Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

Four of China’s great folktales: Legend of the White Snake, Lady Meng Jiang, Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai (The Butterfly Lovers), and The Cowherd and the Weaving Maid have a very strong influence on this story. I grew up watching various versions of these folktales and fell deeply in love with them. This is my personal homage to epic tales of love and loss, tragedy and comedy, earthly and heavenly … on a small scale.

The beginning of the story where the protagonist travels to a deserted place somewhere off Kamunting is based on one of my frightful experiences. I took the night train back to Taiping and reached at about three in the morning. There was only one taxi and the driver was an old man who probably had insomnia (I’m guessing that’s why he had his taxi service at that hour). I got in and sat in the back and a brawny man got in to sit in the front. The taxi driver decided to drop the man off first since his destination was closer than mine. It was a nice enough nighttime for all three of us to travel.

The man directed the taxi driver towards Kamunting and then the journey went beyond shop lots, housing areas, and even street lights. Before we knew it we came upon a dirt road and the sides were overgrown with extremely tall lalang grass. I was calm and naive to it all this until I saw the old man’s eyes in the rearview mirror. They told me they could not protect me. They told me he was a frail old man. They told me we were both going to die. I cringed in the backseat thinking I would not live long enough to be a writer to tell this tale.

The brawny man stopped the taxi driver quite abruptly in the middle of nowhere, paid him, and got off in a flash before cold sweat could even take form. I looked around but there was no sign of life except for the grass so tall it could be a corn field. The taxi driver made a quick u-turn, sped us out of the godforsaken place, and we said nothing until I reached home. He made sure I was safely inside, locked the gates, went into the house, and closed the doors before he left.

The danger only dawned on me when I was home and wondering what the hell just happened.

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meek

I saw this scene in my mind’s eye long before I developed it into this story. If I remember right, I witnessed a mudslide that engulfed an entire school that killed every student trapped in it but I forgot if it was a dream or my mind writing a story triggered by an incident. It’s hard to imagine the horror the children had to endure and what their families had to go through to accept the tragedy. As much as we like to blame Mother Nature for all natural disasters we sometimes forget how much we contribute to such catastrophes.

With this idea and the constant questioning about the reason of our being and the role we play here on earth, I weaved together a tale of a man in search of his purpose in life and found the lost spirits of the jungle. It’s about wanting to feel belonged. It’s about identifying our own tribe. It’s about feeling connected with the people who understand us like how we understand them. When we find this family we would eventually find our home.

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mimieux

I wrote this for an anthology which I so wanted to be in but it was regrettably not selected. It is a strange and bizarre fantasy tale that questions reality through the eyes of a psychologically disturbed girl. But the ugliness of the issue is much too real in this time and age to be ignored or overlooked. The name, as you might have guessed, comes from the beautiful and talented Yvette Mimieux who also starred in a movie call Where the Boys are.

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Music, Lyrics & Story by Lim Chin Guan
Book by Julya Oui

Finally, done and done.