A Long Journey ~ Part 1

Usually on Sundays, I would post stories that I wrote years ago. For 2   1/2 months. I posted my story entitled ‘Cinta F.A’ in ten parts/episodes. When the story came to an end, I tried to look for my other stories. I found another 2 stories that I wrote in the early 2000’s. Hahaha! How long has it been! Unfortunately I just realized that I actually did not finish writing the stories. ;p So I cannot post them here yet. I will try to finish them first..mmm..on one fine day….and then, I will publish them here 😀

Suddenly I remembered my days in St Louis, USA. Basically I suffered a lot writing many papers for my coursework. It was so hard to train myself to write academic papers and do translations due to weakness in English language. Nevertheless, I feel proud that I could finish many papers through tears and blood. Ahah! So why don’t I publish my hard work here?  My writings might be boring to some but maaaaaybe others would be interested in them…wouldn’t they?

Now I will start to post my translation of a Malay short story written by Zaharah Nawawi. She is a well known female writer that has written many short stories and novels.


Zaharah Nawawi

For my assignment, I translated one of her short stories entitled ‘Perjalanan Yang Jauh‘ or ‘A Long Journey‘ in English which won the third place in a writing contest back in 1994. I am still a newbie in translation world, so I am aware that my translation might not be as good as others. Anyways, enjoy the beautiful story!

A Long Journey

By: Zaharah Nawawi

Translated by: Firuz Akhtar Mohamad Bohari


               The sign could be sensed. It had appeared. In the drops of the feeling, far from anything, Rugayah was prepared to receive a new family member. The previous four had entered the world easily and they sang a happy rhythm, beautifully spreading the news of their existence as world residents. Rugayah’s feeling flitted far. So far. Only the sting of sorrow awakened her from her daydream.

The cry of the fifth baby that would accompany her in the labor room played in her ears. The cry was not only awaited by Rugayah, but also the doctor and the nurses who would become anxious if the beautiful melody could not be heard.

Rugayah took some diapers, along with the talcum powder, soap, and a cute, light-blue blanket and put them in a bag until it swelled, making it difficult to close.    For the previous four births, Rugayah had not prepared the diapers or the baby clothes beforehand. This was because of her mother’s advice, which had been accompanied with sobs and weeping.

“Where do you want to go, Gayah? Your stomach is already oversized. It’s better if you don’t walk.” Mother’s shrill voice had sounded nice to Rugayah’s ears.

“Sham wanted to look for baby diapers and clothes with me.”

“How many times have I told you not to do that? You don’t want to listen to my advice, Gayah? I didn’t go to school, so my words are of no use, are they?” Mother’s voice started to sound hoarse. Her face changed. Gloomy. Grey.

Rugayah was startled. She looked at her husband, who was standing at the door, gazing softly. He had the car keys in his hands, swinging them left and right like a psychiatrist trying to put his patient to sleep.

“It’s not like that, Mother. Sham said he doesn’t want to rush when the time comes. The time when we’ll need to sign the hospital paperwork, recite azan[1] to the baby. The same time that everything else has to be done. So, we will do anything we can now, to finish earlier. Won’t that make it easier for us later, Mother?”

“You, Gayah, don’t seem to understand. Or maybe you are acting like you don’t understand.” Tears from Mother’s eyes began to flow down her soft cheeks. Her voice started to stutter.

“Like Munah. Stubborn. She didn’t want to listen to my advice. You also know that her baby lived only for a week. All of that was because of the early preparations. It’s a huge prohibition, Gayah. Prohibition, do you know what that means?” Mother covered her face with both hands. Her shoulders were shaking as she tried to endure her sadness.

“Okay, Mother. Don’t cry. I won’t buy them. Cancelled. I’m just going out to get some fresh evening air. It’s suffocating to stay at home all day long.” Rugayah hugged her mother’s shoulders. There was joy in her eyes.

For Rugayah, the promise to Mother was just an excuse. She still went to the store and bought all the things she had planned to buy for her new baby. “A baby boy,” the doctor had told her, according to the ultrasound check.

[1] Azan is a special summons to prayer for Muslims. For every Muslim baby who is born, the azan will be recited into its ears. The concept is similar to that of baptism in Christianity.