Written by UDE Students Batch 2016
This story is from A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor, but we change the situation to be what is like in Indonesia. We still make the purpose the same from the original story. The purpose of this writing is for the students to have a better understanding about African-American study in Literary Genres class.
Oma didn’t want to go to Denpasar. She wanted to visit some of her relations in Jakarta and was seizing at every chance to change Cecep’s mind. Cecep was the son she lived with, her only son. Cecep was sitting on the edge of his chair at the table, bending over a sport magazine.
“Now, look here Cecep! See this, read this,” she said and stood with one hand on her slender hips, while the other was rattling the newspaper at his son’s bald head.
“Here this fellow, that calls himself The Begal, is running away from Nusa Kambangan and headed toward Denpasar. You read what the news says he did to these people. Just you read it. I wouldn’t take my children to any direction with a criminal wandering around in the area like that. I couldn’t answer to my conscience if I did.”
Cecep didn’t look up from his reading, so she wheeled around and faced Ibu, a young woman in slacks, whose face was as broad and innocent as a cabbage, and was tied around with a green head-kerchief that had two points on the top like rabbit’s ears. She was sitting on the sofa, feeding the baby his apricots out of a jar.
“The children have been to Jakarta before,” Oma said. “You all ought to take them somewhere else for a change, so they would see different parts of the world and be broad. They never visit to Yogyakarta.”
Ibu didn’t seem to hear her, but the eight-year-old boy, Basuki Hariban, a stocky child with glasses, did.
“If you don’t want to go to Denpasar, why don’t you stay at home?”
He and a little girl, Annabelle, were reading funny papers on the floor.
“She wouldn’t stay at home to be queen for a day,” Annabelle said without raising her yellow head.
“Yes, and what would you do if this fellow, The Begal, caught you?” Oma asked.
“I’d smack his face,” Basuki Hariban said.
“She wouldn’t stay at home for a trillion rupiah,” Annabelle said. “Afraid she’d miss something. She has to go anywhere we go.”
“All right, Miss,” Oma said. “Just remember that the next time you want me to curl your hair.” Then, the little girl argued that her hair was naturally curly.
The next morning, Oma was the first one in the car, ready to go. She sat in the middle of the back seat with Basuki Hariban and Annabelle on her sides. Cecep and Ibu, along with the baby, sat in front. They left Bandung at five in the morning with the mileage on the car at 13130 km. Oma wrote this down because she thought it would be interesting to say how many miles they had been when they got back. It took them thirty minutes to reach the outside of the city.
Oma settled herself comfortably, removing her white cotton gloves and putting them up with her purse on the shelf in front of the back window. Ibu still had on slacks and her head tied up in a green kerchief. Meanwhile, Oma had on a navy blue straw sailor hat with a bunch of white violets on the brim; and a navy blue dress with a small white dot in the print. Her collars and cuffs were white organdy trimmed with lace; and at her neckline, she had pinned a purple spray of cloth violets containing a sachet. In case of an accident, anyone who saw her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady.
She said she thought it was going to be a good day for driving, neither too hot nor too cold. She cautioned Cecep that the speed limit was fifty-five miles per hour and the patrolmen hid themselves behind billboards and small clumps of trees, and would speed out to after you before you had a chance to slow down. She pointed out interesting details of the scenery: green trees and paddy fields that in some places came up to both sides of highway; the various crops that made rows of green lace-work on the ground. The trees were full of silver-white sunlight and the meanest of them sparkled. The children were reading magazines and their mother had gone back to sleep.
“Let’s go through Jombang quickly, so we won’t have to look at it much,” Basuki Hariban said.
“If I were a little boy,” said The Oma, “I wouldn’t talk about my native state that way.”
“Jakarta is a perfect place for crime,” Cecep said, “and Jombang is a lousy state too.”
“You said it.” Annabelle said.
“In my time,” said Oma, folding her thin veined fingers, “children were more respectful of their native states and their parents and everything else. People did right then. Oh, look at the cute little tiko!” she said, while pointing at the dark-skinned child who was standing in the door of a shack.
“Wouldn’t that make a picture, now?” she added, and they all turned to look at the little pribumi out of the back window. The little child waved.
“He didn’t have any britches on,” Annabelle said.
“He probably didn’t have any,” Oma explained. “Little tiko in the country does not have things like we do. If I could paint, I’d paint it in a picture,” she said.
The children exchanged comics.
Oma offered to hold the baby and Ibu passed the innocent one over to the front seat to her. She set the baby on her knee and bounced him, telling him about the things they were passing. She rolled her eyes and screwed up her mouth; stuck her leathery thin face into his smooth bland one. Occasionally, he gave her a faraway smile. They passed great post road with five or six graves fenced in the middle of it, like a small island.
“Look at the graveyard!” Oma said, pointing it out. “That was the old family burying ground. That once belonged to the Dutch.”
When the children finished all the comics they brought, they opened the lunch and ate it. Oma ate a peanut butter sandwich with an olive. She would not let the children throw the box and the paper napkins out the window. When there was nothing else to do they played a game by choosing a cloud and made the other two guess what shape it suggested. Basuki Hariban took one with the shape of a cow, and Annabelle guessed a cow. But Basuki Hariban said, no, saying it was an automobile. Annabelle said he didn’t play fair, which caused them they began slapping each other over Oma.
