Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ending 2010 with si tenggang's homecoming

This is one of the poems which our students in Form 4 will not be reading cos it has been phased out. I've done the new poems with my Form 4 students but somehow I don't enjoy them as much as I do the old ones. The new ones come across as rather... I don't know. At this point, I think they seem to dumb down our kids. Maybe I'll change my mind after a couple of rounds.

Anyway, the year is coming to an end. And somehow, si tenggang's homecoming seem apt this year.

i
the physical journey that i traverse
is a journey of the soul,
transport of the self from a fatherland
to country collected by sight and mind,
is a stranger's knowledge,
from one who has learnt to see, think
and choose between
the changing realities


Life is also a journey of the soul. You collect your experiences and you process them. And you make your choices based on your understanding of realities. I've learned that our realities change. I've been let down by people whom I thought were friends. Lies become truths. But still, we've to deal with the changing realities. Moving on...


ii
it's true i have growled at my mother and grandmother
but only after having told of my predicament
that they have never brought to reason.
the wife that I begun to love in my loneliness,
in the country that alienated me
they took to their predecisions
i have not entirely returned, i know
having been changed by time and place
coarsened by problems
estranged by absence

Another phase coming into my life. I look at my parents' generation. Many of their marriages were glued by their children. Take the children out of the equation and you get lots of gaps. And children become parents cos parents become children. And sometimes you get alienated. It's hard on everyone.

There's a couple in my church who celebrated their 50th anniversary this December. It's awesome! 50 years is a long time. Somehow it's just so easy for most to drift apart despite being under the same roof. But 50 years means love takes on a new depth. If you are able to find that, then in your partner you find your soul mate.

iii
but look
i have brought myself home,
seasoned by confidence,
broadened by land and languages,
i am no longer afraid of the oceans
or the differences between people,
not easily fooled
by words or ideas.
the journey was a loyal teacher
who was never tardy
in explaining cultures or variousness
look, i am just like you,
still malay,
sensitive to what i believe is good,
and more ready to understand
than my brothers.
the contents of these boats are yours too
because i have returned

When we hit our forties... confidence is built on our success and achievements. Some of us become arrogant, some will be humbled by the realization of how temporal everything seems, some will just live from day to day, trying not to think about what awaits them, preferring their present, hoping it will remain. Some become wiser, some none the wiser.... life is a journey, not a tardy teacher if we take note but many don't. There are shortcuts in life too... by learning from others' experiences. Sharing makes our journey easier sometimes.

iv
travels made me
a seeker who does not take
what is given without sincerity
or that which demands payments from beliefs.
the years at sea and coastal states
have taught me to choose
to accept only those tested by comparison,
or that which matches the words of my ancestors,
which returns me to my village
and its perfection

I like this stanza... People give but to be given freely, that's priceless. If you have even a friend who gives of her(him)self freely, it's one of those closer things to heaven on this side of the divide. God gave His Son freely for us. Christ died freely for us too. Try mirroring that and you'll get what I mean....

I've also learned to discern. Words and actions, they are the best indicators of a person's sincerity. We talk more than walk the talk... I thought some people were different but one changing reality for me is I was too naive.

v
i've learnt
the ways of the rude
to hold reality in a new logic,
debate with hard and loud facts.
but I too am humble, respecting,
man and life.

vi
i am not a new man
not very different
from you;
the people and the cities
of costal ports
taught me not to brood
over a foreign world,
suffer difficulties
or fear possibilities.

What's done is done. There is no point brooding. Difficult moments come but they also go. Till our time here is done, we might as well head for possibilities. Life goes on....

God grant me the serenity
To accept what I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And wisdom to know the difference

Here's to A New Year!!! 2011!!!!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thot of sharing this beautiful poem as I journeying thru life.
A SEVENTEEN-CENTURY NUN'S PRAYER

Lord, thou knowest better than I myself,
know that I am growing older and
will someday be old,
keep me from the fatal habit of thinking,
I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.
Release me from the craving to straigthen out everybody's affairs
Make me thoughtful, but not moody;
helpful,but not bossy.
With vast store of wisdom it seems
a pity not to use it all, but THOU
knowest, O LORD, that I want
a few friends at the end.
Keep my mind free from the recital
of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.
Seal my lips on aches and pains. They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is sweeter, as days go by.
I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others' pain, but help me to endure them with patience.
I dare not ask for improved memory, but a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others.
Teach me a glorious lesson that
occasionally I may be mistaken.
Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a saint - some of them are so hard to live with - but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil.
GIVE ME THE ABILITY TO SEE GOOD THINGS IN UNEXPECTED PLACES, AND TALENTS IN UNEXPECTED PEOPLE.
And give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.

Thomas C B Chua said...

AJ 7, reading your blogs I can confidently say that you have LIVED through 2010 and not merely existed. I like what James Dean once said, " Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today." May you have a glorious 2011 !!!

AJ7 said...

Anonymous.. Thanks for the poem. I shared it here earlier too! 8)

Thomas: Thanks for your encouragement. 8) A blessed year to you too! 8)