HAFIZAH Iszahanid’s first short story Anis was published when she was 16 and it won her Bank Rakyat’s Hadiah Sastera Siswa.
Her short story focuses on a politician who is embarrassed about his handicap child and ties to hide her from the world. To date, Hafizah, 38, has written more than 20 short stories and six novels. The senior journalist who is attached to a literary desk at a Malay daily has grabbed several prestigious awards such as Hadiah Sastera Berunsur Islam in 2005 and in 2011, Hadiah Sastera Kumpulan Utusan in 2009 and in 2011 and Sayembara Fiksyen Sains UTM–Utusan in 2011.
Currently, Hafizah is working on her seventh novel that explores the world of journalism. To commemorate Father’s Day which falls on June 15, she was asked to pick five Malay novels that portray fatherhood at its best. Here are her choices:
► Senjakala (Baharuddin Kahar)
Kinto was a famous hunter. When he grew older, he gave up hunting for a quiet life as a farmer. However, when his daughter contracts a deadly disease and craves for deer meat during the last few days of her life, Kinto who loves his daughter dearly, goes back to hunting. After several trials and tribulations, he manages to get his deer but unfortunately, his daughter dies before she could taste it.
“I cried when I read this novel for the first time,” says Hafizah, who added that it was a touching story of the strength of a father’s love.
► Perang Sangkil (Akiya)
This story is loosely based on little known historical fact as well as word of mouth account on slavery, rape and murder of the orang asli community during the late 19th century. The story centres on Dirik, a father figure for his community of orang asli in Perak, who were constantly attacked by a group called Rawa. The women were raped by these thugs while the men were kidnapped and sold as slaves. In this story, Dirik goes against all odds to protect his people and daughters from rape and slavery.
► Hari- Hari Terakhir Seorang Seniman (Anwar Ridhwan)
Pak Hassan is a well known Panglipur Lara (story teller), whose fame fades and career comes to a standstill with the introduction of the cinema and television. He struggles to revive his career and tries to persuade his children to continue his trade but no one shows an interest.
“The national laureate tells the story in a way that will break your heart,” she says.
► Seorang Tua Di kaki Gunung (Azizi Abdullah)
Tun Ya dreams of building a traditional Malay house and his plans are opposed by his city-dwelling children who find it a waste of time and effort. They refused to help him but the stubborn old man is determined to make this dream come true on his own.
“It is about the conflicts between a father and his children as well as tradition versus modernity,” she says.
► Tunggul-Tunggul Gerigis (SN Shahnon Ahmad)
Su Usul is distraught that his two sons can’t get along because they have different political ideologies. One son supports a political party that runs the government and his other son supports the opposition. The ruling party abused their powers and is corrupted. The opposition is no better. They misuse the religion to gain supports.
“The national laureate has creatively weaved a political story from a father’s perspective in this novel.
“Reading it, you can feel the pain and sadness of Su Usul as he witnesses how politics and discord are slowly but surely ripping his family apart.”