Thursday, March 17, 2016

All About My Mother


Today I am highlighting a snippet of a short story that is featured in my book. 


All About My Mother By Bissme S

"You are too beautiful to belong to one man. You should become a prostitute."

The first time I heard those words, I was only thirteen.I was having a dinner with my parents in a restaurant. A tall man in a blue jacket sat at the table next to us.The tall man in the blue jacket had been staring at my mother from the moment we entered the restaurant. When we finished our dinner, the tall man in the blue jacket stood up and approached our table. Looking at my mother, he said: "You are too beautiful to belong to one man. You should become a prostitute."   
There was complete silence at our table. None of us knew what to say to him. We just stared at him. 
The man in the blue jacket had big smile on his face. Slowly, he turned around and walked out of the restaurant, laughing loudly. 
After the strange incident in the restaurant, our lives were never the same again. My mother stopped being a wife. My mother stopped being a mother. My mother abandoned us. My mother became a prostitute. 

*****
“Nobody loves her the way I love her. My love will bring her back,” my father said. 
My father worshipped the ground that my mother walked on. My father said: “She was my first love and I was her first love. Nobody forgets their first love. Your mother will come home. She will become a better mother to you and a better wife to me.”  
My father became a religious man. Every day, he begged the son of God to bring back the woman he loves into his life again. In the past, my father believed all religions was manmade. 
“Jesus is Santa Claus for adults,” he used to say. 
He loved making fun of God, Jesus and religious people in general. Not anymore. He said: “God has been kind to me. God blessed my life with so much happiness and love. But I was ungrateful. I abandoned God. I made jokes out of him. And God punished me. God made my wife abandon me. God wanted me to feel the pain that God felt when I abandoned Him.But now I am repenting my sins. One day, God will forgive me. God will make your mother stand in front of our doorstep with her two suitcases, begging for forgiveness.I will forgive her the same way God had forgiven me. We will be one happy family again.” 
My father has no doubt that God will give him a happy ending. As for me, I am totally convinced that God is obsessed with sad endings. 

*****
Twenty years have passed. My mother has not returned home. The doctors have found cancer in my father. His days on earth are numbered. My father said: “I want to die in the arms of your mother, the woman I love. I must pray harder so God will fulfil my last wish.” 
All of our friends and relatives had given up hope that my mother will return home. Not my father. 
“I have faith in God,” he said. 
“God is not cruel. God will not let me die with a broken heart.” 
Out of the blue, to everyone surprise, my father’s prayers were answered. My mother was standing in front of our house door, with her two suitcases. My mother had tears of regret.She begged for forgiveness. My father did not waste any time. He immediately hugged the woman he loves with all his heart. He said: “I forgive you. The past is the past. Do not talk about the past. Let us start a fresh life with a clean slate.” 
My father’s dream came true. Thirteen months later, my father died in the arms of the woman he loves. Before dying, my father said to me: “I told you that God is not cruel...God is great...God performed a miracle...God did not let me die with a broken heart.” 
But God was cruel. God was not great.God did not perform any miracles. God did absolutely nothing. God is just stood there like some useless statue and silently watched my father in misery.  
I went to see my mother. “I want to hire you.” 
That was my first sentence to my mother who I had not seen for two decades. She was still a prostitute and a proud owner of a brothel.  
I told my mother about my father’s illness. I said: “His last wish is to die in your arms. I want to hire you to play the good wife to my father. Make my father a happy man before he dies.”
“I can only love a man if I get paid and my services are not cheap,” my mother said. 
“I will pay whatever you want. My father must never know that I hired you. You must convince my father that you came home on your own accord, feeling regret over what you have done,” I said. 
A week later, my mother was in front of the doorstep of our house with her two suitcases. She had tears of regret.... 

