Revisiting a Good Novel: ‘Di Bumi Mana’


Some people think that politics is a taboo. Don’t ever try to tell me that, because ever since I could think on my own, I have some kind of interests on politics.

When I came to think about it, I have to say that I am one of those Malaysians who were awaken by September 1998 event, where Anwar Ibrahim was accused of sodomy, along with some other unproven accusations which had him jailed for six years before being released.

God created me with the capacity of being easily angered, and in some silly situations, acting upon it. I guess to become more politically-aware is one of this trait’s immediate impact. In case you are defining this political-inclination as merely being partisan, you are wrong. Being aware politically could also mean that you know how and why you should practice your rights. and for being easily angered, I knew that just despising injustice was not enough when you can do some more with your vote.

I guess what I read during that political storm (the first tsunami eh?) did influence my view on government. My parents read Tamadun and bought Harakah. And of course, an avid reader like me will read whatever materials I had in hand and I have to say now that these periodicals did influence my view on government,as much as some novels I read.

Well, I have to say that I first knew the now very famous writer, Faisal Tehrani from his novel ‘ Cinta Hari-hari Rusuhan’ – a love story with student activism background. And there was another novel, I was unable to read it on my first trial (probably because I was too young, still in primary school), and gladly finished it the next time I tried a few years after that, a book written by Suratman Markasan entitled ‘Di Bumi Mana’, published by DBP in 1996.

And the latter was a good one about a group of students who fought for the abolishment of ISA, freedom of speech and some other issues, which had the hero, Senja, detained under ISA. I managed to dig the bookshelf, and found it, thinking of reading it again but then hold back that decision because there are other books I should finish first. I Googled the author’s name – and found a bit on the author:

Suratman Markasan

Suratman was born in Singapore on 1930. After undergoing training at the SITC in Perak in 1950, he taught at primary and secondary schools. He furthered his education at Nanyang University in 1968. Soon after graduating with a bachelor in Malay Studies in 1971, he thought at the Tun Seri Lanang Secondary. In 1976, he was appointed as inspector, Malay Language and Literature at the MOE. In 1980, he became the Assistant Director Malay and Tamil Studies. A year later he was appointed as lecturer at the NIE and retired in 1985.

Some of his books that have been published include: Tak Ada Jalan Keluar (novel); Matahari Kota (ss); Gerak dan Dialog (ss); Jalan Permulaan (poems); Subuh Hilang Senja (novel); Perempuan Kerudung Hitam (ss); Potret Isteri Yang Hilang (poems); Tiga Lelaki (novel); Di Bumi Mana (novel); Penghulu Yang Hilang Segala-galanya (novel); Kembali Kepada Al-Quran (ss); Puisi Luka dan Puisi Duka (poems) and Bangsa Melayu dalam Transformasi Budayanya (essay).

He received the SEA Writers Award in 1989; the Montblance-NUS Centre for the Arts Literary Awards in 1997; Nusantara Literary Award in 1999; Tun Seri Lanang Literary Award in 1999 and Anugerah Pujangga in 2003.(source)

And yeah, he writes poems too. Maybe I should try to find some more of his books (this could be challenging, I’m sure they are non-existent in MPH or Popular). After all, a writer with so big an influence in my life is sure worth more than just one book.

I found his poem on Imeem. Enjoy.

Puisi – Negara di Dalam Mindaku – Suratman Markasan

Well, books are meant to change the world. They just are.

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One comment

  1. I love this post a lot. I hate politic so much but it seems the more I hate, the closer it gets to me. There is an old saying “to love is to forgive”. Should I forgive politic too?

    There were two attacks of politic tsunami in Penang and I have seen a lot. There is always good and bad come in a package same with the government that held us before. Nothing much to say about changing or maybe it is still new to jump into conclusion.

    I listen to your imeem, the poem. It is so lovely. Open my mind and eyes wide. I agree totally with what he said. I don’t know much about history anymore. I keep myself busy with new politic and I forgot how it was before. I should dig from the beginning again… the root. I will… and thanks for the info about author too. Maybe I will get myself a copy of each book in Borders. Hopefully they have them.

    Let me know if there is any post like this in the future as I don’t follow manga or comic 🙂

    Salam.

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