Monday, January 17, 2011

The Curse by Lee Su Ann (Part 1/4: Plot Summary)

*Dear faithful readers who are not an English teacher who will teach this novel in school or a student who will need notes on this, you may want to give this a skip.

Okay, so there's a new novel that our Malaysian Form 5 students need to cram in their heads for exam learn.  Since it is new, there are no reference books in stores for this novel yet.

So yours truly has taken the initiative to do it for you, whether you are a clueless English teacher or a clueless Form 5 student.
Please note that I didn't double check my work for grammatical errors 'coz I'm just too damn lazy to do it by the time I was done - so do/fix it yourself.  I've already done 99% of the work for you.

Also note that everything here comes from the works of my brain alone, so you may agree or not agree on my point of view. 

Copyright notice:
If you plan to turn my notes into those reference books that are yet to be sold like hotcakes WITHOUT acknowledging me and giving me some share of the big bucks pie, I'm gonna sue yo' ass.  I'm serious.  'Coz I really need money right now.

And with that said, YOU'RE WELCOME.  Now go knock yourselves out.

A boy at the village stumbled upon a dead body one morning at the rubber plantation he worked at.

Azreen Salleh had to leave London and go back to Malaysia due to the death of her sister.  She was unwilling to leave as there was an exam.  She was hoping not to bump into Julian Ng, but she did anyway.  She left in a hurry.

Azreen was on her flight back to Malaysia.  She winced at the thought of going back home.  She thought about her late sister.  She hated her because everyone thought she was the better sister – prettier, polite and soft-spoken as Azreen was the total opposite of her.  She also hated when she was always compared to her sister and the fact she could never be like her.  However, she was fond of her and there were happy memories with her sister like cycling together and picking fruits from the neighbours plantation.

There was a rumour spreading that Madhuri was dead by murder.  This rumour was spread by the gossipy Puan Normala and it caused unrest among the villagers.  The rumour was that Madhuri bled white blood and she believed that the whole village was cursed.  In the meantime, Azreen was greeted and fetched by her aunt and uncle, Datin Sharifah and Datuk Zulkifli at the airport in Pulau Langkawi.

Azreen returned home, only to be gossiped and judged by her nosy neighbours.  In her house with Datin Sharifah, she begged her to tell what actually happened to her sister.  Datin Sharifah could only tell her that her sister was found at the rubber plantation.  Azreen’s father kept her from the fact on how she died.  Azreen believed her father did that to spite her.
Azreen met her mother whose dementia worsened.  She had no idea of Madhuri’s passing.  Azreen was about to bring her mother to the funeral, but was ordered to go back home by her father, Saleh Abdullah.  He didn’t want his wife to know about the death of Madhuri.  Azreen was defiant of her father’s orders and a fight almost erupted.  Luckily, Haji Ghani, Madhuri’s husband managed to keep the fight out.
Azreen met with her ex-schoolmate, Mohd Asraf for a while.  She played hockey with him when they were in school.
Later that night when she was in her room, she caught sight of someone who looked like Madhuri.  But it disappeared when she tried to look for it again.
Meanwhile, Puan Fatihah, Haji Ghani’s first wife was feeling bitter about Madhuri’s existence in her life with her husband.  Now that she’s dead, her husband would hardly talk to her.

Azreen went to the market to buy breakfast for her mother.  She bumped into Asraf, and begged him to tell her what happened to her sister.  But he didn’t know exactly what too.  Azreen returned home, talked to her lucid mother, but suddenly she started muttering nonsense.
Outside, Saleh was busy chopping wood when he heard something or someone crying in the bushes.  He went to pounce on it but there was nothing.
Azreen went to visit the Old Lady, a villager who was casted out from her village.  The villagers thought her evil and a witch, but Azreen thought otherwise.  In fact, she got along just fine with her.  She also begged the Old Lady to tell her what exactly happened, and finally it was the Old Lady who revealed to her that Madhuri was actually murdered.