They stopped at a restaurant for fill their stomach. The restaurant appeared to be built with part stucco and part wood. There was also a filling station and dance hall set in clearing outside. A fat man named Buto ijo ran it. There were also signs sticking here and there on the building, and for miles up and down the highway, which said: TRY BUTO IJO GOAT SATAY. NONE LIKE FAMOUS BUTO IJO! BUTO IJO! THE FAT BOY WITH THE HAPPY LAUGH. A VETERAN! BUTO IJO’S YOUR MAN!
Buto ijo was lying on the bare ground outside The restaurant with his head under a truck while a gray monkey about a foot high, chained to a small chinaberry, chattered nearby. The monkey sprang back into the tree and got on the highest limb as soon as he saw the children jump out of the car and run toward him.
Inside, the restaurant was long dark room with counter at the end. There were tables at on the other side and dancing space in the middle. They all sat down at a board table next to the Spacetoon and Buto ijo’s wife, a tall burnt-brown woman with hair and eyes lighter than her skin, came and took their older. Ibu put a dime in the machine and played “Ande Ande Lumut”. Oma said the tune always made her want to dance. She asked Cecep if he would like to dance, but he only glared at her. He didn’t have a naturally sunny disposition like she had, and trips made him nervous. Oma’s dark-brown eyes were very bright. She swayed her head from side to side, pretending she was dancing in her chair. Annabelle played something she could tap to, so Ibu’s out in another dime and played a fast number, and Annabelle stepped out onto the dance floor and did her tap routine.
“Ain’t she cute?” Buto Ijo’s wife said, leaning over the counter. “Would you like to come be my little girl?”
“No, I certainly wouldn’t” Annabelle said. “I wouldn’t live in a broken-down place like this for a trillion rupiah! And she ran back to the table.
“Are you not ashamed?” hissed Oma.
Buto Ijo came in, telling his wife to quit lounging on the counter and to be quick with these people’s order. His khaki trousers reached just to his hip bones and his stomach hung over them like a sack of meal swaying under his skirt. He came over and sat down at a table nearby, letting out a combination sigh and yodel.
“You can’t win,” he said and wiped his sweating red face off with a gray handkerchief. “These days you don’t know who to trust,” he said. “Ain’t that the truth?”
“People are certainly not nice like they used to be,” said Oma.
“Two fellers come in here last week,” Buto Ijo said, “driving a Honda. It was an old beat-up car, but it was a good one and these boys looked all right to me. Said they worked at the mill and you know I let them fellers charge the gas they bought? Now why did I do that?”
“Because you’re a good man!” Oma said at once.
“Yes’m, I suppose so,” Buto Ijo said as if he was struck with the answer.
His wife brought the orders, carrying the five plates all at once without a tray, two in each hand and one balanced on her arm. “It isn’t a soul in this green world of God’s that you can trust,” she said. “And I don’t count nobody out of that, not nobody,” she repeated, looking at Buto Ijo.
“Did you read about the criminal, The Begal, that’s escaped?” asked Oma.
“I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he didn’t attack this place right here,” said the woman. “If he hears about it being here, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he didn’t attack this place right here,” said the woman. “ If he hears about it being here, I wouldn’t be none surprised to see him. If he hears it’s two cent in the cash register, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he… “
“That’ll do,” Buto Ijo said. “Go bring these people their Sarsaparilas,” The woman went off to get the rest of the order.
“A good man is hard to find,” Buto Ijo said. “Everything is getting terrible. I remember the day you could go off and leave your screen door unlatched. Not anymore.”
He and Oma discussed better times. The old lady said Netherlands was entirely to blame for the way things were now, in her opinion. She said the way the Dutch acted you would think were made of money and Buto Ijo said it was no use talking about it, she was exactly right. The children ran outside into the white sunlight and looked at the monkey in the lacy chinaberry tree. It was busy catching fleas on himself and biting each one carefully between his teeth as if it were a delicacy.
They drove off again into the hot afternoon. Outside of Tunggorono, she woke up and recalled an Old Dutch house that she had visited in this neighbourhood once when she was a young lady. She said the house had six white columns across the front and that there was an avenue of oaks leading up to it and two little wooden trellis arbours on either side in front where you sat down with your suitor after a stroll in the garden. She recalled exactly which road to turn off to get to it. She knew that Cecep would not be willing to lose any time looking at an old house. But the more she talked about it, the more she wanted to see it once again and find out if the little twin arbours were still standing.
"There was a secret panel in this house," she said craftily, not telling the truth but wishing that she were, "and the story went that all the family silver was hidden in it when Peter Van der Waal came through but it was never found . . ."
"Hey!" Basuki Hariban said. "Let's go see it! We'll find it! We'll poke all the woodwork and find it! Who lives there? Where do you turn off at? Hey Ayah, can't we turn off there?"
"We never have seen a house with a secret panel!" Annabelle shrieked. "Let's go to the house with the secret panel! Hey Ayah, can't we go see the house with the secret panel!"
"It's not far from here, I know," Oma said. "It wouldn't take over twenty minutes."
Cecep was looking straight ahead. His jaw was as rigid as a horseshoe. "No," he said.
The children began to yell and scream that they wanted to see the house with the secret panel. Basuki Hariban kicked the back of the front seat and Annabelle hung over her mother's shoulder and whined desperately into her ear. They claimed that they never had any fun on vacation and could not ever do what they wanted to do. The baby began to cry and Basuki Hariban kicked so hard that his father could feel the blows in his kidney.
