Warning: LONG POST!
Remarks: The post is biased because I am partially (?) feminist
Today I'm gonna talk about this book. A close friend suggested to me to watch the movie, but since it's really hard for me to get a quality version of the movie anywhere around the internet, so I resort to the nearest bookshop and luckily, found the book instead. After reading the book and have quite a heated discussion with the aforementioned friend, I honestly believe that Hamka wrote this book specifically to male reader and somehow the book reminds me of the movie 500 Days of Summer too. Heh.
Why? Because, in my humble opinion as we can see, or in this case, as we can read, the main character is a guy named Zainuddin and the story mainly evolves around him and a little bit around the love of his life, Hayati. We'll discuss about this later.
Well, let me brief you the synopsis of the story in case you haven't watch, or read the book yet. The story is about an orphan who has lost both of his parents and is travelling to a strange land to get close to his roots and to learn some knowledge there. His dad was from there, and is an exile due to some history of the past (I can't remember but it is closely related to some adat/culture problem). And there, he met Hayati. The one girl who managed to steal his heart and has vowed to stay loyal and promised to wait for him all her life.
Unfortunately, Hayati can't keep her promise because she was 'forced' by her family to marry a son of a lord from another land. Zainuddin fell sick upon hearing the news and couldn't believe that Hayati could do this to him after all the promises she told him. From the start, Hayati and Zainuddin's relationship did not get permission and blessings from Hayati's family due to Zainuddin's status as traveler or 'anak dagang', and Hayati came from a wealthy and respected family therefore Zainuddin is seen as not in the same league as them. And they were religiously following the adat that do not allow the girl to marry just anyone like Zainuddin.
Brokenhearted, Zainuddin and his friend, Muluk traveled further to another land and has become successful from his writings that was inspired from his own tragic love story. Meanwhile, eventhough Hayati was married to a rich man, her happiness was not meant to last forever as the guy was a womanizer and a gambler. They had lost all their assets, and had to stay in Zainuddin's house (they met as the husband got transferred) thanks to Zainuddin's generosity. After a while, the husband committed suicide since he can't bare the shame and he wants to give Hayati back to Zainuddin as he felt guilty 'stealing' her from him.
Hayati was told by Muluk that Zainuddin has never stopped loving her and had confessed that she felt the same too. She asked Zainuddin to forgive her and would do anything for him. Instead of taking her back, Zainuddin asked her to go back to her family and would take care of all her expenses. Hayati boarded the ship Van der Wijck only not to be seen again as the ship wrecked in the middle of the ocean. Zainuddin managed to meet Hayati while she was on the deathbed, but after all it's all has been too late.
Well, that was the story. And here, I would like to write my review and some piece of my mind regarding this book and why I said this book is written mostly for men, not for women Most of the guys (even the one friend who suggested the movie to me) agreed that Hayati is to be blamed (except my friend is blaming the culture too). Well for me, if you really read the book, or watched the movie closely, both are not to be blame but Zainuddin. Here's why:
- Zainuddin is a whiner. Always complaint and blamed other people for everything bad that happened to him. Like, come on, he wanted to marry Hayati, someone who is obliviously comes from higher class than him but what did he do? NOTHING. He only complaints and whines. He went there, to Minangkabau land to learn, but instead he's courting with Hayati. He went to Makasar to learn, but he keeps thinking about Hayati and forget about his learning. He did nothing to improve himself, or to prove that he is worth it. Even when Hayati came to visit Makasar he did not put any effort to look good at all and only uses his excuse as 'anak dagang', like come on, can you stop it with the excuses, please?! I believe Hamka wants men to be stronger than Zainuddin. Yes, you are allowed to be sad but do not whine and make it a great deal that you forget how to live and how to improve your life.
- Aside from being a whiner, Zainuddin also have a lot of excuses (yeah I just mentioned in point no 1). He kept saying he is an orphan, but hey don't forget that Hayati is also an orphan. She grew up with her aunts and uncles. Only that she's luckier because her family is rich but Hayati still came out strong and rational. She's not spoiled at all, unlike Zainuddin! Always crying and meratap. Bosan! I don't care if you are an orphan, you are a man, you have to man up and take control of your life! What's the use of complaining and blaming fate? You are still strong and young, so make a use of it, will you?! I believe here Hamka wants men to learn to man up and learn to accept fate (pretty much the same as point number 1) and never make excuses despite any obstacles and challenges you are facing.
- Zainuddin is not the bigger person. He is not generous and he is definitely not a victim here. So, stop looking at him as if he needs any sympathy from any of you. Zainuddin does not have the heart to forgive Hayati. While Hayati still forgives him despite being rejected on her face. Zainuddin was so furious to Hayati he refused to forgive her. Yes, he gave her home and accommodations when her husband is away, but he still can't forget the past. He is willing to send the love of his life back to Minangkabau land just to punish her. So, served him right in the first place. Here, I believe that Hamka wants men to put aside their ego and learn to forgive. If you truly love your woman, you wouldn't hold any grudge and you should willingly forgive her if she has proven her worth and sincerely apologized to you. You should allow yourself to be happy by forgiving others mistakes and moving on with your life. Ego made Zainuddin lost the love of his life, so you don't want this to happen to you, do you?
- Zainuddin is said to be someone who is religious as he learned from the knowledgeable guys in those area but somehow that did not portray in his attitude. He kept dreaming of Hayati and got lazy. Yes, he did went to classes and all but he did not try to improve himself (see point no 1). He kept counting his money and wishing that Hayati would be happy to settle for less with him. No, if you love your woman, you would want to give the world to her, not hoping that she'd settle for less with you. I believe Hamka wants men to be realistic. Money matters. Your names and your position matters. Therefore, work hard to prove your worth. You can absolutely escalate your worth if you know how and money definitely can buy anything. If it can't buy the heart of the woman you love, it definitely can buy her family's. So think about it.
That's all I could think of. Really, men. If you watched or read the book, try not to blame Hayati so much. If you see it somehow, if only Zainuddin forgive Hayati, they would totally live happily everafter by then. So remember, you decide your own happiness. Be and opportunist and grab your second chance!
Also, somehow in this novel, Buya Hamka was sending a message that says;
"Kalau dah jodoh, takkan ke mana"
Well, I guess Hayati was never meant to be with Zainuddin after all.