yati: (So. It has come to this.)
[personal profile] yati
Saya rasa ini novel Bahasa Melayu pertama yang saya baca sejak sekolah menengah.

(Eh, mungkin tidak. Rasanya ada terbaca -- dan "ter" di sini memang bermaksud tak disengajakan -- sebuah novel cinta remaja berjudul Cinta Marissa (saya cuba Google tapi tak jumpa; mungkin saya salah ingat tajuknya) yang saya terjumpa di rumah nenek saya sewaktu pulang ke kampung. Mungkin kepunyaan sepupu saya. Segala klise kisah cinta remaja ada dalam buku tu -- lari dari rumah, cinta tiga segi, cinta tak berbalas, diperkosa kemudiannya insaf (hish, yang terakhir inilah trope yang paling menyakitkan hati saya) -- tapi sekali dah mula membaca, teruskan juga sampai habis. Lagi pun dah tak ada buku lain masa tu; yang dibawa dari rumah semua dah habis dibaca.)

Ini juga kali pertama saya cuba menulis dalam Bahasa Melayu di sini. Rasanya macam tidak berapa berjaya -- bunyinya kekok, kan?

Berbalik kepada novel ini: 1515 oleh Faisal Tehrani. Ini buku pertama beliau yang saya baca. Penulis ini dicadangkan oleh rakan-rakan di Goodreads Malaysia apabila saya berkata yang saya sudah lama tidak membaca buku Bahasa Melayu -- buku yang dicadangkan sebenarnya ialah Manikam Kalbu oleh penulis sama, tetapi tak terjumpa bukunya. Selepas membelek beberapa buah buku di MPH, saya pilih yang ini. Tergagau-gagaulah juga semasa mula-mula membaca. Tak biasalah katakan; lembab sikit jadinya. Ditambah pula dengan nota kaki yang diletakkan hampir di setiap mukasurat terutamanya di permulaan buku, asyik melilau mata naik turun mukasurat. Kosa katanya lebih daripada apa yang biasa saya baca; perumpamaan yang digunakan banyak yang saya tidak pernah dengar. (Mungkin itu sebabnya banyak nota kaki: bukan saya seorang saja agaknya yang tak tahu maksudnya.)

Saya tak mahir perihal sejarah. Apa yang saya tahu, hampir semuanya dari buku-buku yang saya baca, yang kebanyakannya fiksyen, ataupun apa yang dipelajari sewaktu di sekolah atau universiti. Membaca bahagian pertama buku ini saya tak pasti bahagian mana yang benar-benar sejarah, bahagian mana yang fiksyen semata-mata. (Apa yang terjadi kemudian sememangnya dapat saya kenalpasti sebagai fiksyen. Kalau itu pun saya tak dapat bezakan, memang gagallah Sejarah Malaysia semasa di sekolah dulu.)

Apa yang saya sukakan tentang buku ini: betapa beraninya Nyemah Mulya dan betapa yakinnya dia dengan dirinya sendiri. Melaka yang tidak takut untuk mengikut seorang srikandi ke medan perang, dan seorang sultan yang mempercayai kebolehan seorang gadis walaupun dia seorang gadis.

Walaupun saya sudah lama tidak membaca buku Bahasa Melayu, tidaklah terasa payah nak membaca novel ini. Pantas saja sudah separuh jalan. Dalam sehari sudah habis sebuah buku.

Apa yang saya tidak suka: kadang-kala terasa seperti penulis ingin menunjuk-nunjuk. Lihat betapa arifnya saya tentang sejarah Melaka! Setiap kali disebutkan sesuatu, mesti diterangkan panjang lebar, kalau tidak pun ada senarai panjang mengikut. Seperti ini:
Habislah istana yang pernah dibina oleh segala tukang mahir dari Ungaran, Tungkal, Buru, Suir, Pancor, Sarapung, Merba, Sawang, Kundur, Suntai, Malai, Upang, Bentan dan Muar.

Tempat yang saya kenal hanya Bentan dan Muar. Tiap-tiap kali muncul senarai seperti ini, mesti mata saya terus meleret melintasi ayat tersebut, sampai terjumpa tanda noktahnya. Tidak perlu rasanya senarai sepanjang itu. Apabila menamakan orang Portugis, semua sekali nak dinamakan, jadi asyik melihat nama "Joao" berkali-kali. Terasa macam satu info dump -- semuanya hendak diberitahu sekaligus.



*


Here is where I lose all coherency to write in Malay. I lack the words, and whatever I say will sound harsher than I mean it, especially with that somewhat formal tone I was employing. (No, I do not sound like that when I speak.)