"All right!" he shouted and drew the car to a stop at the side of the road. "Will you all calm down? Will you all just shut up for one second? If you don't shut up, we won't go anywhere.
"It would be very educational for them," Oma murmured.
"All right," Cecep said, "but get this: this is the only time we're going to stop for anything like this. This is the one and only time."
"The rocky road that you have to turn down is about a kilometre back," Oma directed. "I marked it when we passed."
"A rocky road," Cecep groaned.
After they had turned around and were headed toward the rocky road, Oma recalled other points about the house, the beautiful glass over the front doorway and the candle-lamp in the hall. Basuki Hariban said that the secret panel was probably in the fireplace.
"You can't go inside this house," Cecep said. "You don't know who lives there."
"While you all talk to the people in front, I'll run around behind and get in a window," Basuki Hariban suggested.
"We'll all stay in the car," his mother suggested. They turned onto the rocky road. Oma recalled the times when there were no paved roads and thirty miles was a day's journey. The rocky road was hilly and there were sudden washes in it and sharp curves on dangerous embankments.
"This place had better turn up in a minute," Cecep said, "or I'm going to turn around."
The road looked as if no one had travelled on it in months.
"It's not much farther," Oma said, and just as she said it.
Suddenly, two motorbikes appeared in front of their car and stopped them. There were three men. One was a fat boy in black trousers and a red sweat shirt with a silver stallion embossed on the front of it. His mouth slightly opened in a kind of loose grin. The other had on khaki pants and a blue striped coat and a gray hat pulled down very low, hiding most of his face.
The last one was an older man than the other two. His hair was just beginning to gray and he wore silver- rimmed spectacles that gave him a scholarly look. He had a long creased face and didn't have on any shirt or undershirt. He had on blue jeans that were too tight for him and was holding a black hat and a sickle. The two boys also had sickles.
The car stopped. The three men approached their car and broke the car’s window. The family was shocked. Basuki Hariban and Annabelle screamed. The baby also cried loudly. Then, two of the men began to pull them out one by one and forced them to stand in front of the car.
Oma had the peculiar feeling that the bespectacled man was someone she knew. His face was as familiar to her as if she had known him in her life but she could not recall who he was.
Oma shrieked. She scrambled to her feet and stood staring. "You're The Begal!" she said. "I recognized you at once!"
"Yes'm," the man said, smiling slightly as if he were pleased in spite of himself to be known.
"You wouldn't stab a lady, would you?" Oma said and removed a clean handkerchief from her cuff and began to slap at her eyes with it.
The Begal pointed the toe of his shoe into the ground and made a little hole and then covered it up again. "I would hate to have to," he said.
"Listen," Oma almost screamed, "I know you're a good man. You don't look a bit like you have com- mon blood. I know you must come from nice people!"
"Yes mam," he said, "finest people in the world."
When he smiled he showed a row of strong white teeth. "God never made a finer woman than my mother and my daddy's heart was pure gold," he said.
The boy with the red sweat shirt had come around behind them and was standing with his knife at his hip. The Begal squatted down on the ground. "Watch them children, Havitz," he said. "You know they make me nervous." He looked at the six of them huddled together in front of him and he seemed to be embarrassed as if he couldn't think of anything to say. "Ain't a cloud in the sky," he remarked, looking up at it. "Don't see no sun but don't see no cloud neither."
"Yes, it's a beautiful day," said Oma. "Listen," she said, "you shouldn't call yourself The Begal because I know you're a good man at heart. I can just look at you and tell."
"Hush!" Cecep yelled. "Hush! Everybody shut up and let me handle this!" He was squatting in the position of a runner about to sprint forward but he didn't move.
"I prechate that, lady," The Begal said and drew a little circle in the ground with his knife.
"Well, first you and Havitz get him and that little boy to step over yonder with you," The Begal said, pointing to Cecep and Basuki Hariban. "The boys want to ast you some- thing," he said to Cecep. "Would you mind stepping back to the back of the car?"
"Listen," Cecep began, "we're just passing by to go to Jakarta. We’re just on our holiday," and his voice cracked. His eyes were as brown and intense as the dark batik in his shirt and he remained perfectly still.
Oma reached up to adjust her hat brim as if she was going to the back of the car with him but it came off in her hand. She stood staring at it and after a second she let it fall on the ground. Ryan pulled Cecep up by the arm as if he were assisting an old man. Basuki Hariban caught hold of his father's hand and Havitz followed.
"Cecep Boy!" Oma called in a tragic voice but she found she was looking at The Begal squatting on the ground in front of her. "I just know you're a good man," she said desperately. "You're not a bit common!"
"Nome, I ain't a good man," The Begal said after a second as if he had considered her statement carefully, "but I ain't the worst in the world neither. My daddy said I was his nightmare. Daddy said, I killed my momma cause she died when she delivered me. But he was wrong. He killed my momma. He was a drinker and a gambler and act that my momma as a sex toy. She ended up got knocked up with me. when I was born, my daddy wasn’t there and my momma pushed me inside a carriage. And she’s dead, losing blood. My daddy treated me like a dog. And told me I am stupid. Forced me to work, until I got sick of it.” The Begal stared at Oma. Then he sat in front on her and showed his knife and said,”then one night, my daddy was drunk and calling me useless and little piece of shit. I decided to stab him in the heart and cut him into pieces and eat him.” he put on his black hat and looked up suddenly and then away deep into the woods as if he were embarrassed again. "I'm sorry I don't have on a shirt before you ladies," he said, hunching his shoulders slightly. "We buried our clothes that we had on when we escaped and we're just making do until we can get better. We borrowed these from some folks we met," he explained.
