Thursday, August 09, 2007

Usman Awang's Merdeka

"Kita sekarang - dalam cita-cita menuju Malaya merdeka - haruslah membuang semangat perkauman yang berlebih-lebihan. Kerana ini adalah menjadi satu batu penarung terhadap cita-cita Malaya merdeka.

Bagi diri saya tidak ada apa-apa yang dapat diberikan untuk perjuangan Malaya menuju kemerdekaan.
Tetapi jika rasa sanggup membuang semangat perkauman yang berlebih-lebihan bagi diri tiap-tiap orang dan tiap-tiap kaum itu dikatakan satu derma bakti kepada perjuangan ini, maka saya dapat kosongkan dada membuangkan perasaan itu untuk memenuhi isi kemerdekaan kita.

Sesungguhnya saya tidak mengetahui dengan betul apakah kita (orang-orang) yang memperjuangkan kemerdekaan itu akan sanggup pula - kelak - mempertahankan kedaulatan kemerdekaan itu?"
-- excerpt from Usman Awang's "Untuk Malaya Merdeka" - 1952.

I was with Ahirudin Attan. together with about 80 people, at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre yesterday to attend "A Memorable Read of Usman Awang's Untuk Malaya Merdeka".

Among the guests were Usman Awang's family, his close friends and students of UiTM and a secondary school in USJ, Subang Jaya.

Reading "Untuk Malaya Merdeka" were five young people including two of the late Usman Awang's granddaughters -- Katriana Abdul Rahim and Nur Alisa Mohd Yamin.

That was great to have young Malaysians reading the work of Usman Awang, inarguable the country's finest poet.
How fitting that it was about our struggle for independence.
And how relevant those words still are today, more than 50 years later.

The late Usman Awang or better known by his nomme de guerre, Tongkat Warrant, was one of the country's foremost literary figures who was known to be a humanist, a passionate lover of peace and humanity.
Decades ago, even before Merdeka, Usman was promoting his belief in a "bangsa Malaya".

His passion for what he believed in resonates in his works of literature.

Dr MK Rajakumar, a life-long friend was there to say a few words for his dear friend.
He said Usman Awang was deserving of the nobel prize. He was Malaysia's greatest poet whose works must not be forgotten.

"Young people must reclaim our rich heritage...don't leave it to the politicians to do that.
We must not forget these great is up to you to reawaken the spirit of the greatest poet we ever had," he said, in tribute of Usman who died on Nov 29, 2001.

His daughter and eldest child, Haslina, through their family company UA Enterprises Sdn Bhd, is printing some of his unpublished works and also reprinting his poems, short stories and novels.

At the function, a reprinted hard-cover "Tulang2 Berserakan" was on sale.
The event was sponsored by The Miss Malaysia-India Care Association.


Anonymous said...

Hello there,

It struck me that it is a commercial company belonging to the late Usman Awang family that handled his literary rights.

Why is it not a foundation in the name of Usman Awang that manage this? What difference is it , eg in many other parts, it is a foundation that handles such activity. I am aware all this things are not cast in stone and in this case it is a commercial company.



yes it is..
ideally, of course, a foundation shoul be managing. i am not sure if one already exists.
i know, though, it is not that easy to set up a foundation.
so i really don't know what the situation...

Rockybru said...


An Usman Awang Foundation would be appropriate, I agree. If this man is the greatest poet Malaysia has ever seen, establishing a foundation in his name is not stretching it. But you need RM1 million, at least, to set up a foundation. The family of the late Usman does not have that kind of money. The poet was not a wealthy man in the worldly sense. Perhaps this is a job for Rais' ministry. But living poets must fight for it and must want a foundation in the name of Usman Awang.

In the absence of a foundation, the daughter has done a good job in making sure that we remember Usman and his works and that the younger generation get to know why this man became an icon.

I was told yesterday it has been quite tough on the daughter and the company to find sponsorship for an event like yesterday. You know who helped sponsor yesterday's tea? The Miss Malaysiaindia Care Association, which is a non-profit organisation made up of former winners and participants of the Miss MalaysiaIndian Global!

Two of the Association's office bearers were/are staff of the Malay Mail, the paper where I was editor until March last year.


Thanks..I've inserted the name of the sponsor of the event.

Elly said...

Dear Nuraina,

I LOVE Usman Awang's works. Period. As a poet, he is indeed an idol to me. I wonder if there's anybody out there - particularly among the younger generation of Malaysian poets - who is as good as him...

