RUDYARD KIPLING: IF…You’ll be a Man, my son!

RUDYARD KIPLING (1865-1936) was born in Bombay, son of John Lockwood Kipling, an artist and teacher of architectural sculpture, and his wife Alice. His mother was one of the talented and beautiful Macdonald sisters, four of whom married remarkable men, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Sir Edward Poynter, Alfred Baldwin, and John Lockwood Kipling himself.

His immensely popular short stories, poems and tales for children were admired by serious critics. His children’s books including Kim and The Jungle Book became classics. In 1907, Kipling became the first British author to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. He admired men of action and celebrated the bravery of the ordinary British soldier, and was an unabashed supporter of British Imperialism and British military power. All that said, I do enjoy his poems and here is one of them:


IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!


Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek, former Minister of Health and MCA Vice President, you are a man for being the first Malaysian Minister who not only apologised to his family but also his Cabinet colleagues and the people of Malaysia. To err is human, to forgive divine. As an imperfect man myself, I accept your apology, and urge you to get on with your life, knowing fully well that you have done your best for your country. I dedicate this Kipling poem to you.

9 thoughts on “RUDYARD KIPLING: IF…You’ll be a Man, my son!

  1. Salam. Pak Din, saya terbaca sajak ini pada tahun 2003, waktu itu sedang memberi khidmat di Outward Bound Malaysia, Lumut.

    Sejak itu saya dapat meneropong jauh kekuatan bidang pengajian saya..

  2. Well said! That was very nice of you Din. Dedicating this Rudyard Kipling poem to Dr Chua Soi Lek, I am sure you’ve made his day!

    In this difficult times, he needs ‘friends’ and all the comforting words and I am sure your words help lessen the pain and embarrassment for his ‘moment of indescretion’.

  3. Amin, dan rakan2 Asian Renaissance 2,yang agak sibok urusan dan tanggungjawab masing,

    Selamat Tahun Baru (2008).

    Dengan ilmu dan akhlak dan akidah keIslaman kita, kita akan menjadi manusia yang mulia dan berjasa kepada mesyarakat. Dengan itu, selamat lah kita dunia dan akhirat, inshaAllah.

    “Be a man of intellect”. Read, think, discuss and write, then you won’t be afraid of the dark, in particular your own shadow. Salam, Pak Din.

  4. Fingers are pointing at the top MCA Leader/s. They are the architect of Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek’s political demise. Dirty buggers, they only take care of their own periok nasi!

    If he can do that to his own Vice President of MCA, will he spare others opposing him and/or in the opposition camp?

    KIll MCA, time they pack off and go afterall they have never stood up for the interest of Chinese Malaysians they proudly claim to represent, against UMNO’s bullying tactics. They are in the BN for a purpose, to share the loot.

  5. Thanks Pak Din atas nasihat. InsyaAllah saya akan cuba sentiasa kekalkan kewarasan yg ada.

    Ada masa saya akan aturkan diskusi santai Pak Din dgn group diskusi kami di sini.. :)=

  6. my aunt’s husband read this at my wedding close to 20 years ago and i was taken by the words i often read it if feeling down.
    Cheer up, Jack. An unexamined life is not worth living, says Socrates. Thanks for visiting this blog. Look forward to your comments.–Din Merican

  7. The stuff of Peace. tho’ I am a woman! It fills the spaces of vagueness and resets us. So glad I found this once again.

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