Awang the bomoh believed something terrible was going to fall upon his village.  He had seen a Pontianak which looked like Madhuri.  He suspected Madhuri had turned into one.
The Old Lady explained to Azreen what she saw.  That Madhuri was attacked with a knife.  There was no investigation though, as she thought it would be better for the village.
Puan Fatihah reminisced about the time when Haji Ghani married Madhuri.  He fell in love with her beautiful voice, and Puan Fatihah’s life changed ever since.  She had lost everything. But now that Madhuri was no longer present, she wanted her old life back.
Azreen found Madhuri’s photographs being torn into pieces.  Before she could think who would do it, her father chased her out of the room.
Azreen started to reminisced on all the things that happened way back.
Azreen reminisced during the time when she took the blame for Asraf’s carelessness while working at Encik Mohan’s.  She claimed that she was the one who left the gate open, thus the missing bull.  However, her parents were riding on a motorbike when they hit the bull.  Her mother’s legs was paralysed since then.  Still, she kept loyal to Asraf and took the blame, eventhough she was beaten to death by her father.
Azreen went to seek comfort at the Old Lady’s, and she revealed to her why she was casted out.  She murdered her husband because she was abused and unhappy in her marriage.
A year later, Azreen received a scholarship to study in UK. 
Asraf was worried about Nek, her grandmother.  Her fever was getting worse.
Haji Ghani was mourning for Madhuri at the cemetery.  Suddenly, he saw a woman who looked like Madhuri but she ran away.
Azreen was scolded by her father for being careless.  There was a dead chicken with a broken neck right outside of the coop.  Her father blamed her for not shutting it properly.  Azreen was shocked and wondered how the chicken could break its neck.  When she was about to clean up the mess, the carcass was gone.
One day, when Azreen was checking her mail, she saw a letter from Julian.  Enclosed in the letter was a letter from Madhuri which was sent before she died.  According to her letter, there was secret that she wanted to share with Madhuri.
Siti was stopped by Puan Normala with more gossips – on how the bad weather was one of the signs of the curse, the spotting of a Pontianak and the huge argument between Haji Ghani and Puan Fatihah.
Azreen and Asraf had a chat.  He was all bruised.  He claimed that he was in a fight.  They talked about their old school times and future plans. Out of the blue, Asraf jokingly asked Azreen to marry her and run away together.  Azreen was hurt by that joke as she always had feelings for him.  She took Madhuri’s letter and crumpled and threw it away.  When she went back to pick it up, it was already gone.

Azreen’s mother passed away peacefully.  She mourned her dead mother and sister in her sister’s room.  Suddenly, she saw someone outside the window.  She went outside the house and called out to that person but it was in vain.  At the same moment, she smelt smoke coming from Madhuri’s room.  Fortunately, her father appeared in time to put out the fire.
Puan Fatihah was about to go see the village witchdoctor for a charm for Haji Ghani when suddenly she saw someone looking like Madhuri reaching out to her.  She passed out as soon as the woman touched her.
Saleh Abdullah found a yellow cord where part of the house was burned.  He charged straightaway to Awang’s house to have a word with him.  Azreen went to the Old Lady’s house for comfort.
Asraf’s grandmother’s condition was getting worse.  When he ran out of options, he sought out the Old Lady.  He begged the Old Lady to go see his grandmother.

Siti looked over Asraf’s grandmother while he went out to see the Old Lady.  He finally came back with the Old Lady.  The Old Lady examined Asraf’s grandmother and went out to get herbs for her.  Meanwhile, the nosy neighbours Puan Kamsiah and Puan Normala who saw her planned to get rid of her.  The Old Lady came back, made a mixture of herbs and gave it to Asraf’s grandmother.  The condition of Asraf’s grandmother improved, to the surprise of the Old Lady, in which she felt peculiar of.
Azreen went home to get some eggs.  Suddenly, she saw an intruder.  But it was just Awang.  He came to tell her that there was a big crowd on the way to Asraf’s house.  Azreen hurriedly went to his house and saw the angry crowd headed by Puan Normala.  They were angry at her for bringing back the Old Lady into the village.  A fight between Azreen and Puan Normala was about to ensue but it was stopped by Azreen’s father.  Azreen then made her way to Asraf’s house, only to be told of the good news that his grandmother had recovered.

