Tamar Jalis’ Bercakap Dengan Jin or Discourse with the Jinn: A Modern-Day Malay Odyssey

Ahmad Nazri Abdullah, Maznah Abu Hassan

Abstract


In April, 1981 Variasari, a Malay vernacular magazine that deals in the occult and the paranormal, published its first series of supernatural horror thriller written by a writer who went by the pseudonym Tamar Jalis titled Bercakap Dengan Jin or Discourse with the Jinn. The stories were apportioned into 284 series which saw the final instalment published in January, 2005. It was an unprecedented event in the history of Malay vernacular magazines’ success story. The story is about a teenager named Tamar who accompanied his grandfather, a faith healer and ghost buster of extraordinary prowess, on his journey to several places in Malaysia and Indonesia in the late sixties to help those who were in dire needs of assistance in fighting demonic–related cases. This paper attempts to discuss the collection of stories as a modern-day Malay odyssey. It will discuss four important elements in the story: the narratives of wandering; the ritualistic strands in the story; the theme of endurance as a mode of heroism; and the feminist role in the narratives. These are some of the elements that make the series of stories appeal to its die-hard fans. The series of stories simply had an uncanny effect on the Malay psyche. In its own unique way, the series of stories is akin to a modern-day Malay odyssey.


Keywords


Horror fiction, Tamar Jalis, Malay Odyssey, Malay psyche, Narratives

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