25 April 2012

Thank you for being my Dad

It wasn't a common practice for a Dusun to explicitly appreciate his/her parents. In my household, I didn't grow up seeing family members express their 'thank yous' and 'I love yous'. In fact what I remember most from my childhood is when an older member of the family behaved weirdly (as in starting to be forgetful, or being incoherent) the younger family members would raise their voices to the person. If one is an outsider, one would undoubtedly look at that kind of treatment as 'mean' and perhaps 'ungrateful'. There were times when I got confused, myself. In my mind I often wondered whether I was supposed to treat the older person that way or not. I supposed having gone to school with the mainstreamers (so-called modern people), and having been taught about certain ways to respect the older members of the family in moral and religion classes contributed to the confusion. But I now understand that that kind of treatment was never intended to be negative. From conversations with many people of my mom and grandmother's generations, I deduce that life is perceived as a circle. One starts as a baby, one will end up being 'a baby' too (limited mobility, limited brain capability etc), because that was how it used to be with the community. Just like a little child is 'corrected' by his/her parents' raised voice, an elderly person who behaves like a child is also corrected the same way. I am glad that we do not have to confine ourselves to that culture anymore. I still feel awkward saying 'I love you' to my parents because I don't remember them ever saying that to me. But I encourage myself to say that to my kids and dear hubby because I think life is so wasted without hearing those beautiful words said to you. When I came across this song "Thank you for being my Dad", I feel so much like appreciating my Dad. For all the things he has ever done. Despite the mistakes that he did in the process of becoming the Dad he is now. I feel blessed for still having a Dad. Thank you Bapa, for being my Dad.

12 April 2012

What a song does (re: "Koposionku")

Sometimes when you hear a certain song, you feel that it penetrates deep into your soul. Even if you don't understand the language of the song, it still touches your heart deeply. And when you understand the lyrics, the song is even more meaningful.

Fabian William's "Koposionku" is one such song. I don't speak music, but I feel that the music and lyrics of this song match very well. (And yes, I know this is the third entry on Fabian William that I've written but I just can't help it :). As my students put it, we have caught the Fabian Virus.) But seriously, "Koposionku" communicates pain and strength beautifully using gripping metaphors. By now, after listening to Fabian's 10 songs over and over again, I've started to see metaphors as his trademark. His, are uniquely Dusun, that can only be fully appreciated if you know the Dusun culture well. Here's my attempt to understand "Koposionku" (My apologies that my translation doesn't do justice to the beauty of his expression in Dusun):


Nokito, naratu om nababak
iso ginawo nosungkadan
nosindualan, natagakan
kagarasan di naramit
(What is seen is a heart: fallen, broken, pierced. Lost the strength it received)

Om au tumonob ilo tadau
nung au tumalib kotuongon
ilo gompoton au rumikot
nung gompion ginawo di nosuhat
(and the sun doesn't set, if the darkness doesn't pass, what is desired won't come, if [you] hold on to your broken heart]

kibito nimpusadan
suloko liud tumuka
igitai gamut kotumbayaan
om au noh orulun kumaa id sawa
[don't reject the tears [there's no exact translation for 'nimpusadan'], walk through the flood while holding on to [your] faith, so that [you] won't get washed away downstream]

Oposik, tumungag om mingkakat
mamanau miagal dilo wokon
kosindualan, koinggoritan
uludon, impohon tumindal
[[then you'd be] awake, get up and stand, walk like others do [with pride]. The pain, the suffering, arrange them and step on them to resurface [overcome your pain])

This song is also a bonus to my Kadazandusun class this semester. The verbs exemplify events that one doesn't have control over (accidental action- as we call it in my classroom). What better way to learn than through songs, I'd say.