Monday, November 4, 2013

Dum Spiro Spero

The old Kingdom of Sarawak Coat of Arms

I was doing some extra readings for my term paper when an image struck me.

It was a fully loaded truck with a banner that read "While I Breath, I Hope". The truck was transporting logs from rural areas of Indonesia. 

The workers were living in abject poverty but they kept fighting for their life. With every breath they took in, they never stopped hoping for a better future. It almost moved me into tears. I can't upload that deeply moving image because it was in PDF format. But all I can say is, we are very lucky to be born in this blessed country called Malaysia.

I searched the origin of that phrase, and it turned out that it was a direct translation from Latin, Dum Spiro Spero. Latin is practically a dead one speaks in this extinct language anymore. 

In its heyday, Latin was the language of the elites...Sir Isaac Newton used Latin to describe his famous gravity equation. Every plant species found should be described in Latin for age old ruling that was lifted only last year. This once mighty language fall from grace and how it went to grave are still incomprehensible to me...but Latin still holds some of the most memorable quotes in history.

In a rather quirky coincidence, this phrase was the motto of the old Kingdom of Sarawak. In Malay translation, it is called Berharap Selagi Bernafas. Selagi kita masih bernafas, kita tak sepatutnya berputus harap. Allah akan bersama orang-orang yang terus berusaha.

I will keep fighting. Dum Spiro Spero. While I Breath, I Hope. Berharap Selagi Bernafas.