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


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 ,

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

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Doubt & Fahmi Mustaffa

Fahmi Mustaffa posted this comment in his Facebook after reading my book Doubt. Thank you for the lovely comment on the book. This is what he says:

Last night i seduced myself (that sounds wrong isn't it?) and get some me-time reading this:

DOUBT by Bissme S

This collection of 45 stories of life, love and loneliness is really a page turner.Bissme Bissme Bissme is a good story teller, and being a good conduit, the stories went naturally, with some jaw-dropped and mindfucked plot twist, leaving me with such a mental excitation, reading one story after another.
I would personally promote this, as this is my first time of minimalistic self indulgence that leave me wanting more and more.
Wait, there's more, entitled DOUBT by the same author himself.
"A woman who hates motherhood ... A man has sex with a dead body to win a bet ... Two brothers have incestuous relationship ... A man recalls the circumstance that led his best friend to take his own life ..."
DOUBT is the must-read fiction! 135 pages of mind-blowing stories, leaving you curious about human and all their beings.

Grab your copy via whatsapp - 0122290944, or contact Mr Writer himself. DOUBT and BITTER are in stores now, published by Merpati Jingga. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Bitter On MPH Online Bestseller List

Today I have a good news to share with you. I am happy to say my book Bitter is feature on MPH Online bestsellers list. Bitter falls number 15. I am lost for words.  Here is the link to the list 

Bitter in the list 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bitter in Press

 I am highlighting all the media reports ( the good, the bad and the ugly) on my book Bitter. Whether they are good or bad reviews, I really appreciate  the journalist effort to read Bitter and to dissect it.  A big  thank you to them. 

1)  The first person who wrote about  Bitter is the  well known Uthaya Sankar. His article appeared in the website Kuala Lumpur Post . Below is the full article 

