The Pencil – Ali Majod

“Ali Majod is a careful writer and quite meticulous with his language and style” (Muhammad Haji Salleh, An Anthology of COntemporary Malaysian Literature, 1988). He was born in 1940, Tampin, Negeri Sembilan. Ali graduated from the University of Malaya in 1978 and worked as a teacher. He also served as a senior editor at the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.

Ali Majod has published three volumes of short stories: Dalam Diri, Lampu-lampu di Pelabuhan and Sayang Si Tina, which were awarded first prize in the ESSO-GAPENA Stories for Young Reader’s Contest. He was also awarded Literary Prizes in 1971 and 1972.

First line:

After recess, Mr. Jamal returned to his classroom.

Last line:

“Children are really good at heart, if they are only given a chance,” he thought, his eyes moist with tears.

Most laughable line:

Mr. Jamal was proud of himself because he had solved the problem with such wisdom. It was exactly like a story from Tales of a Thousand and One Nights.

The layman’s plot: Boy brings The Pencil to school. The Pencil gets stolen by Sneaky Boy who manages to convince Teacher that it is his and not Boy’s. Boy instead gets punished for “lying”. Boy’s innocence is shattered and he transforms into Naughty Boy. How will Teacher solve this?

Verdict: A simple, feel-good story.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Josette
    Aug 22, 2009 @ 18:14:24

    Yes I remember reading The Pencil when I was in Form 1 and I thought, what a simple and quite uneventful story! But I’m amazed at the author’s creativity in churning out a story revolving around a pencil, which is something not many people give much thought to.

    sulz: if only i can write half as well as i read, that’s what i think after reading a good story! 😆


    Mar 20, 2012 @ 22:24:49

    Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Illahi Raji’un.
    Dengan dukacitanya dimaklumkan, cerpenis Pensil Sebatang, Ali Majod, telah kembali ke Rahmatullah tengahari tadi. Jenazahnya akan dikebumikan jam 10.00 pagi esuk. Semoga rohnya ditempatkan di kalangan mereka yang beriman. Alamat rumah Ali Majod, No 56, Jalan SS18/5E. Al Fatihah. – yassinsalleh 20.3.2012


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