To My Country — Cecil Rajendra

To My Country

GeorgeCarlinQuoteif i did not care
i would not dare
chart your imperfections
i would sing
only your praises
picking the best
ignoring the rest
but i am no
starry-eyed lover
i cannot cover
your many blemishes
so if i snarl
at your greed
your subterranean
the callousness
of your children
your many unkindness
bear with me beloved
love and hate
are forged
in the same cauldron
faults in another
that would not matter
in our loved ones
cataclysmic proportions
one loathes the worst
in those one loves the best
and if i did not care
i would not dare
your many imperfections

By Cecil Rajendra


Cecil Rajendra is a Past President of HAKAM, and a former Exco Member of HAKAM.

Raffel (1989), in his essay Malaysian Plainspeak says, “Rajendra is without question, the best English language poet in Malaysia”.

Nazareth (1989), in his article World Literature Today speaks of Rajendra as “fearless in his writing … not having any ideological biases: he exposes and attacks all those who are anti-people. Quoting the ‘Far Eastern Economic Review’, Nazareth says that Rajendra is a “one-man pressure group, committed to awakening people to the social evils that beset his country and the world in general”.

In 2006, Rajendra was also nominated for the Nobel Literature Prize. Although he did not win, he deems the nomination itself a great thrill and honor (The SUN newspaper).

“Dynamic” was how a reviewer of Britain’s Times Literary Supplement judged Rajendra’s work.

Addison (1982) admired Rajendra’s work by saying that “The whole experience was a complete, if unconscious, refutation of the academic and disengaged approach”. (Keith Addison)


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