The just concluded gathering of poets from around the world for the 33rd World Congress of Poets (WCP) was an astounding success. The grand closing ceremony held at Pangkor Island on Friday night October 25 was witnessed by close to 2000 VIPs, participants and islanders.
The week-long event was organized by the World Academy of Arts and Culture (WAAC) in collaboration with Institute Darul Ridzuan and the Perak State government. It was attended by close to 300 poets from around the world including Malaysia.
Raja Muda of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah officiated at the closing ceremony. He was accompanied by Raja Puan Besar Tuanku Zara Salim. Other VIPs present at the event included Perak Menteri Besar Dato Seri DiRaja Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Saripah Zulkifli, Nolee Ashilin Dato’ Mohammed Radzi (Executive Councillor for Tourism, Health and Culture), Perak-born WCP President Mdm Wan Hua Chapoutier and Maurus Young, WAAC President.
Before the close, participating poets from China and Mexico presented their poems. Perakean, Mdm Chapoutier recited her Sungai (River) which won an award at the 29th WCP in Budapest, Hungary in 2009.
Perak MB Zambry, who originated from Pangkor Island recited his poem dedicated to “Ayah (My Father)” with verses “You are a fisherman of noble deeds, You are a father whose love is enthroned, You are a husband with words so courteous” which touched the audience.
During the congress the visitors were taken to Perak’s popular tourist destinations where they held poetry recitals. The locations covered included the Lenggong Archeological Museum as well as Ipoh’s Heritage Trail and Gua Tempurung before concluding at Pangkor Island.
The poets described their visit here in superlative terms such as China poet, Bei Ta, who described the Congress as “more wonderful than he had expected”. Describing the role of the WCP as to improve communications between the foreign countries and the host, he was pleased to note the participation of so many local poets.
Describing Perak’s environment as being green with mountains, rivers, rich culture and good food he proclaimed that he has fallen in love with Ipoh. Adding that “as a lot of Ipoh people spoke Chinese he said he felt so ‘at home’ here.”
For Mexican poets, Ethel Bello Solis and Maria Eugenia Soberanis, they were full of praise and described “this congress is so wonderful and amazing. The government was so involved with the Congress. The tourist destinations here are so nice, beautiful and clean and with so much history, is good for writing poetry. However, it is the people here who are so kind, charming and always smiling even when they are tired that we felt truly welcomed”.
Istvan Turczi from Hungary “appreciates Malaysia. Every country is different but Malaysia has Malay, Chinese and Indian in one Asia-Pacific country and that is very beautiful”. Describing the locations visited, Turczi summarized that “Perak is a metaphor, everything is close together and in one place, in your heart.”
The success of this global event would not have been possible if not for the initiative of Perakean, Mdm Wan Hua Chapoutier nee Goh who had approached Zambry way back in 2011 requesting to hold this congress in Perak. Her initial purpose was to introduce the world of poets to Ipoh’s blue hills and delicious kopitiams.
Mdm WanHua, who worked with the Office of The Permanent Delegation of Malaysia to UNESCO in Paris for thirty five years, stated her objectives to have the congress in Malaysia was to “promote Bahasa Malaysia as the future lingua franca for the region and also to introduce pantun as a medium to expose local poets to the region.”
The deciding factor to select Ipoh and Perak was that Zambry was a poet and the choice for Perak to host the 33rd WCP was sealed.
For Zambry’s contribution to poetry in the state he was appointed the Honorary Patron of the 33rd WCP and awarded the “Crane Summit Supreme Honor Crown Medal Award”, the WAAC’s highest award in appreciation and recognition of the contribution of leaders in the field of poetry.
Held in conjunction with the closing ceremony was the handing over to Peru, the host of the 34th World Congress of Poets.
As for Mexicans Solsis and Soberanis, who originally referred to Malaysia as the Twin Towers, now on departure for home, they will inform their friends to visit the Twin Towers and visit Perak too. Now that’s a successful event indeed.