******
The money I spent on my mother was worth it. My mother played the part of the good wife brilliantly. She brought back happiness, love and laughter into my father’s life. My father died with a smile on his face. My father did not have a clue that everything my mother did was a charade. 
The moment my father was buried, my mother started packing her suitcases. She was ready to go back to her old life. 
“You are leaving so soon,” I asked.
“My job is done here,” my mother answered. 
I said: “You could stay if you want. I will pay you to be my mother.”
She stared at me for the longest time. She said: “I can play any role my client wants except a mother. I do not think I will make a good mother.”  
I was furious. I was angry. I did not expect my mother would refuse my offer to be my mother. I shouted: “Mother, tell me why you abandoned my father? Why did you choose to abandon your son? Why did you choose the filthy road that you had chosen?”
Calmly, my mother took my hands in hers and gently kissed them. Looking into my eyes, my mother said: “When a girl is born, everyone teaches her to be a good daughter...To be a good wife...To be a good mother. But what if she doesn’t want to be a good daughter? What if she doesn't want to be a good wife? What if she doesn't want to be good mother? What if she doesn't want to be good? Do you think a woman has a choice not to be good?”
I did not have any answer for her.There was long silence between us. Then, slowly, she kissed my cheeks and whispered into my ears: “Not all women want to be good. Some women are born to be a woman with no morals." 
Carrying her suitcases in each hand, my mother slowly walked out of the house. I never saw my mother again. ( To read more Get a copy of Bitter) 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Kosmo Coverage

Recently the Kosmo newspaper covered me and my book. Below is the article that published 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Ugly Truth About Beauty



I am highlighting a short story from my book Bitter that features a collection of my short stories


Title: The Ugly Truth about Beauty

My daughter was convinced that I was not her mother. She said: “The doctors and the nurses have given you the wrong baby.  I will correct the mistake they had done. I will make sure you get back your daughter and I will finally meet my mother.”

My daughter carried an extensive investigation on the hospital where I had delivered her. But her investigation revealed that on the day she was born, there was only one woman who had given birth. The woman was me and the baby was her. There could not have been any mix up.  She was utterly disappointed with the end result. She was in tears.
She said: “How could a beautiful swan like you give birth to an ugly duckling like me? God is playing a sick joke on us.” 
I hugged her. But my daughter could not stop crying.  I said: “Looks have never mattered to me. I love you from the moment you were born.  I have always wanted to be a mother.  But I could not become one. The doctor could not figure out what was wrong with me. The doctors had given up. 
I prayed for a miracle. God had listened to my prayers.  I became pregnant. You came into my life. You have brought so much joy to my life. ” 

My daughter answered: “Looks may not matter to you, mother. But the world will never let us to forget that you are beautiful and I am ugly.”

*****

My daughter was not always ugly. When she was born, she was the most beautiful baby I had seen. She looked like an angel that had fallen from the sky.
“She will grow up to be a heart breaker,” said a nurse with a huge smile.
Everyone was in awe of her beauty. But I was insanely jealous of my daughter. I used to be the centre of attention. Everyone used to rave about my beauty.
Since my daughter came along, fewer people were paying attention to me. My daughter had stolen the limelight from me. Her beauty was giving me sleepless nights. It was simply impossible for two beautiful women to stay under one roof.  One of us has to be ugly. 

*****

I have no desire to kill my daughter. I love my daughter very much. I can’t imagine my life without my daughter.  I just do not want my daughter to be more beautiful than me. I was looking at ways to make my daughter ugly. I found the answer in my husband. He was a well-known cosmetic surgeon. He
has made beauties out of monsters. 
I said to him: “You can turn ugly to beautiful. Can you turn beautiful to ugly?”
Laughingly, my husband asked: “But who wants to be ugly?”  
Without a trace of emotion, I answered: “Our daughter. I want you to make her

look ugly.”
There was a shocked look on my husband’s face. My husband was madly in love with me. My husband would do anything to make me happy.  I have my husband under my thumb.
 I said: “If you do not do what I tell you, I will kill myself. I cannot have a daughter that is more beautiful than me.”  
I pushed my husband into a corner. My husband had no choice but to fulfil what my heart desired. Every morning, my husband injected my daughter with some kind of serum. 