Ayah said...

Read tulang berserakan long time ago... didn't really know it was his book...

Anonymous said...

You know Nuraina - there's no need to set up a foundation or any of these modern, corporate traps to honour someone's greatness, especially that of a literary figure!

He will be remembered by those who loved and respected his work/works! And for a writer (like you and Rocky and Marina)the greatest fulfilment is having people read what you write - however silly!

There's no greater compliment and no greater acknowledgement!

Do you really believe in all these awards that bodies and organisations heap on the people they select, most in very biased circumstances and with flimsy criteria.

Usman Awang's family must continue to promote his writings in the quiet, unobtrusive way they are doing - and so must you!

Tak payahlah big fanfare and ego trips!

Lily Abdullah said...

Salam kak Ena,

Saya memang peminat Pak Usman Awang. Lihatlah betapa cinta orang lama terhadap agama dan negara. Sorry - out of topic sikit. Tak tulis sikit ke pasal "budak terlebih kreatif - Nawawee" tu? Bagi saya dia memmang kreatif tak bertempat.

Anonymous said...

foundation or no foundation is not enough. what we need is a continuous effort on everybody's part to ensure that our heritage - as mr rajaram put it - is not forgotten. we need to reclaim usman awang and his beautiful works. we can't let them go to waste. his daughter should not be left alone do to this. the government, especially the relevant ministry, should champion the efforts. organise an Usman Awang corner at Istana Budaya, or something. the corporations can do the same. let's not an no-profit organisation like the MissIndia association shoulder the burden.

Come on Malaysia, surely we can do better for a true, great Malaysian like Usman Awang!

Anonymous said...

old female fart:
in malaysia, kalau tak glamour orang tak ambik tahu. kalau pak lah atau najib yang launch anything, benda tu jadi penting dan akan mendapat coverage yang luas di akhbar. kalau senyap-senyap dan subtle, lama-lama senyap langsung! percayalah.

jaflam said...

NAS, we have only few great writers. They should be remembered, quoted and referred to by current writers. Usman Awang like P. Ramlee is our heritage to propel our new writers and art lovers to do better then them.

Hope the Govt and public will give better support to A Samad Said who is still alive and producing.

Anonymous said...

Minat P Ramlee,

Saya setuju sungguh orang Malaysia, terutama orang Melayu sudah terbawa-bawa dengan "glamour". Ini berpunca dari tabiat orang Melayu sukakan benda-benda yang cantik molek dan indah permai dan gilang gemilang! Ini tertanam dalam hati sanubari mereka - suka bergaya walau pun papa! biar mati anak jangan mati adat! jangan derhaka kepada raja dan negara!

Mereka tatang pemimpin macam menatang minyak penuh dan mengagung-agungkan sesuatu/ seseorang sampai terkata!

Tapi - kalau marah nanti jagalah! Semuanya akan dibongkar sampai gebar dan bilik tidur orang pun diceroboh!

So minat P Ramlee, WHAT TO DO? Should we just go along with the herd mentality?

I SAY NO! It's up to us to change this behaviour!

backStreetGluttons said...

in the context of the current fierce and dangerous multi-storms brewing on the local horizon , such sincere apolitical tributes to literary works such as UA is like a fresh but really passing breeze but nevertheless still a most welcome relief

A Voice said...

Tongkat Warrant speak of Bangsa Malaya from the perspective of humanity, compassion and patriotism.

All Blog Merdeka function seems MOSTLY legal practitioner, legal academics and legal politicians.

As usual, lawyers will be disinterested to consider sociology, economics, realpolitik and history even. In their subtle arrogant ways, they will talk of the law and nothing but the law is supreme. Irrespective, their perspective of the society, economics, politics, religion, and hsitory will be only from the perspective of law. As usual lawyers have the subtlety of a battering ram that lacks the ability to comb and refine issues.

The makan and social session sounds like a better preposition ....


I know it is easy to dismiss this as just another agenda...this time by a bunch of lawyers.
I'd probably too... but like I said..I had very little faith in lawyers until I met Haris Ibrahim and Malik Imtiaz.
I don't have to share their ideology, beliefs, maxim, mantra..whatever. But i know I share their humanity. They do have that. to me, they have shown a different face (of lawyers).
Yes, of course...tongkat warrant's Bangsa Malaya was borne out of his belief in equality, humanity.... much the same as Haris' and Imtiaz's.
I wouldn;t dismiss this at all. I'd want to hear them out.
If you can so easily dismiss them, then, I can so easily dismiss the lot of politicians or supporters of political parties.
if you do, then i'd think that you were a bigot. i know you are not.

