My Kampung, short story

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Teech Airil sez – This experimental unpublished short story was from way back in 1998 when i was still a second year degree student at the University of Warwick. It is about an old Malay man who lives in an Malay kampung (village) and his crusade against modern life and urbanisation. The story centres around him as he tries to defend his values against the newer values of a modern society in his developing country (Malaysia in mind, of course). The story is built on several themes like age, religion, change and human values. The title of this story is ‘My Kampung’ or My Village. 

My Kampung

“Let them come, I’ll kill them with this parang. I opened up this land while you were still unborn. My two hands brought the trees to their knees. Now you, you my own son, want to destroy all that I have built?”

“But ayah, I know… But things change and…”

“And you don’t know nothing… One more word from you and this parang… Get out… Go!”

It’s high noon and the sun is shining bright

“I’ll go ayah but I will come back again”

“Fine. Come. Do it. But I’ll never agree, never!” the old man heads for his room, parang in his hand, anger in his heart.

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The Tryst, commentary

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It is said that a number of things contribute to the writing of a literary piece, be it personal experience, the author’s feeling and even his or her random thoughts. The idea to write this play actually came from a letter that I received. It’s not easy to explain why I chose a play above all the other literary genres only that its ‘natural’ constraints and conventions actually add to the overall ‘story’ that I am telling. Furthermore, it helps a lot when you ‘feel’ for the piece that you are writing which makes this play a very personal experience for me.

Writing a play involves a different line of thinking than say, the writing of a short story or a poem. The author has to deeply understand the characters, express deeper meanings and play on the emotions of the audience (this play is written to be performed). Notice that I have left many gaps and hints in this play as well as recurring motives to engage the audience personally as well as forcing the audience to think.

The tryst

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The Tryst, stage play

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A stage play entitled ‘THE TRYST’
by Airil Haimi Adnan, circa May 1997

LIST OF CHARACTERS

A Male Protagonist
A Female Protagonist
Café Patrons, Waiters and Waitresses

SETTING

The play is set on a hot afternoon in a café. On the stage is a table for two by one of the windows in the café, in a quiet corner of the shop. Once in a while, patrons of the café are seen walking in the backdrop together with waiters and waitresses. The two protagonists are in the middle of the setting both seating facing the other and facing the audience. The whole stage is brightly lit to show the mood of the setting.

The tryst

In the background, a soft, mellow song is playing, suiting the atmosphere of a hot, lazy afternoon. The two protagonists are made to stand from the background by using a soft spotlight on both of them. They are both dressed formally and plainly. As the play starts, voices and other noises are heard in the background until they become mere whispers as the protagonists start to talk and finally fade as the play progresses.

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