The older my daughter got, the less beautiful she became. My daughter was no longer my competition.  Finally, I could sleep peacefully.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Regina Ibrahim

Regina Ibrahim, has kindly bought my two books (Doubt & Bitter) and have written a lovely review on the books. Here is the review   Thank you Regina



DOUBT AND BITTER

Penulis: Bissme S

Terbitan/Edaran: Merpati Jingga

Genre: Khayalan Imaginasi Manusia.

Tanpa pembaca, penulis itu tidak akan ujud. Penglipurlara Bissme S sudah lama berada di persada penulisan Malaysia. Pemenang tropi Samad Idris FINAS pada tahun 2000 dan 2010 mengatakan bahawa sebagai wartawan beliau berurusan dengan fakta, manakala fiksyen pula mengizinkan dia berimaginasi.

Doubt dan Bitter sudah pun diterjemahkan dalam bahasa kebangsaan. Terjemahlah dalam bahasa apa sekalipun buku ini merupakan naskah yang sangat menarik. Selepas membaca ke dua dua koleksi cerita cerita pendek dan certot nukilan Bissme, kamu akan menyedari bagaimana manusia itu bisa berimaginasi semahu mahunya dalam bentuk penulisan secara terbuka, realistic dan sinis. Very Inspiring/Sangat meransangkan.

Digabung pula dengan sifat sifat manusia yang tamak, sepi, ghairah dalam menjalani kehidupan. Ada banyak kisah kisah yang dipaparkan membuatkan kamu ternganga setelah membacanya. Ini genre yang saya suka pastinya. Citarasa Bismme sangat antarabangsa. Dikisahkan bagaimana hubungan manusia dengan pencipta tanpa membuatkan kita merasa marah, kerana ada kebenarannya persoalan tersebut.

“bukan semua manusia diciptakan untuk menjalani kehidupan orang miskin,”

“dia berjalan mencari landasan keretapi terdekat. Telanjang dan terus berlari ke arah keretapi yang bergerak”

“owh dia sangat menyintai wanita itu, hampir saja dia menyembah kesan kesan kaki wanita tersebut di lantai.”

Bayangkan 45 kisah pendek dalam Doubt/Musykil dan 13 cerpen yang diedit oleh N.Shashikala, paling tidak akan mencuit ruang imaginasi kamu setelah selesai membacanya tanpa prejudis.

“tapi aku memang tidak mahu masuk syurga!”
“kenapa tidak?”

“di syurga itu tidak ada orang orang yang menarik!”

Bayangkan kisah pelukis Malena yang membunuh ibunya, pelukis aneh ini juga bercinta, ya bercinta…dan berfalsafah aneh sekaligus apabila berhubung dengan lelaki tersebut…lelaki yang tidak akan kamu sangka…

Bicara wanita yang membunuh anak dan suaminya di Singapura pada ibu tua yang berkerut muka…

Ya kamu akan temui semua persoalan ini dalam Doubt dan Bitter. Dua buku ini akan mendapat sambutan hebat sekiranya dipromosikan secara antarabangsa, paling tidak di sekitar ASIA. Ianya adalah koleksi peribadi saya yang paling berharga dan menarik untuk tahun 2015. Matang, berterus terang tanpa ayat ayat besar!

Verdict: Harus dimiliki oleh pengemar FIKSYEN.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Far from Perfect

I am highlighting a story from my book Bitter that is being sold RM 21. Here is the short story 