"That's perfectly all right," Oma said. "Maybe Cecep has an extra shirt in his suitcase."
"I'll look and see directly," The Begal said.
“What are you doing to my husband and child?” Ibu screamed.
"Daddy was a card himself," The Begal said. "You couldn't put anything over on him. He never got in trouble with the people in authority though. Just had the knack handled them."
"You could be honest too if you'd only try," said Oma. "Think how wonderful it would be to settle down and live a comfortable life and not have to think about somebody chasing you all the time."
The Begal kept scratching in the ground with the sickle as if he were thinking about it. "Yes'm, somebody is always after you," he murmured.
Oma noticed how thin his shoulder blades were just behind-his hat because she was standing up looking down on him. "Do you ever pray?" she asked.
He shook his head. All she saw was the black hat wiggle between his shoulder blades. "Nome," he said.
Cecep’s scream can be heard from behind the car, followed closely by Basuki Hariban’s scream. Then silence. The old lady's head jerked around. She could hear the wind move through the tree tops like a long satisfied insuck of breath. "Cecep Boy!" she called.
"I was a worship leader for a while," The Begal said. "I have been most everything. Been in the arm service, both land and sea, at home and abroad, been twice married, been an undertaker, been with the railroads, seen a man burnt alive once," and he looked up at the Ibu and the little girl who were sitting close together, their faces white and their eyes glassy; "I even seen a woman flogged," he said.
"Pray, pray," Oma began, "pray, pray . . ."
"I never was a bad boy that I remember of," The Begal said in an almost dreamy voice, "but somewhere along the line I had done something wrong and got sent to the penitentiary. I was buried alive," and he looked up and held her attention to him by a steady stare.
"That's when you should have started to pray," she said "What did you do to get sent to the penitentiary that first time?"
"Turn to the right, it was a wall," The Begal said, looking up again at the cloudless sky. "Turn to the left, it was a wall. Look up it was a ceiling, look down it was a floor. I forget what I done, lady. I set there and set there, trying to remember what it was I done and I ain't recall it to this day. Once in a while, I would think it was coming to me, but it never come."
"Maybe they put you in by mistake," Oma said vaguely.
"Nome," he said. "It wasn't a mistake. They had the papers on me."
"You must have stolen something," she said.
The Begal sneered slightly. "Nobody had nothing I wanted," he said. "It was a head-doctor at the penitentiary said what I had done was kill my daddy.”
"If you would pray," Oma, "Jesus would help you."
"That's right," The Begal said.
"Well then, why don't you pray?" she asked trembling with delight suddenly.
"I don't want no hep," he said. "I'm doing all right by myself."
Havitz and Ryan came ambling back from the back of car. Havitz was dragging a dark brown shirt with batik on it.
"Thow me that shirt, Havitz," The Begal said. The shirt came flying at him and landed on his shoulder and he put it on. Oma couldn't name what the shirt reminded her of. "No, lady," The Begal said while he was buttoning it up, "I found out the crime don't matter. You can do one thing or you can do another, kill a man or take a tire off his car, because sooner or later you're going to forget what it was you done and just be punished for it."
Ibu had begun to make heaving noises as if she couldn't get her breath. Ryan take the baby fiercely. Havitz then killed the baby while the baby’s mother screamed. After he had killed the baby, he grabbed Annabelle’s hand and pulled her into the car. Oma had a bad feeling seeing that. She tried to peek into the car and saw Annabelle was crying without her shirt and skirt.
Ibu cried out loud. Ryan, annoyed by her crying, caught her by the arm and dragged her to the back of the car. Oma heard her screaming. Then, she saw blood flowed to her feet.
Being alone with The Begal, Oma found that she had lost her voice. There was not a cloud in the sky or sun. There was nothing around her but woods. She wanted to tell him that he must pray. She opened and closed her mouth several times before anything came out. Finally she found herself saying, "Jesus. Jesus," meaning, Jesus will help you, but the way she was saying it, it sounded as if she might be cursing.
"Yes'm," The Begal said as if he agreed. "Jesus shows everything off balance. It was the same case with Him as with me except He hadn't committed any crime and they could prove I had committed one because they had the papers on me. Of course," he said, "they never shown me my papers. That's why I sign myself now. I said long ago, you get you a signature and sign everything you do and keep a copy of it. Then you'll know what you done and you can hold up the crime to the punishment and see do they match and in the end you'll have something to prove you ain't been treated right. I call myself The Begal," he said, "because I can't make what all I done wrong fit what all I gone through in punishment."
"Does it seem right to you, lady that one is punished a heap and another ain't punished at all?"
"Jesus! You've got good blood! I know you wouldn't shoot a lady! I know you come from nice people! Pray! Jesus, you ought not to shoot a lady. I'll give you all the money I've got!"
"Lady," The Begal said, looking beyond her far into the woods, "there never was a body that give the undertaker a tip."
