The Seladang 1971

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M. A. S. H.

M. K. S.

That I live this life in happy mind,
A mind to learn and to use,
Let not beauty pass unseen,
Nor music unheard,
Nor joys untasted,
Nor goals unattained;
Time waits not for me,
Waste it not in utter uselessness deceived in unreality,
praying unto emptiness;
Futility it may seem to live and die;
But thus was I born and thus would I live,
But that I may leave this earth a happier place.


I'm the Seladang who thinks.
The Hunter says I belong here.
He does not know that I can toil in the fields
     and bring fruits to the land.
I'm long dead - yet these ignorant people
    keep me in their living rooms.
A dead duck is pretty to the hunter
    as long as it is kept stuffed and hollow.
My own thoughts are silent.
For though I think, I've yet to find a Voice.

"Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;"

You see, I read T. S. Eliot too.
And lots more for that matter.
But I'm still a living room showcase with all my reading.
Can my silent thoughts ever find a Voice? -
For even the non-hunters walk by me
    and admire the beauty of so lifeless a thing
Because they haven't seen a live Seladang,
    they cannot conceive of its natural beauty.


Lim Poh Ann

Considering man's many probes into the world of the unknown we might surmise that much of the world has been explored already. Yet this idea would instantly dissolve if your mind concentrates on the fact that science can open new frontiers of adventure. In its place a shroud of mystery provides us with a new and refreshing challenge. Let there be will power and determination in man. If these human qualities can be acquired, the journey into adventure will continue to beckon us - summoning all our energies and efforts.

Our conscience and mind dictate adventure as centred upon traversing ledges or manoeuvring on the crests of the Everest or, for that matter, any unusual activity demanding raw courage and skill. Adventures of this nature have occurred through the centuries backed by mere curiosity and bravery. Now it has become startlingly clear that the perimeter of adventure is not so limited. Hence it is necessary to swerve from our deep-seated notions and redefine the frontiers of adventure - widen its horizons - to provide man with still many more opportunities.

To begin with, three-quarters of the earth's surface is salt water. The depths of the oceans provide a mystery that few can unravel. Its great store of marine life and haven of natural resources can never really be understood and fathomed. Therefore, it sounds plausible that the Seven Seas will assume the role of rectifying the shortage of food and raw materials in the future. Already man has wandered into the depths of oceans on many occasions. Deep sea divers in bulky steel-encased suits are lowered into the deep to open up oil-prospecting grounds. Bathyscaphs and bathyspheres are machines reaching for greater depths where sunlight is absent and bizarre fish dart around in the darkness with innate illumination.

Beyond this frontier, man's knowledge of the "vast deep" comes almost to a halt. In spite of this he has dispelled any speculation that he will reach a respite. At all costs he will proceed with an intensified research programme. So far seaweed has been recognised as a rich organic food containing fats, proteins, carbohydrates and other plant food, and is a promising raw material for industry.

The pressure and upthrust of water, perhaps the most nerve-racking problems in this endeavour, have since been overcome. And yet there is always a scope for evolving new theories and conclusions, each adding on to the ultimate goal of extracting resources from the sea. Indeed, oceanography provides one of the greatest adventures to man, next to space technology, in the many offshore laboratories, especially in Florida and California.

Towering inexorably above a land traversed by gorges and interspersed by a few signs of vegetation, some of the highest uplands in the world are found. The Tibetan Plateau best epitomizes the impact of mountainous terrain, providing the headwaters for four of the world's greatest rivers. Research workers have envisaged the feasibility of harnessing the power of the water in their upper courses, where they plummet to form waterfalls, swirl through rapids and slice through gorges. Besides this great accumulation of hydroelectric power, this attempt could be used to regulate river waters: to overcome floods and to churn up profitable agricultural pastures. Of late, man has acted upon a more diversified line in the middle courses of rivers. The fishes have been diverted into natural depressions to exploit their reproductivity with new spawning techniques in the hope of feeding Asia's starving millions. This great but silent adventure rages on. It is perhaps the most far-sighted scheme ever to expose the resources that lie in the mountains and the great waterways that pass through them.

Meanwhile, in both hot and cold deserts, another great adventure goes on. Oil rigs and derricks are rising in prolific abundance in the Sahara, Arabia and Alaska. In what was recorded as the largest source of petroleum ever discovered in North America, men from virtually every oil company of stature in the United States have flocked to Alaska's North Slope to bid for leaseholds. The oil hunt has also seen the influx of peoples from the surrounding areas, comprising the labour force required in the oil fields and refineries. Men have braved the biting cold and tearing blizzards. With the thaw, the land has been turned into a huge quagmire, infested with mosquitoes. Ice sheets break off and flow through a country, which, if not for the precious liquid found in it, would support only stunted bushes, lichens and perhaps some wild life.

On the other hand, under the broiling equatorial sun, men pit their energies in the many oil refineries and wells that rise above the desert sands. This rugged country, with the chill of the howling night wind and the shrill whipping sandstorms, is comparable to the other great adventure in the cold Arctic and Antarctic wastes.

Man began his life in this world with inspired thoughts, in search for adventure and greater understanding of the world around him. And with faith he must advance step by step. There is no haphazard hit-or-miss method to succeed. It has to be achieved by meticulous planning, sweat and toil. Only then can the fruits of his adventures be channelled to productive ends.


