SPEECH: MY FAVOURITE WRITER
My favourite writer is our first National Laureate Kamaludin Muhammad or more popularly known as Keris Mas. Allow me to share a bit about the background of my favourite writer, Keris Mas. He was born on 10 June 1922, in Kampung Ketari, Bentong Pahang. He had his early education at a Malay School till standard 5 and later he was sent by his family to Sumatera to further his education at Tawalib School. He then pursued his education at Maktab Perguruan Islam in Indonesia to do a teaching diploma to enable him to be a religious teacher. However, he passed llmu Umum, and not a field in religious studies as expected by his family. In 1940, Keris Mas returned to Malaya and went to Singapore, and registered at Pitman College to take a University of London Matriculation exam. However, he had to terminate his studies with the outbreak of World War 11.
His career with Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) started when Ungku Aziz who was the Director of DBP offered him to work at Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka which at that time was in Johor Bahru. Keris Mas accepted the offer and started his work as a general writer in December 1956 and finally became the Head of the Development and Expansion of the Literature Unit, till he retired on 10 June 1977.
I am always amazed every time I read his writings, whether, its his poetry or his novels which revolves around problems faced by a community, national struggles, the emergency era and post independence socio-politic issues, which in retrospective brought back memories of his experiences from the period of the 1940s till Malaya achieved its independence in 1957. In reading his writings, it has shaped my thoughts and perceptions about life and the struggles of a race. Keris Mas - a strict and eloquent orator, was of the opinion that the complacent attitude of the Malays had resulted in the lost of the Malay states, the race being oppressed by others and their thoughts brainwashed by the colonial...