Haruki Murakami: Always on the side of the egg

In Feb 2009, the Japanese author Haruki Murakami accepted the Jerusalem Prize as part of the Jerusalem International Book Fair. Murakami was widely criticized for attending and rejecting calls to boycott the event. At the award ceremony Murakami addressed the controversy in his acceptance speech: Always on the side of the egg By Haruki Murakami

Japanese writer Haruki Murakami (right) and Israel's President Shimon Peres attend a ceremony awarding Murakami with a prize at the 24th International book fair in Jerusalem Feb. 15, 2009. I have come to Jerusalem today as a novelist, which is to say as a professional spinner of lies.

Of course, novelists are not the only ones who tell lies. Politicians do it, too, as we all know. Diplomats and military men tell their own kinds of lies on occasion, as do used car salesmen, butchers and builders. The lies of novelists differ from others, however, in that no one criticizes the novelist as immoral for telling lies. Indeed, the bigger and better his lies and the more ingeniously he creates them, the more he is likely to be praised by the public and the critics. Why should that be?

My answer would be this: Namely, that by telling skillful lies -- which is to say, by making up fictions that appear to be true – the novelist can bring a truth out to a new location and shine a new light on it. In most cases, it is virtually impossible to grasp a truth in its original form and depict it accurately. This is why we try to grab its tail by luring the truth from its hiding place, transferring it to a fictional location, and replacing it with a fictional form. In order to accomplish this, however, we first have to clarify where the truth lies within us. This is an important qualification for making up good lies.

Today, however, I have no intention of lying. I will try to be as honest as I can. There are a few days in the year when I do not engage in telling lies, and today happens to be one of them. So let me tell you the truth. In Japan a fair number of people advised me not to come here to accept the Jerusalem Prize. Some even warned me they would instigate a boycott of my books if I came. The reason for
this, of course, was the fierce battle that was raging in Gaza. The U.N. reported that more than a thousand people had lost their lives in the blockaded Gaza City, many of them unarmed citizens -- children and old people.

Any number of times after receiving notice of the award, I asked myself whether traveling to Israel at a time like this and accepting a literary prize was the proper thing to do, whether this would create the impression that I supported one side in the conflict, that I endorsed the policies of a nation that chose to unleash its overwhelming military power. This is an impression, of course, that I would not wish to give. I do not approve of any war, and I do not support any nation. Neither, of course, do I wish to see my books subjected to a boycott.

Finally, however, after careful consideration, I made up my mind to come here. One reason for my decision was that all too many people advised me not to do it. Perhaps, like many other novelists, I tend to do the exact opposite of what I am told. If people are telling me -- and especially if they are warning me -- "Don't go there," "Don't do that," I tend to want to "go there" and "do that." It's in my nature,
you might say, as a novelist. Novelists are a special breed. They cannot genuinely trust anything they have not seen with their own eyes or touched with their own hands.

And that is why I am here. I chose to come here rather than stay away. I chose to see for myself rather than not to see. I chose to speak to you rather than to say nothing.

Please do allow me to deliver one very personal message. It is something that I always keep in mind while I am writing fiction. I have never gone so far as to write it on a piece of paper and paste it to the wall: rather, it is carved into the wall of my mind, and it goes something like this:

"Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg."

Yes, no matter how right the wall may be and how wrong the egg, I will stand with the egg. Someone else will have to decide what is right and what is wrong; perhaps time or history will decide. If there were a novelist who, for whatever reason, wrote works standing with the wall, of what value would such works be?

What is the meaning of this metaphor? In some cases, it is all too simple and clear. Bombers and tanks and rockets and white phosphorus shells are that high, solid wall. The eggs are the unarmed civilians who are crushed and burned and shot by them.

This is not all, though. It carries a deeper meaning. Think of it this way. Each of us is, more or less, an egg. Each of us is a unique, irreplaceable soul enclosed in a fragile shell. This is true of me, and it is true of each of you. And each of us, to a greater or lesser degree, is confronting a high, solid wall. The wall has a name: it is "the System." The System is supposed to protect us, but sometimes it takes on a life of its own, and then it begins to kill us and cause us to kill others -- coldly, efficiently, systematically.

I have only one reason to write novels, and that is to bring the dignity of the individual soul to the surface and shine a light upon it. The purpose of a story is to sound an alarm, to keep a light trained on the System in order to prevent it from tangling our souls in its web and demeaning them. I fully believe it is the novelist's job to keep trying to clarify the uniqueness of each individual soul by writing stories -- stories of life and death, stories of love, stories that make people cry and quake with fear and shake with laughter. This is why we go on, day after day, concocting fictions with utter seriousness.