2) Far From Perfect
By Bissme S                                                                               

The first time I saw her was in a television talk show. She was supposed to travel around the world in 365 days. She was supposed to be the first woman in the country to accomplish this.
“I did not complete the journey,” she confessed to the pretty host of the talk show.
“I failed to create history.But I found something bigger. I found God.”
Her boat did leave our country. But she did not reach her destination. There was a violent storm. There was lightning and thunder. The ocean was in a fury.She was thrown into the ocean. Everyone thought she had died. But she did not die. Instead, she washed up on a deserted island. She was all alone, a castaway. She was waiting to be rescued. But the rescue team could not find her. She was lost.
“I was lonely,” she said
“I was depressed. I missed my husband. I missed my friends. I wanted to kill myself. But killing yourself is not easy. You need tremendous strength to end your life.”  
She survived on fruits that she found on the island.               
“I thought I will die miserable and all alone on the island,” she said.
The moment she learned she was pregnant, she knew she had to find a way to escape the island. She had to bring her child to civilization. 
“I cannot let my child die on this island,” she said.   
She built a raft made of wood salvaged from the shore and bravely sailed into the big ocean. 
“Before I began my sailing, I did one thing I had never done in my entire life,” she says.
“What was that?” asked the pretty host of the talk show.
“I prayed hard that God will grant a safe journey to my unborn child and me,” she answered.
“That was my first time that I had prayed…That was the first time I believed God existed.”
She grew up in a household where praying was seen as a waste of precious time. Her father always said: “Give a man a fish and you will feed him a day but give him religion and he will starve to death while praying for a fish.”
For the first time in her life, she did not listen to her father whom she loved, admired and respected. She kneeled down and begged for a happy ending from the almighty God.
For days,her raft floundered in the big ocean. She was hungry. She was thirsty. She was dying. 
“But God did not let me die,” she said.
“God is great. God loves me. God had given me the happy ending I wanted.” 
A cargo ship noticed her tattered raft and she was rescued.  Her husband was overjoyed to have his wife in his arms again. Adding sweetness to their reunion is when he learnt that she was pregnant. Since the incident, she and her husband have not left God alone.
“I am glad that I got stranded on island,” she said. 
“Through this ordeal, I learned about God and his greatness. I owe my life to God. I owe the life to my child to God. I owe everything to God. What happened to me is a miracle from God. I will worship God till my last breath.”
The audience in the talk show was on their feet, giving a standing ovation to the woman and what she had said.

*****
A year after her appearance at the talk show, I was working for her. I was her maid. She liked me.
She said: “You are wonderful. You have everything under control. I am lost without you. I am lucky to have you.”
I showed my sweet smile. Humbly, I said: “No Madam, I am lucky to have a kind employer like you.” 
She likes to believe she had gone to a maid agency and got me.  But the truth is a totally different story.I paid her old maid some money to leave her and her family. That would force her to find a maid.I predicted she would turn to her old maid’s agency to get her new helper and I was right.
I paid someone in the agency a lot of money to make me as her maid.I was obsessed with her. I wanted to be in her life...I wanted to be in her house…I wanted to meet the child that changed her life.

*****
I remember the first time I stepped into her house. She looked so different from the television interview. Her hair was thicker and she was thinner.  It was obvious she had spent some time at the gym.
Her husband also looked different from the television interview. His hair was getting less and he has put on some weight around his waist.Of course,I was introduced to the person who changed her life dramatically…the person who motivated her to leave the island where she was stranded … the person who made her believe in God. Her baby was just learning to walk.
“I bought him a present… Can I give him the present?” I asked.
“Of course, you can,” she answered
My present was a soft toy unicorn. Her son smiled wide on seeing the unicorn.
“I think you have won the heart of my son,” she said.

*****
After a year staying as her maid, I thought it was time to open her eyes to the truth.Everything was planned carefully. It was on the evening September 6, she and I were at the porch, playing with her son. Out of nowhere, two strangers climbed over the gate of the house, grabbed her son from my hands and got into a car that was waiting outside the house.
“Call the police… Call the police. My son has been kidnapped,” she shouted with tears streaming from her eyes.

I pretended to have tears in my eyes. Inside, I was jumping with joy. The gangsters I had hired had done an excellent job. I was whispering to myself:  “Save your tears, Madam. This is only the beginning of your tragedy. You have more tears to shed.”  

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Hilal Adnan on Bitter

Today a reader named Hilal Adnan has written to my email  to talk about my book Bitter. Here is what he says: 


"Bitter. The word itself explains many if not most of the strings of stories attached in the book. In these stories we bear witness the worst of unfortunate events through the secrets, desires and profound disappointments that takes place at the unlikeliest turn. The stories are told in a rich crimson context and highlight the often twisted behaviour of characters that animates the stories through fate, choice, family and despair.

