Mohamed Latiff Mohamed (b. 1950)

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1. BIOGRAPHY

2. CRITICAL INTRODUCTION

3. SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

4. SELECTED POEMS

5. SELECTED VIDEOS


SELECTED POEMS

Bangsaku di hari lahirku

Mereka berkumpul lagi
cerita fasal harga membukit tinggi
beca rosak karat menanti
perut isteri buncit lagi
          Inilah bangsaku 

Mereka berkumpul lagi
bicara bakal kerja apa patut dicari
sekolah sudah berhenti
sijil angka enam di hujung kaki
          Inilah bangsaku 

Mereka berkumpul lagi
di flet-flet mencakar langit
di hotel-hotel tegak membukit
di casino-casino berderet
anakanakku menggangguk menunduk
minta kerja tukang sapu putung rokok
          Inilah bangsaku

Di kilauan sains dan teknologi
di puncak politik dunia sepi
di kederasan ekonomi
ummiku punya mimpi sendiri
punya nasib sendiri
punya takdir sendiri
di kiri duri di kanan api.

by Mohamed Latiff Mohamed
from The Poetry of Singapore (1985)


My People, My Birthday

The meet again
and talk about exorbitant prices
an old trishaw waiting in vain
one's wife is expecting again
          And they are my people.

They meet again
to look for suitable jobs that remain
for they are drop-outs from school
their primary six certificates of the lowest grade
          And they are my people.

They meet again
in high-rise flats
in high-class hotels
and at casinoes the young queue up
bowing and scraping
begging to be scavengers
          And they are my people.

Despite the brilliance of science and technology,
the solitary world of political ideology
and the fast changing economy
my mother has a dream of her own
a fate of her own,
a destiny all her own,
lying in between fire and thorns.

by Mohamed Latiff Mohamed
translated from the Malay by Hamed Ismail
from The Poetry of Singapore (1985)


My People On My Birthday

They gather again
speak a tale of rising prices
broken rickshaw rust awaits
wife’s belly’s swollen again
          These my people

They gather again
talk of what work’s fit to be found
already stopped school
primary six certs at toe-tips
          These my people

They gather again
in skyscraping flats
in upright piled-up hotels
in rows and rows of casinos
my children nod, bow,
beg to work as janitors cigarette rollers
          These my people

At the flash of science and technology
at the lonely peak of world politics
in mercurial economy
my mother dreams her own
dooms her own
destines her own
thorns on the left on the right fire

by Mohamed Latiff Mohamed
translated from the Malay by Tse Hao Guang
from The Poetry of Singapore (1985)

 

SELECTED POEMS: “Portet Singapura” >