Quick notes for English-only readers, since the book's summary on Goodreads is in Malay apparently there's no summary there at all: the book presents an alternate history of Malacca, where in 1511 it isn't conquered by the Portuguese. It's told in a non-linear fashion, going back and forth from the past to the present where a young girl called Nyemah Mulya who had lived in Malacca around 1511 asks for help from a modern day historian to help her prevent Malacca's fall. Slightly mind-bending, I guess, and breaks as many rules of causality as The Terminator did. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though.

I checked the Institut Terjemahan Negara Malaysia's (Malaysian National Institute of Translation) website; it doesn't seem like there's a translated version of the book.

I have problems, generally, with stories where religion takes the centre stage. When everything magical or impossible or improbable comes true because of the strength of your belief. When something fails it's because god has better plans. I understand, I think, why the author needs it to work as it does in this book. But, but, but. I'm a lot of things, but I'm mostly a creature of logic and science and empirical evidence. Pray, sure. Believe in god, sure; I don't think I can live with another option. Do your best. Make decisions, even bad ones, instead of trusting completely in fate. But. Oh, I don't know. Some people can work just on strength of what they believe alone, but I can't do that.

I'm not even entirely sure what my problem with this book is. Too much "trust in god" bits, I suppose. I can't suspend disbelief enough to believe that if I pray hard enough, I'd be bulletproof or able to walk on water or can turn invisible at will. (This is not the point of the book. The point is about how history is important, and what it teaches us, but unfortunately that's not the point that sticks to mind right now.)

To be honest, that bothers me, but this bothers me more: trying to set up one race, one religion, one people as being better than any other. It's problematic. It's wrong. It causes so much suffering. I know the historical context of this book, but it still bothers me. The racism bothers me. The religious zeal bothers me. The "we were a great race once" thing bothers me.

Also, what is with the names? The historical ones are historical, but the modern ones make me roll my eyes. If I were to have children, I'd name them Afiq and Ali and Aisyah and Anis, and none of these weird names that no one can spell.




Other minor things that bug me (I subedit books for a living, I can't help myself, really):

  • I'm actually not sure whether punctuation rules are the same in English and Malay, but I think in this instance it is? Or should be at least. Commas in apposition asdfafkggk;. Breaking that one rule is the one thing that will almost always drive me nuts. Like this one:
    Dom Joao dan datuk saudaranya, Henry the Navigator sejak awal lagi sudah menaruh minat untuk ke Timur.

    There should be a comma after "Navigator". You need it in English as well:
    Dom Joao and his great-uncle, Henry the Navigator, had always been interested in going to the East.

    And no commas between the subject and the verb -- surely the same rule applies? This sentence can't be right with a comma there.
    Jong Cina milik Portugis yang berlabuh di Aru, dirompak sekumpulan lanun Jawa.


    I found it really distracting -- it happened pretty often. Is there a Malay grammar/punctuation guide somewhere I could refer to just to put my mind at ease about this? I totally don't mind being wrong.


  • Also, missing diacritics. Dom Joao is actually missing a tilde (João) and is this dude: John II of Portugal, or at least I think so, based on context. He's not the only one missing tildes; the whole Portuguese contingent suffers from it.

Date: 7 November 2010 06:49 pm (UTC)
starlady: a circular well of books (well of books)
From: [personal profile] starlady
It sounds interesting all the same! I was just reading something pointing out--oh, I think it was one of the recent posts on steampunk--that sff tends to rely entirely on science and to ignore religion (or, and this is more common in the fantasy I've read, to have religious fervor be a villain marker). When of course then and now they're a jumble, and it's hard to get that balance right in writing.

Date: 8 November 2010 07:56 pm (UTC)
starlady: a circular well of books (well of books)
From: [personal profile] starlady
*nods* Yeah, I bet.

It sounds a little like G.P. Taylor's Shadowmancer, which is a horrible book that I do not recommend, but which also substituted belief for agency.

Penulisan Blog Menggunakan Bahasa Melayu Ynag Formal

Date: 10 November 2010 07:59 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] arianur
Agak pelik. Mungkin disebabkan oleh penulisan Bahasa Melayu yang formal. Kalau digunakan untuk menulis surat tak pula terasa pelik. Hmm..mungkin satu hari nanti saya pun boleh cuba untuk menulis blog menggunakan Bahasa Melayu yang formal/rasmi.-tamat-

Aku masa sekolah rendah memang banyak baca buku BM. Al maklumla anak cikgu BM :-D. Sekolah menengah pun banyak gak la tapi yang paling aku ingat siri Saga Artakusiad. Satu-satunya buku fantasi BM yang bagi aku ok sgt la tu.. Ntah mana dah buku tu p sekarang. Agaknya kalau dibaca semula apa pula pendapat aku kan? Yer la bila belek2 semula sesetangah buku Fear Street or Christopher Pike macam x percaya plak penah gila baca buku2 nie..

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