"The Yaslehs

Since 1968, when his first poem Sebuah Sumpah Derhaka was published in Majalah Mastika, our dad, yassinsalleh, has written voraciously, but at the same time is so disorganized that we could hardly keep track of what he has written. It is even worse now that he writes his poems in his phone and sms it to us his children. Believe you me, he spent a lot of money on smsing long poem to us that is sometimes lost to accidental deleting. So we, his three children - Yasleh Rita Ayu, Yasleh Hani Wati, and Yasleh Khaliff Amri - decided that enough is enough, we need to keep some kind of record of his poetry, thus the creation of this blog. This will be a cache to collect all his old poems and a safe to keep all his future ones. In the film world, mentioning my dad's name will immediately brings to mind his 10 awards winning film Dia Ibuku in which he personally won 2 - Best Director and Best Screenplay- but in the literary world the poem ikan-ikan di kaca is synonymous to him, hence the name of this blog.

ikan-ikan di kaca
(buat adik-adikku tom dan ani)

pun mentari sudah tiada api
dan bulan yang merdu
sudah sejuk nyanyinya
di hujung jari jemari embun
kita masih belum terlalu lewat
untuk menerima satu hakikat

kita anak-anak satu keturunan
yang menganuti escapisme
selama ini
ikan-ikan di kaca
ikan-ikan di kaca.

ikan-ikan di kaca indah alamnya
ikan-ikan di kaca gemulai renangnya
ikan-ikan di kaca manja hidupnya
ikan-ikan di kaca terpenjara sebenarnya.

tidak lama lagi
akan kering
dan mentari
berapi kembali
kalian sudah mengerti
bahawa kita
selama ini
ikan-ikan di kaca
masihkah kita
ikan-ikan di kaca?

Kuala Lumpur akhir 1969
Dewan Masyarakat, April 1970 "

(dari blog ikanikandikaca)

Dan inisiatif anak-anakku tersayang ini, aku abadikan disini.

Terima kasih Abang, terima kasih Along, terima kasih Adik.

What a wonderful world. - yassinsalleh

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Conversation With Mom 15
Hello Mommy,

It's been a while since I last talked to you. It's not that I don't want to, it's just that I feel as if I am saying the same thing over and over again and I was afraid of sounding trite.

But tonight, I feel like talking with you. You know I always miss you Mom. All of us do all the time.

Dad and Abang is particularly miserable. And dad in specific have not been the same since you've been gone. He is more irritable now and he seems lost without you. He is drowning in his sorrow and I don't know what we can do to help pull him out of his bereavement.

I know you were his soul-mate and you bring balance to his life. You stabilized him. As much as he was your rock when you were alive, you were the pillar of his existence. Now that you are gone his very essence is threatened for you defined the man that he used to be. Without you he have to rebuild his entire make-up and I don't think dad is doing well in rebuilding a life post you.

Mom, how do I help dad regain his sense of self? His life for so long now has been centred around you, but now you are no longer here and it's like he has lost his direction and purpose in life.

How can I help dad when I have no clue of where to begin?

I know dad will read this and he will brush my lamentations aside. He won't deign to dignify my concerns with an admission of how bereft he is without you. Dad is still dad despite the changes your passing has impose on him. And he is always the strong one and heaven forbids if we should see him crumble.

Mom, the family has not been the same since you left.

There are much resentment and tension in the house. Abang is always saying how the family is not like it used to be when you were still around. Grief is tearing us apart and yet no one is adressing the issue. We are all each suffering in silent and not talking about how your passing has affected the unity of this small family unit.

We are just going on with life and everyday I feel the family growing further and further apart. It's like your passing has left a chasm in between the four of us left and we just can't seem to close the gap to reach each other.

Every one is in their own private hell and there is no solidarity.

I don't know how to heal this wound you left behind Mom. How do I gain back the unified family we once had?

Who would have thought that having you out of the equation would leave everyone in the negative?

Mom, show me the way to repair our shredded heart and to heal the family's broken bonds.

I have not known a truly happy moment in the family ever since you departed.

Help me Mom. Guide me from where ever you are. If this hurt isn't healed, we will never gain that cohesive unity once more.

Sorry if I burden you with our earthly problems, but as when you were alive, you were the only one I could really share my troubles with. I'll leave you for now mom. Hopefully when next we talk, I would have a happier demeanour.

Love always,


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