My father died last year at the age of 90. He was a retired teacher and a part-time Buddhist priest. When he was in graduate school, he was drafted into the army and sent to fight in China. As a child born after the war, I used to see him every morning before breakfast offering up long, deeply felt prayers at the Buddhist altar in our house. One time I asked him why he did this, and he told me he was praying for the people who had died in the battlefield. He was praying for all the people who died, he said, both ally and enemy alike. Staring at his back as he knelt at the altar, I seemed to feel the shadow of death hovering around him.

My father died, and with him he took his memories, memories that I can never know. But the presence of death that lurked about him remains in my own memory. It is one of the few things I carry on from him, and one of the most important.

I have only one thing I hope to convey to you today. We are all human beings, individuals transcending nationality and race and religion, fragile eggs faced with a solid wall called the System. To all appearances, we have no hope of winning. The wall is too high, too strong -- and too cold. If we have any hope of victory at all, it will have to come from our believing in the utter uniqueness and irreplaceability of our own and others' souls and from the warmth we gain by joining souls together.

Take a moment to think about this. Each of us possesses a tangible, living soul. The System has no such thing. We must not allow the System to exploit us. We must not allow the System to take on a life of its own. The System did not make us: We made the System. That is all I have to say to you.

The Rungus and blogging.

Firstly, I would like to seek an apology from all of you for not being able to make a post everyday. The first reason is I am lazy.

Secondly, I was away attending some meetings and public forum here and there. Internet was available but the problem is I am lazy. It seems lazy is the main reason why I failed to update this blog everyday.

Anyway, if any of you wishes to make a comment, please do so. I promise I will approve them to appear in this blog. My advice is, please be responsible in making your comments.

I've been looking around for more blogs about Rungus or maintained by someone from Rungus community but sadly, there are not so many out there. There are blogs about Rungus but those blogs are not maintained or updated regularly.

I wonder why.

Blogging is not for everyone. Anyone can start a simple blog like this blog, but, maintaining a blog will demand your continuous commitment, time and money. Not many of us from the Rungus community are willing to spend their free time sitting and writing a blog post.

So laziness is again the main factor why not so many well-updated blog about Rungus out there.

I think there are so many issues about Rungus that we can talk about in this blog. I was thinking about writing issues like Rungus Language, Rungus culture, Rungus history, Rungus food, Rungus traditional costumes and many more about Rungus but I do not have the facts and luxury of time to really sit down and write about those. Honestly, I need some support from you to supply me with latest news and facts to write about.

I heard, the Milou Dam in Kg. Nangka, Kudat and the compensation and resettlement process was not well-taken care. It seems the Rungus people are willing to forget this issue. But we should not forget this issue. It is our rights and we have the rights to know the details of the whole process in this issue.

There are many more issues about Rungus community that we can talk about. Wake up Rungus! We must move! Do we need to wait until things are getting very bad before we start to talk about it? We should start to talk about those issues now! I mean not tomorrow but NOW! We probably do not have the capacity to go down to march on the street but we can write and write about those issues.

We must unite! We must not let those politicians to do as they please in our very land. Take a look at what happened to those people involved in Milou Dam project. Take a closer look! If you still cannot see it, I don't know who will.

Perkataan "Terima Kasih" dalam Bahasa Rungus.

Mungkin anda masih ingat tulisan (blog post) saya berberapa minggu yang lalu. Ianya berkenaan seorang gadis Rungus yang berperawakan menarik dan baik hati telah membantu saya untuk mengatasi masalah banner untuk blog ini. Saudari Judika telah menghasilkan banner yang menarik dalam blog ini.

Sudah tentu saya sangat menghargai sumbangan dan bantuan beliau. Satu-satunya cara untuk saya menyatakan rasa "terima kasih" untuk beliau ialah dengan membuat blog post mengenai kemahiran beliau ini.

Sebagai seorang yang berbangsa Rungus saya sering kali amat teringin untuk menyatakan perkataan "terima kasih" ini dalam bahasa Rungus. Malangnya sehingga hari ini saya masih tercari-cari dan belum menemui makna tepat perkataan "terima kasih" dalam bahasa Rungus.

Maka saya tertanya-tanya apakah orang Rungus tidak ada perkataan yang sesuai untuk menyataakan perasaan senang hati atau penghargaan mengenai apa-apa bantuan, pertolongan dan pemberian daripada sesorang kepada kita? Apakah orang Rungus begitu miskin bahasa sehinga perkataan "terima kasih" yang saya kira begitu penting ini tidak ada dalam bahasa Rungus?

