Friday, November 09, 2007
Only The Mountain Stands Forever
Only The Mountain Stands Forever
- Old Native American
I believe it was James Michener who borrowed the saying for his book 'Centenial', which later became a hit mini-series in the 1980's. But like most adapted play, watching the series was not half exciting as reading the story itself. With vision, one is imprisoned with the images that float in front of one's eyes; with words, the vision conjured in one's mind is free from any visual corruption, limited only by the ability of one's mind to perceive the literature, and perhaps the words spoken. I, was one of those mesmerised by the words of Michener.
But strangely, it was not any of his best selling novels that capture my heart most, but a short story published in a Readers Digest publication of the late 1960's with the title I vaguely remember as "The Carpet Seller from Kandahar". Forgive me, its been so long ago since I read it that the copy itself is now lost through not only the ravages of time, but life itself as well.
Its a wonderful true life story of how Michener, whilst traveling in Afghanistan, became captivated by the persistence and humbleness of a traveling Afghan carpet seller. The courtship of selling took both, Michener and the Afghan, several days to conclude with the latter narrating tales of wonder which had Michener, a master of words, bedazzled. Toward the end, based on Michener's fame and the Afghan trust in him, they parted company each with a memento of their own - for Michener, the tales woven by the Afghan, while the Afghan carried a hand-drawn check by Michener, promising the amount agreed for the carpet; the carpet itself, Michener had taken as a forlorn item which the Afghan had promised to ship to his address.
Not long after his return to the US, Michener took delievery of the very same carpet he had purchased above, which prompted him to check with his bank manager regarding the hand-drawn check, but was told nothing of such matter arise as yet. A year or 2 down the line with Michener himself having forgotten about the check, the bank manager called on the very matter itself and seek instructions. Michener smiled to himself and asked the bank to approve the check.
"The old man," Michener thought "must have used the check - and Michener's name - to strengthen the tales of his sales to countless other people!". Still the point remains, that the trust given in the transaction was kept in earnest; an amanah that was kept by both parties from extreme ends - one a non-muslim and a master of literature, and the other, a semi literate muslim who lives the rugged life of the Afghan countryside. Yet, each honour the other as demanded in the teachings of Islam.
Tomorrow, the 10 November, the people of Malaysia will meet in Dataran Merdeka and walk to the Palace to seek amends for the broken amanat of a truly fair and free general election that has been reneged by the ruling party! For too long many quarters in Malaysia has suffered from the arrogance and corrupt practice found not only in the elections, but also in the administration of the country. The people has lost faith and now seek the King's intervention.
People of Malaysia, come and join us. If it is not for your own, then for your future generation's sake! Do not let corruption be our way of life for you too hold an amanah from Allah to hold true to your belief, and the teachings contain within!
Only the mountains stand forever? Nay! For all will crumble at a time Allah decree it to be so! Including the regime of the Barisan Nasional!