From a daughter tranquilly painted her father who committed suicide to a mother who eats the flesh of her own child, the reader is treated to a whirlpool of unexpected outcomes and awaken into realizing the fact that there is no such thing as a happy ending. Bissme’s dark themed short stories are very intriguing to say the least but not recommended for the faint hearted.

Each story is interrelated in its own way. I hope Malena rings a bell."

Regards ,
Hilal 

Thank you for the lovely compliments. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Mothers & Crocodiles

I am highlighting a short story from my book Bitter 

Mothers & Crocodiles

I accidentally killed a stranger. In panic, I chucked the dead body in the boot of my car. Once I reached home, I told my mother what had happened. Furious, my mother shouted: “Some women shouldn’t be behind the wheels. I will clean the mess that you have created.”
My mother cut the dead body that I brought home into tiny pieces and fed them to the crocodiles. My mother and I have been running a crocodile farm ever since my father died 10 years ago.
“Nobody will ever find the body,” my mother said.

*****
A few days later, on television, I saw on old woman speaking to a reporter about her missing daughter. The old woman was waving the photo of her missing daughter.  I took one look at the photo and knew straightaway that the stranger I had killed was her daughter, Malena.

*****
Ever since the crocodiles ate Malena, they have not been the same. The crocodiles refused to touch their food. All the meat I had given them rots in the pond. The crocodiles had become more ferocious, more savage and more restless. The colour of their eyes had also changed. The colour of their eyes began to resemble Malena’s.

*****
I became obsessed with the woman I had killed. I wanted to know everything about Malena. I read everything that was that written about her. 
“Malena is a vegetarian and her favourite vegetable is cauliflower,” her mother said in one of the interviews.  
My instinct told me that I should buy several dozens of cauliflowers and throw them into the crocodile’s pond. I followed my instincts. I could not believe what I was seeing in front of my eyes. The crocodiles were rushing to eat the cauliflower. These crocodiles chose cauliflowers over red meat. These crocodiles had become vegetarian. I have no doubt that the soul of the woman I had killed was living inside these crocodiles. Out of fear, I took the rifle and started shooting every crocodile in our farm. I was killing the women I had killed.
My mother was shocked to see all her crocodiles dead. In tears and anger, my mother shouted: “What have you done, you crazy bitch? When your father died, he left me enough money for me to survive for seven generations.
“Do you know why I have started this crocodile’s farm? I started this business because I cannot bring myself to love you. I do not know why. But I hated you from the day you were born. 
“I needed someone or something to love after the death of your father. My life is empty without love. This crocodile farm has given my life meaning. I love my crocodiles. I will never forgive you for killing my love. I wish you had killed yourself instead of the crocodiles.” 
That night, I decided a mother who loves her crocodiles more than her child does not deserve to live. I strapped my mother to her bed. I poured kerosene all over the house. I struck a match and the house was on fire. I could hear my mother screaming. I got into my car that hit Malena and slowly drove away from the burning house. 
The next morning, I was in Malena’s house, confessing my crime to her mother. With the tears streaming from her eyes, her mother said: “So, my daughter is not missing. She was killed in a hit and run accident.” 
I said: “You can call the police to arrest me. I won’t run away.”
Wiping away the tears from her eyes, her mother said: “Only I can punish you. Not the police. Not the judge. You killed my daughter. You are my criminal.”
Her mother brought out a pair of scissors. I thought she planned to stab me to death. But that did not happen. Instead, her mother used the scissors to cut my hair. After cutting my hair, her mother put some make up on me. 
“You look so pretty,” her mother said.
I looked into the mirror and I don’t see myself any more. I looked so much like Malena, her daughter.
“I have a telephone call to make,” her mother said.
Her mother dialled the police station. Looking at me sharply, her mother said: “Inspector, I have good news for you. You do not have to search for my daughter anymore. She is no longer missing. Malena has just returned home....”

The End