Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SI TENGGANG’S HOMECOMING by MUHAMAD HJ. SALLEH



Introduction: The poem talks about how Si Tenggang has undertaken travels and returned home and about the positive influence his travels have had on him.

First stanza

• The journey is not only physical but also a journey into his inner self
• He travels from his homeland to a foreign land
• He has gained knowledge from being in these new places
• He remains it stranger in a foreign land despite the knowledge he has acquired
• He grows and develops as he is exposed to new perspectives
• He realizes the realities change and they give him a sense of maturity

Second stanza

• He feels frustrated because his people fail to understand him
• He begins to love and appreciate his wife more especially since he is rejected by his own people
• His people have their own preconceived ideas about him
• He knows his travels have changed him
• His travels have hardened him and perhaps made him better
• Since he has been away for some time, his relationship with others could have deteriorated

Third stanza

• He made a deliberate attempt to return home
• His travels have given him wisdom and maturity
• His travels have been educational and have given him confidence and new understanding
• He is naïve and therefore cannot be easily cheated
• The journey is a learning experience and one of discovery
• He considers it ‘a teacher’ who shows him the differences in people and their lives and teaches him to gain self-discovery and self-renewal
• Despite his new found knowledge, he is still one of his own people
• He can still distinguish what is good and what is bad
• His travels have made him more tolerant and more open
• He still wants to be part of the community
• He is willing to share his knowledge with others in his homeland

Fourth stanza

• His journeys have made him reject ideas that are in conflict his faith and principles- he will not sacrifice his beliefs
• His knowledge and insights have prepared him with the ability to make choices carefully
• He uses his knowledge and wisdom to decide what to keep and what to reject
• He believes in values that have stood the test of time
• His home draws him back like a magnet
• He still considers his village to be the best – there is no place like home

Fifth stanza

• He has learnt from his travels about the way different people respond to different things
• He has seen imperfect manners but he has not accepted things blindly
• Despite his new-found knowledge, he respects his roots
• He still understands people and all the things that make up ‘people’

Sixth stanza

• He firmly states that he has not changed completely and that he is still a Malay
• He reaffirms all the positive things that have resulted from his travels
• He encounters problems when is in a foreign land but he still remains positive and keeps an open mind
• He emphasizes that he is still a Malay but no longer narrow-minded
• He is free now because he has found what and who he is, he has found peace and contentment – he has found himself

Themes:

1. Expanding one’s horizons through travels (Travels broadens the mind)
2. Importance of one’s roots

Tone/Mood:

a. positive and affirmative
b. pleading and seeking understanding, empathy and sympathy
c. persuasive and gentle (towards the end)

Literal Meaning of the Poem

Si Tenggang undertakes travels that are physical as well as an exploration of his inner self. He has visited foreign lands that have exposed him to the different peoples and their cultures. The travels have broaden his horizon and given him the wisdom to distinguish between good and bad values. However, he finds that the changes in him are not easily or readily accepted by his own people, the Malays. His people believe that he has changed entirely. Si Tenggang tries his utmost best to convince his people that travel broaden a man and make him wiser. He is convinced that he has learnt a lot from his travels without forgetting his roots.


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