AHMAD SALLEH BIN HJ AHMAD
Ahmad Salleh bin H. Ahmad @ Asha was born on July 28, 1957 in Tapah, Perak. Received early and secondary education in Tapah. Entered The Perak Teachers College (New) in 1978 and began serving as a trained teacher in 1980. Pursued his studies at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) in 1986 and obtained his Bachelor of Education (PBMP) in 1989. Served as a lecturer at the Department of Education at the Institute of Teacher Education (IPG) Ipoh Campus, from 16 January 1993 until his compulsory retirement in 2015.
Currently, he is active as Committee Member of Perak Writers Association ( Karyawan Pk) given the responsibility of organising activities such as poetry readings, concerts and theatre. An active writer on essays, political books, religions, educations, poetry, and novels. Now he is preparing a political book called “Politics of Malaysia: A confused Father of The People” Education Book called ” Is it Difficult To Be A Teacher? ” and a religious book called “O Believers” and “Anti-Polygamy Inviting Torments”. Many of his poems published together in joint anthology with other poets, besides his poems published in magazines and newspapers in Malaysia.
PEACE BE UPON YOU DAVOS: ANTHOLOGY OF WORLD PEACE POETRY
Reading and fathoming the poetry anthology of ” Peace Be Upon You Davos”, the first thing we cannot afford to ignore is to give credit to Siti Ruqaiyah Hashim as an editor as well as the translator of poems that saw collection of peace poems from poets all around the world. To work together and collaborate with many big names and great and influential poets of the world, is not an easy job. Siti Ruqaiyah’s relationship with these famous poets must have been fostered for quite sometimes. As a Malaysian I am very proud of her efforts,dedication and achievements . .
Siti Ruqaiyah has also chosen the title of her poem “Salam Untuk Davos or Peace Be Upon You Davos” contained in this anthology, as the title of this anthology. In myopinion, this title, coincide accurately and greatly as the best title of the anthology that presents peace, anti-war -themed poems. Known to everyone especially Muslims, the word “salam” is derived from the Arabic word meaning peace and becomes greetings that brings salvation and well-being not only in the world but also in the hereafter, which is the day that all mankind will be resurrected to meet his Creator,to receive a recompense equal to what has been done throughout life in this world. Islam attaches great importance to peacefulness andsecurity to all lives. Islam also encourages human beings to love and pray for each other’s welfare. When meeting someone or a group of people, Muslims are encouraged to initiate goodness to the person or group encountered, by saying”Assalamualaikum”which means “peace upon you”, and the one on the receiving party is obliged to answer it with the greeting “Wa’alikummusalam”which means, “and peace beupon you too”.
Why “Davos”? It is known that Davos is the World’sannual economic forum . Human being is a special servant of God , who has soul, mind and body. Knowledge, Faith is thefood of the soul, but the economy is the material need for physical requirements. If food supply is threatened, humans canact violent like animals. Therefore, it is not surprising that humans are willing to kill and fight solely to meet the physical needs of the body. Thus, the second series of this peaceanthology is given the title of “Salam for Davos” which expectsthe annual economic forum to discuss grave matters of human survival in a transparent, justified manner, to create economicbalance and equality indirectly to serve the whole world who occupy the planet Earth. Is it (the World Economic Forum)really transparent to achieve that goal? It is the nature of human beings to love peace and justice, and poets have sensitive soulsand they are not happy , if mankind needs are not met, so thisanthology suggests some answers to create conducive means to a good peaceful living.
In this Peace Be Upon You Davos, Siti Ruqaiyahworked together with 16 world-renowned poets publishing another bi-lingual peace anthology series which she worked onand translated, after “Khabar Dari Strasbourg/News From Strasbourg ” which she published in 2017.
