Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A NOTE ON MURKA LAUTAN


SOME NOTES ON MURKA LAUTAN (THE WRATH OF THE OCEAN.)



My latest collection of short stories is Murka Lautan (The Wrath of the Ocean), published by Institute of Translation and Books Malaysia,  2016 It is a portrayal of Malaysian life in recent days.

The term short story apparently means a story that is short, as compared to a long story of a novel. In spite of the word story,   what is to  be delivered in a short story is not a 'story' but issues in a society while a story is an element required to bring the issues.  Although short stories and novels are termed as fiction, the purpose of writing is to convey the realities of life. The reality is blended in the craft of language befitting a work of literature.

Short stories give more space for elaboration and discussion  while poetry  is considered an outburst of feelings.  I write on issues hovering my mind such as the split among the Malay community who are  divided by their political stands. This triggered the writing of Cerita Berangkai Hulu Negeri (The Chained Stories of Upstream States) .

I have written several pieces out of my concern for the  younger generation. Why are they racing on the roads and getting killed or disabled in accidents? School goers are playing truants, wasting their precious time and their parents hard earned money at game stations. An example of such short stories, The Curse Of Kuala Kedah is included in this book. This is a sad tale of the state of Kedah, where I was born. The state was attacked and the people tortured mercilessly by the Siamese. The horror of war is over but regretfully  the youth are inflicting their own injury.

The issue of youth  lulled by unworthy entertainment is also highlighted in another short story, Menara Impian.(The Coveted Mineret)

If the younger generations are going astray, the elders are to be blamed. There are short stories in which I criticized  those who have neglected their role as leaders of the families and leaders of the nation. In The Wrath of The Ocean (Murka Lautan), the wrath refer to the tsunami sweeping the shores of Southeast Asia in December 2004.  A top government official was flying to Phuket for the fun of his life not knowing that his daughter was travelling by road to the same island full of anxiety to be photographed for a cultural magazine. What she did not know was, they had prepared to trick her into phonography.   Fortunately  father and daughter were helped by God Almighty and spared the worst. They were given the chance to return home and to the right path.

Another grief in my heart is caused by the loss of Malay lands to immigrants and foreigners. “Diamond Brooch of Wan Tempawan” reveal how royal ladies have been taken advantage of by the Arab and Indian merchants who sold to them jewellery on instalment  basis. More often the instalment involved mortgaging of lands with the usually illiterate and trusting ladies not understanding fully the terms and conditions.  They end up losing their lands.


Poverty is always a major problem. Blame this on the bad governance  and mismanagement of the country. Poverty breed crime in “Tangisan Peragut” (Tears of a Snatcher).   Life is now harder for the rubber tappers with  falling rubber prices. Condition became bad that a poor father braved into a sundry shop just to steal some rice and salted  fish to feed a hungry crying child. This is portrayed in Kecurian di kedai ayah )( Break in into my father’s shop)