Malaysia 2008

I highlight the plight of Malaysian Indians in Malaysia. This letter by Mr. P. Wathaya Moorthy, a UK educated Malaysian lawyer, speaks eloquently to the plight of Malaysian Indians, mainly Hindus’, caught in a cycle of religion, poverty and the current Malay Muslim Malaysian government. Mr. Wathaya Moorthy’s brother, Mr. Uthaya Kumar is in prison in Malaysia under Malaysian sedition law.

Malaysians do not have the four essential freedoms US President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke of when he addressed the United States Congress January 6 1941.

Malaysia in 2008
inspired by Shelley’s England in 1819 & Thomas L. Friedman’s “Who will tell the people?”

All the yellow and black devils surrounding the peninsular, routed. Chasing tail in a desire for the most spectacular bite of history. Listen for the keris wielding anti hero’s triumphant cry: “Salam sejatera para hadirin sekalian or Greetings of peace, Shalom! To all present because I am enviably multilingual I bit my tush!” Bak kata pepatah Melayu, hujan emas dinegara orang, orang mati lemas di Negara sendiri. I made up the second part. Use the Dictionary to ascertain contemporary meaning. Ouch. Like we say in our Malay book of proverbs no less or more worthy than the Good Book, it tastes bitter on the tongue not to say tush. O’ my tongue it has this nasty habit of telling the truth but I’ll get better at masking and you have endless supplies of duct tape to lend. It rains gold in other far country and stone in ours. You can relate then to us. We just all get stoned. Thank God for international relations. I am not unlike President Bush, No. Nor are you. Scrutinize the Screwtape Letters. We are who we fraternize with. I am not unlike my crazy brudder my other crazy brudder Carl Sandburg wrote about. Look at me. I am peddling furiously. Pedantic poetry. I pound the pedas back into the pedestrian cause of Malaysian poetry. It’s sultry business shelling peas, Mr. Langston Hughes. I read you. The same old black pots rattling in the backrooms of the country. See if you can buy my book made in Malaysia. In America, I wear my cap at a cavalier angle just like you. Jeans like the Joneses. Hang me, as always then, upside down and love thy neighbor as yourself. Same old, same old in the flat world, Mr.Friedman, and you can tell the people. Expect God and a remnant to hear you. To this high end, I take off my shoes.

© original poem by Anushka Anastasia Solomon.

Note: the Malay proverb I referenced and play with is “Hujan emas dinegara orang, hujan batu dinegara sendiri“. The literal translation of which is “It rains gold in other countries and it rains stones in our own.”

mati lemas means to die drowning. I juxtapose the hujan emas or gold rain with mati lemas or death by drowning to underscore the kind of external wealth Malaysian elite enjoy, while other Malaysians yearn for the ‘four essential freedoms’.

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