Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sheikh Shapir

So tomorrow is Sheikh Shapir's birthday.

And no, he is not my grandfather as I have no Arab blood running through my vein.

I am told he is one of the more famous Arab in the world, if one were to exclude our prophet that is.

He is supposedly the author of many classics and I would think he is perhaps the most famous author and writer in the world. In my mind I would consider him as the greatest writer there is. In the late 70s, when we only have RTM, we have had many movies, or classical dance drama that would highlight his work. Being an avid reader of not just the classical Malay literature, I would take the opportunity to go to my grandma's house on the other side of Aulong typically on a Sunday afternoon.

I mean which kid then would not be fascinated by Romeo and Julliet, the most famous romantic, yet tragic love story. These two lovers were separated by the warring families. Aah, so tragic. How about the pound of flesh that the Jewish merchant Shylock had wanted? I guess this story reiterated what we had learnt about the community as told in the Quran.

Of course we were fascinated by the fairy in such stories A Midsummer Night's Dream, Much Ado about Nothing, Twelfth Night, Taming the Shrew, and many others. And of course I was in absolute agony and miserable trying to read and understand the play MacBeth, written in old English when I was studying English Literature at Leederville in 1981.

And as I look at his work in awe, I wonder how does one come up with such imaginative story lines?

Sheikh Shapir, where did you find your inspiration?


I was told, by one lecturer, during one of those brain twisting and brain washing sessions at BTN halfway through our university education in Australia, that the actual writer of these stories was an Arab by the name of Sheikh Shapir. The English later on claim him as their own and romanized his name to Shakespeare - the same thing they did, or tried to do to the father of medicine Ibnu Sina or Avicenna to the English world.

The truth of the matter?

You decide.

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