Saya telah membuat kajian dan penyelidikan mengapa perkataan "terima kasih" ini tidak ada dalam bahasa Rungus dan satu-satunya penjelasan yang saya perolehi dan masuk akal kepada saya ialah penjelasan dan penerangan yang dibuat oleh Rungus Today dalam blog beliau ROGOP. Penulis yang nama penanya Rungus Today ini menjelaskan dengan begitu teliti mengapa perkataan "terima kasih" ini tidak terdapat dalam bahasa Rungus.

Berikut saya muat turunkan penjelasan penuh Saudara/Saudari Rungus Today ini untuk santapan minda anda.

Tajuk: Rungus Bangsa Teladan.
Oleh: Rungus Today
Pautan: http://rogop.blogspot.com

Apabila merujuk kepada istilah seharian orang rungus, kita dapati dua perkataan dominan dalam bahasa Melayu tidak terdapat dalam bahasa rungus. Istilah itu ialah istilah ' minta maaf' dan istilah 'terima kasih' Kenapakah istilah ini tidak terdapat dalam kamus bahasa rungus?

Jawapannya sangat mudah. Bangsa rungus adalah bangsa yang sangat disegani dan ditakuti di utara Sabah pada suatu ketika dahulu. Kesultanan sulu tidak berani mendirikan kota pemerintahan di utara Berneo yang meliputi kudat, Kota Marudu, Matunggong dan tupak (Pitas) kerana mereka sangat kagum dengan keberanian orang rungus. pegangan agama labus yang diwarisi sejak nenek moyang menjadi dasar kepada kekuatan orang rungus. dalam agama labus, suku rungus dituntut agar tidak melakukan sebarang kesalahan seperti mencuri, berzina, merosakkan harta benda dan sebagainya yang dilarang menurut kepercayaan labus. Fakta ini menyumbang kepada kekuatan disiplin dan jati diri bangsa rungus sehingga tidak perlu meminta maaf kepada sesiapa pun kerana rungus adalah bangsa yang tidak sekali-kali menganiaya dan memudaratkan bangsa sendiri dan bangsa lain. Justify Full

Begitu juga dengan amalan berhutang, bangsa rungus sejak dari nenek moyang lagi ditegah untuk berhutang dari orang lain apatah lagi merampas harta orang lain. Sekiranya tidak mempunyai apa-apa, bangsa rungus menerusi agama labus lebih rela meminta secara terus terang daripada berhutang atau mencuri. Sebab itulah tidak terdapat istilah terima kasih dalam bangsa rungus. Bagi bangsa ini jika hendak memberi biarlah pemberian itu secara ikhlas, jika tidak mahu memberi diberitahu secara terus terang. nenek moyang rungus juga mengajar generasinya untuk tidak termakan budi dari orang lain kerana agama labus mengajar rungus untuk tidak mengharapkan orang lain dan tiada istilah terima kasih kerana budi yang diberikan.

Inilah keistimewaan bangsa rungus yang kian rapuh ditelan zaman penjajahan minda dari seberang laut bermula dengan British, Jerman, Jepun dan seterusnya Malaya. Bangsa rungus tidak akan dapat dipulihkan lagi seperti kepercayaan agama labus suatu ketika dahulu. Tanah rungus juga semakin kecil dan terpisah-pisah kerana faktor penjajahan fizikal dan penjajahan minda. Bangsa rungus sewajarnya berjuang untuk memertabatkan bangsa ini supaya tidak terus ketinggalan dari segi ekonomi, pendidikan, infrastruktur, budaya dan yang lebih penting ialah pemeliharaan agama labus itu yang kian tipis hari demi hari.

Para pemimpin rungus perlu memikirkan inisiatif untuk mendirikan sekolah khas untuk bangsa rungus seperti mana yang berlaku kepada SDA, RC dan beberapa kumpulan minoriti di Malaysia. Tiada guna pemimpin jika hanya mencari kekayaan untuk diri sendiri sedangkan bangsa sendiri terperosok dalam arus kemiskinan. Dimanakah pemimpin Rungus N4 Matunggong? Pembaca yang ada hubungan rapat dengan pemimpin yang berkaitan sewajarnya membantu merungkai persoalan ini demi masa depan bangsa rungus.

Penulis sangat yakin jika pemimpin rungus bersatu. tidak akan ada bangsa rungus terpinggir pada tahun 2020.

Pandangan saya: Bahasa adalah sesuatu yang boleh berubah mengikut kesesuaian masa dan ketika. Bahasa adalah hidup dan boleh mengecil atau berkembang. Sudah tentu kita boleh mencipta satu perkataan yang boleh diterima umum oleh seluruh bangsa Rungus untuk perkataan terima kasih ini. Kita perlu merujuk kepada orang-orang tua dalam kalangan kaum Rungus untuk mencipta perkataan "terima kasih" dalam bahasa Rungus.