Monday 29 December 2008
Thirteen Years Ago - Almost to the Day
Last night, two good friends, Shakila and Mus came to visit us with their son Shazwan, who is now a hulking young lad of 19 (?) 20 (?) but never mind his age - he still laughs like he did 13 years ago, except in a deep baritone range.
While we were talking about acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, deep laughter interfered with our serious discussion. Shazwan was reading :
Hempa'ti Dempa'ti dudok di-pagar
Hempa'ti Dempa'ti jatoh ta'sadar:
Semua kuda raja dengan semua orang gaji
Ta'dapat angkat Hempa'ti dan taroh balek lagi.
followed by :
Suleman Piatu, beranak hari satu,
Beri nama hari dua, kawin hari tiga,
Kena sakit hari ampat, terok pada jema'at,
Mati hari anam, di-tanam hari minggu,
Itu lah penghabis Suleman Piatu.
He was reading Haji's Book of Malayan Nursery Rhymes by A.W. Hamilton, first published in Australia, 1947. The Preface states these Nursery Rhymes were first published in pamphlet form at the time of the Malaya-Borneo Exhibition in 1922. Would anyone out there be able to offer the original English rhyme? ( Mum's the word Shazwan.) No prizes offered but this
precious book has both versions.
For this I am eternally grateful to Ruth, my mother-in-law. She collects junk like me. (Oh dear, that sentence has a very ambiguous meaning). What I mean is : Like me, she also collects junk but hers is top notch stuff.
'Twas wonderful to catch up with Shakila and her two boys .
If a man does not make new acquaintance as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man, Sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair. Samuel Johnson.
Maal Hijrah and Happy 2009 to All.
AND I WEEP FOR YOU, PALESTINE. May your sons and daughters keep the faith and the courage.