MALAYSIAN HAIKU/SENRYU ECHOES 551: JACK AND BEANSTALKS
one system for two
haunt of independence hope
delude by wet dream
seeds feed on wet rolls
beanstalks grow high to heaven
weak cultural root
Jack descend to liberate
No rainbows in clouds
Recently China announces that Hong Kong will have one nation under one system, like all other places in the country. For over a year, probably a third of residents there protested about two systems and with demands, amounting to Independence. They dislike the two system or one or whatever under CPC. This is an impossible dream to cede away from central government. No country in the world allows separation. Even United Kingdom is under threat of breaking up.
Hong Kong varsities have high ranking status academically, but the outcome of these clogged up brains is good enough for the drains. They not only fail to understand their own cultural roots and history. They also fail miserably in understanding the West, especially American freedom and democracy. They are a weird hybrid, infested with magical thinking.
I was listening to breaking news on Malaysia on current political events, and the latest laws on covid d pandemic on extended CMO (Controlled Movement Order). I made a joke on passing motion on the corridors of power, and bowel movement due to constipation. My family has problem understanding such shitty English pun. I asked myself whether there’s poetry in it, and the link in the news I listened. Without being crude, the morals fall out faster than the shits among politicians.
This is a translated poem by Du Fu, a popular Chinese poet, sage historian, and humble civil servant in Tang Dynasty (712-770AD). I have chosen to translate in haiku/senryu, instead of line to line rendition of five characters regulated verse, in couplets per line, with total of four lines.
The original title is Facing Snow, written in 756. There was an An Lu rebellion in Chang-an and the poet was arrested and locked up in the city in winter. The couplet depicted the suffering of war and the hardship in winter, living with little money to procure wine to keep warm, and inadequate clothing. He sang his sorrow in solitude, with weariness about war, winter and poverty.
We share his sentiments about the illegitimacy of state affairs and corruptions, and our restricted freedom in MCO. We have an extended lockup. Our calamities with covid-19 pandemic is a war with disease and out of balances in living. Our “winter” will be prolonged, lasting a year or two. By the end of the upheaval, if not sick or dead, we would be bankrupt, or jobless for some. Like Du Fu, we are healed in the poetry of living., the morals of love and compassion. It is always in darkness that human beings awake with new understanding. We see the shadows of our ego and desire better in the dark, for the little light that shines shows the way out of the tunnel.
All the pictures are copied and pasted from the web, with appreciation.
Our lockup is extended for a further four weeks, but with more freedom of movement. In my neighborhood, scattered groups of infected construction workers were detected; they were asymptomatic or pre symptomatic. Most of them would recovered well. However, these well infected have roamed the streets and malls nearby, endangering the seniors who live nearby, who need to come out to get their food and groceries. Well meaning volunteers visit many houses with food and cash, risking their lives too. Good if bad, the world is so connected, that only politicians find time and issues to moralise them, by blaming one group against another. Yet they put on a facade of superheroes to face the world.
This is my translation of an ancient poem, selected from the Classic (Ode) Of Poetry (Shining), 11th to 7th century BC, compiled by Confucius. Please read the original poem, Rats (相鼠).
I have chosen to translate it in haiku/senryu, for its brevity and diction. This ancient poem depicts rogue states and individuals. There are homophonic elements in Chinese script radicals, for instance, 皮（ 疲） 齿 （ 耻） 体 （ 礼）, together with imageries. The current spat between states and individuals illustrates this well.