Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/227358
Title: Landscape of Loss: Poems on Lake Chini
Authors: Zainor Izat Zainal
Keywords: lake
ecology
environmental destruction
Lake Chini
Malaysian poets
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment-Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Citation: Zainor Izat Zainal (2021). Landscape of Loss: Poems on Lake Chini. Journal of Southeast Asian Ecocriticism 1 (1) : 42-59. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Lake Chini is peninsular Malaysia’s second largest natural freshwater lake of signifcance, situated in the state of Pahang. A unique ecosystem spanning an area of 5,026ha, it comprises an intricate interdependence of lake, rivers, forest, wildlife, and the Jakun (an indigenous tribe in peninsular Malaysia). The bottom of the lake is believed to be the site of an ancient Khmer city dating back to the 12th century. Local legend revolves around the dragon known as Naga Sri Gumum, who lives in the lake and guards the sunken ancient city. The legend has stood the test of time. The lake, however, has not. Human-induced changes have threatened this rich ecological ecosystem, what some Malaysian poets have come to understand and defne in different ways in their poems. This paper presents a critical analysis of selected poems on Lake Chini, written by Muhammad Haji Salleh, Noorhayati Abdullah and Zawiah Yahya. I argue that the poems in this study share a pervasive sense of loss, coloured by nostalgic romanticization of the lake, fxed obsessions with paradise lost, and insistent imagery and laments of environmental destruction, framed with intimations of the poets’ personal familiarity and loving attention to the lake ecology as well as the damaging effects of human-induced changes on the lake. As such, the selected poems serve as a desperate plea to save the lake, extending the cause of raising awareness, preserving and (hopefully) reviving Lake Chini.
Source Title: Journal of Southeast Asian Ecocriticism
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/227358
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