Malay Literature: Volume 22 Number 2 December 2009

January 4, 2010



Narratives About the Past: Recollecting Memory on Malay Ethnocentrism and Ethnicism In The Post-Melakan Period

Abstract This essay is concerned with the phenomena of ethnocentrism and ethnicism in the Malay community, specifically during the pre-modern, post-Melakan period, roughly between 17th-18th century. It is proposed to look at these phenomena through an investigation of sources available from written literatures and from situations in the Malay world at the time of writing. Two most significant texts composed within the period, Sejarah Melayu and Hikayat Hang Tuah will be taken as useful documents to study the ethnocentric world view of the Malays, while a study of the sociopolitical context will help enlighten and complement the textual sources.

Salina: The Story of a “Noble” Prostitute

Abstract The argument in this article stems from A. Samad Said’s statement that his first novel, Salina, revolves around every character in the novel, as opposed to being focused on the character Siti Salina alone. His statement is contentious, because it visibly contradicts the conclusions made in numerous articles and studies on Salina. Generally, these articles and studies find Salina‘s plot to centre on the protagonist Siti Salina, a ‘noble prostitute’ who lives in Singapore during World War Two. Because of this focus, the presence of Siti Salina is the cause of a lingering controversy. To frame this dispute, this article analyses the narrative devices in Salina, to identify the focus of the story, so as to confirm Samad’s statement above. These include the characters and their characteristics, the geographical and chronological backdrop, plot (especially with regard to cause and effect), as well as the scenes and their description, including the manipulation of language. The analysis identifies two narrative strategies manipulated together in Salina, that simultaneously highlight her nobility and downplay her transgressions; both of which focus the story on the noble prostitute. This finding in itself negates the validity of A Samad Said’s statement above, and conversely reaffirms the findings previous articles and studies.

Cyber Literature: A Comparative Paper on Malaysian-Indonesian Satirical Poems (SAJEN)

Abstract The massive outburst of information technology in the current globalised era enables anyone to write and publish his or her writings to be read by anyone from all reaches of the globe. Among all works produced are literary works that cover different genres; poems, short stories, serialised novels, essays and literary criticisms, plus others that were grouped together under the ‘Cyber Literature’ category. In poetry, they are an increasing emergence of poets who write humour poems or ‘Sajen’. Most of them produce satirical Sajen poems as a joke, to tease and make fun of people, to criticize and to trigger their sensitivity and creativity. Some of the Sajen poems were made to ‘sting’ in its satirical sense, but some were made just for the sake of producing humour-related works. This essay is made in order to study several Sajen poems by poets from Malaysia and Indonesia who practiced the satirical approach as the analysis structure. A comparative study on Sajen under Cyber Literature from both countries is made not just to see the level of quality of the works done from both nations, but also to raise-up questions, themes and the reasons behind their works.

Myth and Religion in the Fu Numeral (Bilangan Fu) and the Prau with the Silent Soul (Bedar Sukma Bisu)

Abstract The study compares two novels which are The Numeral Fu (Bilangan Fu) by Ayu Utami and The Prau with the Silent Soul (Bedar Sukma Bisu) by Faisal Tehrani using the Theory of Existence of Myth as a hidden narrative which expound the world view, value, code of ethics and moral that existed in society. The hidden narrative is seen in a theoritical context thus portraying the existence of myths which were often connected with efforts in questioning the existence, nature and energy elements surrounding them. Furthermore, it brings along the principle of belief, which eventually became life’s thrust. Samawi religions (monotheism) were not borne out of myths, but from the revelations of The Only God. But, myth often existed as a destructive element or on the other hand contributed constructively in understanding the profound truth. This study is done to witness how the hidden narratives were eventually constructed to bring about the thoughts and ideology of these two authors in upholding their respective discourse.



A Tale From Maghreb-El-Aksa

Father’s Palace of Love

The Gun

Cendana’s Inheritence



Combing the Curtain of Poetry

The Tale of Colours
The Tale of Water III
What ‘Forgot’ Said to ‘Remember’

Father’s Message
The Note of a Slave at the Edge of a Range



Not Deja Vu