- They sat at a table with a nice table runner and flowers.  "Today is uncle and father’s birthday." said Hisham and Kamal. "Oh so you plan this as a surprise?" said Hamid and Ayub  almost simultaneously.
Datuk Ayub turned seventy four years old today. He felt grateful to Allah that he could still stand and walk on His earth, though his  doctor had made it compulsory for him to be present at the hospital once a  month for monitoring. Hamid, fourteen years younger,  but he was thinner and  with more health problems. Hamid was shorter and smaller than Ayub. People had made remarks about this but he took it in  good face. He even joked, "It’s because I was born during Japanese occupation. My mother only had tapioca to eat when she was pregnant with me, so she did not have much milk”

Datuk Ayub certainly remember that today was his birthday and the birthday of his brother Hamid. Every time he faced this date he would be much disturbed. He could remember very well his grandfather moaning in  pain as he was lying weak after being kicked by the Siamese guards in front of Alor Setar police station in 1943. He had repeatedly related the incidents to his son and nephews. He repeated the story again and again whenever he was invited to give a lecture or talk at Historical seminar and forums.

3-From the dining table they could clearly see the road, the estuary and the pier jutting  out into the open sea. Unfortunately the beautiful evening  view by the seaside was disrupted by irritating sound of screeching tires of motocycles being driven too fast on the road. It was a common sight of  street racing by the youths , mostly local. Hisham who understood what was  lingering  in his uncle’s mind said. “ Look at them, what a show off, causing public disturbance. They are not afraid to die. The government widen roads  but they   misuse it to race for cheap thrills. Even the police fail to control.  Yesterday Uncle Halim, our former chef came here crying because his son met with an  accident. His son go racing all the time despite his mother’s plea and persuasions to stop. The accident was bad and his leg has to be amputated. Now he is causing more hardship and misery to his parents”

Ayub took a deep breath and sigh.  He heard such news many times before. He felt very old and tired of hearing such news of youngsters wasting their live away, getting killed in road accidents due to ruthless driving and racing. Many more die or leading a useless live as drug addicts .  There were also news of unmarried mothers abandoning their babies in garbage  bins.  So many  Malay schoolboys  were wasting their time at game stations in the shopping complexes. With this situation, how many left to defend or develop  their homeland? Is his race  heading  for a defeat while other races are improving themselves and strengthening their position even sharpening their weapons.

Ayub eyes fixed on the fort of  Kuala Kedah across the river. The fort  was still standing like a lonely monument, overlooking the estuary where blood had splashed and thousands of his predecessors  tortured and killed.  There was a scar that cannot be erased. But how many people passing by it had stop to recall the history and read the massage? Ayub recalled the words of George Santayana "People who do not learn from history will be cursed by history to repeat their mistakes." 

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