Patriotism through poems, songs


KUALA LUMPUR: It was a night of patriotic performance poetry as writers and poets showed their love for the country at a poetry recital programme organised by Berita Harian in collaboration with Kuala Lumpur Writers Association (Kalam) and International Languages Teacher Training Institute at Balai Berita here yesterday.

The “Malam Puisi Riong: Karya Negaraku” event gathers people from different backgrounds to share their experiences and opinions on current issues through poems and songs.

The event aims to encourage not only the continuity of arts and culture, but also to deliver a message of nationalism, love and aspiration for the homeland by commemorating important events in the nation’s history that should never be forgotten.

New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Bhd (NSTP)  chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Jalil Hamid, in his opening speech, said literature, especially poetry, combined both intellect and emotions in expressing the bigger picture of human civilisation.

He said the event, which had been held since the 1970s, marked BH’s 60th anniversary which also coincided with the number of years since the nation’s independence.

Harian Metro group editor Datuk Mustapa Omar read Negaraku Cintaku while BH group editor Datuk Mahfar Ali recited Api Merdeka.

Others who performed were Tarmizi Kassim (Bersila di atas Tikar Merdeka), Buck Lee Pik Seng (Tunas Pahlawan), Asfan Shah (Negeri Bertuah Ini), Muhammad Lutfi Ishak (Puisi), artistes from Kalam, SM Zakir (Perjalanan Negaraku), Syed Amran (Selamat Malam Rohingya), Dr Raja Rajeswari Seetha Raman (Pertiwi Sejati) and Zainal Palit (Ingatan Kepada Kawan Rapat).

Present was Datuk Ibrahim Yahaya, who is the press secretary to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Malam Puisi Riong, which was mooted in 1997, was stopped at one point but BH took the initiative to revive the programme in 2009, with plans to make it a monthly event so that the younger generation can appreciate poetry.

It was also used to voice protest against the invasion of Iraq in 2003, with the theme Suara Kemanusiaan.