Al Yung

I am a whimper in the wilderness
A far out cry for love and identity
But with love I will fill the wilderness

And transform it to a paradise
And with identity I will colour my world
With musical shades blending in rhythm and harmony
But until then the wind blows
   and the fierce lightning strikes

For Death shall come
And a whimper fades into silence
And forgotten as quickly as it was heard
A whimper is but a whimper
Without love, without identity

But the Voice that rings so rich and deep persists
Through the many cycles of time and situation
Drowning the bizarre cries of humanity

Dear Mr. Vincent Voo

At every Assembly without a miss,
From 1958 till Monday this,
Your dainty figure rises to the occasion,
And nimble fingers guide the musical oration.

Up and down your fingers fall,
Sometimes low and sometimes tall,
Circles and triangles you trace,
With masterly ease and prefect grace,
Will you never cease to amaze
The thousand eyes which at you gaze
As from airy nothings you draw nimble pace?

Though a thousand times we've sung the Negaraku,
Yet sing us again because of you,
Who into ol' tales breathe life anew
With a talent that's singular, rare and few.

A thousand frogs to nightingales transformed,
Fair weather you make of discordant storm,
But what surpasses this act, this miracle,
Is your person - that steadfast pinnacle,
Who with perfect rhythm and professional ease,
Brings the School to their obedient knees.

The salute which is long overdue,
The Seladang now extends to you.


Goh Chat Leng

I gazed, stared
Consternation - nothing there.
I searched, I found
Descried and nondescript, something there, For beyond the darkest oblivion
Beyond the brightest temporal haven,
Dwells - profundity upon the sanctity of Life.
Oh mundanity, my soul so rife.
Stars, Pleiades, Orion, Andromeda, sapphires in eternity,
Kinsmen all, for a universe in paramount fraternity,
From the minutest atom spans the galactic mammoths,
-All convoluting, all swirling, in Times realm frothing Now real now veiled,
Now turning now churning,
Now deceptive now sublime.
Vulgarity's a web captive, by Greed man is blind.
The third Eye then beckons,
Transcending in its perspicacity opens.
For a new world its dimensions cast.
Yet same, yet different, nothing real. Oh mortal me, how my soul quenched
- My desires slaked in emotions drenched
That I shall live only emancipated
Yet and yet only that self-same identity


Goh Chat Leng

  Thunderous roars, gushing gurgles.
Slimy rocks, rustling murmurs.
Silence flows, clear and clean ...
In shifting sheens
of placid dreams
   Points of focus shift and change
in pulses swift and strange.
Like a vagabond Puck the mind wanders….
in remote bounds beyond ...
the inanes of candour.
  The merest blade gratifies.
Gently cloistered, sparkling dewdrops prized,
Of tiny orbs the rising sun's page.
Words robbed, nature's beauty enraptured.

  Why, such bliss, such elation.
Away from ennui, in discard of ration.
Like a liberated spirit the soul canters ...
in shifting realms of placid dreams.


Al Yung

I come from a land with no adjectives
And find myself caught in a tight web
Where my nouns weigh me down
And my adjectives adorn my shell
My verbs slide over me in rapid succession
Inside my body is this emptiness
     that permeates my tissues
I will get rid of my nouns
     Though I cannot see how
      Because they pile with each passing year
I will try to shed my adjectives
     Though they stick on tighter
     with each passing moment
     Leaving behind adjectives, nouns, verbs
     Let them all disintegrate
     I will go for the land with no adjectives
     A true sanctuary for me


Goh Chat Leng

     What is life but NOT,
Aspirations, sweat, tedium, torment
The sterilising ennui that sickens the body,
and caricates the soul;
Leaving that chasm that denies,
and relinquishes that elixir,
- that ecstasy,
of alleviating (mental) rejoice.
          Sinews of sin intoxicate the mind,
     and invoke the utter vileness of philistinism
     as a substitute to values obscured,
     in selfish preoccupation of things material.
   Was I to retract myself, to be brave
and find a new world,
To find substance in things ethereal,
and discard all values apparent,
Then I was to draw satisfaction,
deep and gratifying,
That one man can indeed rise above spite.
          Then, was I also to gaze far and wide,
     To search and be in quest of
     the paradox about Life,
     about a paradox upon paradoxes,
     about a golden shaft of light.
   Then, I was to find that,
Truly upon an inherent desire,
deep and sincere, penetrating and unwavering,
is to be found an undeniable Truth.
Overwhelming, ubiquitous, eternal.
          Religions dissolve beyond the bounds of realism.
        Earthly guidestones to spiritual discipline,
     derisively mended to cloak man's vile self,
     covered by a thorned mitigation to redemption...
     covered in beseeching palms times over blood tainted.
          Dare we cleanse our hands
     off wanton persecutions, off hatred, off cold beastly lust,
     in one virtual cry of atonement !
     Let us imbibe the sages of the Ancient
     to seek the abiding wisdoms of sincerity
     away from narrow cynicisms shrouding unchaste religious
     patriotisms in the desecrating persecution of fellow men.


Al Yung

   I shed bitter tears for
old love letters
for long-forgotten moments
   of childhood and innocence
   I shed bitter tears
for times like this,
   When I can touch you
   and cherish you
and know that such moments
are transient
   and afraid
   that loneliness
   will fill my lonely moments.
For humanity,
   I cry aloud and bitter
   for they cannot see my tears
they cannot feel my sorrow
   Love is strong
   I love you
and I love the world
for love veils my eyes
   from pain and death.
   For such temporary respites
I cling
   With every tear I shed
with every breath I breathe
I cling to you
   and cannot let you go
   for loneliness is
      strange and cold.

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Created on 5 October 2000.
Last update on 5 October 2000.