"Jesus was the only One that ever rose the dead," The Begal continued, "and He shouldn't have done it. He showed everything off balance. If He did what He said, then it's nothing for you to do but throw away everything and follow Him, and if He didn't, then it's nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can-by killing somebody or burning down his house or doing some other meanness to him. No pleasure but meanness," he said and his voice had become almost a snarl.
"Maybe He didn't raise the dead," the old lady mumbled, not knowing what she was saying and feeling so dizzy that she sank down in the ditch with her legs twisted under her.
"I wasn't there so I can't say He didn't," The Begal said. "I wish I had of been there," he said, hitting the ground with his fist. "It ain't right I wasn't there because if I had of been there I would of known. Listen lady," he said in a high voice, "if I had of been there I would of known and I wouldn't be like I am now." His voice seemed about to crack and Oma’s head cleared for an instant. She saw the man's face twisted close to her own as if he were going to cry and she murmured, "Why you're one of my babies. You're one of my own children!" She reached out and touched him on the shoulder. The Begal sprang back as if a snake had bitten him and stabbed her four times through the chest. Then he put his sickle down on the ground and took off his glasses and began to clean them.
Ryan and Havitz returned to him, looking down at Oma who lay in a puddle of blood with her legs crossed under her like a child's and her face smiling up at the cloudless sky.
Without his glasses, The Begal's eyes were red-rimmed and pale and defenseless-looking. "Take her off and throw her away," he said
"She was a talker, wasn't she?" Havitz said, sliding down the ditch with a yodel.
"She would of been a good woman," The Begal said, "if it had been somebody there to stab her every minute of her life."
"Some fun!" Havitz said.
"Shut up, Havitz" The Begal said. "It's no real pleasure in life."
(Images retrieved from Google)
Written by A Review by Creative Writing Students Batch 2014
Midnight’s Children has always had a place in its admirers’ heart. The postcolonial story that tells about the mixture of magic and the birth of India during British’s colonialism is fascinating. By using first person, Salman Rushdie conveys a semi-autobiographical story into his novel.
There is always a positive side and a negative side in everything, including Midnight’s Children. India was colonized by the British because of its wealth, which had lured countries to come, concealing their real purpose with the façade of ‘kindnesses.
There are at least two cultures mixed in the country: the British and Indian. In addition to that, India has various religions, but the society is basically divided into Hindu and Muslim. The transcultural phenomenon can be seen through the names used by Rushdie: Sanskrit ones, which, read closely, relate to Hindu Myths, Muslim ones, and Western ones.
Beside the interesting transcultural scenes, the novel also represents the historical birth of India – that is, her struggle to reach the independence. It is a reminder of the Indian people, especially the reader, of the effort of Indians in claiming her independence. However, because of its complicated plot, the novel is actually not reader-friendly. The novel explains about two generations before Saleem, which is confusing if one is not interested in history.
Despite all the compliments of the novel receives; there are also bad reviews. One comes from Graham Huggan, a professor of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Literature at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom. In his essay, The Postcolonial Exotic, Huggan airs his suspicion that Booker of Bookers Prize was being unfair in crowning Midnight’s Children as the winner of the 25th Awards of Bookers Prize. He argues that “postcolonial has become the codeword for these transnational productions. The Booker McConnell Company has evolved into a postcolonial patron: through its sponsorship it celebrates the hybrid status of an increasingly global culture” (p. 24). Postcolonial-themed novels have thus become a standard. One winner criticised the unfairness in his acceptance speech: “Every year the Booker brothers see their prize wash up a monster more horrible than the last” (p.25). Other speeches support Huggan’s argument that it is quite odd that the winner of the award is always a novel with postcolonial theme.
Huggan argues that the reason behind is the illusion of exoticism:
They all know exoticism sells. African or Indian writing offers a window onto a different world. This world produces wonder: it rejuvenates the sensibilities of a readership tired of provincial navel-gazing; tired also of a literature that reflects the realities of a society from which they badly need release.” (p. 26)
Exoticism is what drives the Western reader’s curiosity to receive the “strange and unknown” culture. This fetish of exoticism is being seen as an opportunity for getting more profit. In a similar vein, Iyer argues that the term ‘postcolonial’ “functions not merely as a market of anti-imperial-resistance, but as sales tag for the international commodity culture of late (twentieth century) capitalism” (p. 24).
Throughout his The Post Colonial Exotic article, Huggan mentions how Rushdie’s Midnight Children is favoured by the people in the West. It covers cultural, historical, and traditional values, which are the reason why the metropolitan readers like it. As a means of marketing strategy, it cannot be overlooked that most people in the West prefer a story that covers these values – which we may draw a conclusion of why transcultural works by non-Western authors won the Book of Bookers.
Written by Gresiawati
This story is about Asnah, the queen of Dangdut. She is good at imitating the superstar with her own style. Many people like the way she sings. She travels from one village to another. She is not a beautiful or sexy woman. There are still plenty of other crooners in the villages who are far more beautiful than Asnah and with bodies to die for, but Asnah is different from them because she always sings with her soul.
One day, the neighborhood chief approaches Asnah and scolds to her because her husband prefers to watch Asnah’s performance rather than taking care of their sick child. Following the accident, Asnah feels desperate and she doesn’t want to meet anyone. Until someday, the head of local band visits her and make her wants to perform again.
