04 December 2017

REVIEW BUDAK HOSTEL OTAKNYA SEWEL



Where to begin with this one?

Tanpa meletakkan sebarang expectation walaupun membaca reviu di twitter dan goodreads yang memuja-muja buku ini sehingga dijulang-julang ke aras yang tidak munasabah, saya membeli buku ini di Pesta Buku Negara pada 26 November yang lalu dengan harga diskaun RM10. Sekurang-kurangnya tidaklah rasa menyesal membeli jika bukunya tidak mencapai tahap memuaskan.

Dengan suspension of disbelief dan expectation sifar, saya memulakan pembacaan buku Budak Hostel Otaknya Sewel dengan bintang 4.1 di goodreads. Sebagai seorang budak hostel, saya tahu bagaimana gilanya kehidupan di asrama. Oleh itu, sedikit sebanyak saya yakin saya boleh memahami intisari novel karangan Hasrul Rizwan ini. 



Menyelak satu demi satu helaian, ternyata walaupun tanpa sebarang expectation, tiada halaman buku ini mengujakan saya ke tahap yang sama seperti reviu di twitter dan goodreads.

Tiada Stake

Kisah Akhil dan rakan-rakannya dalam buku ini berkisar kepada kehidupan pelajar di asrama yang nakal dan pelbagai ragam. Buku ini diterbitkan di wattpad bab demi bab terlebih dahulu dan berjaya meraih 150,000 views sebelum dijilidkan sebagai buku. Oleh itu, buku ini mengikut model ‘tunggu dan lihat’ yang memerhatikan sambutan pembaca dahulu sebelum diteruskan. 

Dengan model ini, penulisan sesebuah novel itu akan berlaku dengan garis masa yang statik mengikut kronologi bab. Ini bermaksud setelah terbitnya satu bab, ia tidak lagi dapat diedit sehinggalah ke pengakhiran buku. 

Kelemahan utama bagi buku model ‘tunggu dan lihat’ ini adalah sekiranya penulis mempunyai idea baru untuk dimasukkan ke dalam cerita, idea itu hanya dapat diselitkan pada bab-bab yang terakhir. Buku Budak Hostel Otaknya Sewel ini malangnya, termasuk dalam kategori itu. 

Kisah budak hostel sendiri mempunyai modal yang kaya, menarik dan pelbagai. Bagi seorang yang pernah tinggal di asrama, mengolah kisah sedemikian ke dalam bentuk buku adalah suatu perkara yang natural dan tidak perlu dibuat-buat. Walau bagaimanapun, untuk membawa naratif ke penghujung cerita semata-mata menceritakan tentang kenakalan pelajar asrama tanpa justifikasi plot yang munasabah, kisah itu akan hilang daya tarikan sedikit demi sedikit.

Novel BHOS juga mengingatkan saya kepada novel grafik Kartini yang pernah diterbitkan MOY Publication. Kartini juga menggunakan asrama sebagai latar tempat, dan idea pokok yang dibawa kartunis Tembakau juga jelas dengan plot yang dibina kemas tanpa perlu bergantung kepada jenaka asrama semata-mata. 

Kisah BHOS ini menceritakan kisah Akhil dan 4 rakannya bersubahat untuk memecah masuk asrama puteri untuk mencuri pakaian dalam pelajar wanita. Atas kertas, idea pokok ini mempunyai potensi besar untuk dijelmakan sebagai naskhah yang lucu. Sungguhpun demikian, helaian demi helaian, tiada justifikasi jelas kenapa plot perlu menuju ke arah itu. 

Mungkin di pertengahan cerita, penulis cuba meletakkan satu konflik untuk membuatkan pembaca bersetuju dengan tindakan mereka untuk memecah masuk asrama puteri, iaitu dengan cara mewujudkan cinta 3 segi antara Adam iaitu abang kembar Akhil dan pelajar wanita yang diminatinya, Zakiah Merican. Akhil ingin memecah masuk bilik Zakiah untuk mencari surat-surat yang dihantar oleh Adam. Begitupun sebab ini belum cukup kuat untuk memangkin plot. 