Title : Bissme Teroka Sisi Lain Kehidupan Manusia 

Kemampuan menghasilkan buku fiskyen sulung pada usia 45 tahun pasti suatu kejayaan yang membanggakan. Bayangkan pula jika mampu melahirkan buku fiksyen kedua dalam masa hampir dua tahun selepas itu.
Itulah yang berjaya dilakukan oleh Bissme S, seorang wartawan yang berpengalaman luas serta menang beberapa anugerah dalam bidang kewartawanan.
Seperti diakuinya sendiri, dunia kewartawanan menuntut dirinya berdepan dengan fakta dan objektiviti, manakala penulisan fiksyen membuka ruang seluas-luasnya untuk mengembangkan daya imaginasi dan kreativiti.
Saya berpeluang bertemu dengan Bissme pada 2 Februari 2015 di Pesta Buku Selangor yang berlangsung di Pusat Konvensyen Shah Alam (SACC). Kebetulan, buku keduanya, Bitter (2015) baru sahaja siap dicetak dan mula dijual.
Mahu tidak mahu, sebagai penulis dan pencinta bahasa serta individu yang berpengalaman dalam bidang penyuntingan, saya secara spontan membelek-belek halaman buku baru ini untuk meneliti kualiti bahasa dan ejaan.
Harus diakui bahawa berbanding buku pertama, Doubt (2013) yang dipenuhi pelbagai kesalahan bahasa dan kesilapan menaip, koleksi fiskyen terbaru ini lebih kemas, bersih dan profesional.
Bissme ternyata mengambil kira komen saya sekitar dua tahun lalu dan memastikan ada orang menyemak, menyunting dan memperkemaskan manuskripnya sebelum diterbitkan.
Sebagai seorang editor akhbar yang berpengalaman, N. Shashi Kala telah melaksanakan tugasnya dengan amat baik bagi memastikan Bitter yang disajikan kepada khalayak lebih kemas dan bebas daripada kecuaian bahasa.
Bagi Bissme, pengalaman menghasilkan sejumlah 13 cerpen dalam koleksi ini agak berbeza dengan cerpen-cerpen dalam koleksi sulung dahulu. Fiksyen kali ini lebih panjang dan standard berbanding koleksi pertama yang agak bercelaru dari segi panjang setiap cerita.
Suatu lagi perbezaan yang ketara adalah bahawa semasa menulis fiksyen sebelum ini, pengarang belum memutuskan untuk membukukannya. Pada kali ini pula, kesemua cerpen ditulis khusus untuk dibukukan.
*Fiksyen Yang Tidak Sesuai Bagi Pembaca Kanak-kanak
Bissme mengakui bahawa memang ada semacam kekangan dan kesedaran nyata kerana cerpen-cerpen pada kali ini mahu diterbitkan dalam bentu buku. Tambahan pula, kebanyakan pembaca Bitterkemungkinan besar sudah membaca Doubt.
Secara logik, khalayak pasti mengharapkan sesuatu yang lebih baik daripada karya terdahulu. Pada saya, Bissme berjaya memenuhi tuntutan itu. Kerja-kerja penyuntingan yang kemas merupakan satu lagi bonus yang mampu membantu pembaca (khususnya bukan penutur lazim) mempelajari penggunaan Bahasa Inggeris yang betul.
Pembaca perlu diberikan amaran bahawa sebagaimana Doubt, koleksi fiksyen dalam Bitter juga tidak sesuai bagi kanak-kanak. Hal ini kerana kisah, persoalan dan peristiwa yang disajikan boleh dikategorikan sebagai berciri ganas dan ada aksi agak “terlampau”.
Kisah-kisah yang disajikan mungkin kelihatan seperti cerita biasa. Akan tetapi, “kebiasaan” itu segera berubah menjadi sesuatu yang benar-benar di luar dugaan dan norma kehidupan.
Maka, fiksyen yang dihasilkan oleh Bissme hanya sesuai bagi khalayak yang khusus, iaitu khalayak yang sedia untuk melihat sisi lain kehidupan manusia yang biasanya dielakkan daripada dibicarakan menerusi karya arus perdana.
Mungkin ada pihak yang berpendapat bahawa kisah-kisah seperti ini “selamat” selagi tidak disampaikan dalam Bahasa Malaysia. Pandangan ini agak menarik kerana memang ada buku terjemahan Bahasa Malaysia diharamkan di Malaysia, tetapi versi asal (Bahasa Inggeris) boleh dibeli dan dibaca secara bebas dan terbuka.
Menurut Bissme, buku Doubt sedang dalam proses terjemahan dan versi Bahasa Malaysia akan berada dalam pasaran tidak lama lagi. Ini mungkin berita baik bagi mereka yang mahu menikmati kisah-kisah yang disajikan oleh Bissme.
“Selepas Doubt terbit, saya tidak pernah menyangka akan ada buku lain. Namun, kini Bitter sudah muncul dan saya harap ia mendapat perhatian khalayak pembaca.
“Kisah-kisah yang saya angkat memang lari daripada kebiasaan walaupun ia menampilkan watak-watak biasa yang kita temui dalam kehidupan seharian. Mungkin itulah daya penarik bagi buku-buku saya,” kata Bissme yang merupakan anak jati Kuala Lumpur.
Sebagai seorang penulis dan wartawan berpengalaman, beliau sedar bahawa setiap hasil tulisan – fiksyen mahu pun berita atau rencana – pasti mendapat komen yang pelbagai daripada pembaca.
* Adunan Realiti, Imaginasi dan Kreativiti Seorang Wartawan
Saya kagum dengan sikap terbuka yang menjadi pegangan Bissme. Katanya, sama ada reaksi yang diberikan oleh pembaca dan pengkritik adalah positif atau negati, kedua-duanya amat berguna kepadanya.
Sikap positif seperti ini wajar menjadi amalan semua orang dalam segala bidang. Biarlah kita menerima komen positif dan negatif dengan hati terbuka demi membaiki diri dan mutu kerja.
Kesemua cerpen dalam buku ini ditulis pada tahun lalu khusus untuk diterbitkan dalam bentuk buku. Maknanya, cerpen-cerpen ini belum pernah disiarkan di mana-mana.
Secara penuh sedar, Bissme memastikan kesalahan bahasa dan kecuaian yang terdapat pada buku pertama tidak diulang dalam buku kedua. Penyuntingan profesional yang dilakukan oleh editor berpengalaman juga sangat membantu.
Proses kreatif bagi seorang pengarang adalah semacam misteri. Orang ramai sering tertanya-tanya dari mana penulis mendapat idea bagi cerita. Sebagai seorang penulis, saya juga sering diajukan soalan itu dan biasanya saya tidak mampu memberikan jawapan yang paling tepat dan memuaskan.
Begitulah juga halnya dengan Bissme. Watak serta kisah yang disajikannya dalam Doubt dan Bitter adalah sesungguhnya manusia yang biasa ditemui dalam kehidupan seharian, khususnya di ibu negara.
Apa yang berbeza adalah bahawa Bissme yang kini berusia 47 tahun menggunakan daya kreativiti dan imaginasi untuk membayangkan kemungkinan yang amat berbeza dalam kehidupan setiap watak manusia biasa itu.
Kreativiti seperti ini sangat perlu ada pada mana-mana penulis kreatif. Sebagai seorang wartawan berpengalaman, kini Bissme berjaya pula mengembangkan daya kreativiti dan imaginasi dalam diri untuk memanfaatkan bahan dan idea cerita untuk disajikan dalam bentuk fiksyen yang seronok dan mendebarkan untuk dibaca.
Sepanjang saya mengenali Bissme, dia seorang yang pemalu dan kurang bercakap. Mungkin tugasnya sebagai wartawan memerlukannya untuk lebih banyak mendengar daripada bercakap. Bagaimanapun, kini dia sudah menemui “suara”nya menerusi penulisan fiskyen.
Kisah dan pengalaman Bissme boleh dijadikan panduan oleh orang ramai supaya tidak berputus asa dalam mencapai impian dan cita-cita. Bermula dengan keinginan untuk mahu berkongsi cerita, Bissme kini sudah berjaya menjadi seorang penulis yang berjaya.
* Uthaya Sankar SB adalah presiden Kumpulan Sasterawan Kavyan (Kavyan), perunding media dan penulis sepenuh masa. Hubungi uthayasb@yahoo.com.my untuk cadangan cerita menarik

