Sunday, 14 February 2010

The Painted Cat

Dad came home one night and woke us from our sleep. We rushed out of the house. Then, we took out a match and burnt down the house. The whole family stood staring as the flames brought down the house to ashes.
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Since then, we have been moving from place to place without a house to stay. This situation is better, said Dad. We don’t have to crack our heads to think about what colour to paint the walls, what brand of paint to use, hire someone to paint or paint it ourselves, how many cans of paint would be needed and so forth.

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That is only about the paint. Dad listed tens of – hundreds and thousands, indeed – problems that we would be able to avoid all together since we do not own a house.

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“But, Dad,” said one of us while we were seated inside a peanut shell. “Which address shall we use for official purposes? What about school registration; which address to use? What if someone wants to send us a letter; a fan perhaps.”

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“Just give the Parliament address or our Prime Minister’s,” Dad answered spontaneously. “At least we won’t be receiving all those junk mail.”

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“And we do not have fans,” someone among us added; but not the one who raised the initial question. “Do you think we are Marsli N.O’s Penipu? No. We are nobody.”

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The others among us agreed while shaking our heads. By then, we had already left the peanut shell where we took shelter and went through the pages of Penipu short story compilation while waiting for the rain to stop.

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“What about school registration; which address to use?” Someone asked; could have been the same person or someone else.

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“Why worry? Have you forgotten that all of you have never been to school,” Dad assured while walking.

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“Oh, yeah!” We responded in unison.

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[Translated from the Bahasa Malaysia short story, “Cat” (Uthaya Sankar SB, Mingguan Malaysia, 21 December 1997) by the author on 31 January 2010. The original story is also published in Vanakam: Antologi Cerpen Bahasa Malaysia (2002) and Rudra Avatara: Kumpulan Cerpen Bahasa Malaysia (2008). The complete version of “The Painted Cat” has been submitted to Sharon Bakar for an anthology. An abriged version of "The Painted Cat" was published in Selangor Times, 21 January 2011 - READ IT HERE.]

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Sila gunakan Bahasa Malaysia atau Bahasa Inggeris yang betul apabila mengemukakan komen. Hanya komen yang menggunakan bahasa yang betul dari segi ejaan, tanda baca dan struktur ayat akan dilayan. Pencemaran bahasa diharamkan!