Rahman Shaari was born  on 5th Sept 1949, in Perlis. Received primary education in Perlis, then at Alam Shah School, in Cheras, KL. He entered Sultan Idris Teacher Training College in 1970 and continued his education at the National University of Malaysia (UKM) in 1973 and gained his Bachelor’s degree in Literature 1976.  After working at the Ministry of Education for 6 years, he continued his stuies at UKM, and obtained his Master’s degree. He was appointed as a lecturer at the Faculty of Education ini 1988.  In 1991, he attended a course on international writing at the University of Iowa, USA.   In 2003, he was appointed as  a Professor at Media Studies Department.   Rahman Shaari   received  the S.E.A Write Award in 2007.  He is currently the President of Malaysian Poetry Association (Penyair) .



An effective poem is a poem that drives readers to see or figure out things from different angles. This condition is a definition of a poem, which is  foreign and different from familiar ones. This definition, in addition to stating the secrecy aspect, is rarely mentioned in poetry discussion.

 For example, when people give ‘ Salam (Peace Be Upon You)‘, then generally people think of goodness, without question to whom the wishes are.  Siti Ruqaiyah Hashim’s poetry entitled “Peace Be Upon You Davos” I consider effective because among others the presence of question: ‘ But, for whom? ‘  at the end of the first stanza. The question is already foreign from familiarity.  The foreign effect then was added  in cynical statement of third stanza:

 Peace be upon  you Davos                                                                                                                                                      Yes! I know                                                                                                                                                                         American fighter jets need to be sold                                                                                                                     Sophisticated Israeli drones                                                                                                                                                               Need to be researched and produced                                                                                                                             So that more could be killed                                                                                                                                               

Assalamualaikumis conflicting with a statement on murder.   The statement is cynical. Itmakes readers think about messages that the poet want to be delivered. The poem’s message is concluded in the last paragraph.  In this poetry, Siti Ruqaiyah deals on international issues.

This style is a specialty of Siti Ruqaiyah.   In poem that deals with the homeland, the poet remains cynical.  The poemWhat A Pity to Pak Tua” deals about the condition of an old leader, who still wants to strive to hold power, or want to pass over power to his descendants.   The statement of compassionate feelings in the early part of the poem is an early point to try say something that is considered improper. Note the entire inclusion:

Sometimes I pity to look at Pak Tua                                                                                                                                       Who is still cracking his head                                                                                                                                                       At the twilight of his age                                                                                                                                                                                                   To increase gold                                                                                                                                                                                   Of his descendants                                                                                                                                                                         And his friends                                                                                                                                                                     Who never stop begging                                                                                                                                                     Though he knows very well they never stop asking  

          The poetry can be understood by Malaysians with ease, if they follow political developments of the year 2019 and early 2020.   The above mentioned time is the most robust period for the Malaysian political elite to strategize measures for power. In March 2020, the politicing resulted with a power struggle and unexpected peak, the transition of power. Through this poem, Siti Ruqaiyahimmortalized the main character in the politicalprocess.  

Between Stolen Glances is Siti RuqaiyahHashim’s multi-theme poetry collection.  Two of the poems touched on top, and the poems to be touched later, have not yet represented other poems.  Readers need to read the whole book  to understand and respond to the depth and vastness of the poet’s experiences.

After going through the entire book, I am of the opinion that Ruqaiyah effectively deals with a number of themes with her own unique distinctive styles and technique. I have shown about her highly communicative poems in terms of understanding, but not all poems are easily understood and digested.  The poem “Artful Games Of The Godswill make a reader frown with lines on their forehead thinking about its meaning. The first two stanzas point to the character and love of a man, but the third paragraphcomes with a surprise. Here’s the third stanza:


             But playing fields had changed                                                                                                                                                    

             The gods are in the arena                                                                                                                                                          

             With exotic artful chess games                                                                                                                                                

             And we both knew                                                                                                                                                                        

            The  next rules  

In terms of the level of communicativeness, the method of easily understandable first two paragraphsis very effective. But this poem is not a simple poem that carries a single layer meaning, but rather multi layered and ambiguous. Love drawn as a simple straight feeling, eventually entered a challenging external inteferences. But  all this ended with a releiving conclusion, very much a psychological rationalism):


              Ah! We are the chosen pawns                                                                                                                                                  

              Not any ordinary ones                                                                                                                                                              

              Be happy with that….


In the poem of “Love In The Times of Al Nakba” the romantic style is beamed:Observe the first stanza:

            My man                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

           thank you                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

           for trying  to fathom                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

           between the battles of the soul                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

           and the waves of my love to you                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

           and seeing every grain                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

           more than                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

           the dances of a gypsy woman  

We find it an inclination of Siti Ruqaiyah to start her poems with a simple and unpretentious statement, but there is a great meaning to be conveyed in it.  In the above poem, the man described unpretentiously in love at first apparently in a tense situationthreatened by war.  This is the tendency of poems of        Siti Ruqaiyah, and her poems are interesting because of the skills of using this technique. In conclusion,this style of hers is particularly successful in producing a cynical, symbolic and tragic stories embodied in work of art.

Rahman Shaari                                                                                                                          Chairman                                                                                                                                                   The Malaysian Poets Association.



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