Stranger to Myself | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 19, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 19, 2019

Stranger to Myself

MD Sharif Uddin's memoir Stranger to Myself: Diary of a Bangladeshi in Singapore was awarded best non-fiction at the Singapore Book Awards in 2018.

A Worker's Journey

The longing of a sleepless brain

For a golden morning

For a break in the rhythm

For the beginning of the race

In the dry season or monsoon

I have to run, to keep running.


From tiredness and misery

The heart erodes in lament

And in the game of war begins

And so begins the flood

Sometimes for a moment

Sometimes for a day

I have to run, keep running

Deep inside the heart

With a mournful cry disguised as valour

I return to this hellpit

The realization of dreams begins

The journey begins


At times I belong to this country

At times to that

I run, I have to run.

Exiled Heart


Who cares about the pain of those removed

working under the soil in this city of always Spring?

How many wails make this earth tremble?


Let me tell my tale,

a tale of exiles from the land of flames-

I am an exile lost

in the hot womb of soil.

Solitude holds me,

makes my heart weep and drills a hole;

every moment accumulates eternities.


Everyday, when dusk ceases,

my existence is obscured in the darkness of the deep.

I can hardly remember that I belong to this earth.

Once had chores, had Springs,

had a childhood on the wings of dreams,

an urge to love and be loved by someone,

a home of happiness, blessings from my mother.

Now, exiled,

I am under the earth of this city

trapped by many layers of dust,

nourished by the smell of grief in my breath.

Loveless moments turn me silent,

pain clothes this fatigue-torn body,

but in the hope of light beyond darkness

this exiled heart still floats

from the bottomless tunnel.  


From Stranger to Myself, Diary of a Bangladeshi in Singapore by MD Sharif Uddin, Landmark Books, 2017. The book is available for purchase from and


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