Unfortunately, the incident happens again and makes Asnah quits her career as a crooner. She decides to move out of the village and become the snack seller. One day, she meets Blarat, someone whom curious about Asnah’s identity. By time passes, Blarat wants to marry Asnah. But, he feels surprise when he meets Asnah’s mother and he knows that Asnah is lay on the bed but actually she is singing at another place. She will come awake when she is done.
This story is portraying a life from girl who lives as a crooner. Asnah always wants to give the best part of her for her audience but it makes other women staring at her as a “rival” because most of their husbands always comparing their wives with Asnah.
Actually, this is such a great story. The ending of this story is unpredictable but it makes the reader a bit confused with the usage of word in this story. Some words in this story are figurative which means that is not the real meaning. Sometimes, the reader should make their own interpretation for this story.
I think genre of this story is magical realism, because this story contains about magic and something that cannot happens in real life. On the other side, this story is seemed so real since this story is tells about the life of crooner who is often despised by people. Theme of this story is: do not mind other people think about you. Most parts of this story tell about negative views of women in villagers to Asnah as a crooner. For the husbands, Asnah is an angel who can entertain them from their monotonous life. Even for their wives, Asnah is like a devil who wants to steal their husband. Asnah is always wants to entertain their audience but she also thinks about woman who always scolds into her after her perform. She even cannot thinks about herself. This realization makes her feels desperate and she has no idea about what she is supposed to do.
Retrieved from: http://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2017/02/20/short-story-voice-of-an-angel.html
Written by Bella Niasta Putri Zalukhu
I have read the short story, titled These Walls will talk. I think I did not found any trans cultural aspect. This story is about a woman, who has a daughter named Jena, and they live in an apartment. Apparently, the woman do not really like to socialize with many people, which is why she chose to stay in an apartment, so she does not have to greet and communicate with her neighbors. I think in this story, the writer wants to show that before the woman has a baby, she did a lot of activities outside and meet a lot of people, but after she has a baby, she does not want to socialize with many people.
On night, the woman has a little trouble with her stomach, and Jena is hungry so the woman should feed her. She could not feed her because of stomachache. Then, a knock comes on the door and a woman in gray pajamas whose hair is curled back using several rollers appeares behind the door. The woman in gray asks Jena’s mother that she hears a baby wailing. After she knows that Jane is hungry and her mother is ill, the woman approaches Jena and reaches inside her pajama top before pulling out her breast. Jena quickly intervening reaches for it, unaware the breast she is holding is not her mother's. The woman is so nice and has a motherly soul. She is writing her phone number down on a pink post-it and leaving it hanging on the door of the fridge. The woman in gray, is called Seruni. I think in this part, the writer wants to show that there is a woman who has a good characteristic to help Jena’s mother, but it seems suspicious, because the woman in grey is just a new people who have never known before.
Jena enjoys her play date with Timmy, Seruni’s son. While they play, Jena’s mother will talk to Seruni and occasionally she will teach her how to cook a smooth porridge mixed with vegetables and shredded meat. At the time, Jena's mother feels she has a different character with Seruni. In her mind, Seruni is a perfect mother for her child. Seruni suggests that Jane has to enter playgroup, and she will take care of Jane. One day, things began to change somewhat. It turns out that Seruni, like the image of most stay-at-home moms she has carved in her mind, is very keen on talking about other people. Seruni is disclosed to her the most “problematic” units in the building. This unit is occupied by a woman who is involved with a married government official; another unit is occupied by a woman whose husband had died from a drug overdose and etc. Jena's mother does not like it and she does not want to know about rumors like that. This part shows that the woman in gray has a bad characteristic, because she is like someone who likes to interfere with other people's problems.
She is very annoyed when Seruni wants to know about Jane’s father. Jena's mother tells her that her husband is gone. She hopes that the answer is not spread to the entire unit apartment. Jena's mother getting upset again when she knows that Seruni spreads the rumor to all unit in apartment. She instigates Jena and told her that her father is already in heaven, while Jena still do not understand it. Seruni is like a monstrous woman who has lips like fake news channel, never cease to deliver updates sprinkled with all kinds of seasonings. This story tells about someone who has hypocrisy or two face, that despite all her kindness, she also has bad character, it shows when the woman makes Jena’s mother hurt and annoyed by her words. But in the first impression, the woman shows her kindness to Jena’s mother. The woman is called Seruni. The writer makes the story with simple words that make the reader easy to read. The motif of this story is “The walls”, it shows how people who are close can talk about each other. I think the theme is do not judge people by it’s cover. We do not assume the person is good only for the first meeting, but we must be wary of new people we know. Because the walls will talk, it means people around us will talk about the ugliness of our own. I think I have not found a transcultural aspect.
Retrieved from: http://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2017/02/06/short-story-these-walls-will-talk.html
Written by Daisy Ariesta & Petricella Margareta
These mouths, which live in a place called Neverwhere, should not be taken literally. It would be a frightening scene, if one’s eyes witnessed such situation. They are taken from a song that was written a short story, Babad Kasunyatan, by Empu Saprakawi. These flying mouths are described as no different as a human’s mouth. Yet, they have a tendency to, “...hover a pile of dirt or excrement.” In a snap judgement, these odd mouths seem similar to vultures. In contradict of the previous facts, these flying mouths are invisible to most people’s eyes; only noises, at least echoes, that could be heard from them, whose sounds often so pleasant, yet it all could sound rather infuriating. Moreover, “these flying mouths are terrifying the local community.” Even the author calls these flying mouths as invisible humming ghosts.