Oleh itu, dalam kisah BHOS, tidak ada stake yang jelas yang boleh membuatkan pembaca benar-benar peduli dan merasa gementar untuk watak-wataknya. Sepanjang pembacaan, saya lebih khuatir jika cerita ini tidak akan membawa apa-apa payback di hujung cerita berbanding kerisauan pada watak-watak utamanya. 

Plot twist lemah juga menyebabkan stake yang diberikan terus bertambah menjadi kurang signifikan. Zakiah Merican kononnya lari dari asrama bersama teman sekampungnya untuk berkahwin lari pada malam yang sama Akhil memecah masuk ke biliknya yang ditinggalkan kosong. Ini adalah poin di mana saya merasakan penulis novel ini tidak boleh berpatah balik kepada bab-bab yang awal untuk memperbetulkan dan memperkuatkan ceritanya, menggunakan bab-bab terakhir sebagai satu-satunya tempat untuk meleraikan plot tanpa terlebih dahulu dibina pada bab-bab terawal. 

Tragedi penulisan ini secara rasminya menjadikan naskhah BHOS ini paling tinggi hanya wajar diberi 2 daripada 5 bintang pada pandangan saya.

Kelucuan Spastik 

Kebanyakan review beranggapan bahawa jenaka pelajar asrama merupakan kekuatan utama naskhah BHOS. Begitupun, jenaka-jenaka lucah yang diulang-ulang dari mula sehingga ke akhir merupakan satu cabaran ketika saya cuba menyelesaikan pembacaan. 

Saya cuba membuka minda seluas mungkin untuk menghadam jenakanya, tetapi kegagalan untuk ketawa bukanlah terletak pada pembaca yang tertutup minda, sebaliknya pada kesalahan penulis yang mengulang jenaka yang sama sehingga kehabisan modal. Malah, sukar dicari jenaka di BHOS yang tidak melibatkan lawak yang kotor atau lucah. 

Ini menjadikan saya semakin gusar apabila kebanyakan review bercerita tentang jenaka BHOS yang menggeletek perasaan, sedangkan saya langsung tidak berasa demikian. 

Apakah justifikasi BHOS dijilidkan sebagai sebuah buku? Jawapan ini tidak terjawab selesai pembacaan saya.

23 November 2017

A Place To Live (2)


My housemate, the father with one son had left earlier this month. It was a sudden move on his part because he said he was planning to stay at least for a year, and we had just entered our 11th month since the day I signed the tenant agreement with the house lord.

I requested him to find a new tenant to replace him, but he said that that was out of the question since he was already at his hometown in Sarawak.

I asked him if he quitted his job, and he told me he was sick and now he’s undergoing treatment.

A few weeks leading to his resignation, he frequently updated his status on WhatsApp lashing out on his colleagues who accused him of using ganja. He even did urine test to prove his innocence (and he updated this all on his WhatsApp status). Me, the ever Malay ass of course think he was being sihir-ed by his colleagues.

So I posted an ad on mudah.my for his room. A few prospective tenants contacted me, but none fits the criteria I had in mind. One was an Indian lady when I specifically advertised that the room was strictly for male.

Finally a police officer who now works in KL messaged me, quite persistent since he contacted me through WhatsApp and SMS. He wanted to have a tour and I told him the room was not ready since my housemate hasn’t clear his belongings. Then he keeps digging about everything like why my housemate left, does any of you smoke, is there an aircond in the room, do I have to share bathroom, is the room fully furnished?  

It could only mean he was dead serious about the room. Even when I told him the room would not be ready before 5th of November, he kept sending me messages to ask me if I were home and if he could come.

My housemate’s brother and father came on 5th of November to pack all his stuff. I was in the bathroom when they entered the house. I was out of the bathroom door when they saw me and I greeted them and excused myself to get myself clothed.

I entered his room after I was clothed. This was the first time I get into his room to help them pack. They told me they had come a week previously to take his guitar, but nobody was home. They had used my housemate’s key to enter the house.

