run to top of road
greater vision at summit
cross cracks along path
That’s my translation of the haiku in the book cover.
The following notes are more for the benefit of Malaysian students. It is an “”open” education, relating the visual natural world with the inner world of mind. It is a psycho-social therapy in the sense of soothing, or helping one to overcome the perils of outside world and to relate it with our own feeling and thinking. When the perceptive world changes, we adjust, attune and adapt our mindset to face the outside world. All knowledge begins with observation. We observe and learn from nature, then we reflect and contemplate on the lessons learned.
The cover picture are three young children running. Their backs are facing us; the parents are not seen, but behind watching. We give our kids freedom to explore, without over protection. If they fell, they would learn to stand up and run again. We pick up from where we fall, and learn better. The picture is a scenery in Spain. Travel is a good form of learning, but it does not mean going overseas.
The poet is also a narrator. We took them to the hill park at Kuala Selangor, Malaysia, overlooking River Yu. There were lots of wild monkeys. Visitors do not have to feed them, these monkeys snatch the bananas from the kids’ hands. What the animals want is food, not the visitors. Similarly, along the corridors of power, whether in parliament or outside, what the monkeys want is your vote and trust. They are the bananas in your hands. Of course, people in power do not generally snatch so openly, they give you promises in return. And it is silly to believe their words. The bananas are symbolic of power.
All stories side tracked to make it interesting. Let us return to the haiku/senryu.
“run to the top of road” is an initial goal, an aspiration to start. We are always on the run, and eager to reach the peak, or bottom, whatever the occasion. It is an achievement. When we are at the top, we have better sight of the scenery and the valley. When we pass a peak after another, we gain some experiences and insight. We are proud to overcome the cracks or the hurdles of life along the path. Often it is these cracks that gives us more meaning than the peak itself. From the peak, we see higher peaks beyond, endlessly. We learn to be humble that there are always higher peaks ahead. The peaks may not be mere heights. Irrespective of how high we ascend, we need to descend to our comfort level, for the top is deprived of oxygen, and we are not saints that live in the mountains. Mindsets are not easy to change, for they are often fixated and set by the education.
Any professor in Malaysia who buys a book from me, his university will receive two free copies for his libraries, via free fast delivery mails. (limit to the first ten don) I have sent a copy to my mentor professor, and two copies to the library of Bangi university. I have also sent two copies to an ex professor of English for his comment. These copies are not included in the offer.
For overseas buys, the freight charge for a single book is the same as two copies, due to weight. My book cost Rm 39.90; the freight cost is Rm 60 for either 1 or 2 books. Please get it from Gerakbuddaya Book Shops, as they have the physical books now.