An Offering to the Decades of Oppression

The Years of the Voiceless by Okky Madasari
translated by Nurhayat Idriyanto Mohamed
Started reading this while I was traveling to Pangandaran beach, despite it is anything but peaceful.

By a bra is how it all started. In 1950 an illiterate girl named Marni was no longer a little girl. Her breasts were growing. Her single-parent mother didn’t wore a bra, but Tina, her cousin did. She wanted to wear it to hold her breasts yet working with her mother in cassava seller wouldn’t gave them a penny. They had been paid with cassava which only enough to fill their empty stomach day by day. She prayed to her gods to make her rich so she could had many bras she wanted. So she stopped working at the same place her mother did and worked with her friend Teja as a courier where she had to carry someone’s groceries in the market. It was seen as an out of norm for a girl to work on men’s job yet Marni earned some money not only to buy a bra but also started her own business by selling groceries straight to the villagers.

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The Vegetarian by Han Kang: Flesh and Blood of The Past

Mr. Cheong lives an unremarkable life: applied a college which he knew he would be approved in, got a conventional job, then married an indefferent woman named Yeong-hye. He believes that marrying her is a perfect decision. The only unusual thing about her is only that she doesn’t like wearing bra no matter where and what occasion. Apart from it, years of their marriage seemed just like what he thought: predictable—if not mediocre—as he always expects.

Until one day, his wife decided to stop eating meat right after having a bad dream. It’s really odd, because she and her family are really good at serving meaty South Korean dishes and it is one of the things that comes out of his mind while thinking about his family-in-law. How eloquent his wife’s and sister-in-law hands while cutting meats. That one bad dream leads to series of bloody nightmares which in turn distance her both to the world and her sense of self.

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