Because tomorrow promises only dispossession
we thus cling to yesterday, floating
with the straw of time, that will
set the present & future adrift.
We are too obsessed with guardianship of this heritage
that we have not evaluated, & forgotten to question,
how suddenly a storyteller may appear
to teach us the language of laughter & forgetfulness,
while our tale is yet not ended.
This stage has seen Fansuri sages,
philosophers, scholars, artists,
is it through loose acts &
that we shall fortify a tragedy?
Written in Malay (‘Alkisah’) by: Rasiah Halil
19 October 1982
Victoria Memorial Hall, Singapore – Kent Ridge, NUS, Singapore
Translated to English by: Muhammad Haji Salleh.