2) Amir Hafizi from Malaysian Reserve has reviewed my book Bitter .  Here is the full review 

Title : From Doubt to Bitterness 
By Amir Hafizi 

After his first book “Doubt”, author Bissme S returns with another clutch of stories — this time, Bissme focuses on even darker themes that plunge readers into a bottomless pit of despair.
This book is a downer, in a good way. Reminiscent of Oscar Wilde’s dour, heartbreaking and haunting short stories, Bissme’s “Bitter” manages to consistently capture that dark, depressing landscape in 13 stories.
There are stories of mothers becoming prostitutes and one hired to see out the death of her husband, tale of a family forever affected by the suicide of a father, how a boy is raped and the family copes, a mother tasting the flesh of her own children and many more.
Of note are the stories “Breakfast in Bed” and “All About My Mother”.
“Breakfast in Bed” is about a family obsessed with the image of the father hanging himself in his bedroom after his wife left him. “All About My Mother” is a story about a serial curse of prostitution borne out of bitterness. In it, a man would curse random beautiful mothers to a life of prostitution. The children of the mother who becomes a prostitute would one day recite the same line — almost an incantation — to another mother and the cycle begins anew.
These stories are almost fable-like in nature, their darkness a result of semi-magical happenings or the borderline fantastic.
However, the horrors are very much grounded in reality and the violence is believable while being a bit surreal. The motivations of some of the characters that instigate the weird and cruel happenings are almost like a dark version of paying it forward, or vectors spreading a virus of bitterness.
Another running theme is that the stories are often written from the point of view of the son, witnessing the real horrors of family. In some stories, the focus shifts to other types of characters, which makes for a varied reading.
The effect is that the book creates a haunting experience and readers can find themselves strangely cathartic after going through all the spite, hatred, abuse and violence in “Bitter”. It is certainly over the top and can get a bit cartoonish at times, such as one story where a mother is fed the flesh of her child, or when a man discovers he is a product of incest.
However, when the story is over, one can find a bit of relief that the world is not that dark and hopefully it is only so in the minds of the author.
Bissme writes his short stories well, perhaps fully realising that tales with such strong flavours should be short and not be drawn out too much. He effortlessly darts from one dark and depressing setup to another, from one crazy character to the next one with seeming ease.
Bitter” is only around 130 pages so even if the content is not agree-able to those with more delicate sensibilities, it is short.

3) The Star has  featured my book Bitter as well as my first book Doubt in their paper on April 26. 