I asked his brother if he knows what my housemate suffers from, and he told me it was depression.

“The divorce took its toll on him. We should have known; there were signs.” The brother quite politely explained. I was half disappointed to learn that it was not black magic.

“Has the divorce been finalized?” I asked him because my housemate never properly explained his status. He didn’t even address his wife as his ex.

“Yeah, a long time ago.”

We chatted a bit. His father was a retired teacher who taught at my hometown but his wife was Sarawakian. He knows where I live after I explained the location. I asked him if he knew my late grandfather, the great Cikgu Sulaiman? And he was pleasantly surprised to know that I was his grandson.

“We are more or less the same age.” He told me in glee.

“Yeah, but he died in 1994.”

My housemate’s brother found his nephew’s toys. “This is Wafi’s.” He exclaimed. I was quite shocked to learn his nephew’s name, it was the same as my nephew’s. The boy was here once a week but I never learnt his name. His father – my housemate would take him from his ex-wife and brought him home on his offday. The boy was not afraid of me even though I never talked to him, but he was a crybaby and sometimes it disturbs me when he screamed at his father.

As they were cleaning, I noticed there was a photo album on his cupboard.

I realized moments later that it was his wedding album. It was quite a sad moment, I realized that he still hadn’t moved on.

There were a few paper slips on the cupboard as well, proof that he had undergone several treatments with some ustazs. Some receipts and a paper containing some Quranic verses with prescriptions how and when to read them.

I asked his brother if he found the aircond’s remote control, and he called my housemate. They talked in Sarawak dialect. “Sik ada, sik ada” were the only words that I understood. He said the controller was in the room, we did some excavating through his stuff but we couldn’t find it. The brother told me they would pay for the controller.

After they finished cleaning, I sent them to their car.

The prospective tenant – the police officer came later that day, just before Maghrib and he liked the room. He also liked the fact that we do not smoke.

Then he told me his wife would come a few days every month, but the wife would stay inside and won’t come out. At this point, I have no objection because it’s super hard to find a new tenant, let alone who would obey all my rules.

The Iranian did bring his girlfriend(s) home, we even found used condoms under his bed when we had to clean his room. Luckily my housemate spotted them first because me the virgin didn’t know what in the world were those or else I was going to touch them. That was when I learnt that used condoms looked like sweet wrappers.

The other housemate, the one named Fahmi also brought his wife home. This was even worse because we shared the same bathroom. His wife wouldn’t stay inside the room, using the living room and the kitchen as she sees fits. I lost count how many times I had to go out of the house because her presence made me uncomfortable.

Just like before, I studied all my options. I just want to have a proper place to live with no drama. But my bank account vehemently disagrees with me.

So there’s that.

13 November 2017

Ar-Rahman


“Bad meh lah sini kejap. Kita mengaji sebelum tidur.”

Yunuss offers me the place next to him on the carry mat. He was lying under the canvas tent, hitting the sack. The air was still warm, but breeze of crisp air began to flow. 

I crawled under the tent to him, still unsure of what to make out of his invitation. 

I made myself comfortable, putting the bundle that is the sleeping bag under my head as the pillow, lying next to him.

“Surah paling panjang yang Bad hafal apa?”
Which is the longest surah that you memorized?

It was as-Sajdah. I took a month to memorise it when I was 14.

“Pernah hafal Sajdah. Tapi macam dah tak ingat.”
“Jom kita baca sama-sama” Yunuss instructed.

He started with Bismillahirrahmanirrahim – so this is it, I thought to myself. 

He began reciting the surah from memory. 

“Alif – Lam – Miim”

There was no super melodious intonation to his voice, nor does he sound like an angel, unlike those qaris you listen to on TV and on YouTube. But I could relate to this, I could feel this. 

I closed my eyes. Yunuss’ voice enshrouded the sound of the forest, the flow of the river, the insects’ call, the noise people make outside still busy with preparations for tomorrow’s hike. His voice was contenting. Lying next to him, his voice was a soothing background music, my primary acoustic stimulation. 

