A Christmas Story – Sarban

I figured since the yuletide season is here, I’d link to you a Christmas short story. I tried reading it for myself but failed after several attempts. 😳 So much for being a reader, huh? I think it’s the screen that turns me off! So many words… 😛

Anyway, if you’re looking for a Christmas story, head over to Raincoaster’s blog for it. She highly recommended it, so I think it should be a good read if you have the patience and if screen glare doesn’t bother you too much. 🙂

Do you know of any other Christmassy short stories? I would love a link to it very much!


Very Short Stories III

Very Short Stories II

Six-Word Memoirs: The Legend

Legend has it that Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Last year, SMITH Magazine re-ignited the recountre by asking our readers for their own six-word memoirs. They sent in short life stories in droves, from the bittersweet (“Cursed with cancer, blessed with friends”) and poignant (“I still make coffee for two”) to the inspirational (“Business school? Bah! Pop music? Hurrah”) and hilarious (“I like big butts, can’t lie”).

Six 6-word stories I saw that I liked:

1. Foetus, son, brother, husband, father, vegetable.
Dick Hadfield

2. Head in books, feet in flowers.
Heather Thomson

3. Wrong era ,Wrong Class, Wrong Gender.
Patsy Wheatcroft

4. Not quite finished, tell you later.
Dave Nicholson

5. Worry about tomorrow, rarely enjoy today!
Richard Rabone

6. I’m just happy to be here!
Graham Marsh

I’m Not Sick, Just A Bit Unwell – Yvonne Foong


Yvonne Foong was born and raised in Malaysia. She enjoys writing, reading and devoting her time to charitable causes and social developments. She has done freelance assignments for newspapers and magazines.

Yvonne Foong maintains a website at http://www.yvonnefoong.com.

The book in one sentence: Life with Neurofibromatosis, the Cliffsnotes version.

Who would you recommend it to: Anyone; it’s a thin book, so there shouldn’t be excuses for not reading it!

OK bits: The parts where she talks about the illness and the brief description about her life.

Boring bits: Not so much boring as the feeling of a chapter in her life not adequately elaborated.

Random review quote:

“Yvonne has shown us all that it takes more than disability to stop us from chasing our dreams.” — Tremayne Heah, ASEAN scholar

Verdict: Despite her age, the author has gone through so much more than her peers. Sadly, this is not reflected in her autobiography. She chronicles her life with NF far more thoroughly and entertainingly in her blog (see website address above). That said, there is appeal in a simple and short but interesting story as this is.

How Dalat Got Its Name – Heidi Munan

Heidi Munan was born in Switzerland and educated in New Zealand. A graduate post-primary teacher, she has lived in Sarawak since 1965.

Heidi Munan is fond of reading, particularly old books about the history and geography of Southeast Asia. When her children were young, their grandmother used to tell them stories; this developed the author’s interest in folk tales. She has written books about the daily life, customs, arts and handicrafts of her home state.

Heidi Munan does research at the Sarawak Museum. She is a regular contributor to national and foreign newspapers and publications, including the MAS inflight magazine Going Places.

Opening lines:

The small town of Dalat lies on the Oya River. It is a peaceful, pretty place. The people there farm and fish and work all week. At festival time they have fun and visit each other’s houses.

Last lines:

And so it happened. Nobody talks about the war between brothers and the blood in the streets nowadays. But the people of Dalat know the value of peace and friendship. They have never forgotten.

How Dalat got its name:

“This was once a happy village. Now it is a place of death. Blood was spilt in the village street. The smell of death is in the air. Black flies are everywhere. I will call this village Dalat, flies, so nobody shall ever forget!”

The layman’s plot: Village Chief dies without naming his successor among three sons. Wise Eldest Son should be chief by custom, but Brave Second Son challenges the rule and tries to take over. This family conflict causes a divide in the village. Will enemies take advantage of the situation?

Verdict: Simple folk tale, with its typical moral ending. But a nice quick read nevertheless.

Very Short Stories II

Very Short Stories I

To cut a long story short

Ernest Hemingway once said his best work was a story he wrote in just six words: ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’ Guardian Books Unlimited challenged some contemporary authors to be equally economical.

My 6 favourite 6-letter stories:

1. Dad called: DNA back: he isn’t. – Helen Fielding

2. Humorous book: critic died laughing. Sued. – Alexander McCall Smith

3. Mother’s-milk. Ribena. Tetley’s. Chibuku-Shake-Shake. Complan. Morphine. – Marina Lewycka

4. “Apple?” “No.” “Taste!” “ADAM?” Oh God. – David Lodge

5. Stop me before I kill again. – Hari Kunzru

6. Womb. Bloom. Groom. Gloom. Rheum. Tomb. – Blake Morrison

Of Bunga Telur & Bally Shoes – Che Husna Azhari

Che Husna Azhari hails from Melor, Kelantan, a village town between Pasir Puteh and Kota Bharu is the setting frequently used by Che Husna in many of her short stories.

Che Husna’s first collection of short stories, Kelantan Tales was published in 1992. This was followed by Melor in Perspective and The Rambutan Orchard. Che Husna also wrote a collection of poems in Malay and English entitled Puisi Ambo (My Poems) which was published in 1996. Many of her short stories are published in journals. Her latest publication, The Man Who Built Gul-e-Stan, forms one of the collection of short stories in Voices of South East Asia recently published by SEAMEO, the Regional English Language Centre, Singapore. Two of her poems have been recorded in casette entitle Suararasa produced by the Cultural Unit of the National University of Malaysia. She is also one of the Panel of Judges for the National Science Poetry Competition since 1995.

Opening lines:

It was that time in Jamal’s life. Marriage time.

Last line:

Jamal looked at his sister, drew a long breath and asked, “What Bally shoes?”

Amazing line:

Jamal had left the whole rigmarole of choosing a wife to his mother and sisters.

Typical male archetype lines:

“Why so long, Cik?” queried Jamal. He had already spent a few sleepless nights thinking about his bride.

The layman’s plot: Man is getting married and needs money – fast. Despite revising the budget, he is still short on money for the bunga telur. But there are his leather Bally shoes…

Verdict: Simple story but the irony is not lost. To pay for a tradition of serving bunga telur at his wedding, he has to sacrifice something he did not think would have been a necessity for the wedding itself!

The Man From Kabul – Rabindranath Tagore

First line:

My five-year-old daughter, Mini, cannot live without chattering.

Last line:

But to me the wedding feast was all the brighter for the thought that in a distant land a long-lost father had met again his only child.

Most touching lines:

I took them, and was going to pay him, but he caught my hand and said, “You are very kind, sir! Keep me in your memory. Do not offer me money! You have a little girl; I, too, have one like her in my own home. I think of her, and bring this fruit to your child-not to make a profit for myself.”

Saying this, he put his hand inside his big loose robe and brought out a small and dirty piece of paper. Unfolding it with great care, he smoothed it out with both hands on my table. It bore the impression of a little hand. Not a photograph. Not a drawing. Merely the impression of an ink-smeared hand laid flat on the paper. This touch of the hand of his own little daughter he had carried always next to his heart as he had come year after year to Calcutta to sell his wares in the streets.

Tears came to my eyes. I forgot that he was a poor Kabuli fruit-seller, while I was- But no, what was I more than he?

He also was a father.

Layman’s plot: Peddler befriends a Rich Little Girl. Something happened and they lost touch. Peddler seeks for Rich Little Girl on her wedding day, but she is not little anymore.

Verdict: One of the saddest short stories I have ever read. I love it.

Read The Man From Kabul

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