Kuali Hitam

Warisan Zurinah Hassan



There are other short stories and poems that  touch on obedience and submission as the symbol of decency, dignity and womanliness . A common stereotype phrase dedicated to women is “No matter how  high you learn a woman’s place is in the kitchen”. 

My novel Hatimu Aisyah  recorded the life and experiences of  Malay women in the thirties up to the eighties,
covering the time of my grandmother, my mother and me.  The little
novel of 240 pages was inspired by true stories told by grandmother of her younger
 .  The protagonist  Aisyah like my grandmother did not go to
school and from a very young age she had to help with the chores at home and
take care of her younger siblings, everything done for her own good since a
woman’s only destiny is to be a housewife.  In her later life Aisyah  was under pressure and faced conflict of
loyalties between her modernized husband who wish to send their daughters to secondary
school and her old and sick mother who pleaded Aisyah to keep the daughters at
home. At that time especially in the more remote   areas 
it was even considered a disgrace to let young teenage girls to walk
outside the house by themselves. I wrote the novel for the purpose of recording
the customs, taboos, restrictions, hardship that Malay women had gone through.
It is my hope that our younger generations will realize that they are luckier
than their mothers and grandmothers and will use their time and opportunity  wisely. 

There are other short stories and poems that touch on obedience
and submission as the symbol of decency, dignity and womanliness . A common
stereotype phrase dedicated to women is “No matter how  high you learn a woman’s place is in the
kitchen”. This almost discourage women to pursue further studies. Mothers and
grandmothers advise their girls to marry young. The  elderly ladies  are worried that their daughters remain
single. Somehow they manage to instil fear and unnecessary worry among the
girls causing some of them to forgo further studies and career opportunities
for the sake of settling down. I depicted this   in
several short stories including Anita.  Anita
was brilliant and beautiful. While studying in the university she was active in
community work including helping to teach voluntarily Malay students who were
weak in Mathematics and Science.  Her
involvement made her too occupied to take up serious relationship with a boy,
and boys prefer quiet and low profile girls for their potential wives. Anita
graduated as a school teacher, determined to do her best to bring up good
students and help her society. She organized programmes and asked for
commitments from her fellow teachers. But Anita became a victim of prejudice
and misunderstanding and even accused of trying to steal somebody’s husband.
This happen because Anita is still unmarried
LAHUMA’S PADI FIELD. (translated to English and French) 
Besides women issues I also write about the weakening of
agricultural sector. One such story is Bendang Lahuma (Lahuma’s Padi Field). Padi
land is diminishing as more land are being built over with factories and houses
. Less people want to become farmers with meagre income, hard work and unglamorous
The  country is
producing less and less food while food production is crucial in the security
of a nation. At about the same time we watched on television about people in
Russia and Korea facing acute food shortage. Food production is a crucial issue
in a country. If we go on depending on other countries for our food especially
staple food like rice it would be a disaster if anything were to happen.

I purposely named the main character Lahuma to establish
the  link and remind the readers of the
novel RAnjau Sepanjang Jalan. In this way I could remind the readers that the
words of a writer like Shahnon Ahmad should be taken seriously. 

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