Are You Still Playing Flute?

The Original Version of the Poem

Masihkah Kau Bermain Seruling oleh Zurinah Hassan

Masihkah kau bermain seruling
walau waktu telah terlewat untuk kita bercinta
aku semakin terasa bersalah
melayani godaan irama
lagu yang tersimpan pada lorong halus buluh
dikeluarkan oleh nafas seniman
diukir oleh bibir
diatur oleh jari
dilayangkan oleh alun angin
menolak ke dasar rasa.

Masihkah kau bermain seruling
ketika kampung semakin sunyi
sawah telah uzur
waktu jadi terlalu mahal
untuk memerhatikan hujan turun
merenung jalur senja
mengutip manik embun
menghidu harum bunga.

Masihkah kau bermain seruling
ketika aku terasa mata bersalah
untuk melayani rasa rindu padamu
di kota yang semakin kusut dan tenat
adik-adikku menganggur dan sakit jiwa
bangsaku dipecahkan oleh politik
saudara diserang bom-bom ganas
dunia sudah terlalu tua dan parah.

Di sinilah berakhirnya percintaan kita
kerana zaman sedang menuntut para seniman
hidup di luar dirinya.


  • Date / Place of birth : 13 June 1949, Alor Setar Kedah.
  • Permanent address : No.2, Jalan Pinggir, 8/1L, Seksyen 8, 40000 Shah Alam since 1974.
  • Academic Qualifications : B.A.Hons (Universiti Sains Malaysia), M.A. (Universiti Putra Malaysia). Doktor Falsafah, Akademi Pengajian Melayu, Universiti Malaya.
  • Awards :
    1. Anugerah Penulisan Asia Tenggara (S.E.A. Write Award) 2004
    2. Book Category Award

    i- Pujangga Tidak Bernama, Hadiah Sastera Perdana(1994/1995)

  • ii- Memoir Zurinah Hassan Menjejak Puisi, Hadiah Buku Perpustakaan Negara 2002/2004)
  • iii- Memoir Zurinah Hassan Menjejak Puisi , Hadiah Sastera Perdana 2002/2003.

Are You Still Playing Your Flute? by Zurinah Hassan

Are you still playing your flute?

When there is hardly time for our love

I am feeling guilty

To be longing for your song

The melody concealed in the slim hollow of the bamboo

Uncovered by the breath of an artist

Composed by his fingers

Blown by the wind

To the depth of my heart.

Are you still playing your flute?

In the village so quiet and deserted

Amidst the sick rice fields

While here it has become a luxury

To spend time watching the rain

Gazing at the evening rays

Collecting dew drops

Or enjoying the fragrance of flowers.

Are you still playing your flute?

The more it disturbs my conscience

to be thinking of you

in the hazard of you

my younger brothers unemployed and desperate

my people disunited by politics

my friend slaughtered mercilessly

this world is too old and bleeding.

Thanks toMalaysian Student, you can view the poet’s opinion regarding her own poem


This poem his about a persona who reminisces the time he/she spends when in a village. There are many things that are now luxury to her such as listening to the melody of the flute itself, gazing at the evening rays, collecting dew drops, or enjoying the fragrance of flowers. The village is now unpopulated as many have moved to the city. Now that she has moved on with her life, she wonders whether the flutist is still playing the flute. This is because, there are many challenges in the world today such as the world is dying, the unemployment issue and the people are disunited because of different political views.


  • Family commitments
  • Priorities in life
  • Neglect of one’s duties


  • We should be aware of our family commitments and carry them out properly.
  • Everyone has priorities in, life and we should know what is important and what is not.
  • Following a hobby is good but there is a time for work and a time for play.


  • The poem is the first point of view.
  • The person is addressing another person and describing a situation to him.


  • Rhetorical question
  • Descriptive and questioning
  • Simple style and no rhyme


  • Sombre and regretful
  • Serious atmosphere


  • Imagery – e.g. ‘blown by the wind’, ‘depth of my heart’
  • Alliteration – e.g. ‘fragrance of flowers’
  • Symbol – e.g. ‘flute’, ‘song’
  • Repetition – e.g. ‘Are you still playing your flute?’
  • Figurative Language – Metaphor e.g. ‘The melody concealed in the slime hollow of bamboo – Personification e.g. ‘sick rice field’



  1. warta9news Said:

    tq teacher

  2. sherion Said:

    thank you teacher

  3. Elvena Said:

    Thanks dear teacher..

    • zahuren Said:

      You are most welcome, Elvena

    • Dyana Hyun Joong Said:

      thanks dear are so fantastic.

  4. SCOUT BOY Said:


    • zahuren Said:

      Most welcome, Scout Boy

  5. hani Said:

    thank you a lot teacher..

