Saturday, May 17, 2014

Malaysian tales retold and remixed

This is a book of  re-tellings  of better say modern versions of original  fables or tales  as  thought by their  today;s authors .
YOU can compare  the  original Cinderela  Story  with the  new  Cinderella   Elle: A Modern Cinderella Tale (2010)  found on ]

Daphne Lee is the   author  and the editor of this book edited by her and her counterparts  making  retells or versions of 16  Malay  fables or tales . This  book includes 16 in total (14 + 2   different versions of the same story )

Before  starting  in the stories let me comment in the book . The cost seems  rather high (?)compared to other books I just  received . Its cost is RM 35 (In Malaysian Ringgit Eu 7.7 )+ 22.5 shipping (4.5 Eu ) from Malaysia to Greece .This book has been  bought from a  bookstore in Georgetown

Shipping in this case is out  of the  question as the comparative  cost between other books  received is still higher (though for the Greek market  200 pages book is very cheap and could normally cost  at least 3 time more,  unless  it is sold as  newspaper offer ) But I think I got into another subject  hat is not necessary to start here . I have some other books fro Malaysia  as eg the book of the Epic of Hang Tuah of ca 600 pages that cost abt 60 RM  in a little  bigger paper format and more condensed text

Now back to the  book . First, the paper used is very poor ,as  like the paper used in Viper , or romance books for women. Bad choice. But the  cover is much better  with mustard  type color (dark yellow) and shining golden font types as well as  the animals  shown in each angle n the front cover page .And a nice design. 

MY first aim to buy  this book was to find interesting  original  tales from  Malaysia for   teaching to my daughter ! Dont forget  that i m invvolved with malaysia  since 1989 !

In this book  there 16 stories  are referred  above Eaxh story   is about 10 -15  pages with 2 of them are exemptions awith 3 and 5 each . One  of these stories  seems rather  original (just a suppose please read later ) some if them go in parallel to the original story and  some of them  ar rather more diverse!(ie far from the  original story ore just based )

In the appendix of this  book all the writers  are noticed with a short history behind  them

I have  read  many  Malaysian stories so far But I still not know the original stories of some of these referred in this book  ! But Google search  does a great job  for finding them

Here will be  a short review and if possible as 'space permits'  will add a short story of the original . stories  are as read first and are   in randombut at the sequence they have been read.

Most stories here have an easy to read  language . But still there are cases of difficult language! (as in mahsuri and the stories of Karina ). I had to use my tablet in order  to sped up  my 'translational' work .The tablet's goo translation  has been adjusted to include Malay and Greek for offline translation .

(13) The legend of Din Ketolok . Googling this  term does not yeald any  entry except a comment of this book . It is one of  the shortest stories  of this book and is a story transferred in generations by mouth and  told to the author by unnamed person (at least it is. this can be also o fake story ) . This is  a humorous story with a few points  exaggerated  i liked  it ! 4/5

(4)Don’t fuck with mother earth ! Funny title  enough isn’t it? Well the  original story  refers to the mounts Santubong and  Sejinjiang in  Sarawak . Two  sisters or cousins have dropped  from heaven  in order to  save from battles  between two cities . But for the sake of a nice price  these  two girls  were under  fight and at the end their mother from the  heaven made them mountain for Santu  and islands  for Senji . I knew this story  two months before , when  I started  digging  the internet into Malay  fables
This  version goes  in parallel . Both  have dropped from  heaven into the modern Sarawak  from the start  for saving  the forests from logging companies . But both have falled into love with the same person , the head of the the logging company !4/5

(7)  Raja Bersiong aka the fanged prince or better  the  Malay  Dracula !!!This story is my most absurd so far although it is a  real story (not just thoughts of people as most tales ). I take the text from this site as  it is as very short abstract as the full story is rather more complex:  

The king was known as Raja Ong Maha Perita Deria (probably Om Maha Parita Darya, will it make a better Sanskrit?) who craved for human blood. One day, his cook accidentally cut his finger while preparing for the king's meal but later, the king found the dish to be very tasty. He used force upon the cook to find out about the secret to the tasty meal. The cook was not left with a choice but to reveal that the secret ingredient was the drip of blood from his finger that fall into the dish. From thereon, the king sacrificed his subjects in order to get the human blood to be added to his meal. But later he was hunted down for his atrocity.

