By Dato Professor Emeritus Dr Hashim Yaacob
I HAVE always loved sitting by the beach, savouring the cool gentle breeze blowing against my face. I could sit there for hours, staring at the sea and the wave that swept my feet, leaving ripples on the sand as it ebbed away.
I have not been to sea in the past three years, and not realising how long it had been.
The Covid 19 pandemic is the cause of it all, causing havoc to all things that are dear. It seems like it is not going to end, simply because we are not doing all we can to stop it.
I have always known that the virus does not wander around looking for human beings to infect, but it is the reverse. One year ago, the number of daily infected cases were less than one hundred, but today it has gone up to 19,740!
What an immense catastrophe! I sincerely do not think that this destruction of health and life is the Will of God, but rather the result of the evil that men do.
Back to sea now. My childhood days were filled with stories about the sea being inhabited by the sea god Poseidon who reigned supreme. Mermaids and mermen would roam the sea and ride the waves. Of there was the fearsome Cracken who could cause untold damage on earth.
As a child I used to stand by the beach of the Pantai Cinta Berahi in Kelantan, expecting to catch glimpses of any of the creatures. None ever did.
Then unexpectedly last week, my primary school teacher, Leela Unnithan, who taught me in Kuala Krai in the nineteen-sixties, appeared on my telephone with a beautiful poem about the sea!
It was written in stylish handwriting, much in the tradition of Lord Tennyson and H. W. Longfellow.
It was a pleasure to read. This is what she wrote:
THE SEA, THE SEA
Oh for the sea, the sea,
The blue, blue sea,
With swaying palms,
And floating clouds.
I sway with the palms,
I float with the clouds,
I closed my eyes as in a dream,
My thoughts flew in a misty realm.
The sun shines across waters blue,
My heart shines, my mind at peace,
I am aglow, feelings open anew,
I pray this world of mine will not cease.
Thank you Cikgu. You made my day.
Datuk Prof Emeritus Dr Hashim Yaacob ialah bekas Naib Canselor Universiti Malaya, dan empat buah universiti swasta; Felo Royal College of Surgeons of England ; Pemenang Hadiah Sastera Perdana Malaysia 2001; Pelukis; Kepten Pasukan Sukarelawan Tentera Laut DiRaja Malaysia(B).