The relevance of Said Zahari

Yesterday, I visited the #Occupiers at Dataran Merdeka, and listened to Fahmi Reza as he recited a poem by a journalist from 43 years ago, lamenting the black day that was May 13, 1969.

Hidden Hands – Said Zahari

(written after racial riots in Kuala Lumpur)

Once again
History repeats itself
By savage deeds
In a civilised age

Once again
Hidden hands appear
Seeking the blood
Of the poor and the wretched

Once again
Colour, race, religion and language
Become sharp blades
To use in the carnage

It has happened
In every corner of the earth
Where the few eat bread
And the rest sand

It has happened
Where the few clothed in velvet
Sleep in palaces
The rest go naked, squeezed into shacks

It has happened —
Then Hidden Hands reappear
Spilling the blood of the poor
To cling on to power

May, 1969

This poem was originally written in Malay and published in 1973 by Abadi Printers as part of “Poems From Prison by Said Zahari, who was the Editor of Utusan Melayu before his arrest under the Internal Security Act in Singapore in 1963 and remained under detention for 17 years. He was released in 1980. 

credit- SinChew.


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