Title : Monstrously Twisted Tales 
By Daphne Lee 

Betrayal and revenge are the main themes explored in two short story collections by long-time journalist Bissme (who goes by one name).
These relentlessly miserable, casually violent tales of mean-spirited, ill-fated characters hell-bent on destruction of one kind or other are obviously meant to shock, but the outrageous details and denouements lose most of their kick from being repeated like clockwork.
Halfway through Doubt (published in 2013), the gristly, gory details, the small-minded petty axe-grinding ceases to make you gasp. You simply end up groaning, “No, not again!”
It’s the same with the recently-published Bitter. How many of the characters strip naked and walk into the sea? Just a couple, perhaps, but in a collection, that’s still one too many.
Also, what’s with every female character being called Malena? On encountering Malena the second time, I perked up because I rather like it when the same character pops up in several short stories. However, it turns out that the Malenas in Bitter are each a different person. What is the point of this? Is there even one? If so, I don’t get it. It just seems to me that the author couldn’t be bothered to think of different names.
Come to think of it, most of Bissme’s characters are nameless. I don’t see this as a problem, though, because in many cases, the premise of the story is original and powerful enough to render names unimportant. It’s the circumstances the characters find themselves in that are interesting, not the characters themselves. Unfortunately, the characters invariably end up acting predictably, just like the ones in the previous story, and the story before that.
It’s a shame, because Bissme is an engaging storyteller. His voice is emphatic, spontaneous, and defiant, somewhat flippant too.
The tone is just right for the shocking situations he describes. It’s like he’s daring the reader to protest; it’s like he’s laughing at your disbelief. “Up yours!” he seems to be saying. “You think this is bad? Just you wait!”
The thing is, while it does get worse – people behave increasingly monstrously, things get really twisted – it’s always the same kind of monsters and the same kind of twisted.
There needs to be more variety in the stories. The author needs to look more closely at what he starts, and think harder about the way things could develop. The possibilities are endless, but the way they repeat themselves in these two collections makes me think that the author is not making enough of an effort. He has a way to go as a writer, I feel, and I am excited to see him develop and grow.
Of course, Bissme has to want to reach his full potential. It’s really up to him to be the best writer he can be, and I hope his next collection shows him shining in ways that I believe he is fully capable of.
4)  Kosmo also highlighted Bitter in their paper on April 1.  I do not have any soft copy of the paper. Anyone has the soft copy of the paper can they pass the copy to me.   

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

51 Quotes from Bitter

I am highlighting 51 quotes from my new  book Bitter. 

1)It is not every day you get a chance to paint a man who hanged himself. 

2)Every great story must have a touch of cruelty and madness. A story without a touch of cruelty and madness is a  story not worth telling.... 

3) No one is going to forgive me because I chose happiness over sadness.

4) Nobody told me that funerals can be so boring. Remind me never to attend another funeral again

5) “You are obsessed with him,” I said. 
My mother answered: “I do not have obsession for him. I have an obsession for love. He taught me what love is.”

6) My psychiatrist said: “You tried to kill yourself. Do not worry. We will rescue you from your madness.”

7)Only if God would go blind, then we would a perfect god. You cannot judge what you cannot see. You cannot judge what you cannot hear. A perfect God is a god who cannot see. A Perfect God is a God who cannot hear. A perfect God is a God who is blind and deaf.

8) Tragedies have shaped some of the best artists in the world. You should make good use of your tragedy. 

9) 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.

10) Save your tears, Madam. This is only the beginning of your  tragedy. You have more tears to shed.

11) I am sure she will not listen to anything I have to say. She is blinded with her obsession with God. In her eyes, God has no  weakness. In her eyes, God can do no wrong. But she should understand nobody should be put on the pedestal of perfection. 
Not even God.

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

13) 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.

14) 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?

15)It is never easy to accept the fact that your mother is a  woman with no morals... a woman who will serve any man who will  pay her.I was miserable. I was a tortured soul.

16) Keep your friend close but keep your enemies closer. That is what I did with Nazir. I charmed my way into his heart. I became his best friend. He doesn’t have a clue that I am plotting his downfall. I am like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

17) When you have no friends, you must have books to keep you company,” he said.
“Your days of not having friends are over. I will always be your friend, forever,” I lied.

18) “Why did you kill her?” I asked.
“Because I want our love story to have a happy ending,” Malena answered.

19) I always tell the truth even when I lie" 

20) As long as men exist, women’s lives will be full of suffering.

21) I have seen many women giving up their dreams in the name of love They end up in an apron and making cookies for their husbands.I am not going to be one of those women.

22) “You are my universe. Why can’t I be your universe?” my mother asked.

23) Slowly, I was beginning to hate the woman I love. What do you do when you hate the woman you love?

24) “God has an ego problem. Why do we need to worship him, always? I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time.”

25) I have always allowed the woman I love to run my life. I can miss paying my taxes but there is no way I can miss going to church on Sundays. I pretended to be excited about angels, devils, heaven and hell. Inside I was miserable. This was not the life I wanted. I hated God. I hated religion. I hated 
churches. And most of all I hated my wife.

26)When love is not madness, it is not love.

27)You are born to ruin me.

