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No wisdom more canny than the folksome pantun’s peasant proverbials
Wake! Monde Malais! Wake and note no Sultan whirls as a Sufi
Nor no Sage of Singapore pouting platitudes can make you wake
Wake! Malay! Wake!
And settle your differences with neighbours over the bamboo fences
for as long as you chain produce Kalashnikovs and cartridges
others far-off will pride themselves on their need to divide et impera
Wake! China! O! Wake!
Give your less mighty neighbours not so much the helping hand
as the glory of an example of standing upright free on equal feet
you who had over the ages exported suzerain panaceas and no conquests
Wake! O! China! Wake!
Remember again Asoka the masterful Mauryas the golden era of the artful Guptas
Kalidasa’s Shakuntala Tulsi Das Pannini’s grammar Bharatha’s Natya Sastra
The Tolkappiyam the Cilappatikaram Manimekalai Ramayana Maha Bharatha
Wake! India! Wake!
Remember Lao Tse! Master Kung! and the all-doubt dispelling future perfect Yijing!
Remember the finest mind-embroidered silk flowing down the ages
in Wu’s Monkey skeins of thought calligraphed in the Buddhist mean!
Wake! O! China! Wake!
All is not full-figures all not burgeoning percentage growth
if glory can be reduced to mere Middle Kingdom might!
then bound feet will drag on face-down in seven kowtows
Wake! O! Mighty China! Wake!
And set your legions marching not to win wars or quell rebellions
but to unclog your drains canals marshes and rivers
let your lifeblood circulate nourished in lifegiving oxygen
Wake! O! Asia! Wake!
Whose art the better glints down the ages the gilded Samurai swords
or those of Bashô and Issa in the carved rocky sands of the combed garden
or those of Lady Murasaki in Genji Monogatari and Chikamatsu
Wake! Sleepless Rising Sun! Wake!
(Continued in Part One - 4)
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