Motherland

Motherland is the
Tanah tumpahnya darahku
On her soil my blood spills

Motherland is the
Steaming kuayteow soup served with
Four languages spoken over one small table at a corner shop
The neighborhood’s secret overlooked by
A small dusty red altar
Hanging above beside
Creaking ceiling fan
Laughs about the latest political scandal: Voters Registered in 2018 Disqualified
Tanah tumpahnya darahku

Motherland is the
Hot roads hot tempered drivers hot religious fervor blasting from a mosque nearby
An annoyed uncle yells at a little boy running out of the hut nearby giggling with shillings chasing after
The Musical Ice Cream Man
Wrinkled little mother prepares Rendang at the back of the kitchen with ingredients from her backyard and
Village drama: Malicious Whispers of a Covered Girl Who Got Pregnant

Tanah tumpahnya darahku

Motherland is the
Good morning Puan
Chattering schoolchildren with trolley bags dragged over rising dust
Blue and white uniforms lined up for assembly, canteen, physical education
Coins in their pockets googly eyes looking over the fish pond dirty stockings
Learning to submit and obey while young beaten into
A Lack of Rebellious Spirit by
Canes on each table in a crowded teacher’s room
Tanah tumpahnya darahku

Motherland is
Blood on the country leaders’ hands
As they divide and conquer cut our soil into unequal parts for a feast on a
Bloody election day on a bloody Wednesday picking apart a dismembered population who remembers
A Traumatic Massacre in ’69
Filling our ballots with trembling fingers filling our kitchen shelves with preserved foods or
Sighing from a faraway land as an exiled student hands tied lips shut by
The Fake News Bill
Tanah tumpahnya darahku

 

 

Artwork by Chang Fee Ming, “The Last Puff” 1999

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