The Voyager Returns


The beach palm, morning glory,
Seagulls and sandpipers,
Welcome the voyager home.

On a visit to the Indonesian Island of Lombok, I sat on the beach with an elderly fisherman talking wistfully about his son who went away and has yet to come back. All along , the beach was lined by clumps of pandanus palms while morning glory creepers covered the sand. Sandpiper birds ran at the water’s edge while gulls were in flight. Its a scene that would not be forgotten.

perantau pulang
The voyager steps foot on the beach


Migrant Workers from Indonesian Island of Lombok

Childhood Memories


Sunny afternoon breeze,
Padi leaves rustling,
In clear water, gouramis play.

Sepat Haiku
Drawing by Kalthom Omar
I was reminded of a moment when I was young (early 1960s). I often went to our padi field. While walking on the raised path between the plots during the season when the rice plants were about to flower, I could hear the leaves rustling in the soft afternoon breeze. In between the clumps of padi stalks I could see orange and blue gouramis play in the clear water. 

There are many types of gourami fish. The ones found in the padi field are called dwarf gouramis. Bigger gouramis are called ‘Ikan Kaloi” in Malaysia.
While most people will think of them as aquarium fish, in South East Asia we consume them as food.

Through the Stillness of the Night


“Constant roar of the wind,
Rustling leaves on swaying trees,
Fills the moonlit night”

These Haiku verses surfaced in my mind when I woke up in the middle of the night and sat on the verandah of a chalet at Pasir Belanda, in Kelantan State on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It was the season when the wind blew strongly from the sea. The sound made by the wind and the rustle of the palm leaves as the coconut trees sway, broke through the stillness of the night. The sounds came and went as the speed of the wind alternates between that of a storm to that of a breeze. The brightness of the moonlight also waxes and wanes as clouds pass over the full moon.
I am filled with nostalgia, whenever the memory returns.
Angin menderu

The atmosphere reminds me of an old song, 

sang again by the singer Sudirman Haji Arshad.

The original lyric and my translation of it is as below:


Alangkah Indahnya Alam

Angin berbunyi
Dipohon kelapa
Membawa berita
Khabar yang jauh

Sambil menyanyi
Berbisik apa?
Betapa indahnya
Jika ku tahu
Alamkah indahnya alam

Terang benderang
Cerah cuaca
Bersulam sulam
Awan melindungi
Alamkah indahnya alam

Hatiku riang
Tambah bahagia
Menikmati alam
Yang indah ini
Alangkah indahnya alam

Alangkah indahnya alam


How Beautiful is this World

The sound of the wind
Among the coconut trees
Brings me news
From far away

While it sings
What does it whisper?
Those nice words
How good if only I know
Oh what a beautiful world

How resplendent is the light
In the clear weather
Waxes and wanes
Hidden by the clouds
Oh what a beautiful world

My heart is happy
Filled with tranquility
Enjoying the beauty
Of this world
Oh what a beautiful world

Oh what a beautiful world.

The Original Song was witten by R. Maroeti and sung by Juwita accompanied by  Dendang Kelana Orchestra led by Maroeti.