Article by Farah Fazanna Zulzaha
A BOOK of poems dedicated to traditional Malay houses has recently been launched.
Penned by the cultural icon Tenas Effendy, Rumah: An Ode to the Malay House presents Tenas’ classic tribute to the Malay house alongside a lively English translation by Raimy Ché-Ross, making the work accessible to new audiences.
Lat said the new generation should appreciate the traditional Malay house.
“It is a cultural icon, and we should remember and hold on to the tradition that makes up our identity,” said Lat.
The book also includes a foreword and illustration by Lat.
Much to the amusement of guests, he also shared his experience in illustrating the iconic cover for his The Kampung Boy comic with the audience.
“Peruse Rumah and appreciate the thousand and one meanings within its pages,” said Lat.
The book is furnished with illustrations by London-based illustrator Ahmad Harun, whose work is mostly in watercolour, acrylic and oil, that gives a breath of life to Tenas’ poems.
The book will delight lovers of poetry, architecture and Malay culture.
Architect and ecologist Datuk Dr Ken Yeang, who spearheaded the book, said the traditional Malay house was a cultural icon that the nation was fast losing.
“Many of today’s youth are born and bred in the city — mostly in high-rise apartments, in contemporary bungalows and terrace houses — and are not fully conversant with the village way of life.
“It is, after all, such values that makes us culturally different,” he said.
Rumah is currently available from Areca Books on www.arecabooks.com and leading bookstores nationwide.
Originally published on The Star Online, Tuesday March 25, 2014