The author of the diversified story in this book edits a ‘open letter’ to the film makers  for a new and ‘fresh story’ . suggesting them  to make a musical with young characters (17 years of age for most )  .The boy in reference eats nearly everyday a sauce in his hamburger but once this sauce and dish is more tasty then ever .That  comes as the cooker once , some blood  has bene droped  in the making of the sauce
For me the  original  story is quite funny in the start  but the writer (who is also filmmaker and book writer )is even funnier4/5

(6) Mahsuri .
Mahsuri is one of the most affecting Malaysian stories I have read

Here is a abstract of this story as taken from wikipedia 
Mahsuri was the daughter of a Malay couple who moved from their native Phuket to the island of Langkawi in search of a better life. She was the most beautiful in all of Langkawi and married the warrior Wan Darus. As was required of him, her husband had to go to war, leaving Mahsuri behind to fend for herself. It was during this time that Mahsuri befriended a young man named Deraman. The village chief's wife was jealous of Mahsuri's beauty. She spread a rumour that Mahsuri was unfaithful and was having an affair with Deraman in the absence of Wan Darus. Eventually the rumours grew strong enough that the villagers openly accused her of adultery. Mahsuri pleaded her innocence, but no one believed her.
Mahsuri was to be tied to a tree (or pole) and stabbed to death but it didn't work. After every execution attempt failed, Mahsuri told them to kill her with her family's kris. When she was stabbed, white blood flowed from the wound, signifying her innocence. Some birds flew above her to cover her body. With her dying breath, Mahsuri cursed Langkawi to have seven generations of bad luck. The kingdom was soon taken over by Siam. The villagers at Padang Mat Sirat burned their own paddy fields rather than let them fall into the hands of the Siamese.

However  the writer of the retold story has written it in a  way that  I tried 4 times to read without success though the language  is pretty simple (so that not any translation was so necessary except some  little  Malay  added )  On he 5th time I cold understand something but still the end was  once again very difficult to understand .I was for example reluctant to understand if the woman  referred  was  really  killed or not

I asked also  a fiend of me  who is native English to read this text and tell me his opinion (especially if the ttext is easy to be understood ) He was  impressed  with this sad story (from the retelling )

Here the story starts male narrator  [though written by woman ] and the   girl  under reference , had problem  from her brother , continuously was attacked for money , her spouse has left her for another  woman etc What can be the end? This is  what i got from the story 3.5/5

(1)  A little warm death. .This was the first story  I started  to translate as its language was  with many unknown lemmas to me ,before I understood that this book  was  really not... the  original tales ! As far as I read  the text I  found that inside this story there was  a  reference to Facebook … It was a surprise to me that it not really  was what I exactly looked for . Shame! 
The original  story   refers to the Puteri Sa’adong who killed her husband after a battle with him  with a magic hairpin 
Bt this story  is very far from the original story and didnt tell me anything. A nd a  classical  novel format that i highly  dislike (novels are our of my question , i dont  like to read them ) 2/5 

(3) Bawang puteh bawang merah : (onion and garlic ). The story   is  the version of the Cinderella and its original form  thee are 2 variations . The first refers to a pumpkin  that  is full of golden ware  . The second variation is closer to the Cinderella story with a prince loving Mrs onion (Putih ) after he heard   her singing inside a  swing 

You can visit the Wikipedia page  for more info .
AS far as this story is in full i have seen the movie version  in youtube that shows  also  on how Putih's  is died and with a special  end with  her step-mom who hates her trying to do some magic into her to kill the prince . But as  always there is a happy ending . Many points are very funny in the movie
IN the book there are also some funny points as  for example  on how the father  has been died (after ....farting !!) and on the end several  nice twists on the remain lifes of both girls etc 
ON of the stories i was paid off  and enjoyed too much reading  though there were  many unknown words to me (I then re read it with the dictionary )4/5 

