Saturday, April 11, 2009

Moon Over the Kampong

Yesterday morning I just happened to catch the sinking full moon (bulan purnama) over the kampung houses down the street from me. At a few minutes before 7am, the sky was already becoming light and the moon was fading.

I got up earlier this morning to get better shots, but the moon stayed higher longer, and I had to settle for a moon partially obscured by some wispy clouds giving it a fuzzy outline, but at least the photo captured a bit of the twilight deep blue that I so love.

In his novel about Malaya (The Soul of Malaya), Henri Fauconnier quoted a Malay pantun (proverb) regarding the moon and its allusive meaning for young lovers:

Jikalau tidak kerana bintang,
Masakan bulan terbit tinggi.

Jikalau tidak kerana abang,
Masakan datang adik ke mari.

If not because of stars above,
Why does the moon rise so high?

If not because of you, my love,
Why should I ever venture nigh?

Early mornings are special in the tropics. If one can arise before 7am, the rewards are cool temperatures, chirping birds, quiet streets and (usually) an absence of open burning. After 7, however, the world begins to wake, the sun rises to its torrid apex, and the burners of the world do their best to share their smoke with us.

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