    • zahuren Said:

      You are welcome, Hani.

  6. Koh Suat Chin Said:

    Hi. Thanks for posting this online! Did you notice that the last stanza ( from the original BM poem) has been left out in the Anthology sent out to the schools? This seems to have misled most readers as to the real message of the poet. Sigh…

    • zahuren Said:

      Hi! You are welcome. Yes I did notice that they have omitted the last stanza.

      • Luke Said:

        It is because that stanza mentions about LOVE

  7. singleman Said:

    it’s helped me to get A in the final exam…..altough i’m not your student,but i have to say thankyou to u sincerely…THANK YOU !!!!

    • zahuren Said:

      I’m glad this has helped you in your final exam..Hopefully more As to go!!

    • pavitra Said:

      so sweet

  8. I am the poet mentioned here. Sorry to say that there has been a misprint. Look at the last paragraph. In the hazard of you should be in “the hazard of this city”.

    What can I do about this mistake? I was not called to proof read.

    • zahuren Said:

      Salam Pn Zurinah. It’s very sad to know that the version received at schools is not the correct one. But, what can we do? I like this particular poem of yours. It is very meaningful.

    • Koh Suat Chin Said:

      Dear Pn Zurinah,
      What can you do? Well, if I were you, I would contact the people at the CDC and request/demand that they send a letter to the Jabatan Pendidikan of each state, informing them of the mistake, and providing the schools with the correct copy. And, for reprints of the book (which they will have EVERY year for the next 7 or 8 years), demand that the corrct version be printed. Surely we cannot allow all these young people to be studying such a mutilated version of your most meaningful poem.
      Warm regards and once again, thank you for the beautiful poem.

    • Rohaida Ngah Said:

      salam Puan’s quite unfortunate that there’s as misprint in the text. i think it’s not too late to correct it..your poem will be used by Form 5 students starting january 2011. the officers in charge at Curricullum Development Department can be notified and they can send the errata to all schools – via road shows, maybe or simply by sending the corrected version to all schools. it’s so very important that teachers teach the corrected version because we do look at poems line by line..and only then we look at it as a whole, and we also test our students this poem..
      by the way, i’m an english teacher teaching in a Terengganu school and a great fan of yours…
      one officer that you can talk to is Puan Diana Fatimah, i’m pretty sure you’ve come across her during meetings..

    • Hi Madam Zurinah,

      Thanks for pointing that out. In fact, I think the translation does not do justice to your original. To be honest, it’s shoddy!

    • nusyi Said:

      Which one should i refer??
      Either or reference books?

    • outlawchaser Said:

      dear pn zurinah;
      it is shameful to learn that your beautiful poem was misinterpreted…You should have been called to proof read the poem so the translation won’t divert from the original version. I wonder whether the translator is qualified enough to do the translation or the poem was translated based on his/her own interpretation.

      • nab Said:

        Dear Pn Zurinah,
        thank you for the info.. I have had difficulties explaining ” in the hazard of you” to my students… now it’s clearer… I definitely agree with the opinion that it should be pointed out to other teachers as a misinterpretation of the original poem…

    • cicak gemoxx Said:


  9. Sakinah Hassan Said:

    Salam Zahureen,
    As a teacher myself, I am glad I found your blog as it helps me a lot in my teaching. Thank you!

    • zahuren Said:

      You are most welcome Sakinah. I’m glad that this is helpful to you.

  10. sara Said:

    thanks a lot for the site. it makes my teaching preparation easier. hope to hear more updates from you soon

    • cicak gemoxx Said:

      you welcome lub lub

  11. Malaysian student Said:

    I find the poet’s own interpretation quite different from yours:

    • reiko Said:

      you should know that literature has 1001 interpretations and none of these are wrong if you give out your own reasoning and proof on your opinion

  12. faley fiona Said:

    thanks so much for the sharing

  13. pauline Said:

    cn you tell me the meaning of stanza 3 in english?

  14. hasina Said:

    it is hard to understand what the poets want to tell… by the way i can understand little bit… hhhhmmmmmmmmmmm

  15. Renee Said:

    A very nice poem indeed…too bad the last stanza was not translated…If it was,it would be much more meaningful….tq for the notes…It will help me in my coming oral test…

  16. ida Said:

    ❤ ❤

  17. its very nice poem…
    i like this poem…

  18. siti Said:

    thanks a lot teacher for send this poem

  19. Nur Atiqah Said:

    it’s really help me teacher , thank you (:

  20. Gee Said:

    Dear Zahuren,
    Glad that you have interpreted with some justifications but the last stanza for this poem is missing and it is not found in the text book as well. Just like the line stanza 3 line 4.

