Lost in Putrajaya by Zurairi A R
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I generally liked this. Some of the stories were stronger than others (it really slumped in the middle), but I guess that's how it goes.
Drifting Azaleas (Paul Gnanaselvam) is an amusing account of Saras' application for Malaysian citizenship and her struggling attempt to speak in Malay. I thought this was a rather promising start to the anthology.
Listen to Your Grandmother (Jeannette Goon) is a story of an abused wife. The only connection it seems to have to Putrajaya is that Violet works there.
Back to visa applicatoins, Green Onions (Marc De Faoite) is Marc's hilarious account of applying for a Spouse Visa. I love the Malaysian voice that Marc has gained in this story.
Lost Toy (Claudia Skyler Foong) was a rather sweet story about a day out with Daddy - looking for a lost toy. Midway through I kind of suspected the ending, but it was sweet nonetheless. I don't know if kids are that smart at six, but maybe they are.
In Summer (Adriana Nordin Manan), Kimberly's summer plans of working with Prof Elkinson at the University of Chicago was dashed when she was unexpectedly called home to work with the government as part of her JPA scholarship. It was okay as a summer story, though I don't really know if there was a point to it. Also, I've never heard of the fact that you can't register a Western name if you're not a Christian. And the ratio of 1:2? What?
The Wedding Bet (Anuar Shah) was a pointless, sex-filled story. Did not like.
Blue Jeans (Eileen Lian) was also kind of meh. I mean, it was kind of heart-warming, but not really enough? Actually, the format was a little like one of those "saya sebatang pen" stories from primary school where you start talking about the life of some object and where it ended up.
I didn't really enjoy Bunian Diaspora (Alistair Yong) either. A combination of not really my style and ugh, spirit stories.
The Signs of the End Times (Hadi M Nor) - blatant sedition. Hah. It did reek a little of "trying too hard".
Broken Kaleidoscope (Timothy Nakayama) brought the book back to a better place. Alex is stuck in the rat race, losing his way, his girlfriend, and almost losing his life. I'm not sure if the jumping back and forth over time actually adds anything to the story, but it's a good enough read.
In Lost Highway (Marco Ferrarese), Santiago tries to hitchhike from Puchong to Singapore, only to find himself stranded in the middle of Putrajaya, in the middle of something that's not likely to be good for his health.
I think The Ministry of Sun and Storms (Terence Toh) is the best story in this book. It's delightfully funny and has a proper story arch and satisfying conclusion. If this were a stand-alone story, I'd probably rate it a 5/5. Then again, I'm probably biased. I like almost every story Terence posts on FB. Also it's fantasy :D So basically, Fairuz finds out there is a Ministry of Sun and Storms, which is an unofficial Night Ministry of the government, which uses bomohs to control the weather. With a stack of application forms and a nice girl in the ministry who does him favours, Fairuz is set to make a killing by selling weather services.
Sangsalibut (Nizam Shadan) - random genie story which I found a little meh.
I'm rather ambivalent about Mosquito Heart (William Tham Wai Liang) too. It started off really well but the ending was a little... random. Maybe what I really didn't like about it was that it seemed to want to talk about weightier things (like elections, sedition, unfair persecution), but settled instead to follow an albeitly already introduced theme on a death threat and random stalker.
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