These flying mouths are being discussed by the “I” and a professor, which name is Hendrik Adsen. “I” is invited because his article was recommended by a colleague of the professor. The conversation between them is interesting, simply attracts attention to follow closely to their topics. It begins with such an intriguing figurative sentence from the professor, “God was sending down His army of drizzle and drenching the barbed wire.” From this sentence, assumption is being made that religion could be involved in the conversation. The “I” character question if I should interpret the sentence. Lightly, the professor responds, “Only madmen and those without actual jobs would take on this sort of work.” Simply, the statement catches attention, making readers think hard about its meaning. Since the “I” asked about interpretation, the professor would be likely talking about an interpreter, whose job could only being chosen by a man who lose his mind, or a person who is confused about their occupation. “Those without actual jobs” somehow could be concluded as people who do not have anything better to do, which sounds quite sarcastic. Another assumption is the professor talked about an interpreter, a person with the job is interpreting; this idea should not be voted enthusiastically. Afterwards, “I” replies to the professor’s statement, “A world that pretends to be wise needs someone like that.” But, the remark is smoothly shifted by the professor, “...not a world that pretends to be wise, but a world that snowballs into the future. They need someone who knows how to retrace their steps and see what they left behind.” The professor sentence should be given a standing ovation because of its truth. It describes the situation of the world in the present; the world does everything that harms the future state.
Their conversation continues and it gets more interesting. The professor seems to announce his status as an intellectual man in every sentence he utters. “If you like it, one day you’ll create one and you’ll open it for the public so that when you re-enter the maze you’ll realise it looks nothing like the one you initially created.” said the professor, when “I” brought up the topic about her fascination about walking inside a maze. This remark is clearly hard to understand.
Both individuals proceed to play chess along with enjoying their drinks. Unexpectedly, the professor throws a question at “I”, continuing the interpreting topic “Which do you think is more important in our field of interpretation: accuracy or courage?” This question will end up in a religious subject, which later on will be referred to the work of Empu Sapakrawi. Both of the characters agree that the work is difficult to interpret, especially the meaning of flying mouth. The discussion soon lead into a bit of enlightenment by figuring out the linguistic aspect is not the focus to comprehend the meaning of Sakrawi’s text. But, it is how one would interpret the text. To interpret one situation, one’s should be an outsider to see it a broad perspective.
Speaking about interpretation, it depends on the reader how they will like to interpret the story. This story is not reader friendly. But looking at the current situation in Indonesia, this story wants to tell the reader not to trust any information immediately without consider the credibility and reliability. Many people in Indonesia immediately trust all information from any sources which sometimes cannot be relied on. This is what people call ‘hoax’, a piece of information which is not true or a lie. In the story, the flying mouth can take any side, in the truth side of the false side and it depends on the people who hear it to trust it immediately or not. The mouth is just like a gossip in a real life which is spread anywhere and anytime.
Retrieved from: http://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2017/01/30/short-story-flying-mouths.html
Written by Otniel Romeo
Al-Azhar Grand Syeikh, AM Ahmed Al-Tayyeb met Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno LP Marsudi in Cairo. This meeting was concluded with both countries agreeing to work together on interfaith and intercultural dialogue. They work together to promote peaceful Islam.
It is good and crucial since it is said that it is for speading the peacefulness of Islam and creating a conducive environment for peace, stability and inclusive development in Muslim countries and all over the world. In these recent months, religious intolerance issues have been spreading in our country Indonesia; precisely after Jakarta’s governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (better known as Ahok), who is a Christian and of Chinese-Indonesian descent, was accused of having done religious defamation. A mass organization called FPI or Front Pembela Islam (English: Islamic Defenders Front) got mad.
They have organized demonstrations to defend their religion. One of the biggest demonstrations that has been done was on November 4, 2016 – it was considered an act of defending Islam by them. Because of that, the severe gap between Muslims and Christians appears and hatred starts to fire although Ahok clarified that he did not mean to do so and people just misunderstood him.
This cooperation program is truly related to transcultural since it involves two countries, Indonesia and Egypt. It may involve more too since it is expected to successfully spread the peacefulness of Islam all over the world. Therefore, instead of disseminating peace to these two countries, this program is purposed to make peace to all countries with different ethnics, cultures and religions.
For me, this cooperation is potential to heal the image of Islam in Indonesia. Since the demonstration has made Islam seems to be easy to get mad, now this is the time to show that Islam is supposed to be peaceful, patient and respecting people with different religions or beliefs. Moreover, Indonesia’s motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika which means “unity in diversity,” represents the colours of the country in which the people have different ethnic and religious backgrounds. With hatred towards other religions, it indeed breaks the unity of Indonesia. That is why cleaning the image of Islam can also fix the unity of Indonesia.
Written by Daisy Ariesta
David vs Goliath in the Land of the King is the title of an article about another discrimination that happens in our beloved Indonesia. Two Chinese-Yogyakarta men, Siput and Willie, ask for their right as Indonesian people to the governor of Yogyakarta, Hamengkubuwono X. It is about the ownership of a land that they can hardly get just because they are Chinese descendants. They lead an organization and ever helped a Bataknese man to get an ownership for a land, but they could not get it just because he has a wife who is Chinese descendant.
