THE POET LATIFF MOHIDIN * Born in 1941 * A celebrated artist and poet *Studied art in Germany, France and America. * Received Malaysia’s National Literary Prize and Southeast Asian’s Writer Award in 1984
IN THE MIDST OF HARDSHIP LATIFF MOHIDIN At dawn they returned home their soaky clothes torn and approached the stove their limbs marked by scratches their legs full of wounds but on their brows there was not a sign of despair The whole day and night just passed they had to brave the horrendous flood in the water all the time between bloated carcasses and tiny chips of tree barks desperately looking for their son’s albino buffalo that was never found They were born amidst hardship and grew up without a sigh or a complaint now they are in the kitchen, making jokes while rolling their cigarette leaves translated by Salleh Ben Joned
IN THE MIDST OF HARDSHIP SETTING Place: A village where a flood has recently occurred. Time: The Present PERSONA The persona is probably a visitor or a person who has lived with the villagers.
Poverty and hardship
Resilience and perseverance
Hardship and suffering build character.
Positive thinking s important when faced with life’s challenges
We must carry on and persevere despite hardship
Be thankful for the comforts you have
Empathize with the poor and do all you can to help them.
TONE AND MOOD
Impressed by how villagers accept hardship
This poem paints a realistic picture of life in a Malaysian /Indonesian/ rural setting.
The villagers live in hardship and poverty, made more difficult by natural disasters like flood and storms.
However, they accept their fate and make the best of their situation .
IN THE MIDST OF HARDSHIP Meaning of the Stanza 1 At dawn they returned home their soaky clothes torn and approached the stove their limbs marked by scratches their legs full of wounds but on their brows there was not a sign of despair
The occupants of the house have just returned home at daybreak.
Their wet clothes are torn and their arms and legs are covered with scratches and wounds.
They walk to the stove in the kitchen.
Though it has been a rough day, they do not appear unhappy .
Meaning of Stanza 2 The whole day and night just passed they had to brave the horrendous flood in the water all the time between bloated carcasses and tiny chips of tree barks desperately looking for their son’s albino buffalo that was never found
The people of the house had been out in the floodwaters for the past 24 hours.
They were looking for their son’s albino buffalo, which they never found.
As they waded in the floodwaters, they saw signs of destruction, such as dead animals and parts of trees
IN THE MIDST OF HARDSHIP Meaning of Stanza 3 They were born amidst hardship and grew up without a sigh or a complaint now they are in the kitchen, making jokes while rolling their cigarette leaves
The persona observes that though these people were born into hardship, they never complained nor were they letting it get them down.
Instead they took the situation in their stride and even had time to sit around the kitchen making jokes and enjoying a smoke.
Set in the past.
The scene could also be in the present in the more remote areas of the country.
The poems opens with dawn when the family returns home and is relaxing in the kitchen.
They have spent the entire previous day and night in the floodwaters searching for a buffalo.
A remote village where life is simple and the people live in hardship and poverty.
A flood has just occurred causing destruction to livestock and crops.
The scenes take place out in the flooded village and inside the house
The persona is one who has visited or lived the rural folk he is describing.
He is observant about attitudes, appearance, habits and the culture of the people.
The persona is sympathetic.
He understands and admires the villagers for their positive and cheerful attitude as they soldier on despite their troubles.
The main theme of the poem is hardship suffered by this rural community.
They suffer physically (“their limbs marked by scratches”) and also emotionally and mentally (“desperately looking for their son’s albino buffalo”)
POVERTY AND HARDSHIP
An important sub-theme is the vllage folk’s resilience and perseverance. Despite the many adversities, they still carry on with life ( “making jokes” and “rolling their cigarette leaves” as if they do not have any problems.
THEMES RESILIENCE AND PESERVERANCE
Although at times we may suffer hardship more than we celebrate triumph, we should see this as an opportunity for personal character growth. This will allow us to be self-reliant.
MESSAGES HARDSHIP AND SUFFERING BUILD CHARACTER
We should not sit and mope and feel sorry for ourselves whenever we have a problem. If we have a positive attitude, the challenge will be less unpleasant and easier to manage.
POSITIVE THINKING S IMPORTANT WHEN FACED WITH LIFE’S CHALLENGES MESSAGES
Life is a continuous journey with ups and downs along the way.
It is the way we approach the adversities that will truly show our mettle and vigour of life.
People admire and look up to a strong and persevering person, therefore we should be brave and carry on with living despite the problems we may face.
WE MUST CARRY ON AND PERSEVERE DESPITE HARDSHIP MESSAGES