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For everything we absorb, there have to be an act of cleansing. Cleansing the western intellectuality that affects our belief. Because life is NOT actually a mystery. But there are mysteries in life.

Believe it of not, I took a stroll to the top a hill one morning. The same old hill (one of many) that I used to ride my bicycle around when I was a kid, pissing off monkeys, picking up cherries and pretending to be soldiers. In the old days, there were not many people on the hills. There were stray dogs, hence justifying the usefulness of a slingshot at that time. I can play as much as I want until it’s time to go home. Now, as I was walking to the top, I came across a handful of people. All with pleasant faces, smiling at me. A lady approached me and asked, “Are you from around here?” I said yes, the hills used to be my playground when I was small. “Good”. She gave me a pat on the back and handed me a pamphlet. I ended up chatting with some old folks and nearly bought a t-shirt they were selling. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring any money.

Back at home I told my mother about it. She smiled and went inside her room. She came back with a red t-shirt printed “Save Taman Melawati Hill”. She already bought the t-shirt for me.

The view from atop of the hill was always spectacular. But the growing image of red earth and chopped trees kept on bugging my view of tranquility
suck! Yeah, people need property and property is money… and green is the colour of money.

terangilah jalan
antara bibir gunung
ke kampungku

aku tau
alangkah sulitnya berjalan
dari lembah lembut lehermu
hingga ke rimba rambut hitam
dan berenang di kilatan matamu

lesung pipimu akan mengizinkan
pabila kusisir hujung bibirmu
dengan tujuh armada di lautan
dan dada nakhodanya
penuh rindu

‘Alma’ – 20 August 1963