As a country who has Pancasila as her ideology, an incident like this should have not happened. These days, Indonesia gets a really difficult problem which almost breaks the unity of Indonesian people. There is a big gap between majority and minority; indigenous and Chinese ethnic or Moslem and Christian. For example, these two Chinese-Yogyakarta men, Siput and Willie, face many difficulties that they have to confront and one of these problems is the ownership of a land in Yogyakarta. Moreover, the Governor of Yogyakarta, Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, says that it is because they are Chinese although Siput and Willie are actually citizens of Indonesia. Diversity always becomes a wall that prevents people to unite.
As Indonesian people, we should not discriminate people because of the race and religion. We have to refer again to Bhinneka Tunggal Ika; unity in diversity. Siput and Willie are pointing back to the human right and law which contain their rights as Indonesian people. There are no Chinese people or else as they were born in Indonesia. They are the same like us, Indonesian people.
If we remember again our lesson in history from elementary school until high school, even we got civic education in university, Indonesian people have to unite to face many problem. In the past, we never win from the colonizer because we rely on some people’s strength without thinking about the strength we would get if every people in Indonesia unite against the colonizer.
Other than that, every religion that enters Indonesia in the past, enters peacefully without any intention to destroy Indonesia. I believe there is no religion that teaches people, who adhere a religion, something bad which against the norms.
From my perspective, Indonesian people nowadays become easy, in other words, can be manipulate easily by other people who have hidden intention. Like what we face these days which we can see from the television or read from the news in the internet, many problem related to the religions or race that drag people to start badmouthing each other. Indonesian people are still not ready to receive such information as they react to something childishly. In the end, if people still act childishly like this, intolerance, no problem will be solved and Indonesia will never live in a peaceful situation again.
In the end, only one sentence I can say, be more tolerant with other people although they are from different race or religion. We must learn from the past or it would be a waste and the same problem might appear to break the bonds that people in the past create for us. There is no such a thing like you are Chinese people or Bataknese people or else. Although we have different skin colour, different accent because of the local language, different face shape, or other distinction that might become a weapon to break the unity of Indonesia, we are, for sure, Indonesian people. We were born in Indonesian and grew in Indonesia.
(article from The Jakarta Post (Tue, January 31 2017) ,"David vs Goliath in the land of the king", image from Google)
Written by Daisy, Selma & Petricella
Written by Bella, Rita, Rajib & Otniel
Written by Gresiai, Estrelita & Tiara J
Written by Martha & Lidiya
Long time ago, at April 2nd 742 in Middle Age, the Kingdom of Franks (a Germanic tribe in present-day Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Western Germany) was welcoming a new baby born. His name is Charles. He was born near Liege in modern-day Belgium. He is the grandchild of Charles Martel and Rotrude of Hesbaye. Charles lived in his huge castle with both of his parents whose names are Pepin the Short and Bertrada of Laon.All of the royal family held the fleur-de-lis golden scepters.
The castle where Charles lived was surrounded by giant gray walls made of strong bricks and a lot of tall trees. The color of the roof was brownish red with cute small chimneys on it. In Charles’ castle, there were many windows. There were big ones and small ones, but they did not use any beautiful glass to decorate the windows. Therefore, the windows looked so dark like a hole. The gate of his castle was also large like a mouth of roaring lion, and grand eagles statues stood sentry along the hallways. Many strong knights wearing silver armors, holding sharp swords, and fleur-de-lis-designated metallic shield were guarding around the castle.
In Charles’ castle, there was a very large backyard surrounded by many trees. It was covered with soft green grasses. When the sunray was radiating brightly, his backyard looked very beautiful. No roofs were covering his backyard. Little Charles could look up directly to the blue sky, and he also could gaze the stars while lying on the grass at night.
Then, Charles grew up as a handsome and strong prince. In 768, when his father passed away, his kingdom was divided into two. Charles had to rule the kingdom with his younger brother, Carloman I for three years. In 771, his younger brother died suddenly so Charles became the only king of the Franks with an iron crown on his head.
Written by Enda & Aline
Once upon a time in the Egyptian kingdom, there lived a god. The god’s name was Seth. Seth has one brother and two sisters. His brother name was Osiris and his sisters name was Isis and Nepthy. Seth was a man who has animal head, curved snout, and square ears. Osiris is a man who has green skin. Isis was a beautiful woman who always dressed magnificiently. Seth married his sister, Nephthys. Meanwhile, Osiris was married to Isis. Osiris was the King of Egypt. Osiris was very popular in Egyptian Kingdom because he was very kind with his people. He was a wise king who was regarded by his people. Isis was the Queen in Egyptian kingdom because she was wife of Osiris. The King and the Queen of the Egyptian Kingdom would have a child because the Queen was pregnant and it makes the king happy. Osiris was happy because he thought that his child would be like him. Seth was surprised to know that. He felt his brother was luckier than him. Both of them were the gods of that Egyptian kingdom but people always adored Osiris more than him, respected respect Osiris than him, and compared Osiris with him. Seth became jealous. He also wants to became the King of Egyptian kingdom and regarded by all people in Egypt. Seth had a plan to kill his brother, Osiris. “I have to kill Osiris so that my wife and I could be the Queen and the King in Egyptian Kingdom and I think I will be the most perfect person in the world,” murmured Seth.