Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction are some of my Literary Interests





Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"Cik Giok" by Reda Gaudiamo

"Cik Giok" by Reda Gaudiamo (2009, 5 pages)




Indonesian Short Story Week
Year II-Day One
Magazine Publisher


Today is Indonesian Independence Day.   Last year in observation of this very important day in world history, I posted on five short stories by women  authors from Indonesia (link to my posts from last year).       I found the stories to be very well written and to take a courageous look at the life of Indonesian women.    A year latter I still get daily visitors on these posts.

This year I am very happy and proud that Indonesian Short Story Week Year II is being co-hosted by Novroz from Jakarta.  She has a great love  and  a very deep knowledge of Indonesian culture and history.   She is also a short story writer.   (There will be a summery post at the end of the month-if you want to participate just read and post on any short story by an Indonesian author and leave a comment either here or on Novroz's blog-the event will be kept open all month for participants).




"Cik Giok" by Reda Gaudiamo is a very intense look at a family tragedy.  The events could happen anywhere but the details are brilliantly localized to give us an insight into family dynamics in Indonesia.   Reda Gaudiamo is the publisher of several very successful magazines including the Indonesian edition of In Style, Indonesia's leading fashion magazine.   She has published one novel and is also a well known singer.   She lives in Jakarta.


The title character in "Cik Giok" is a young woman who we are told was given to the family when her parents, who already had ten children, could not support her.   She is given the worst  room in the house but seems grateful to have it.   


The story is told in the first person by a young woman.   Cik Giok has been living with her family since before she was herself born.   Cik Giok is considered the adopted daughter of her grandmother.   Her parents and grandmother seem to discourage her from playing with or getting close to Cik Giok.   Gaudiamo does a really good job bringing the family members to life for us with just a few lines.   The wife is used to running the family even though she sometimes lets her husband think he is in charge.   The grandmother has a sharp tongue.   Once and a while the father does assert himself and on those rare occasions his dictates are followed.  


One day our narrator learns Cik Giok is going to go visit her family a while but will be back.   The narrator misses her terribly.   One month goes by the three then at the end of the year she gives up hope that Cik Giok will return.  


The story  flashes ahead 14 years.   This is very well done so I accepted it.   The narrator is going to get married.   Cik Giok is coming back for the wedding, at the insistence of her father.   In an uncharacteristic move, he even insists that a dress be made for her and makes sure it is a good one.   When Cik Giok arrives she looks much older than the narrator imagined she would.   When the family eats Cik Giok watches them from the kitchen until her friend insists she join them, to the evident displeasure of the grandmother.   


As the story proceeds, I started to get the feeling we were not being told everything about Cik Giok and her relationship to the family.   I think we are supposed to be able to slowly figure out something is very wrong here.    The ending, even if you see it coming, is still devastating and made me rethink everything I thought I knew about this family.   


You can read this story online HERE

Please consider joining us by posting on a short story by an Indonesian writer.   I totally endorse all of the stories I read last year and there are links to a lot of good ones on the resources page.

below is a very kind e mail I received from the author of this story that I an adding to the post as I feel it is very worthwhile


Dearest Mel, 

Again, thank you for posting my short story. That, in fact, was my first short story ever published in our national newspaper, KOMPAS. In 2008, I was invited by Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, to read and discuss a book of mine, Bisik-Bisik (Whispers). This mini book, contains 27 short stories, none of them have narration & description. Just dialogues. The idea is giving the freedom to the readers to put, build a character based on the given dialogues. 

Here's one of them that I read in UWRF, Bali. It gained a lot of comment at that time, :D. The audience loved it. 

So, voila.... hope you have some time to read SUNDAY MORNING. 

Thank you and have a nice day, Mel!

God Bless You,

Reda


SUNDAY MORNING
Reda Gaudiamo
“Dearest brothers and sisters let us sing a hymn, just one verse... Lord lead, Lord lead, Hand of God lead me ..”
“Next time you go to church don’t wear trousers.”
“Why?”
“It’s not polite.”
“Says who?”
“Says the church.”
“The church, the church building?“
“So says everyone who’s in church!“
“I faithfully follow .. Because God leads me.”
“Ma, there are plenty of others wearing trousers.”
“They’re men.”
“Ah, not always.”
“Next week don’t wear trousers again.”
“But I only have one skirt. Surely I can’t wear it every Sunday.”
“So, make some. Buy some. “
“Is there really a rule that women must wear skirts every time to church?”
“Yes. “
“Where?”
“Everywhere. And especially in our family. “
“Ah.”
“Dearest brothers and sisters, let us bow our heads and pray...”
“When you pray don’t bend your body like a boiled prawn. “
“Why?”
“It’s not polite.”
“Ah, it’s the same as bowing. “
“It’s different. The way you sit makes you look like you’d rather not pray, or worship.”
“Says who?”
“People.”
“Which people.”
“Well, people who see you bent over like a boiled prawn.”
“Ah.”
“Come on, sit up straight! “
“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven ..”
“Hey…”
“Huh, what is it?”
“Why are you like that? “
“Like what?”
“Those eyes of yours. Close them when you pray. Tight.”
“Ah.”
“When I tell you something it’s always ah, ah, ah. “
“Give us this day our daily bread … “
“Shut your eyes. “
“Why Ma?”
“Because that’s how the rule goes. “
“The rule where? “
“Everywhere.”
“In pictures people pray with eyes open. They even look up at the sky. “
“That’s pictures. In church it’s different. Where do you want to look? The sky’s covered by the ceiling. Come on, shut your eyes.“
“And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us..”
“Hey, shut your eyes. “
“I can’t .”
“Why can’t you? What’s difficult about shutting your eyes? “
“I don’t want to.”
“You have to.”
“Ah. “
“Ah, ah, all the time. The prayer’s half over, almost at the amen and you’re still staring. Shut your eyes!”
“Ah.”
“Why really won’t you shut your eyes? No-one has a problem shutting their eyes when they pray. “
“…”
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil…”
“Why?”
“It makes me sleepy Ma. I’ll just fall asleep.”
“Sleepy? Fall asleep? Huh, that’s dangerous. “
“Really, why?”
For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever..”
“That means you lack faith. “
Amen.