A Voice said...

Bigot in Oxford Dictionary means "Obstinate and intolerent adherent of a creed or view".

Thats the thing abt ole timer journalist, they have a way with words.

I am not obstinate and intolerent but suffer from legal-intolerence and accountant-sickness.

OK Ok I'll come but ... one mention of "Constitution is supreme" and I m out for a smoke.

People power and not lawyer power!

BaitiBadarudin said...

Sdr old female fart,
Saya bersetuju dengan sebahagian yang sdr katakan kepada Minat P Ramlee.
Terutama dengan tabiat orang Melayu yang suka berselindung, berlapik dan berkias sehingga orang tak faham atau salah faham dengan apa yang dimaksudkan.
Kenapa tidak boleh tampil ke hadapan, bersemuka dan berterus terang sahaja?
Tak ada buang masa dll.
Atau terlalu menjaga kedudukan dan takut jatuh air muka ke?
Tentang "biar mati anak jangan mati adat", apakah sdr berpendapat bahawa anak-anak dibiarkan tak tahu dan tak mahu mengikut adat? Biar tiada adap atau biadap?
Tentang "bongkar sampai gebar dan bilik tidur orang pun diceroboh" bukan ekslusif pada orang Melayu sahaja, kalau tidak tiada 'paparazi' dan 'tabloid'. Dalam kebanyakan keadaan, orang yang 'diceroboh' memang sengaja menunjuk-nunjuk untuk mendapat perhatian dan liputan.
"WHAT TO DO? Should we just go along with the herd mentality?
I SAY NO! It's up to us to change this behaviour!"
Apakah sdr sendiri sanggup berubah dan berdailog dengan saya secara bersemuka?
Jangan biar saya tertunggu! Wassalam.



cool! see u there! like i said, you aint no bigot.

Husin Lempoyang said...


Sesuatu menganai orang Melayu yang harus disanjungi dan harus difahami oleh orang bukan Melayu dan orang asing adalah ketinggian budi dan bahasa yg juga menjadi budi bahasa.

Cara cakap berselindung, berlapik dan berkias bukan sahaja kedapatan dikalangan orang Melayu sahaja. Malah orang2 kelas atasan British dan orang2 Eropah dari negeri2 tertentu, terutama yang ada tradisi tamadun yang tinggi, menggunakan cara kata budi yang sama. Harap ini memberi gambaran akan betapa tingginya nilai budi bahasa orang Melayu.

Tetapi seperti juga orang di rantau sini, kita kadang2 terlalu pentingkan maruah atau airmuka seseorang hingga dimana letaknya amar makruf nahi mungkar. Memang benar orang melayu takut konfrantasi dan bersemuka melainkan kalau merek asudah naik marah. Apabila sudah terlepas ketahap marah, tidak ada yg boleh merubah "ketegasan" mereka.

Kalau diperhati kata bahasa arwah Usman Awang, sesuatu yang kritis dan tegas boleh dilakukan dengan bahasa yang tidak perlu kurang ajar. Saya amat meminati cara Usman Awang begini yg boleh terus terang tanpa menyakitkan hati dan menjatuhkan air muka, namun masih tegas.

BaitiBadarudin said...

Sdr Husin Lempoyang, saya tiada halangan jika "cara cakap berselindung, berlapik dan berkias" untuk tujuan yang murni, bukan disalahguna untuk memanipulasi orang lain sambil melindungi diri sendiri.

CCK said...


Creating a foundation in the traditional sense would be too expensive without support from the ones with money/power.

Perhaps the good people that had been trying to keep the memories of Usman Awang alive can make use of the web and create a site dedicated to him?

This approach would be a lot cheaper and a more convenient way for people to get to know the man.

This would also allow the other people like Dr Rajakumar who knew Usman Awang to capture and share their memories before it is too late (they are getting older by the day).

Hopefully, sometime in the future a sponsor with the means would step forward and do more than this.

Domain names containing "usman-awang" (.net, .org ec.) are still available.

All the best.

Anonymous said...

can anybody help me...
macamana nak berhubung dengan keturunan "d late Usman Awang and Tun Dr. Ismail"
Did anybody noe bout how to contact them....
Btw,thanks guys

rendrazaleigh. said...

hey! iwas there and recite the most wonderful poem. update me and pls do invite me if there event yeah!