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Poetry

The following poems were commissioned to mark the opening and reopening of Reflections at Bukit Chandu.

"Adnan & Comrades, Bukit Chandu" was penned by the eminent Singapore poet and literary figure Edwin Thumboo in 2002. It pays tribute to the enduring values of Malay Regiment soldiers and their sacrifices during World War Two.

In 2021, the National Museum of Singapore commissioned a piece by Malay poet and singer-songwriter Noorhaqmal Mohamed Noor. Titled "Tanah Sang Perwira" or A Hero's Land, it was recited at the digital premiere on 8 September 2021 to mark the reopening of Reflections at Bukit Chandu.


 

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Adnan & Comrades, Bukit Chandu

Deep rumbling guns; sharp whistle in the air;
Their shells rip up and churn our earth.
Then attacks propelled by fury. Yet no despair,
No crack in our resolve. Freedom’s worth

Is blood we shed. Our cause is just:
Our sacrifice will never, ever, be in vain.
Ta’at Setia: we hold our hill, we must.
Come comrades, duty stirs our souls again.


The enemy are many; we are few

At one strategic point they boldly came.
Across a stream, up ravines sweet with dew.
We bayonet-drove, we slew; left many lame.
From that clash their hatred grew.

Days and nights are sad with mourning;
Houses broken; those four children we can’t find;
And for the dead, the dying and the groaning.
War has no glory, only what’s bitterly unkind.

We may yield the moment, not our inner self:
A soldier’s oath, made solemnly, we keep.
Cherish duty, honour, the fellowship of life itself.
These are, as you who visit are,

Companions of our memory; guardians of our sleep.


– Edwin Thumboo, 2002

 

 

Tanah Sang Perwira

 

ini bukan tanah sang perwira

yang matinya mainan tuhan-tuhan dunia

 

ini tanah perwira

sumpah setia pada nama

negara dan bangsa

 

tanah jadi saksi

bedilan motar

asap dan peluru

bom dan senapang

bertabur jadi pusaka

 

tanah jadi saksi

seksaan dunia

antara insan

menyemai kebencian

lalu hilang peri kemanusiaan

 

tanah jadi saksi

bicara pena pada kertas

dalam janji tak tertunas

merdeka dirampas-rampas

 

tanah terus jadi saksi

setiap nama wira

setia pada tanah

pada tembok tugu

jadi parut pada hati

setiap ibu, ayah, saudara, anak dan isteri

 

akhirnya

keperwiraan hadir

keamanan mekar

saat ketakutan lebur

meski jasad terkubur

– Noorhaqmal Mohamed Noor

Singapura, 2021

A Hero’s Land

This is not a hero’s land
whose death are toys to the gods of the world

this is a hero’s land
whose pledge of loyalty are to the name
country and nation

the land bears witness
to mortar blasts
smoke and bullets
bombs and guns
scattered as heritage

the land bears witness
to the world’s torture
between humans
sowing hatred
until humanity is lost

the land bears witness
to the pen’s speeches on paper
in promises not fulfilled
freedom continually seized

the land continues to bear witness
every heroes’ name
loyal to the land
placed on walls of monuments
are scars on the hearts
of every mother, father, sibling, child and wife

in the end
heroism exists
peace blooms
the moment fear dissolves
even if the body lies buried

 

– Noorhaqmal Mohamed Noor

Singapore, 2021