The Wind Is My Garment

We were clearing the old books, to either be given away or sold as 2nd hand books. I found a paperback with an interesting title, Der Wind ist mein Kleid, or translated to be The Wind Is My Garment. Apparently the book once belonged to my mother-in-law, who saw her mother, i.e the husband’s Oma read that book when she was a child. I had asked my mother in law about the book and she told us that was the book her mother read about Malaya, long before anyone in that family even know the existence of this country.

Written by Han Suyin, the Belgian-Chinese writer born in 1917 to a Belgian Mother and Chinese Father in China. She then married a British officer for Malayan Special Branch and they resided in Johor and then Singapore. Hence, Der Wind ist mein Kleid was about Malaya back then. That as far as I could gather, because my command of the German language is horrendous, make that atrocious, so I cannot really make out other that those few information.

However, what caught my attention about the book was the poetry right after the cover of this old book.

In den Wald will ich gehen,
Um mein Recht zu suchen,
Der Wind ist mein Kleid,
…und der Regen mein Trank

Alte chinesische Ballade

Literally translated to

In the forest I will go
For my right to look for
The wind is my garment
and the rain is my drink

….an old Chinese poetry

As the book was written in the era of communist Malaya, the poetry to me was the author’s cry out to freedom. The freedom to go with the wind, to explore new territories untouched by the war, to be able to be free to do all that you want without the fear of being persecuted.

I would love to be able to read the book, but it is all in German. And by the number of times I have to refer to the dictionary to just get a gist of it, by the time I finish reading, it would probably be 4 years later. We were not allowed to sell it. I guess it is a book meant for passing down. So it shall stay.

I like the sound of the wind is my garment. To be in touch with nature, so much so that you go with the flow with it, that the wind and the rain becomes a part of you that they are all you live for. So.. errmmmm Pocahontas? heh 😛


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