28)Men will never be free till the last priest is strangled to death.

29)“But I do not want to go heaven,” Malena said.
“Why not,” asked the puzzled priest
“Because in heaven, all interesting people are missing,” Malena answered with a loud laughter."

30)“If every night you tell me a good story, I will not touch you. The night that you stop telling me stories is the night I  will stop being a gentleman to you.”

31) The only one who was not happy in this house is me. I am stuck in a life I did not want. But I convinced myself that some dreams are not meant to come true.

32) It is a job of every son to make his father happy.

33) I should not have believed every word that my mother told me. I should have known there are some mothers you cannot trust.

34) Out of kindness, my parents offered our guestroom to the stranger. But my parents soon learned a bitter lesson that  kindness is not always rewarded  with kindness.

35)It is a norm for a child to bury his parents,” my mother said. 
“But when the situation is reversed – when parents have to bury their child – the pain can be unbearable."

36)God is my enemy. If you love God, then you are my enemy, too. And my enemies are not welcome in my house. 

37) Madness is necessary when you cannot handle the truth.

38) "We could have been happy. Why did you choose sadness?”
She whispered those words in my ear before she disappeared. I dreamt of her again. She will haunt me for the rest of my life.

39)Till my dying breath, I will hate you." 

40) She taught me what love is. After her, I cannot bring myself to love anyone else. Love begins and ends with her.

41)But a decent man would not draw his mother nude. 

42) In his suicide note, all he wrote was: “Why has everyone stopped loving me?”

43) For some dreams to come true, it is not enough to shed sweats and tears. You must have blood in your hands.

44) I learned love and hate have the power to make you irrational.

45) Some women are not born to be mothers 

46) Sometimes, dying is easier than forgiving.

47) She should not have trusted me.She should have known that forgiveness is not my strength

48) 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.

49) I am the most unluckiest comedian alive. I can make the whole world laugh but not my wife.

50)It is possible for flowers to grow on stones but it is not possible for you to be loved 

51) 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?”

To get a copy of Bitter you can always contact my publisher Merpati Jingga https://www.facebook.com/pages/Merpati-Jingga/261140683916776

Sunday, February 8, 2015

More on Bitter

My Book Bitter is currently selling at Pesta Buku Selangor that is taking place in Shah Alam Convention Centre. Bitter features 13 stories from me and I am highlighting few snippets from my short stories. Enjoy. 

1) 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 worshiped 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... ( to know more a grab a copy of Bitter) 

2) The Woman I Love 
By Bissme S

“Why did you kill her?” I asked.
“Because I want our love story to have a happy ending,” Malena
Slowly, Malena walked towards me and kissed me passionately.
Malena unbuttoned my shirt and kissed my chest. Malena unbuckled my belt and put her hands into my pants. I melted. Soon, we were on the floor fucking each other’s brains out, in front of a dead body.
Exhausted, I slept off on the floor where we had made love. When I woke up the next morning, the body was missing. Malena entered the room with two coffee mugs in her hands.
Placing one of the mugs in my hand, Malena said:”Drink up your coffee before it becomes cold.”
“What happened to....” but before I could finish my sentence,
Malena answered: “I have taken care of everything while you were sleeping. All you need to do is to make a police report.”
Like Malena had instructed, I went to the police station. I told
them that my wife was missing and I could not find her anywhere.

A few days later, a letter arrived for me. It was from my wife. She no longer loves me...Our marriage was making her miserable…She felt like a bird in a cage that was crying for freedom…She had found a man who brought joy into her miserable life…She wants to spend the rest of her life in his arms.
My wife wrote: “Forget that I existed in your life. Forget that our marriage existed. When I married you, I really believed you will be the first and last man that I loved. Perhaps we are not meant to love one person for the rest of our lives.”
I showed the letter to the police. I showed it to my friends and to her friends. To my relatives and to hers as well.
“My wife is not missing,” I said.
“She had abandoned me.”
They believed the lie that was written in the letter. My wife did
not write a single word in the letter. It was Malena who composed the letter. ( To know more about the story Grab a copy of Bitter)

3) Bitter 
By Bissme S

The first time I saw him was at the cafe that my parents run. It
was raining cats and dogs. A photographer from a big city, he was cold, hungry and looking for some warm food to eat. He told us he wanted to shoot our small beautiful village. He wanted to featurethese photos in some travel magazine.
“Can I find a hotel here?” he asked.
There was no hotel in our village. Out of kindness, my parents
offered our guestroom to the stranger. But my parents soon learned a bitter lesson that kindness is not always rewarded with kindness.

