Tangan yang menghayun buaian…

(Published in Sinar Harian. Click here for the online version).

MATAHARI petang masih galak membakar ubun-ubun rambut. Debu dan asap kenderaan, rencah utama hidup di kota, melemaskan rongga pernafasan.

Kilasan waktu di pergelangan tangan, baru memberi isyarat bahawa saya masih punya waktu sebelum pulang ke rumah.

Langkah kaki, bagai sudah diprogramkan, terus melangkah ke toko buku Borders, tempat itu berhawa dingin dan boleh membaca secara percuma lagi – saya suka.

Seperti selalu, tidak perlu berkelana jauh ke dalam perut toko, sebaik sahaja melewati bahagian terbitan terbaru, sudah beberapa naskah saya sambar untuk disiasat isi kandungan dengan lanjut. Judul yang dikutip secara rawak petang ini: 21 Speeches That Shaped Our World. Bunyi tajuk gah sekali, teruja hati untuk membelek lebih lanjut.

Naskah nukilan penulis dan penyelidik Briton, Chris Abbot, telah mengambil pendekatan berbeza dengan memberi penghormatan – dalam bentuk kompilasi – kepada 21 teks ucapan pemimpin dan tokoh-tokoh dunia tersohor yang telah mencorakkan kemanusian dan duniawi hari ini.

Kata-kata penuh harapan milik, antara lainnya, Mohandas Ghandi, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King dan Kevin Rudd, memenuhi helaian buku kulit keras itu. Lama-lama saya jadi lebih leka…

Bukannya apa, cerita, komentar dan huraian isi kandungan ucapan ikon feminin dunia, Emmeline Pankhurst, telah membawa saya melewati kembali zaman ketika berusia awal 20-an dulu. Tatkala itu minat pembacaan saya menjurus kepada isu-isu berasaskan feminisme dan berorientasikan perjuangan hak wanita.

Dan Pankhurst adalah insan yang bertanggungjawab memberikan hak mengundi kepada wanita di Britain di awal abad ke 20.

Walaupun Pankhurst dikecam teruk kerana menggunakan taktik militia dalam Suffragette Movement di Britain, beliau sebenarnya telah mengubah lanskap pemikiran wanita yang selalu dianggap lemah dan tidak setara kaum Adam.

Antara ucapan Pankhurst yang masih disebut-sebut sehinga ke hari ini, adalah ucapan yang bertajuk, Freedom or Death, yang pertama kali dibaca di khalayak ramai pada tanggal 13 November 1913 di Harftford, Connecticut, Amerika Syarikat.

Pankhurst telah menggunakan pelbagai cara – termasuk eksploitasi dan mogok lapar – untuk menuntut agar wanita di Britain diberi hak untuk mengundi. Pengikut-pengikut Pankhurst di Glasgow pernah menjadikan pasaran saham kota itu kacau-bilau apabila mereka menghentikan sistem komunikasi telegraf di antara broker-broker saham di London dan Glasgow.

Dan kalau setakat keluar-masuk penjara, tidak menjadi kudis untuk Pankhurst. Setelah dihumban ke dalam lokap kerana dibenci pemerintah Britain oleh kerana idea-idea radikal beliau, Pankhurst dan pengikut-pengikutnya telah mengugut pihak berkuasa secara mogok lapar.

Apabila wabak mogok lapar menular di kalangan pengikut Pankhurst di penjara, kerajaan Britain yang berasa amat tercabar – kerana rata-rata pengikut Pankhurst terdiri dari wanita  kelas atasan dan berpelajaran – telah menggubal satu dasar undang-undang yang dipanggil Cat and Mouse Act (1913).

Setiap kali pejuang-pejuang Suffragettes Movement ini berada dalam proses mogok lapar dalam penjara, pihak berkuasa telah mencuba pelbagai cara untuk menghentikan misi bahaya itu, termasuk menyumbat makanan secara paksa ke dalam mulut mereka.

Apabila Pankhurst dan pengikutnya tetap berdegil, akta Cat and Mouse itu telah diperkenalkan. Di bawah akta ini, pihak penjara akan menunggu sehingga wanita-wanita itu menjadi terlalu lemah akibat tidak makan sebelum melepaskan mereka dengan ‘lesen sementara,’ di mana wanita-wanita tersebut akan mula makan dan menjadi sihat kembali apabila pulang ke rumah. Namun, sekiranya dalam tempoh ‘lesen sementara’ itu, mereka masih melakukan kesalahan, mereka akan dihumban kembali ke dalam penjara.

Emmeline Pankhurst telah menutup mata buat selamanya pada 14 Jun 1928, hanya beberapa minggu setelah hak mengundi wanita di Britain diluluskan di Parlimen.

Bulu roma di tangan berdiri tegak tatkala membaca semula mutiara kata Pankhurst: “Women are very slow to rouse, but once they are aroused, once they are determined, nothing on earth and nothing on heaven will make women give way; it is impossible.”

Dalam hati, wanita hebat ini kekal sebagai hero peribadi saya.

Dan apabila petang beransur senja, saya berkira-kira untuk membeli sahaja buku tersebut agar dapat dihabiskan di rumah. Meradang sungguh saya apabila menyedari buku tersebut dijual pada harga RM89.50! Angan Mat Jenin saja ingin menjadi pembaca tegar di tanah bertuah ini, harga buku dan bahan-bahan ilmiah mahalnya bukan alang-kepalang.