He nudged me with his elbow when I remained silent, to notify me to start reciting the surah together with him. There are parts where I could follow, but most are just my memories failing me. I failed to grasp the words, all the memories have faded away. A wave of embarrassment washed over me.
He finished all the 30 ayats, no hesitation. His memory was clear, crystal. 

“Lagi surah apa lagi yang Bad hafal?” he asked me after he finished reciting as-Sajdah.

“Yunuss, baca surah ar-Rahman.”

“Bismillahirrahmanirrahim…”

Yunuss started again, without delay. I closed my eyes again, tightly. 

“Ar-rahmaan.”

Without any warning or signs, my eyes began to water.

" 'Allamal quraan"

I remember a story that I wrote once.

Ketika kecil lagi, dia sudah mempunyai surah kegemaran. Pulang dari kelas mengaji, sambil kami berjalan menelusuri jambatan di hujung kampung, dia mengumumkan kepada kami. “Aku suka sekali surah ar-Rahman.” Untuk anak-anak kecil seperti kami, pandai membaca al-Fatihah sudah memadai. Untuk menyukai, dan memahami sesebuah surah dalam al-Quran tidak langsung terjangkau oleh akal.

Tapi dia istimewa. 

“Nikmat Tuhan yang mana ingin kamu dustakan?” Dia berbicara kepada kami. “Tuhan itu betapa penyayang, sehingga nikmatnya terlalu luas. Ar-Rahman – Yang Maha Penyayang.” Dia memberi penerangan, aku mendengar antara faham dan tidak.”

The memories and my own struggle to find the correct emotions to feel this moment overwhelmed me that I could not stop myself from crying. I could not understand if this is the love of God, or if this is me being embarrassed of my own failing as a servant, but Yunuss’ recital has brought me to a point where I felt so helplessly weak. 

I never had a friend like this. I never had someone who would recite me a surah from Quran to tell me of God’s love and affection.  

With my eyes closed, the world dissolved into nothingness, aside a voice right next to me asking me again and again, which one of the Lord's favours have I denied? This voice itself, is a favour of God.

After Yunuss finished reciting the surah, Amar who just got back from the river claimed back his place on the carry mat that I lie down on. 

As I dismissed myself, Yunuss reminded - “Jangan lupa baca al-Mulk sebelum tidur.”

I got back into my own tent, now the cold air has taken over the ambience. 

I already am missing the voice reciting the Quran as I was dozing off. And for the first time in my life, I recognized God’s love to me through the tongue that loves Him. 


02 November 2017

LOG SEHARI DI RUMAH



31 Oktober 2017

8:45 – Bergerak balik dari Seri Kembangan. Telefon Mak bagitahu dah on the way. Mak terkejut sebab tak bagitahu nak balik. Ingat nak surprise dekat Mak je tahu-tahu dah sampai laman rumah. Tapi takut Mak kunci pintu takde siapa nak bukak nanti.

10:30 – sampai dekat kampung. Ketuk pintu, takde siapa menyahut. Semua dah tidur. Ingatkan dah call tadi bagitahu nak balik, pintu tak berkunci. Abah bukak pintu lepas 5 minit mengetuk. Bukak pintu je Abah pegang beg, tanya “Bawak balik buah tak?”. Allah dah teringat nak beli, tapi selalu balik rumah hari Jumaat sempat singgah dekat pasar malam beli buah. Harini balik Selasa, takde pasar malam. “Esok kita beli Bah. Harini tak sempat beli.”

Masa kecil dulu selalu berlari bila Abah balik. Selongkar beg Abah cari buah epal. Shrugs. *kesat air mata* 

11:00 – makan nasik lauk ayam goreng berlada dengan sup sawi. Masuk tidur (tak tutup lampu. In case kena kacau huhu) 

12:00 – dengar Ya bawak turun Razin. Razin macam kena kacau masa tidur, menangis teruk, meraung-raung. Ada benda mengikut balik ke? Hmm sian Razin. 


