Friday, July 30, 2010

Iasyr Shivaza

This poem from Soviet Kyrgyzstan is written in the oddly out-of-place language of Dungan, a dialect of Mandarin spoken across Central Asia and written in the Cyrillic alphabet.
The poet in question is Iasyr Shivaza, a.k.a. Ясыр Шывазы a.k.a. 雅斯尔·十娃子, a celebrated Dungan poet.
For those who can read Cyrillic, enjoy!

Source: Rimsky-Korsakoff (1991) (via Wikipedia)

Бый хўтер

Тэйон җошон, бый хўтер, Ни тэ гощин.
Ни лян җин гуон фадини, Чиди чун фын.
Йисыр ни до тяншонли, Зущён бый юн.
Йисыр зу до хуайүанли. Ба щян хуар вын.
Җяр хуардини, вә канди, Ниди щин го.
Дусы ниди да хуайүан, Ни ющир луә.
Ни лян хун хуар фадини, Тэёнйибан.
Дын нидини мо җүхуар. Щүәбый модан...
Нисы чунтян, гуон зоди; Хуар кэди вон.
Зун луәбудо, хўтер-а, Җин фуершон.



Monday, July 19, 2010

He Must Always Believe In Himself

Lake Baikal, July 2010

He was born on the shores of Baikal,
At the dawn of his race.
Before his birth a rainbow-clad pheasant announced his coming;
She came with a silk banner floating alongside her in the air
She came to perch on the highest mountain of the Kamar Daban
And there she proclaimed with a human tongue,
Lo, I give you today this child
The bearer of truth, the liberator of your nation,
The idol of every man and woman and child,
Bastion against the weaknesses of Common Man.

She departed with a blinding flash,
But Jaromil's name was left behind on the banner draped over the rock.
Nine months later he was born
In deep January Baikal was unfrozen in an instant
And the river Angara burst its banks
Three suns graced the heavens above
Adorned by seven rainbows.
All the animals in the wilderness were awakened
They sang in unison with the heavenly bodies
"All praise be to Jaromil,
Nothing can exist without him.
Nothing can have meaning if not for him.
He the most perfect being that has come among us;
Let us never stop loving him!"

In a blinding flash fifteen years had gone by.
In the morning of the deepest January the sun does rarely rise
Jaromil rises from his matress from a good rest.
The decaying hovel does not faze him;
The dismal winter does not deter him.
He believes that he is special.
He believes that one day all things will be below him.
He believes that the day will come when nothing can stop him.
He looks with disdain at the row of houses across the street;
The sad abodes of losers.
He must show them what he is made of.
He must prove to them that he is the most worthy.
He must conquer them with his air of superiority.

In the deepest January, alas, the sun has not risen to accompany him,
Nor has the rainbows made themselves seen.
But the time is not yet here, there are much more important things to do.
Jaromil pulls the blanket over his head again.
He needs more morale to keep himself going:
He must see once again the heralding pheasant;
He must draw more strength from the chorus of beasts;
He must always believe in himself;
He must never stop dreaming.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blogging from Listvyanka

Sleet today by the lake, whereas the first few days here had been quite sunny. It turns out that Listvyanka experiences not summer, but waning spring in the month of July, many thanks to this Lake Baikal that only completes its thawing in June.

The flea markets just outside the hotel sells interesting (if useless) stuff. The Jew's Harps they sell here caught my eye particularly, but they cost 1800 rubles (~S$ 72) apiece. Maybe the other stalls sell it more cheaply, but I'm not setting my hopes too high.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Wall of Water

The night after OAC 2010 ended I had this weird dream. I watched a simulation of a tsunami spreading across the Indian Ocean from the Arabian peninsula, and definitely inundated Singapore. I was too lazy to run, though, and a few days later I was lazing on some front porch when I saw that huge wall of water approaching the house. For a few moments I was totally resigned to my fate, and was wondering what dying in a tsunami would feel like. Then I woke up.