September 23, 2008

Things Fall Apart

Posted in Literature at 2:45 pm by egalitaria

Two books I studied for Lit. a long time ago always reemerge in my head. Especially of late when thinking hard about the situation Malaysia is in.

It seems the Man, the protagonist in Ayi Kwei Arma’s book, “The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born”, would have much in common with any freedom fighter in Malaysia presently. The corruption, the patronage, cronyism. In the end, the Man receives vindication for his resilience and no-nonsense approach to bribery. I wonder which of the nation’s present leaders can compare themselves to such a gleaming touchstone.

Chinua Achebe’s book “Things Fall Apart” paints an appropriate picture of how systems unravel to a point of irretrievable gloom. It ends in terror, with little to redeem. My heart panics at the thought of Malaysia falling in such horrid fashion. Achebe quotes from W.B. Yeats’ poem to prelude his book.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.


  1. Sakthi said,

    You know I read Achebe’s, Things Fall Apart in Form Five for my Literature class and I do agree with you. In Malaysia’s case, the words Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world aptly fits the current situation.

  2. egalitaria said,

    thanks sakthi. those african writers are amazing! raw to the core, just like how malaysia is turning out to be this year.

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