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Misrudin Anwar (affectionately known as ‘Din’), was invited by our team at Voice of Dementia, Dementia Singapore’s newsletter, to compose three poems in Malay. Known as a ‘pantun’, the poems consist of even-numbered rhyming lines to express intricate ideas and emotions.

As of 2023, Din is 75 years of age. He was diagnosed with vascular dementia in April 2019 after suffering a stroke in August 2017. Din was previously a German language teacher and often enjoyed writing Malay poems before the stroke. He and his wife, Maya Anwar, are graduates of Voices for Hope, an empowerment programme at Dementia Singapore that aims to bring persons living with dementia and their care partners on a self-advocacy journey.

 

Jika merenung ke arah langit

Pada bintang pada bulan

Perasaan megah usahlah bangkit

Bongkak dan sombong engkau jauhkan

 

Ingatlah pada bumi

Pada rumput pada lumpur

Itulah tempat kita kan pergi

Itulah tempat jasad terkubur

Translation:

When gazing at the sky,

The stars and the moon.

Let pride pass you by,

Do not let arrogance swoon.

 

Remember the Earth,

the grass, the mud.

Our final resting place

when our souls depart.

Din and his granddaughter, Lydia Yasmin

 

Sungguh indah bulan purnama

Terang menarik di balik awan

Lydia Yasmin cucu pertama

Akalnya cerdik wajah menawan

Translation:

Just as the lovely full moon,

is shining in the sky so bright.

So is Lydia Yasmin,

My brilliant and beautiful grandchild.

 

Ikat jerami di pohon kelapa

Jerami dibawa ke tepi muara

Jika kami mudah terlupa

Maafkan kami pesakit demensia

 

 

Ikat jerami milik cik nyonya

Untuk dibawa ke pulau seberang

Jika kami sering bertanya

Ingatan kami sudah berkurang

Translation:

Tie up the straw under coconut trees

Straw to be sent to the river banks

If we forget easily,

Excuse us, it’s the dementia.

 


Tie up the straw from the nyonya

To be sent across the island

We repeat our questions

Because our memories have dampened.

This post was first published in Voice of Dementia (Vol.6, Issue 1), a newsletter by Dementia Singapore.

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