I was by chance at the Curve’s book fair last 2 weeks when I came across this book; Sayang by a Malaysian-Singapore-born Gopal Baratham. If it was not on discount, I wouldn’t dare to invest my Ringgit on a not-so-well-known local writer. I am like other Malaysians you see. We have a love affair for discounts and we always devoted our adorations to outlanders.
As I went through Sayang, I quickly learn that Gopal Baratham is not an unskilled writer at all. His constituents were overrun by vigorously active words, twisted in a way that you would disgrace your own English level.
I might be too expressive in depicting his endowment, but there’s nothing too shabby about the novel itself. As you go along, you might come across strings of thought-provoking and lurid words that you can read in some porn-base novel. Hush hush now dear friend, Sayang is not porn at all. It’s not. It is a story of a sixty-one-year-old schoolteacher; Joe Samy who married his own student half-of-his-age; Marie Kwan. He found out she was cheating on him while he himself struggling with the sexual envisage towards his own drug-addict son’s girlfriend. As the family falls apart, Joe Samy takes a hard lesson from life on the true meaning of Sayang.
Interesting enough? Wait till you reach the climax.
“Sayang… I know the word and its implications well. It was a truly Southeast Asian word, soft as its people and well-understood from Marang to Manila, Surabaya to Sulawesi, Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu. It describes a love bound to sadness, a tenderness trembling on the edge of tears, a passion from which pity could not be detached.”
I’MNOSUPERMAN: As weird as it sound, I can easily relate this book with my own life.