1 November 2017

8:30 – Bawak Mak pergi Hospital Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah jumpa pakar. Drop Mak dekat klinik, cari parking. Penuh sepenuh-penuhnya, orang dah parking double layer dengan dekat bahu jalan. Akhirnya jumpa dekat hujung hospital, menapak jauh nak ke klinik pakar. 

9:00 – Tunggu nombor Mak dipanggil. MA ambil bacaan darah tinggi Mak, tanya Mak dah makan belum. “Tak sempat lagi, sebab mengejar appointment ni.” MA tegur sebab tak makan.
 Mak dapat nombor 0015. MA suruh Mak duduk dekat kerusi hijau dekat dengan bilik doctor. “Tak payah jalan jauh” katanya sebab nampak Mak jalan pakai tongkat. Sambil tunggu nombor Mak naik, baca novel Arkitek Jalanan tulisan Teme Abdullah.

10:40 – nombor Mak dipanggil. Nurse nampak Mak jalan laju-laju pakai tongkat sampai termengah. “Takpe makcik. Jalan slow-slow. Doctor dah tahu tu makcik.” 

Jumpa doctor. Doctor cek hernia Mak. Mak kata takut operation sebab Mak dah tua, risiko tinggi. Doctor cek umur Mak. “61 tahun dah ya mak cik.” Doktor tanya kalau ada sakit. Mak kata takde. Doctor kata buat masa ni, tak payah operation lagi sebab takde simptom, tapi in case ada masalah buang besar atau loya-loya, bagitahu cepat-cepat. Mak tanya kenapa perempuan pun kena hernia? 

Doktor kata mungkin sebab banyak lahirkan anak, jadi otot jadi lemah. Bila otot lemah, usus tu terkeluar. Next appointment untuk hernia 2 Mei 2018, lagi 6 bulan. 

11:00 – bawak Mak makan nasik ayam dekat kantin hospital. Mak suruh call Ya, suruh Abah bersiap, hari ni orang yang menoreh kebun Abah jual getah. Nak pergi ambil duit.

Bergerak dari hospital. Mak mintak singgah farmasi dekat klinik nak ambil stok ubat Abah. Semalam Ya tak sempat ambil sebab kereta kancil rosak. Sampai dekat farmasi, letak slip dalam bakul. Bagitahu dekat pegawai farmasi tu nak ambil ubat petang ni. Letak slip ni dulu. Dia kata OK, datang sebelum pukul 5. 

Mak minta hantar jam ke kedai nak repair. Jarum jam tak bergerak sebab tersangkut dekat hiasan dalam jam tu. Hiasan tu tertanggal. Uncle tu kata 30 minit, caj RM5. 

Isi minyak RM20 sebab lampu dah kelip-kelip. Mintak Mak RM15 sebab dah takde duit dalam tangan nak isi minyak.

12:40 – sampai rumah ambil Abah. Tiba-tiba Ya nak ikut sekali. Bawak sekali Ya dengan Razin. 

1:00 – sampai rumah orang yang menoreh getah Abah. Ambil duit dekat isterinya, dalam RM212. Anak-anaknya ramai, 10 orang. Isterinya orang Siam. Bila nampak kereta masuk dalam halaman rumah, anaknya berteriak “MAK! ADA ORANG DATANG!”

1:30 – tengok rumah baru Abengah dekat Galok. Baru siap. Pintu depan tak berkunci, pintu belakang terbukak. Tingkap dekat sink pun terbukak. Abah bising sebab rumah tu biar kosong, takut orang pecah masuk curi kipas siling/lampu etc. Otw balik Abah ajak makan nasik ayam dekat Seberang Temerloh, tapi nak lalu Kuala Krau. Jauh pusing. 

