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Book Review

22 oktober 2008 00:07

The Land of Malay in the Beauty of Metaphoric Language

The Land of Malay in the Beauty of Metaphoric Language

Tanah Airku Melayu; Sebuah Kumpulan Puisi (The Malay Land of Mine; A Poetic Anthology)
Fakhrunnas MA Jabbar
Riaupulp of Riau Province in cooperation with The Center for Research and Development of Malay Culture, Yogyakarta
1st edition, June 2006
xix + 152 pages

In almost all Malay literary works – either poets or prose – social themes as well as set of values taking the forms of norm of lives, ethics, mundane philosophies, and traditions are ordinarily used as subjects of discussion. In the other words, the Malay literatures often speak on topics like people’s attitude in society and cultural subjects based on the poets’ perspectives. Therefore, literature can be a medium to represent people’s struggles to cope with multifarious challenges of life in certain period of time. 

Fakhrunnas MA Jabbar, through his work entitled Tanah Airku Melayu; sebuah Kumpulan Puisi (The Malay Land of Mine; A Poetic Anthology), does the same as well. He views people as social and cultural creatures that may represent its social condition and human civilization in definite time.

As his focuses are mostly on social dilemmas, Jabbar wants his works can also be consumed by the broader public, not only in the Malay Land. He wrote his ideas into a hundred poems which have been adjusted to other cultural civilization outside the Malay Land.

Like a collection of beautifully enchanted diamonds, this poetic anthology cleverly represents the complex landscape of Malay cultural civilization during 1970 to 2008. Reading the book will bring us to another world where we can only view turquoise seas, green trees, thick forests, breeze winds, and the Malay’s heart voices.

You will not merely see the author’s perspicacity in dictions and “strange” words usage, but you will, likewise, be driven to understand the Malay’s philosophy of life. Besides, his tendency on such a subject of discussion portrays the characteristic of modern Malay poem presenting this day.

It is a common thing since the Malay Land is famous as a land with the deep-rooted literature traditions, either oral or written. The Land of Malay has born the number of outstanding poets; one of them is Raja Ali Haji with his phenomenal work entitled Gurindam 12. Even more, the literature tradition has become a symbol of Malay society.

The book describes the beauty of nature in Riau Province in savvy metaphoric languages. Besides, the book clearly elaborates the author’s cultural journey as a Malay person living outside the Malay areas. Therefore, the author’s deep longing to his native land, Riau Province, flavours some of the poems.

Such flavouring is an accepted thing in literature world, according to Prof. A. Teeuw (1994). “None of the poems in the world that do not represent of the authors’ visions, perceptions, and obsessions,” he said. Based on this point of view, every single poet has distinguishing rights to use various language styles based on the authors’ intuitiveness (Licencia Poetica).

For that reason, reading Tanah Airku Melayu: Sebuah Kumpulan Puisi will lead us to dive into the author’s hometown, stances, philosophies, and personal experiences. It is a social portrayal about the author’s social situation. And perhaps, this is the author’s representation about the modern Malay people’s wrath as well.

Through his works, the author seemingly wants to express that the Malay people are facing inexorable modern civilization damaging Malay cultures inherited from the past. Over and above, the author wants to report to the readers that Malay traditions begin to leave behind by the Malay people. Likewise, it is a representation of social changes happening in the Malay Land in line with the time.

Systematically, this book, which was edited by Mahyudin Al Mudra – the head of the Center for Research and Development of Malay Culture, can be divided into three main topic discussions. The first chapter exposes mostly the author’s dedication to his native land, Malay. It can be seen on poems below:

di sini
di tanah airku
di ranah melayuku

kucoba kembara
menjejak harap di kota-kota dunia
mencecap maung laut dan samudera
menghirup bau kawah di busut yang mengulur lidah ke arasy
bagai burung kelelahan ditikam surya
bagai angin tak temukan arah
bagai panah tak ke mana-mana
melayu jua bertahta di jiwa

walau kueja jua langkah sang sapurba
menapaki bukit seguntang sejak lama
menebar sukma di ria-lingga
menitip pesan pada sang nila utama
membentang sayap dari tumasik hingga melaka
menabur wangi bunga di campa dan afrika
atau mengukir jalur sutra di china
melayu jua bersisa di jiwa

kutahu pula lima saudagar bugis
terdampar di lingga
merangkai biduk di penyengat
mengukir sejarah tak sudah
raja haji menghunus pedang
raja ali haji membentang kalam
di kitab bahasa
melayu jua merona di jiwa

kutatap melaka berkisah
adat resam ditegakkan
kalimah syahadah dilaungkan
bak tali berpilin tiga
ada islam jadi tiangnya
ada adat jadi pagarnya
ada bahasa jadi pengikatnya
melayu jua bersarang di jiwa

sejauh-jauh mata memandang
di ranah melayu ditukikkan
sejauh-jauh kaki melangkah
di ranah riau dihentakkan
sejauh-jauh hati ‘kan terbang
di ranah melayu dihinggapkan

From the poems above, we will see that Riau Malay culture has inspired greatly the author’s creative processes. Malay culture, according to the author, is just like a sea of inspiration.

No matter how passionately loving the Malay Land, the author does not blind from reality. Some horrible tragedies happening in Riau did not lure him to act the same as the other “liars” pretending the tragedies. He keeps on holding firmly Malay dignity and prestige within himself by speaking boldly about things annoying him so much.  

Still on the first chapter, the author attempts to protest against those deceitfully dedicating themselves to develop the Malay Land. He uses metaphors and humorous ironies to employ the protests. It can be seen on his works titled Rimba Beton, Kusukai Sakaiku, Doa Orang-orang Bendungan, Selamat Pagi, and Tuan Takagawa.

Move to the next chapter, you will be offered with the author’s contemplation of strange phenomena such as the water pollution and illegal lodging happening in his native land. He uses simple and relaxed languages on it to represent his literature styles.

Through that ways, according to Maman S. Mahayana through his endorsement in the book said that the author can eloquently expresses his deep love to the Malay Land by immortalizing the most recent situation and condition there. It can be seen on his works like Banjir Menyapa, Bapakku Hutan, Ibuku Laut yang Kini Terluka, Kering, and Dalam Kabut. However, such a deep love will not lead you to highly shoulder the spirit of primordialism such as what literature critics are afraid of. You will be brought to the author’s creative sides in organizing the wealth of literary works scattering over the Archipelago.  

Differ from two previous parts that tend to exposes universal and humanistic themes, on the third chapter, the readers will be drawn to feel the author’s religious experiences. Some of his works titled Sepotong Daging, Dari Alif Ba Ta ke Tahajjud, Walau Maut Menjemput, Ramadhan in Manila, Purnama Jatuh di Nabawi, and Lelaki yang Berputar di Pelataran Ka‘bah are his ruminations toward his personal religious experiences.

In conclusion, moral messages delivered through this book are abundant. However, at least there are three main points that can be drawn from reading the whole chapters. The highlighting messages are maintaining harmonious relations with other people, living in harmony with nature, and believing in God.

Through reading this 152-page book and other Malay poetic anthologies, you will see systematic arrangements of words consisting of sounds, rhymes, and tranquillity. Totally differs from daily oral languages, in which we often pay less attention to such word arrangements. Finally, this is a poetic anthology that is build upon the author’s cultural awareness and well-expressed translation of Malay Land in the beauty of metaphoric languages.

Tasyriq Hifzhillah (res/02/09-08)

Translated by Irfan Nugroho (ter/64/10-08)  

Read : 5.726 time(s).