(16 ) Trick or tree ? Here a very twisted  form of the classical kancil and buana (mousdeep and crokos ) in a new frech and more interesting  dimension . Instead of being enemies , one kancil was a lover of the main buana (croco ) with the  aim  to cope against their mutual enemy : human ! There is also a  very condensed paasage  of the  possibly most known story of outwitting the  crocodiles

A story  more human than humans, very entertaining  and pay off  for the book 4/5 

(2)  Batu belah batu Bertangkup.  This is a  story that the  mother of two lazy childs ha been eaten  by a stone in order not give a shocking lesson to her children .Read here for more 
The twisted story here is rather  seeming new . Another  critic of this book  found this story  very fresh . The story editor  says in the book that was also inspired after she  saw a trailer of the movie Love (2011) -hope that this is the movie referred- hat made her writing a story of a more scifi format

It is difficult to describe to what is exactly refers as the  story is rather complex and shows a supposedly lesbian  love but isn't!  The things are even more complex as the  story goes to the end
Vivid story but rather complex with the mystery  solved on the end  in an impressive way 3/5

( 10)The boy  who saved Singapura (Singapura dilanggar todak) . This is the one most affecting story of the book . It refers  to Hang Nadim the only 7 years old boy  who  saved Singapore from a  'swordfish invasion' that killed  many inhabitants And just one only sentence - suggestion of him non only saved the city but also made he prince fear that this boy later could be so clever  so he killed him . 
My first  googling  did nt yield too much information as all  resulted   only short references ie just one paragraph with most refering to  the Sejarah melayu

AS the author said he tried to keep  as much as the original story with  some twists , so that i ca asusme is as close as possible to the original  story.
The story  is the lengthiest of all in this book,  abt 16 pages Really  reading it was to me  so vivid  as watching a movie unveiled through  the pages .

Just on 17-5  i have found more  analytical stories found  here  and here but with different end each
Really one  story that pays off the book 5+/5 

(5) Endless k'night :  this is  the story written by the editor Daphne Lee  for Puteri Gunung Ledang the  queen of the  mountain . The tale refers to the queen asking from a sultan who is 'ill'  ie very fond for her , for impossible to be made gifts (even a cup of blood from his son)

Here the story debunks her into a more  human-ish form , with human desires etc . This text is the shortest among  the book stories (just 3 pages. the shortest passage on the book  ) and comes as a  letter to the raja /sultan  2/5

(8) Si Tangang : The tale of the ungrateful boy who turned into stone after rejecting  his parents . There are  many versions in internet and i have told this story in my daughter in its lighter  form ie that the  boy  has regretted  for his behavior and everything settled . 
IN ontrast to it  ,this book's story  goes from mother's  view. The  text reminds  me the story of Orianna  Falacci  called  'letter to an unborn baby' who due to to family reasons was urged to drop it from the womb , and described her pain and thoughts for doing it. Both stories (the vrsion as well as falaci's story )are  very impressive and most affecting. 5/5 

(11) The gift (Hang Li Poh ) The story of a girl of unknown origin sent as a gift from the Chinese emperor  to Malaya of older times . This story describes (jsut a fiction i think too ) all  the process from her younger ages till her mother prepared  sending her to the trip . And the difference between the ethics of these two countries! 3.5/5  

( 9)su and her love for swimming : this story is based on the  story of kidnapped by orangutan . NUt touugh tht e text is qite easy  i still cold not get a radional meaning othe than Su had  a doscussion with a frather fat man 2/5

(15) the white tiger of Temasek :  a nice version putting a  white tiger who weas to defend for the animals of temasek  aganst the humans and be also put as the king of the animals in S'pore  those times . I know from reading older times that theere were tigers in Spore rather  than lions as erroneously called (Lion mud ) 3/5

(14 ) the proper care of princess.  As with Karina's other story a little warm death (1)this text is full of unown words  to me and though i  heavily used  the tablet for identifying these  words , there were stil  too many left . in a rather strange way for this story she has met a mermaid  who was having help for her  transit to back . no more comemnts . 3/5

Several stories will be  commented later .Please  be standby !

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