05 Februari 2010

Inter-Mahallah Cultural & Debate Week 2010

The Inter-Mahallah Cultural & Debate Week is an annual program organized by the Mahallah Representatives Committees of all the Mahallat (colleges) in the International Islamic University Malaysia. It is aimed to promote cultural integration between the residents of the colleges to ensure unity and in the same time to search for hidden talents in the field of cultural and debate activities among the residents.

There were numerous activities held during the cultural fiesta between 4-9th of February 2010. Those includes competitions in - Cultural Performances, Poem Recitation, Singing, Nasyeed, and Debate in English, Malay, and Arabic. As you've already guessed, I took part in the poetry recitation competition.

This time, it is different because the poem should be either in English or Arabic. A quite odd thing, I should say; because having two different languages to be judged in a competition would be weird - in terms of its judging criteria.

Nevertheless, I entered the competition - representing Mahallah Ali bin Abi Talib. The competition was held at the Experimental Hall, IIUM.

I tried to induce a bit of Malay Literature into this competition, since it only allows poems in Arabic or English. Hence, I tried to search for poems that are originally written in Malay and translated into English. I flipped through the books at the libraries and found this poem : "Jambatan Emas Titian Waktu" by Zam Ismail. This piece was translated as "Bridges of Gold, Channels of Time".

Here is a part of it :

"My children, grandchildren, do remember

In times when you have all grown into adulthood

Five potential decades that are yet to come

Do not ever pawn the dignity of your language and race

You monstrously strip

Mountains, wild jungles, seas, and shores

Leaving us old folks at that time

Gaping speechless, with nothing

Bemoaning the history of the sorrow and sadness of

An independent nation

Yet each one still incarcerated and enslaved."

Quite a typical Malay poem, I should say. Discussing about the issue of independence and the survival of the nation. But that is one of my mission actually, to bring Malay poem to a higher level, for it to be understood by the international audience.

The panel of judges in this competition.

All in all, I have 2 suggestion to be made :

  1. In the future, the organizers should separate the categories into its language. We can't compare between an English poem recitation and an Arabic poem recitation. It's different.
  2. Introduce Malay poetry category. I know Malay Language is not a part of the university's medium language, but I bet it will attract a whole lot more people to participate. Trust me, there are a lot of gems to be found in this category.
  3. Introduce Pantun competition in the Inter-Mahallah Week. It would be interesting to see fresh, new, and raw talents to unearthed. IIUM Poetry Club would be more than willing to co-operate on this matter.

... And now, I leave you with the video of my recitation of "Bridges of Gold, Channels of Time". Thanks Kak Teha for recording!


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