    • zahuren Said:

      Yes Gee, Pn Zurinah Hassan herself also commented on that. The last stanza is not included in the text. You can read her comment below.

  21. Amirul Said:

    Thanks a lot, Zahuren…

  22. beautiful and deeply meaningful

  23. seiichi Said:

    I wonder what questions the education ministry is going to ask about this poem. . . last stanza missing. . . different books giving different interpretations. . . and there is not help book or guidelines for teachers from the ministry . . buta-buta teach lah???

  24. ana Said:

    tengs a lot…=)

  25. azimah Said:

    thank you teacher

  26. fatin Said:

    wow,it’s help me a lot in my exam paper..thank you so much ! finally i understand about this poem.. 🙂

  27. addin ismail Said:

    i’m doing a presentation and i would like to now how to explain the style of language of “Are you still playing your flute? In the village so quiet and deserted”

    • zahuren Said:

      Zurinah Hassan is using a simple and straight forward language. The poem sounds like as if it is addressed to the flautist.

  28. bl@ze Said:

    nice poem and you are a very good writer..;-)

    • zahuren Said:

      This poem is written by one of the prominent poets in Malaysia which is Zurinah Hassan.

  29. nasmi Said:

    .im feel so good to c your helpful notes.thanks a lot teacher.before this,im always thinking that i will never understand this poem coz my english is not good….for your information,i got 9/12 for this poem in my monthly test………..thanks teacher!i love you……

  30. its very nice poem…
    i like this poem…

  31. zayy Said:

    thank you so much for this literature notes.
    my searched become easier.
    notes here are very simple and easily understood.
    thank god !

  32. schol Said:


  33. Zkin Asyikin Said:

    its really help me a lot …

  34. zubir mrsm Said:

    Thanks for the helpful notes. Now, I could understand the poem really well. Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • LINDA MRSM lgkw Said:

      yes me t0o !..can understand n0w..after read alm0st all..tq..

  35. anis Said:

    can you give some example questions about this poem?

  36. rina Said:

    im sorry im searching for the literal meaning of are u still playing your flute where is it????

  37. viki Said:

    vry simple & easy to understand!tq^^

  38. tracy elly Said:

    hello there teacher,,can you help me..the repetition is “are you still playing you flute” right..can you explain me what is the meaning about..

  39. garfield Said:

    this is awesome note for my exam……. thankz a lot teacher eventhough i dont know who u r……………..

  40. garfield Said:

    is this poem come out for 2011 spm exam????? 🙂

  41. garfield Said:

    can u give me some clu for success in english language? i really appreciate it.. maybe some of my writing in this sentence is wrong actually, but i try to do my best.. 🙂

  42. park hanuel Said:

    i love this poems~
    tomorrow i got trial exam~
    wish me luck~

  43. Syamierza Said:

    Misprint? The real last last stanza omitted? This was a BM poem originally? This is AWESOME.I’m going to share it with my teacher and friends.Thank you teacher Zahuren. 🙂

  44. terima kasih….kerana sgt2 membantu sya….

  45. ira nirah Said:

    how is the rice field?

    • zahuren Said:

      The rice field is sick as it is unproductive.

  46. ieyra Said:

    now..i already understand about this poem,,thnz teacher..

  47. eqas Said:

    thank teacher

  48. Li Li Fa Said:

    I would appreciate it if you could explain the 3rd stanza.
    Why it disturbs your conscience to be thinking of the person?
    Why in the hazard of you?
    Does politics aims to disunite people?
    Why was your friend slaughtered mercilessly”
    Why the negative outlook about this world?
    Thank You.

    • zahuren Said:

      1. Because she should be thinking of the bigger problems.
      2. Because ‘you’ is not in a comfortable zone.
      3. I can’t answer because it depends on individual.
      4. Because of different views
      5. People are free to express their views. This is the poet’s view.

      I hope this answers your questions. Thank you.

      • koh suat chin Said:

        The line “the hazard of you” was a wrong translation actually. It should be “the hazard of the city”.

      • zahuren Said:

        Read what the writer herself commented on that.

  49. nor azelah Said:

    cikgu saya nak tanya?? poem are you stiil playing your flute… bermaksuk tentang apa???

    • zahuren Said:

      Please read the notes provided.

  50. michele carvalho Said:

    thank you so much for this site …god bless u ❤

  51. pavithiran Said:

    teacher there is a qeustion tat my teacher ask from the stanza 2 but could remember it but i know the answer only the answer is because the villager leaving the village the question is based on what?

    • zahuren Said:

      I think the question might be ‘Why is the rice paddy field sick?’

  52. Siraz Said:

    is there a synopsis for this poem?

