#NaPoWriMo Day 3: Malaysian Pasar Malam (Night Market) Haibun

Image courtesy” NatGeo

Perfect doll-like features, heavily armoured against the heat march on stall to stall, arrayed with pungent food. The pink of fresh fried fish tickles noses.  Juicy looking eggs nestle snug among vibrant vegetables and spindly noodle broths. Rows and rows of stacked simmering satay sticks are aligned like wooden soldiers in a tin box. Meat dumplings and probably scrumptious shrimp buns followed by cool chocolaty Milo milkshakes, or ginormous coconut water cooler shakes to coax the temperature down.

passion for food wars
against Heat, unfortunate

Aimee Nezhukumatathil says “Bashō coined the word haibun, the form as it is today existed in Japan as prefaces and mini-lyric essays even before the seventeenth century (when Bashō first popularized the form). After his famous journey to Mutsu, he crafted a sort of guideline to the form in order to plunge deeper into the aware(pronounced ah-WAR-ay) spirit of haiku. Thus, another important feature of the haibun is not simply to provide a writer a shape in which to jot mundane musings of landscape and travel but also to evoke that sense of aware—the quality of certain objects to evoke longing, sadness, or immediate sympathy.”

Traditional Haibuns considers the following:

  • Prose+Haiku
  1. Detachment from, and even a complete absence of, the speaker.
  2. Concentrated use of sensory detail.
  3. The use of some sort of seasonal word or phrase.
  4. A “turn,” or a sudden change of heart, if you will, found in the third line of the prose section.

I hope I incorporated all of them well enough. When I saw Haibun, I was reminded of this food I encountered in a Night Market. Hence the theme.




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