2:00 – Singgah Petron dulu, isi minyak lagi RM45. Yang isi pagi tadi dah habis. Makan nasik ayam. Tapau sebungkus untuk La. Abah komplen ayamnya dah kecik. Nasik pun sikit. Dulu banyak. Nasik ayam ni Abah belanja sebab dah dapat duit menoreh getah hehe

3:00 – Ambil jam Mak dekat kedai. Uncle tu bagitahu jangan kena air, takut gam tu tertanggal nanti perhiasan tu tercabut balik. Ambil ubat Abah dekat farmasi, stok sebulan. Pergi bayar bil TM, elektrik dengan bil air rumah Abengah dekat pejabat pos.

3:30 – singgah rumah La hantar nasik ayam. Jumpa Wafiy dengan Wazir. Wafiy excited tunjuk game Boboiboy dekat iPad. Wazir nak mintak berdukung, selama ni tak pernah-pernah nak dekat. Tiba-tiba je mesra. La kata Wazir dah kenal orang. Dulu menangis je sebab takut. Makan kek coklat kukus La buat. La goreng keropok keping. Sempat lelap sekejap, kepenatan. 

5:00 – gerak dari rumah La ke Mentakab. Abah nak buah. Sampai pasar malam beli buah mata kucing 2kg dengan mangga 2kg. Beli sekali nangka muda untuk buat gulai dengan 5 papan petai.

5:50 – sampai rumah Cik Abang hantar buah mata kucing dengan mangga, jumpa Mia, Aha, Akram, Abror dengan si kecik Am. Masuk je Abror teriak “acong! Acong!” sambil tunjuk iPad dia. Dia tengah tengok video YouTube dengan Akram. Video hantu pocong lol

6:14 – sampai rumah akhirnya selepas seharian berjalan. Keletihan. Nak tidur kejap sementara tunggu Abah dengan Ya masak makan malam. Tapi si Razin menangis pulak taknak duduk dalam buai, nak berdukung. Bawak si kecik tu berdukung sambil berjalan-jalan satu rumah, baru diam. 

8:00 – makan malam. Siap nak balik.

8:30 – lepas solat Isyak terus bergerak. Letak 4 guni sampah atas bonet nak buang dekat tong sampah besar tepi lebuh. Tengah-tengah jalan dengar ada bunyi jatuh. Sampai dekat tong sampah tinggal 3 je karung sampah tu lol

9:00 – jem teruk nak masuk tol highway LPT. Rupanya ada orang tengah repair jalan

11:15 – call Mak. Dah sampai Seri Kembangan.

TAMAT

Bila parents dah tua dan kita dah dewasa, semua dah jadi terbalik. Dulu kita mintak Mak dengan Abah buat semua, sekarang ni Mak Abah kena mintak tolong kita. Jalan kena berpimpin, nak pergi klinik kena berteman, dah tak boleh drive sendiri. Allah, betapa sayu rasa kadang bila tengok Mak tak larat berjalan. Abah kalau berjalan sorang pun boleh hilang imbangan nak terjatuh. 

Bila kadang-kadang balik kampung, kembali ke tempat asal segalanya bermula. Melihat orang yang berbeza kehidupan dari kita – mak cik yang menjual hasil kampung tuaian sendiri di pasar malam, isteri penoreh getah yang beranak sepuluh yang tinggal di sebuah rumah kayu, rasa terpukul untuk merasa rendah diri. “Aku bermula dari sini.”

(Pernah baca orang tweet, bunyinya lebih kurang begini. Orang bandar selalu marah orang kampung bila kerajaan menang pilihanraya. Tapi orang bandar tak pernah nak faham struggle sebenar orang kampung. Orang kampung kerisauan dia bukan pada kenaikan harga tol, harga rumah, kesesakan trafik, public transport. Struggle orang kampung adalah basic –  esok nak bagi anak makan apa? Nak hidup sampai minggu depan macam mana? Kalau hujan esok macam mana nak menoreh getah? Tak menoreh getah takde duit. Macam mana nak fikir tentang hal lebih besar kalau benda basic pun orang kampung takde. Wallahualam.) 

(P/S: sorry for the political rant in the end. I think it was too thought provoking to be left out and it crossed my mind the whole time I was writing.) 

Renung-renungkan dan selamat beramal


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