Siti Ruqaiyah herself wrote 14 poems in this anthology , starting with “Peace Be Upon You Davos” and ending with a poem titled “Between Stolen Glances”. Peace Be Upon YouDavos is loaded with cynicisms, on the plight of the victims ofwar who suffered and forced to be refugees . They arerepresented by Osama, Mohamed, Shaif, Brahim and Ziaur. Warhappened solely to fulfill the agenda of great powers with theirgreatest economic sources in the arms trade. The great powers ofthe world have never fought each other but cunningly waged their proxy wars for the sake of their arms trade. Siti Ruqaiyahcynically clings to the Davos-based economic forum andinvokes hopes to return to universal peace values needed by everybody.
The poem Alleys of Paradise 2 revolved aroundrelationship, which ended up in a break-up and split due to differences of beliefs. This Poem is rich in metaphor. The poem Sketches of Love described situations that even in a violent,war-torn communities, the human soul amongst the sophisticated armies of Israel, men eventually succumbed to their consciences when asked to do things contrary to their soul. This message is featured in the form of a true story cited from the Haaretz.com online newspaper. The poem When I Met You, Prayers For Dad, Are You Happy Now, Poem For ALittle Brother , Getting To Know Brother, Existence, Sands ofSri Lavender, and I Really Love You Very Much aredocumentation of personal and private feelings and expressionin nature.
When I Met You , is an expression of relying to the divine intervention of God to solve problems according to the rites of the sufi as In Islam. While Prayers For Dad was a personal impulse having to leave a beloved father who passed away whilethe author had to leave the country. However , the love between a daughter and the father is inseparable. Although far away and unable to attend the father’s burial , the prayers from a loving, devoted, righteous child will be fulfilled by God.
Are You Happy Now? is about difficult realities in a relationship between two people who ended up in a parting.Poem For A Little Brother is also very personal in nature, about love between brothers who are reminded of the greatness of sacrifices from a brother to his younger sibling.The poem Getting To Know Brother is also a personal one, about the author who remembered stories of her mother who never forget her dead brother after reading a poem written by her friend Ibrahim about his son Irvin who also died young. While the poem Existence, I Really Love You and The Sands of Sri Lavender portrayed the author’s hopes in love to last forever whether to her beloved ones or to her homeland.
The second contributor of the anthology, Professor Mohamed Abdul Aziz Rabie contributed four poems in this anthology, including “Do You Have A Clue?” In this poem, Mohamed used questioning technique about the weaknesses of the social and economic systems and injustices of the world towards the poor and the weak, by saying that the safety and well-being of the world might be enjoyed if they did not manipulate the weak and poor. In this life, to achieve justice is very difficult. But man needs to be sincere and commited to create justice on this earth. However,because many humanbeings are greedy it is impossible that can be achieved easily.
While through his poem “Farewell” Mohamed became spokeperson to all mankind who love peace and happiness. Ahope that will never come. The poem “Let the Sun Shine” is indirectly an answer to the poem “Farewell” which invites people to forget their sufferings and enjoy life as what it is. It’s clear on the first and second lines of the poem that reads, “Let the sun shine again ” and “Sing your favorite song”. Likewise, his poem “Anniversary” is a hope of a safe, peaceful and happy life besides family and friends that brings much happiness to us all.
If anyone expects every poem to be in stanza forms, then it is a big mistake. Hungarian Literary figure Istvan Turci, indirectly describesd that poetry in particular poems can be presented in other forms. Istvan Turci in all four poems in this anthology writes his poems in the form of interesting short prose which is the prose poems. Through his “Rilke” using metaphorical elements, he managed to touch the reader’s emotions. All of his poems in this anthology, such as “Rilke”, “Brightness And Darkness”, “Folk Song” “As If Emerging From Myth (My Days In the Mountains)” are all written in the form of short prose like essays using lots of metaphors. I think it’s very interesting and effective ways of writing poems in varieties like this.