  53. Ong En Oi Said:

    This is my first year teaching Form 5 students. I went through the poem before my first lesson and I got stuck with the line ‘in the hazard of you’. It didn’t make any sense and the reference books were no help. In my opinion, we should stick to poems originally written in English to avoid confusion. There should be poems out there originally written in English with Malaysian ‘flavour’, shouldn’t there? By the way, ‘Masihkah Kau Bermain Seruling’ is lovely.

  54. kaixin humairah Said:

    terima kasih kerana memberi maklumat yang sangat berguna. kebanyakan buku tidak menepati apa yang sebenarnya dimaksudkan dalam puisi .

  55. thanks teacher…

  56. from this blog i can get the note about this poem…:) like this blog very much…

  57. Steve Patrick Said:

    thanks for the note. easy to understand it. 😀

  58. emilyabrahim Said:

    thank you very much teacher.

  59. Mia Said:

    Thanks for this useful note of one of my favourite poem teacher.. ^^

  60. dedellllcikas Said:

    Tq so much for this. Minta izin share ye….

  61. zulfiqar Said:

    why do the poet choose flute instead of other instrument?

  62. shantini Said:

    It is very sad that we have to teach a poem that has such blatant errors in it – and students will be assessed on this blunder in such a major exam as SPM…!! Sorry state of affairs, indeed…

  63. thanz a lot teacher

  64. kery Said:

    tq teacherr,,

  65. labek Said:

    my teacher said to just follow the translated version

    • labek Said:

      thanks 4 the note

  66. Glary Said:

    Thank teacher…

  67. arunaa Said:

    thanks teacher…..

  68. nurul sakinah Said:

    Asalamualaikum,teacher thank you for everthing I’m very appreciate

    • zahuren Said:

      Waalaikumsalam and you are welcome 🙂

  69. Feen Eira Said:

    boleh x terangkn sinopsis dlm melayuu.

    • zahuren Said:

      After all, your answer is in English Language. Why don’t you refer to the dictionary?

  70. Honestly Said:

    it would be good if you make an question for us,,,

  71. Nik Fauzi Said:

    hahahahaah… this poem ❤

  72. amirul asyraf Said:

    i like this poem..

  73. Aliza Kadir Said:

    Should they add the last few verses in the English translation, I think the meaning, the message, a lot of interpretations might be different.

    • zahuren Said:

      I wonder what happened actually when they were translating the poem

      • rosehadiaty yahya Said:

        In regard of the issue, ‘the hazard of the city’, had been mistranslated (i would say), it could mislead the readers in a way bcause literary words give the whole view of the poem. I noticed it recently. By the way, n thank you zahuren for this post. It has enlighten me

  74. Weaslly edmund Said:

    please state the meaning for each stanza…it could more helping students.

  75. amy Said:

    thanks you teacher….may i go to toilet???…lol..

  76. Mohamad Azim Said:


  77. garcinia cambogia dr oz part 4

    What’s the best way to copyright a website and all its contents? Copyright poetry?

  78. hello . we really glad that you post this note for the poem . it’s really helps us . merci beaucoup .

  79. hasnizah Said:

    very good…

  80. darrshan Said:

    thank you teacher……..this is very useful for my revision at home

  81. Freddino Said:

    Thanks for this poem teacher ..

  82. kilibin Said:

    what type of musical instrument is the flute

  83. chan Said:


  84. Ronald Said:

    Hi there, I desire tto subscribe for this webpage to
    get nnewest updates, thus where can i do it please assist.

  85. Cameron Said:

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting.Well written!

  86. Yuvaraj Said:

    thanks for this poem

  87. Sandy Said:

    Thanks 4 this poem …..and what type of musical instrument is the flute…

  88. mierol1616 Said:

    tq teacher

  89. charru Said:

    thanks for ur notes

  90. Caleb Thien Said:

    Thanks Teacher! I finally understand this poem after all this time.

  91. nurizz Said:

    Tc, why the people unemployed and desperate?

    • zahuren Said:

      Unemployed because:
      1. limited job opportunities
      2. lazy
      3. no qualification
      4. jobs are not suitable

  92. eqiz3912 Said:

    Teacher, I wanna ask you why the people unemployed and desperate?

    • zahuren Said:

      Unemployed because:
      1. limited job opportunities
      2. lazy
      3. no qualification
      4. jobs are not suitable

  93. miena Said:

    wow! such a simple poem and i could understand it after all yeay!!

  94. ariff Said:

    teacher,if the question ask why the people unemployed and desperate…how to answer it…does it HOT question?

    • zahuren Said:

      Unemployed because:
      1. limited job opportunities
      2. lazy
      3. no qualification
      4. jobs are not suitable

  95. Nyza Said:

    thankyou teacher !

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