Mel u

5 comments:

Novroz said...

Lovely review. 5pages is quite short and wouldn't take long time.

The shorts I have read were longer than that.

Your closing line makes me curious about this family. I will consider this to be my 3rd shorts of the month. Thank you Mel

Risa said...

How painfully sad. I didn't realise what the end would be, though I was guessing something on those lines. It's very simply written, but its content sure does make an impact! Leaves you with many questions, though, doesn't it?...

Reda Gaudiamo said...

Hi Mel,

Thank you for posting CIK GIOK on your page.
Thank you for the review, too.

:)

Reda Gaudiamo

mel u said...

Novroz, this was a beautifully done story

Risa, you are right this was very good depiction of a family in a great deal of pain

Reda Gaudiamo-it was my pleasure to post on your story and I am honored by your visit and comment

mel u said...

from the author of the story, Reda Gaudiamo-received in an e mail

Dearest Mel,

Again, thank you for posting my short story. That, in fact, was my first short story ever published in our national newspaper, KOMPAS. In 2008, I was invited by Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, to read and discuss a book of mine, Bisik-Bisik (Whispers). This mini book, contains 27 short stories, none of them have narration & description. Just dialogues. The idea is giving the freedom to the readers to put, build a character based on the given dialogues.

Here's one of them that I read in UWRF, Bali. It gained a lot of comment at that time, :D. The audience loved it.

So, voila.... hope you have some time to read SUNDAY MORNING.

Thank you and have a nice day, Mel!

God Bless You,

Reda


SUNDAY MORNING
Reda Gaudiamo

“Dearest brothers and sisters let us sing a hymn, just one verse... Lord lead, Lord lead, Hand of God lead me ..”
“Next time you go to church don’t wear trousers.”
“Why?”
“It’s not polite.”
“Says who?”
“Says the church.”
“The church, the church building?“
“So says everyone who’s in church!“

“I faithfully follow .. Because God leads me.”
“Ma, there are plenty of others wearing trousers.”
“They’re men.”
“Ah, not always.”
“Next week don’t wear trousers again.”
“But I only have one skirt. Surely I can’t wear it every Sunday.”
“So, make some. Buy some. “
“Is there really a rule that women must wear skirts every time to church?”
“Yes. “
“Where?”
“Everywhere. And especially in our family. “
“Ah.”

“Dearest brothers and sisters, let us bow our heads and pray...”
“When you pray don’t bend your body like a boiled prawn. “
“Why?”
“It’s not polite.”
“Ah, it’s the same as bowing. “
“It’s different. The way you sit makes you look like you’d rather not pray, or worship.”
“Says who?”
“People.”
“Which people.”
“Well, people who see you bent over like a boiled prawn.”
“Ah.”
“Come on, sit up straight! “

“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven ..”
“Hey…”
“Huh, what is it?”
“Why are you like that? “
“Like what?”
“Those eyes of yours. Close them when you pray. Tight.”
“Ah.”
“When I tell you something it’s always ah, ah, ah. “

“Give us this day our daily bread … “
“Shut your eyes. “
“Why Ma?”
“Because that’s how the rule goes. “
“The rule where? “
“Everywhere.”
“In pictures people pray with eyes open. They even look up at the sky. “
“That’s pictures. In church it’s different. Where do you want to look? The sky’s covered by the ceiling. Come on, shut your eyes.“

“And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us..”
“Hey, shut your eyes. “
“I can’t .”
“Why can’t you? What’s difficult about shutting your eyes? “
“I don’t want to.”
“You have to.”
“Ah. “
“Ah, ah, all the time. The prayer’s half over, almost at the amen and you’re still staring. Shut your eyes!”
“Ah.”
“Why really won’t you shut your eyes? No-one has a problem shutting their eyes when they pray. “
“…”

“And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil…”
“Why?”
“It makes me sleepy Ma. I’ll just fall asleep.”
“Sleepy? Fall asleep? Huh, that’s dangerous. “
“Really, why?”

“For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever..”
“That means you lack faith. “

Amen.