Cordoba-born Argentine poet who lives in the United States Luis Alberto Ambroggio, contributed two poems in this anthology. His poem titled “Father” was written after his father’s 90th birthday, indirectly representing children who remembered their father’s sacrifices to his children. Through this poem he used the technique of re-impacting and thanked the father for all his sacrifices in raising him to grow up as a human being who gave a lot of benefits for the community. This is a reality that we cannot afford to ignore in this life. Where would hope live and breathe air of peacefulness if the child isunable to appreciate the services of others, especially the fatherhimself. This hope was expressed by him through his secondpoem titled,”We Want to Breathe Air of Peace.
the Syrian-born poet Osama Esber who lives in california today, can’t hide his feelings about the importance of peace and security and is upset that his homeland is in turmoil of war . All his hopes and regrets are expressed in his poem,”Mother’s Day”,”King of the World”, “Waves in Childhood” and “Question Marks”.
Dr. Maurus Young, 87, who was born in China now living in Paris and is president of the World Congress of Poets did not miss sharing three of his poems in this anthology, titled ” My Story”, “A Beautiful Leaf”, and ” A Jar of Wine”. All of hisprayers are themed around peace and security, longing for thelife and love of his fellow inhabitants of the world, who hoped for eternal peace.The author’s desire is evident in the final linesof his poem titled A Beautiful Leaf,-” buried in my heart forever ” and in the poem A Jar of Wine, -“and kept forever in theheart”.
Tetovo, Macedonian-born poet Shaip Emerllahu in this anthology contributed three poems, each titled “The Broken Project “, “Breeze “and ” Anxiety of Returning”. Through theBroken Project”, Shaip expresses his disappointments to see a peaceful life in this society, destroyed, though various efforts made for peace, the world remains unpeaceful. The poem consisted of three stanzas, poured in metaphorical and symbolic forms. Shaip’s persistence in fighting for peace can beseen in the “Breeze.” poem. Through ” Anxiety When Returning ” he described the worry and insecurity faced in his life.
A professor from Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architercture, Jia Rong Xiang also narrated the poem “In That Era” and “From Wing to Wing”. “In that Era”, the author wrote about the misery that the Chinese people, especially young people, went through around the 1960s and 1970s. It was the time of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The author also explained how important loyal friends are to be able to work together for the sake of future happiness. This overflow of his heart is poured in the poem “From Wing to Wing”.
Poetry “Decades” expressed the tribulations who had beenin the people of Ramallah, Palestine, and sufferings faced bythem since Zionist occupation and nasty work of foreigners. This was described in the “ Strangers ” poem . It is a reality of life that cannot be denied because the poetry is written by an experienced Palestinian journalist , Ahmad Zakarneh, who was born in Egypt.
Norway’s contemporary poet Knut Odegard also contributed three poems. They were titled “The Windows Stay Open For Ravens In The Night “Paper Clips”,”God’s Breath” . As a scholar in the field of Theology and Philology, his poems are inseparable in discussing about things of Godliness. Thisstate of circumstances are evident in all his poems.
The young poet from Tamale, Ghana also expects peace inthe world, prosperous and peaceful to live in. He expressed this desire for love and peace through his poems “For Our Children” and “It Is Time”. Through the poem “For Our Children,” this pure desire is spilled over into the third stanza:
For our kids
How about we build a world
Made with emeralds, which are bombed proof
Racial, extremism and violence
While through the poem “It Is Time”, this desire for peace and security, is not difficult to be seen in every verse and line of the poem.
The Skopje, Macedonian-born poet Biljana Biljanovska,through a poem titled “Phoenix” stated that she was a descendant who inherited a revolutionary spirit, both from her father and mother , who never stop fighting for justice to make the world a safe and a comfortable one to live in . Sufferingsfrom war, separated from her loved ones and heartbreaking loverelationship, revealed through her poem titled “In the LastCircle. The hope of being happy with her lover is expressed in apoem titled “Between My Lips”. Through these poems, thereader could feel much how ill-hearted human beings are tearingapart peace and security.
The prominent poet Agron Shele from Albania now residing in Brussels too, cynically expressed his disappointmentswith the lack of peace in an insecure world of arrogance andgreedy human beings who fought and killed each other without solving problems and differences by peace. This disappointmentis seen through both his poems entitled, ” Never Ask A Poet”and”I Know…!”
