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The Birth

The Birth

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Published by Ain Shakinah Azmi

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Published by: Ain Shakinah Azmi on Apr 18, 2012
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03/18/2013

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The Birth The Birth by Suhaimi Hj. Muhammad is written around 1980s in Malaysia.

It is a story about a conflict faced by a woman named Kin who is pregnant and about to give birth to her fifth child. The unborn child was expected to be ugly, as all Kin‟s children do, according to the villagers but not to her. What really becomes an issue in this story is when Kin‟s husband notified the midwife for her presence when Kin‟s contraction started but the midwife state that it does not matter if she was there or not. This causes kin‟s husband to wonder if they have not paid her enough or his wife is not pregnant after all. But the midwife assured Kin‟s husband that she is in fact pregnant. After being told that the midwife would not come during the labour, Kin still stays calm and strong and says that she does not need help from the midwife. Later in the story, when Kin was taking an evening stroll, she encounters the midwife who came to assist her during the labour, was walking with a woman. The midwife also told Kin that the woman is infertile even after ten years of marriage. When the midwife told her that some infertile women would even steal someone else‟s child, Kin just laugh. The tension in the story rises at midnight, when all of Kin‟s family and the midwife had gone to sleep and kin is the only one who is still awake. She thought she heard footsteps outside the house and started to remember the story about the thief told by the midwife, thus she feels more frightened but she finally falls asleep. This story reach its climax when Kin woke up the next day just to find a group of crowd gathered inside the house with her husband, mother and the midwife kneeling beside her. Her husband points out that her stomach was flat, so she thought she must have delivered the baby, but the baby is nowhere to be seen. She kept asking on the whereabouts of her baby but her husband kept shaking his head. In the end, Kin finally realise that her baby had disappeared but no one knows who took it away. The ending of the story is when Kin remember the footsteps she heard the previous night. Kin as the main character in this story shows her strength as a mother and a woman who is expecting birth. She had endured many things in her life but she is still standing strong against all odds. Back than in those days, child birth is not an easy thing like what Kin‟s mother had stated in the story that giving birth can be very dangerous but yet Kin had given birth to four children and was expecting another. She also said that she does not need the help of the midwife

I believe that the writer had managed to make people see the importance of praying and believing in God in our life. For example. Many of his earliest anthologies of poetry were based on surrealism and mysticism of nature and were difficult to understand. we can sense the feeling of spookiness and mystics throughout the story. Suhaimi Haji Muhammad is a mystical poets and surrealist writer.during her labour. When reading this story. Besides that. The writer had managed to capture the essence of a Malay family in the era of 1980s where they still living in a village with least exposure with the development. Perak. it is seen that his poetry tends toward mysticism or divine element. when she said that people were driven to say things out of spite. This story revolves around a Malay family who live in a rural area. He is a very pious man as he had been studying religious matter throughout his life at many places.000 pieces of poetry consisting of a variety of themes and forms. The writer of this story. as well as three of a group of short stories and literary criticism. Kuala Lumpur (1975 1989). But what Kin does not realise is. Then he became the editor of literary magazine while serving at Oxford University Press. including by the literary critic. Suhaimi has successfully published 21 individual poems containing more than 1. To understand why the writer creates such atmosphere. The writer is trying to convey hypocracy. she has to hear the villagers said that her children were ugly but patiently. by 2000. This shows how strong the writer pictures Kin as a woman. his strong belief in God and his religion can be seen when he wrote about how Kin‟s strong believe in God and decides leave it all to Him and pray for her safety during the delivery. it is not shocking to find the elements mysticism in his writing. However. As a pious writer who favours the genre of surrealism and mysticism or divine element. He was born in 1934 in the city of Kuala Kangsar. that they will say wonderful things about their own children just to cover up their own lacking and weaknesses. she just ignored them and said that her children were cute. major development only occurs in . she unconsciously refers to herself. we need to take a look at the writer‟s background. the basic human action and thinking in this story where human beings would normally deny the truth if it involve in exposing their weaknesses. in this story. In 1980s. He became a teacher after receiving training at the Sultan Idris Training College (1951-1954). His first short story was published in Singapore in 1950. He is trying to make people believe that mystical things do exist and we have to believe in God to bless us in our daily activities. as a mother.

As a reader. It shows that the villagers had not been exposed to modernization with the presence of doctors and modern medicine that can easily help Kin with her delivery. For example. Another question that lingers around my mind is what exactly happens to the baby? Who took it? Is it the woman who walks with the midwife the previous evening or is it taken by a mystical being called „orang bunian‟. This shows that the author is trying to make people think creatively about the possibilities of outcome of every action made by the characters of this story. The way the writer state how underdeveloped the village was. a mother would always sees the best inside her children and would always believe that her children are the best. Even if they want to prevent their children from doing something bad. he uses words and actions of the characters to explain it. Kin and her husband think that they need a midwife to help Kin in order to have a proper delivery and how Kin had express that she had no other options if the midwife would not come and just leave it to God and the fact that the villagers still rely on the midwife to aid them during a delivery. the will use mysticism and their children will obey for fear of those mystical beings. It is a belief that those mystical beings do exist but we cannot see them. so that is probably why Kin says that her children are cute regardless of what others think. the Malays strongly believe in those things. This shows that the writer have a deep understanding about the Malay culture in the 1980s. why does Kin still think that her children are “as cute as a button” while other people do not think so? Does Kin already lost her mind until she cannot differentiate what is beauty and what is ugly? Or why does the midwife said that she does not have to be at kin‟s house when her contraction started? Does the midwife have other motive? Here. . as a reader I started to wonder what is behind midwife‟s decision. And since this story is written about a Malay family. these things are related. Back then. this story had made me think about a lot of things related to the situation. when thinking about human psychology.Kuala Lumpur and all the youngsters from the village usually went to Kuala Lumpur just to earn a higher pay for their living. it is something mystical or is it Kin herself is not pregnant after all? Apart from that. For instance. was quite fascinating. but instead. „orang bunian‟ who stole women‟s children is not a strange thing to be heard. the situation where the characters. He did not directly state the condition of the village. In Malay folklore.

I as a reader feel contempt when reading this story.A good writer should be able to make people anxious to read more of the story and this writer had successfully done so. . it makes anything possible. Besides that. By creating a situation that arouse more question in the mind of the readers. with the writer‟s background and what exactly happens with Kin‟s baby was still in ambiguity. evil mystical beings would came out and disturbs humans. In short. the writer had managed to makes the readers want more of the story. I also wonder who exactly the woman who was walking with the midwife passing Kin‟s house that evening before she gave birth to the missing baby. Somehow the use of ambiguity in this story had make the feeling of mysteriousness this story even better and the writer had managed to convey the message in an interesting way. The way the writer expose the woman was quite mysterious especially given the time when the woman and the midwife appear at Kin‟s house was around the twilight. Therefore the woman herself is an ambiguity for me. Is she a real human? Again with the writer‟s background. Moreover. I myself thought that Kin‟s newly born baby was kidnapped by „orang bunian‟. although there is a lot of ambiguity in this story. twilight is the most unsuitable time for human beings to be outside the house as it is believed that at that time. In Malay belief.

BIS3023/BIR2183 LITERARY CRITICISM TITLE NAME MATRIC NUMBER GROUP LECTURER FACULTY SEMESTER : Individual Assignment : Ain Shakinah binti Azmi : D20101038224 :B : Mr.Mohammad Sidik b. Ariffin : Language and Communication :3 .

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