Chairil Anwar

by Vincentius
from Surabaya, Indonesia

It is hard to pour the entire legend of his life into words. Fantastic, talented, and ambitious are simply not enough to describe him. Chairil Anwar remains the most talented and perhaps most famous Indonesian poet. He is a legend, and no one could ever compare to him. He was a knight, but used his words -- such beautiful words -- to destroy his enemies and to support his friends. He was like an angel that could fly anywhere. His words are his wings and the words are flowing eternally in his mind, forever.

When my time has come,
No one could persuade me.
Not even you.

I am a neglected animal,
disposed from its own group.


That was a part of his most famous poetry, AKU. He is a legend now. An angel, he is, an angel that has gone on to paradise, and an angel that won't be seen anymore, but whose heart will remain and live forever on earth -- eternal and indestructible.<p? Now why did he create the "AKU" poem?

When he was a child, his father left his mother. His wound then manifested into a symbolic "ring of words." A ring that is more valuable than anything in this world, a ring that couldn't be bought with money, a ring that will stay forever as long as there are minds who remember it.

He is one of the important people in Indonesian history and, with great vision, tried to lead Indonesia to be a better country. His poetry, even though often found to be very strict and forceful, meant a lot. Sometimes he even fought against the government through his poems. That makes him my hero, because he is extremely special compared to other Indonesian poets.

To talk about Mr. Anwar is to talk about brilliance. His impact and influence in the world of poetry and the political situation in Indonesia is deep. To Indonesian people, his image strongly symbolizes an example of someone who will fight for his beliefs. Even though he often faced danger because of his bravery, he still pressed on.

For a famous poet like Chairil Anwar, his words seem to have a stronger power than actions. It’s amazing how Mr. Anwar acted. His reactions may have been a bit surprising at times, but it made us see things from a different point of view, one that's often quite reasonable and true. In my opinion, he is a genius. He might not have always succeeded to fulfill his goal of making the government work the way he thought was right, but when he did succeed it was a glorious victory. Despite the fact that he might not have been a victorious kind of figure, his determination made, and continues to make, Indonesian people proud of him.

But based on our daily life, does talking do anything? Can words change our life? Chairil Anwar may have looked like an angel that had all the powers to change the world: he was brilliant, and he could do anything he put his mind to -- but words are only words; without actions, words are no use! That's why we, here, must continue Mr. Anwar's effort to bring the world, and mainly our homeland, Indonesia, to become a better place and a better country, so that people may be proud of it.

Mr. Anwar is definitely one of the most extraordinary, fantastic guys I have ever heard of. That is why we think he is a hero. He is ours, and he’ll never fail to give us inspiration and strength through his poems and personality. His influence has never faded away even though he died in 1949. Despite his short life span - only 27 years in this world -- his impact is everlasting. A hero will always be remembered as a hero. So try to do your best when you are still alive, so that you too will be remembered as an angel that could fly to the darkness of the sky and shine light in that darkeness. Strive to be a hero that can change people's mindset, and one who can change the world -- bringing it into a bright, shining perfection.

Page created on 7/1/2004 9:38:18 AM

Last edited 1/6/2017 7:33:20 PM

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Extra Info

Chairil Anwar lived only twenty-seven years yet is a major force in modern Indonesian poetry. His influence stems from two sources: one, his innovations in language, which stripped traditional 'decorative' and traditionally 'poetic' conventions from the Indonesian language, leaving what he called "the germinal word, the germinal image"; two, his short, perhaps tragic life (born in 1922, he fought as a guerrilla against the Dutch colonial rule and died of typhus, tuberculosis and syphilis in 1949, when he was only 27 years old) that coincides with a period of social and political unrest (the end of Japanese rule and the fight for independence from the Dutch) central to the making of modern Indonesia. These poems are translated by Burton Raffel and published in The Voice of the Night: Complete Poetry and Prose of Chairil Anwar (1993).

Author Info


If my time should come
I'd like no one to entice me
Not even you

No need for those sobs and cries

I am but a wild animal
Cut from its kind

Though bullets should pierce my skin
I shall still strike and march forth

Wounds and poison shall I take aflee. Aflee
'Til the pain and pang should disappear

And I should care even less

I want to live
for another thousand years