Four days later, the stranger disappeared. But he did not leave
our house empty-handed. The stranger abducted me. My mother screamed when she learned that I was missing. The doctor had to give her a sedative to calm her down. My mother spent her days in bed, feeling dizzy and depressed. My father had a high hopes my tragedy would have a happy ending – that I would be found and he would soon be hugging me.
But my father had forgotten that sometimes God loves sad endings.
My kidnapper was nowhere to be found and I was no longer
breathing. The police found my body, brutally raped and badly

I was only 13 when my life ended tragically. I have become a
ghost, wandering in the house that I grew up in and hanging around my parents who love me with all their heart.
My parents cannot see me. My parents cannot hear me. But I
can see their agony. I can hear their cries of misery. I can feel their unspoken sadness.
“It is a norm for a child to bury his parents,” my mother said.
“But when the situation is reversed – when parents have to burytheir child – the pain can be unbearable.”
My mother had lost faith in God. She stopped going to church.
Our regular priest, Father Danny Fratine, visited our home. He
wanted to convince my mother to return to the church.
“I cannot pray to a God who had taken away my only child,” my mother shouted.
“There is no place for God in my heart any more. I wish God
burns in hell.”
My mother took the broom and literarily chased away Father
Danny Fratine from our house.
“God is my enemy,” my mother shouted.
“If you love God, then you are my enemy, too. And my enemies
are not welcome in my house. ”
My mother had become a bitter woman who constantly cursed
God and anyone who loved God.

My father was in far worse condition than my mother.
“The police had made a mistake” my father said.
“The dead body they found is not my daughter’s. They just want to close the case as soon as possible. They don’t care about justice.
“I have done my research. Most paedophiles are not killers. He
raped my daughter and most probably, he would have sold her to some brothel. He is not heartless to kill my sweet Malena.”
One morning, my mother and I could not find my father anywhere in the house. There was a letter from him waiting for my mother on our dining table. My father had gone to the big city to find me, the daughter he loved and adored.
“I will only come back after I find our daughter,” my father wrote.... ( to know more grab a copy of Bitter) 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Bitter at Pesta Buku Selangor 2015

My new book Bitter that features a collection of my stories is currently selling at Pesta Buku Selangor till this weekend. I am highlighting a few snippets from my short stories  that  is featured in  Bitter

1)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.”.... To read more  Grab a copy of Bitter 

2) Born To Laugh

“Mother, I never see you laugh. Why is that?”

My daughter was 10 when she asked me this question. Kissing
my daughter’s forehead, I answered: “Some people are born not to laugh.”
I lied. In the past, I loved to laugh. Even the lamest joke could
make me laugh my head off. I have always been attracted to men who can make me laugh. I got married to a stand-up comedian. I laughed the loudest at his jokes.
The moment my daughter was born, laughter just disappeared from my life. Motherhood has robbed me of my laughter. I could not give any rational explanation for the loss of laughter in me. No matter how hard I try, I could not bring myself to laugh. I could not even fake a laugh. I find nothing funny anymore.
My husband said: “Your laughter was vibrant and full of life. I love the sound of your laughter. Why have you stopped laughing? I am the most unluckiest comedian alive. I can make the whole world laugh but not my wife.”
I did not have any answers for him. I could only stare at my
husband blankly. Out of frustration, one night, my husband walked towards the ocean. He took off his clothes and walked into the sea.
He left behind a suicide letter. All he wrote:” I do not want to be the unluckiest comedian alive anymore.”
I never told my daughter the truth behind her father’s death. I cannot have my daughter hating me for driving the man she loved and called father to death. I told her that her father had drowned.
“It was unfortunate accident,” I lied.
My daughter believed every word I told her. My daughter should have known that there are some mothers you cannot trust. ( To read more, grab a copy of Bitter) 

3) My Government, My Enemy 

I am taking my government to court. I want my government to lift the ban preventing me from marrying the man I love.
“What do you hope to achieve from this trial?” my mother asked.
I answered: “I want justice. I want to have the freedom to marry whoever my heart desires. I want my love story to have a happy ending.”
Laughing sarcastically, my mother said: “You will not get a fair trial in this country. The government has the judges in their pockets. The judges will do whatever the government wants them to do. You cannot have the government as your enemy. Some love stories are not meant to have a happy ending.” ( To read more, grab a copy of Bitter) 

4)  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. ( to read more grab a copy of Bitter)