Fiction is a powerful literary device. Indirect interaction and persuasion is a very fascinating means of communication. The Micah Mandate tries this out for the first time, since we launched. Read on .
In a simple piece of fiction – Politik Baru Y.B. J – published in Mingguan Rusuhan (12 Oct), Datuk C. W. paraded his skills at using what is known as the life-imitating-art genre.
Life imitating art is the opposite of the normal style where art is made to resemble life. The concept derives from an observation by Oscar Wilde, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.”
This is commonly used in TV soaps and action flicks. For instance, in a case of life imitating art in the American TV drama series of “Law & Order,” New York psychologist Kathryn Faughey was allegedly slashed-to-death in her office by one of her mental patients earlier this year. It’s an eerie coincidence but its show spokeswoman said “Law & Order” is fiction.”
In Poland, five years after he published his bloody bestseller, Krystian Bala found himself on trial last year for the same torture and murder that he detailed in his bestseller novel “Amok.” Bala claimed it was inspired by press reports of an actual murder of a Polish businessman. But Police found the book Amok contained intimate details of the murder that could be known only to police – or the killer. But this is not new. In 1774, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe published The Sorrows of Young Werthers (Die Leiden des jungen Werthers), a loose autobiographical novel where the forlorn young lover, Werthers, committed suicide. This led to copycat suicides which became known as the Werther’s effect. Goethe was so troubled by his masterpiece that he later described his work as distasteful.
Does life imitate art? This is an interesting question in the light of Datuk C. W.’s cerpen. It’s a very uncomplicated short story with no sub-text about a Chinese lawmaker, Y.B. Josephine, from the opposition Peoples’ Action Party (PAP), who embraces her Politik Baru of non race-based politics passionately.
She is immensely sassy and popular and was returned with an increased majority for her second term. Even Malays, which constituted 20% of her Alam Maya parliamentary constituency voted for her. However, she is haunted by slander spread by her enemies in the ruling Malay Party (POM) that she is anti-Malay and anti-Muslim.
The story continues where just as Y.B. Josephine was about to address a 500-strong crowd at a ceramah, a Chinese youth walked up to her and pumped several bullets straight into her heart. Then he turned the revolver on himself. Both died instantly.
Chief Inspector Mata Kucing arrived with a C.I.D. team at the office of the Malaysian Press Institute in Petaling Jaya where Datuk C.W. is the CEO.
“Datuk, a Y.B. has just been assassinated by a lone gunman.”
On hearing that, Datuk C. W.’s jaw dropped: “Y.B Josephine?”
“No. It’s Y.B. Teresa, the M.P. for Si Hitam.”
“We found this cerpen on the assassin. He had circled this paragraph in red: Y.B. Josephine adalah ancaman terhadap keharmonian. Lebih baik riwayatnya ditamatkan supaya masyarakat berbilang kaum boleh tinggal aman damai di negara bertuah ini. Saya berkorban untuk masa depan.”
(Y.B. Josephine is a threat to harmony. It is better her life is ended so that the people of various races can live in peace in this country. I have sacrificed for the future).
“We are investigating you for the murder, Datuk, and we need to take a statement from you,” the Chief Insp said politely but firmly.
“Nah! Ini statement aku . semua ini cerpen saja. Life imitating art imitating life,” he slammed his fist into his massive teak writing table.
“I meant Y.B. Jospehine. But it was stupid of the young man to pull the trigger on Y.B. Teresa,” murmured the balding fiction writer in disbelief. “Bodoh betul.”
Datuk C.W. enggan melayan Chief Inspector lagi. Sebaliknya, dia membelek cerpennya di akhbar Mingguan Rusuhan – Politik Baru YB J. (He was reluctant to entertain the Chief Inspector further, he stares at his short story in Mingguan Rusuhan instead.)
“Datuk, I am still waiting for your statement. Who killed Y.B. Teresa?”
(The characters in this cerpen are fictional and resemblance to any person in real life is purely coincidental. For more dog tales, please click on this url http://teresakok.com/)