World Poetry Day at WOU

Poets and cultural performers donning traditional costumes and rendering poems in different languages thrilled the crowd during the World Poetry Day celebration at WOU.

Some 30 poets and readers read out poems in English, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin, Hokkien, Tamil, Malayalam, Urdu, Punjabi, Bengali, Gujerati, Persian, Catalan, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Russian, German, French and Arabic throughout the day.

The event, organised by WOU in collaboration with The Asian Centre, Universiti Sains Malaysia and Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, was attended by over 200 people.

(From left) Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Wong Tat Meng, Vice Chancellor Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan, and Poets Prof Muhammad Salleh, Wong Phui Nam, and Marzuki Ali.

(From left) Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Wong Tat Meng, Vice Chancellor Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan, and Poets Prof Muhammad Salleh, Wong Phui Nam, and Marzuki Ali.

In his welcoming remarks, organising chairman Prof Dato’ Dr. Ghulam Sarwar Yousof said poetry is deliberately aimed at the heart, changes viewpoints and perceptions, and brings enlightenment to the extent that in ancient times, poets were also philosophers.

He hoped the project which highlights the importance of poetry and the written, spoken word will become an annual affair.

WOU Vice Chancellor Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan, in declaring open the event, said poetry is one of the powerful ways to express individual experience and the experience of the whole nation.

Performance from the Dikir Barat cultural troupe of USM.

Performance from the Dikir Barat cultural troupe of USM.

He read out the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost for the words resonate his own life as he started out as a biologist but changed course to become an adult educator 30 years ago.

National Literature Laureate Professor Muhammad Salleh, Wong Phui Nam, and Marzuki Ali read their own poetry following the opening. Dato’ Prof Anwar Fazal, Director of Right Livelihood College, did a simple launch of Khoo Soo Hay’s book, “In Ancient Ayuthia: A Selection of Poems from the Past Fifty Years.” 

Prof Anwar Fazal (right) with author during the book launch.

Prof Anwar Fazal (right) with author during the book launch.

Later in the evening, Prof Anwar handed out certificates to the readers and closed the event which was held in conjunction with UNESCO’s World Poetry Day and in recognition of George Town as a World Heritage Site.