The voracious world rips everything apart by war, the mother’s longing for a lost child, the little ones who become refugee and the various stories of war grief. This sadnesswas expressed by the poet Hasna Jasimuddin Maudud of Bangladesh through her poem in this anthology , namely “Waiting Mother”and ” The Small Refugee From Syria.”
Born in Osijek, Croatia Zdravko Odorcic expressed his sadness and hates for wars, through his poems ” Scent of Holocaust”. In this poem he portrayed disgust of war of ethniccleansing. This was evident on the first row of third stanza:
I counted the pellets in a number of holes in your head.
The memories of the Balkan Wars were fresh in his mind and described the cruelty of man who is hard to stomach. In “Keeping You Under My Skin” he also illustrated how much the author craves for peace and security .
The Ulanbataar-born poet, who lives in Chicago Oyuntsetseg Jamsrandorj also shares a mother’s feelings and affections, through her poem titled ” My Elder Brother And I”. The comparison of the affections of a bird’s mother, whois able to do anything for the safety of her child, makes the author understand much of the great sacrifices of a mother. The author uses comparison techniques, such as in the fourth frame..
Their Mother will fly overhead
rushing in circles to reach home
Her poem, titled “The Road Across The Low Bridge”, also revolved around a mother’s affections.
The poetry that filled the final space of this anthology was contributed by Padmaja Iyengar-Paddy. Her poems are titled “Journey”and “Hatred”. In “The Journey” the author expressedher sadness in exposing her discomfort and misery fromchanging places and being in a new place. While in “Hatred”Padmaja invited the reader to stay away from this negative trait because, hatred does not give anything good or will result in other negative traits that destroy oneself. The author wantedto invite people to show compassionate feelings to their fellow human beings for the sake of respect and peace in this world.
Ending my analysis of this anthology, published by Kultura Snova, Zagreb, Croatia under the poet Zdravko OrdorcicI once again took this opportunity to congratulate and expressed that I am proud of my compatriot, Siti Ruqaiyah Hashim who had managed to produce a poetry anthology themed around peace and anti-war stance for the world. Thank you and congratulations also to all her famous friends from all over the world who had contributed verses of great and interesting poems, to be laid out in this book for the world to think and ponder the voices of the poets. I believe her love for peace will certainly record history on the world peace map, which will indirectly documented that the world’s inhabitants love and crave for peace and no-war. I am also personally happy and with a willing heart will provide as much help as I can if that desire is to be realized. In joy I close my writing with a poem of my own.
GOD IS THE CREATOR
God is the Creator
the most conscientious of the wise
Creating the world
Man is servant created begins with one
from the ground and mud
Don’t walk with arrogance and proud
The most perfect creation
comes from heaven
gifted with ear eye and heart
mandated to look after planet earth
Equipped with mind and lust
Be wise to administer it
For peace, harmony and tolerance together
The slave of life is dead in the end.
Resurrect to life
Brought to judgement
Sublimeness returns eternally happy to the end
The cruel following lust will always be burned.
29 August 2020
TUHAN MAHA PENCIPTA
Tuhan maha pencipta
maha teliti maha bijaksana
Mereka alam maya
Manusia hamba ciptaan mula satu
dari tanah dari lumpur
usah angkuh jangan takbur
Ciptaan paling sempurna
berasal dari syurga
dikurnia mata telinga hati
diamanah planet bumi
disisip akal dititip nafsu
mohon tadbir bijaksana
aman damai toleransi sama-sama
Hamba hidup sudahnya mati
luhur berakal kembali bahagia kekal ke asal
Zalim bernafsu derita terbakar selalu.
29 Ogos 2020
Ahmad Salleh bin Haji Ahmad
Committee Members of Perak Association of Writers.
NOTE: ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN MALAY LANGUAGE .
TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH BY: JAA JASRIL . EDITED BY: SITI RUQAIYAH HASHIM.