Pernah sekali saya keluar dari Kinokuniya dengan resit belian mencecah RM700 untuk 5 buah buku. Tempelak rakan yang menemani saya hari itu: “Amboi, dah boleh beli emas berapa gram dengan RM700 itu?” Saya balas dalam nada mendatar: “Emas permata perhiasan badan, buku perhiasan jiwa.”

Selamat menyambut Hari Wanita Sedunia.

3 thoughts on “Tangan yang menghayun buaian…

  1. “Elviza juga seorang peguam yang mencintai seni dan sastera. Temui beliau di http://twitter.com/elviza That’s very tame! Should be this way:

    “Elviza seorang penagih tegar Twitter, yang mana seni dan sastera di tahap `mencintai’ sahaja. Beliau menjadi seorang peguam hanya secara incidental. Temui beliau 24/7 di http://twitter.com/elviza, dan jarang-jarang di mahkamah.”😛
    [Edited by Mat Cendana: HACK WRITER. With branches in Pasir Mas, Batang Kali, Desa Jaya Kepong & Kota Damansara]

    By the way, I’m so envious of this: the fortunate few whom fate has elevated to the coveted status of “columnist” – online AND print (if online only = a dime a dozen/jual ikut guni, longgok). With you, it’s still envious, but sincerely happy… of knowing that great things do happen to good and nice people too.

    Before I forget: Something that my youngest son, Iman, had said when he came here from Pasir Mas for the wedding last month. He said: “Tidok saing Abah eh, Elviza tu; hok nulih sokmo dalae Sinar Hariae?…hok mari rumoh maso Raya posa mula?” I was SO PROUD! And was/is he. Plus I’m sure he had `jual nama/tumpang glamer’; telling EVERYONE from Kangkong, Pasir Mas to Batu 11, Tanah Merah (he’s there now) that this `sort-of-celebrity-jugak-sikit-sikit’ Elviza had come to his house once!:-)

    “Malay paper might not be as prestigious as English ones (says me. and 145,287 people in Kepong. and I don’t care if that might hurt the feelings of the `Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka ultras’ types. nor `hati terhiris’ should I be deplored as `hidung kepek tapi tak sedar diri’ haha!). BUT when it comes to name recognition and prestige in the Malay Belt states, their writers are much better known there than someone who had won the Pulitzer prize or the Nobel Prize for Literature.

    For instance, Ahirudin Attan aka Rocky Bru, with his pieces appearing in The Malay Mail since the early 80s. And Elviza Michele Kamal, whose writings had only appeared in it from 2009-10; and in Sinar Harian from 2009 until now. Despite having only two years as opposed to the much-published veteran, you have some name recognition in these places.

    Ask `kedai kopi regular’ (one cup of teh-o takes 2 hours to finish), Semae anak Mamat JKR of Mukim Bukit Panau, Tanah Merah about `Ahirudin Attan’ or Rocky Bru’ and he’ll `ngangga mulut’. “Rocky… kalu ZAKI rajin dengar.”

    Show him Rocky’s newspaper and Semae, who got F9 in the SRP English (despite copying the objective questions` answers), might – to impress the janda stall-owner of his `English speaking skill’ – confidently read aloud the masthead as: “The Malay Mar-el” (as in `Ismail’). And Semae, of course, hasn’t heard of people like Amir Muhammad, Karim Raslan, Shamsul Akmar, Fauziah Ismail, Wong Chun Wai either.

    But he would have heard of A. Kadir Jasin (multi-lingual writer, plus DECADES of being printed). And most probably `Elviza’ too (the memory is helped by the glamorous and unique name. btw so too is `Cendana’. sort of). This is thanks to Sinar Harian being well received and having a regular appearance at the janda’s stall (the copy would be dirty and torn by 4PM).

    But please don’t embarrass this Semae by asking what Elviza had written: he managed to get to the third paragraph before giving up. No, columns that require the reader to also focus and think aren’t Semae’s cup of tea. His – like Mat Cendana also when it comes to Sinar Harian – are the items “with some excitement, intrigue, suspense”… like the police arresting someone at Kg Slow Machang, Pasir Mas and seizing 1,200 pil kuda and five yellow-capped tubes of morphine. Or about some local artiste getting into trouble/doing or saying something controversial. Or simply stupid. Or about some pretty artiste divorcing (“Stock janda meletup bertambah! Yahoo!”). Hey, who’s to say that Semae (and Mat Cendana) are `un-intellectual’, `sensationalism fans’, `unsophisticated’ just because of this? Even if it’s true, so what if Semae and Mat Cendana are reading to be entertained, and not to `sakit kepala’?

    I digress. What I’m trying to say is this: in “certain places”, Elviza is much better known than any of the veteran writers. That’s because she appears in *the right paper*… which also results in me and my son receiving a few grams of `tumpang glamer’ prestige and respect among the kampung people:-)

    Hmm, 700 words here: I’ve just written for FREE again!

    Mat,

    You gave me credit more than I deserved. You knew it. I want to see the bride. You’ve got to give me the time, location and date. I’ll work around it. How about you come around to my house so I could order takeouts and pretend I cook them all?

    So lagi nok ghoyak, you knew it, I knew it: you can write a million times better than me, and in flawless English. If we are talking on jealousy platform, I’ve got a lot more to be envious of you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s