Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"The Stalker Within" by Sabrina Abu Baker-A Malaysian Short Story

"The Stalker Within"  by Sabrina (aka Zabrina) Abu Baker (4 pages, 2007)

Second post in a series of five on Malaysian Short Stories In Honor of Malaysian Independence Day

About three week ago Jovenus of Biblio Junkie and I decided we would do a joint posting in honor of Malaysian Independence Day which is observed on August 31.     I more or less got the idea for this project from Novroz' posting  in honor of Indonesian Independence day on her blog , observed on August 17.   I ended up doing a series of five posts on short stories by Indonesian women, all written in the 21th century.   I really enjoyed doing this project and wanted to see if I could expand the idea to other countries.   At the time I did a Google search on independence days world wide to see how many South and South East Asian countries observe an independence day.  I noticed Malaysian Indepedence Day is observed August 31.   I was very interested in posting on Malaysian literature in part because Malaysia is less than two hours away from my home in Manila.    Also most historians see Malay culture as having a large influence on pre-colonial Filipino history.

Jovenus has done a great overall post on Malaysia (for which she has a special knowledge and affinity) which explains the history of Malaysia and its struggle for Independence.   She also talks about some of the best known Malaysian writers of today.   I decided as my contribution to our project to post on five short stories by contemporary Malaysian writers.    This will be done in a series of five posts.   My first post was on "Hungry In Guangzhou" by Kow Shih Li.

Sabrina Abu Baker is widely published Malaysian writer best known for her inspirational stories and her devotion to the Islamic faith as depicted in her work.    "The Stalker Within" centers on a woman whose lover has gone on his annual Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).    Before he left he made some remarks that made her nervous.   When she asked him when he will be back he responded that anything can happen during Hajj and perhaps he will not return.    The woman about the time of his expected return begins to drive her car past his house repetitively.   She then sees a large number of people come to the house.    The people look like Indonesians to her and as far as she knew her lover had no Indonesian friends or relatives.   Then her worst fears are realized as a hearse pulls up in front  of the house.    She cannot see who is taken inside the house from the hearse.    She begins to break down until she gets a text saying:

She could not bother to hide her face anymore. With each passing vehicle, her heart sank deeper and deeper. She felt a void in her heart. She wanted to cry out his name, scream her heart out but her voice failed her. Even her tears refused to flow. She felt so helpless and empty.
Suddenly, a beeping sound from her phone startled her. She groped in the dark searching for her phone. With squinted eyes she pressed a button. Her jaw dropped upon seeing the message , "My mother's Indonesian maid had an asthma attack. She passed away at 2.30 pm today - Reza".
Her tears flew like a broken dam. Sadness and relief intermingled.

"The Stalker Within" is a simple story.     We do not even learn if the relationship between the man and woman is adulterous or not.     We do get a good insight into the devotion of the woman.   It is worth reading and gives us a small glimpse into a culture perhaps not quite known by most of us.

It can be read online here

Mel u

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