Thursday, May 26, 2016


There are other short stories and poems that  touch on obedience and submission as the symbol of decency, dignity and womanliness . A common stereotype phrase dedicated to women is “No matter how  high you learn a woman’s place is in the kitchen”. 

My novel Hatimu Aisyah  recorded the life and experiences of  Malay women in the thirties up to the eighties, covering the time of my grandmother, my mother and me.  The little novel of 240 pages was inspired by true stories told by grandmother of her younger days  .  The protagonist  Aisyah like my grandmother did not go to school and from a very young age she had to help with the chores at home and take care of her younger siblings, everything done for her own good since a woman’s only destiny is to be a housewife.  In her later life Aisyah  was under pressure and faced conflict of loyalties between her modernized husband who wish to send their daughters to secondary school and her old and sick mother who pleaded Aisyah to keep the daughters at home. At that time especially in the more remote   areas  it was even considered a disgrace to let young teenage girls to walk outside the house by themselves. I wrote the novel for the purpose of recording the customs, taboos, restrictions, hardship that Malay women had gone through. It is my hope that our younger generations will realize that they are luckier than their mothers and grandmothers and will use their time and opportunity  wisely. 

There are other short stories and poems that touch on obedience and submission as the symbol of decency, dignity and womanliness . A common stereotype phrase dedicated to women is “No matter how  high you learn a woman’s place is in the kitchen”. This almost discourage women to pursue further studies. Mothers and grandmothers advise their girls to marry young. The  elderly ladies  are worried that their daughters remain single. Somehow they manage to instil fear and unnecessary worry among the girls causing some of them to forgo further studies and career opportunities for the sake of settling down. I depicted this   in several short stories including Anita.  Anita was brilliant and beautiful. While studying in the university she was active in community work including helping to teach voluntarily Malay students who were weak in Mathematics and Science.  Her involvement made her too occupied to take up serious relationship with a boy, and boys prefer quiet and low profile girls for their potential wives. Anita graduated as a school teacher, determined to do her best to bring up good students and help her society. She organized programmes and asked for commitments from her fellow teachers. But Anita became a victim of prejudice and misunderstanding and even accused of trying to steal somebody’s husband. This happen because Anita is still unmarried

LAHUMA'S PADI FIELD. (translated to English and French) 
Besides women issues I also write about the weakening of agricultural sector. One such story is Bendang Lahuma (Lahuma’s Padi Field). Padi land is diminishing as more land are being built over with factories and houses . Less people want to become farmers with meagre income, hard work and unglamorous life.

The  country is producing less and less food while food production is crucial in the security of a nation. At about the same time we watched on television about people in Russia and Korea facing acute food shortage. Food production is a crucial issue in a country. If we go on depending on other countries for our food especially staple food like rice it would be a disaster if anything were to happen.

I purposely named the main character Lahuma to establish the  link and remind the readers of the novel RAnjau Sepanjang Jalan. In this way I could remind the readers that the words of a writer like Shahnon Ahmad should be taken seriously. 


No comments:

Post a Comment