Siti ran over to Azreen’s house to tell her that Asraf’s grandmother passed away suddenly.    When the neighbours came to visit him, they convinced him that the Old Lady had poisoned her.  Fuelled with anger and loss, he and the mob of people went over to the Old Lady’s with torches.  As Azreen tried to stop him, his torch fell and it set the house on fire.  Azreen ran inside to try to save the Old Lady but she was trapped under a pillar.  Her last words to Azreen were just to learn to forgive.  Then Azreen was pulled away by her father from her right before the house collapsed.
Asraf came to apologise to Azreen.  He was distraught about his grandmother and Madhuri’s death.  He revealed to Azreen that they were in love and they were supposed to run away together.  Azreen couldn’t stomach the revelation so she ran to a cliff.  Then she decided to go to the rubber estate where her sister died.  She bumped into Awang.  Awang thought that she was Madhuri’s mother.   Azreen was puzzled, hence he revealed that Madhuri was not her sister.
He told her that Madhuri’s mother had gone mad when her husband left her.  She was left in the paddy field for hours when her mother was looking for scraps.  That’s when Saleh found Madhuri, nursed her back to health and raised her as his own.   Her mother left the village, but came back after Madhuri’s death.  Awang warned her that Madhuri’s mother was dangerous.  She was the one broke the chicken’s neck and started the fire at her house.
Meanwhile, Haji Ghani was thinking about Madhuri.  He remembered the day he was told of Madhuri’s death.  He knew about her affair with Asraf and he would’ve killed him if he caught them at the rubber estate. But all there was left was her slashed body.  He decided to make the murder looked like an accident to avoid more truth to be revealed that would bring shame to him and Madhuri’s innocence.

Azreen was on her way back home when she heard footsteps following her behind. She quickly ran towards her house.  She peered through her window and saw the woman whom Awang said was Madhuri’s mother.  She pointed at something near the woodpile.  At the same moment, Saleh appeared.  Azreen told him everything she knew.  Her father went to the woodpile and picked up a parang and threw it near her feet.  Madhuri’s mother was actually pointing at the parang.  The parang was stained with something white and sticky.  Then Azreen figured everything out.  The white blood that the neighbours claimed to see was actually latex that spilt on her when she was killed.  She then realised that it was her father who had killed her.
Saleh was going to the jungle to get woods.  Then he saw Madhuri hugging a man who wasn’t her husband at the rubber estate.  He ran towards them but the man had already left.  He was so consumed with anger, he slashed his daughter when she told him she loved him.  Madhuri fell and knocked over a cup of rubber latex.
Azreen left immediately, feeling a terrible loss.  Saleh realised he had lost both his daughters.  Suddenly, he saw Madhuri’s mother coming towards him with the parang.  She killed him in an instance.

Azreen visited the grave of her family, including the Old Lady.  From a distance, she saw Madhuri’s mother smiled at her.

Azreen is now back in London.  She received a letter from Asraf, telling her that he had taken up the teaching course in KL.  From her heart, she wished him the best.  She has forgiven him for the wrongs he did towards her.  Julian was there to accompany her.  She soon saw him in a different light.  It was going to be a new beginning.


Memer said...

Thanks Amanda, so nice of you, this can come in handy soon for me,hehehe

Amanda Christine Wong said...

I know I'm nice. And it WILL come in handy :D

Anonymous said...

hye this the one from the module sent to each school from the KPM?

Amanda Christine Wong said...

Anonymous: uh, no...i kinda made this myself... :D

deeyah said...

thx Heart... if one day i made the compilation of the notes and sell it, i'll give some percentage to u... hehehe... love u babe...

gunsirit said...

I am not good in reading long novels..ehhehe

Amanda Christine Wong said...

diah: u're welcome love.yeah, u should :p

gunsirit: and this is what it's for. heh

Eric Constantine said...

good job amanda. i havent read this novel yet..too bad, i'm only teaching form 4 this year. will take the chance to read the novel.

Mack the Dagger said...

bulih tahan ko ni manda. now got lecture notes online arrrrr

Amanda Christine Wong said...

eric: thanks eric :D. if u're taking ur form 4s now till form 5, then u should :)

mex: heheh...just thought i should contribute something useful once in a while :D

Asrih Arif said...

like seriously you did this all by urself? impressive... any notes from you is DEFINITELY RELIABLE!

Santafire said...

whewh. aku macam baru rasa baca habis a novel.

haha thanks.
tapi i paling never finish read Terminal 3 in my life.

That's it.

Amanda Christine Wong said...

Asrih: yeaah...can't wait for the gov to give us notes right? :D

Santafire: wow, u actually read that?! haha. LOL at that Sastera book.

lindalicious said...

Hi Amanda....
Thank u! Thank u! Thank u!

Marina Roselee said...

Thank You Amanda ,Im sure going to ask my daughter to go through your superb summary :) btw I too read the novel :)

Amanda Christine Wong said...

Linda: You're welcome! :D

Marina Roslee: You're welcome! it's a nice story aye? thanks for dropping by :D

Ziham Fatimah Mazmin said...

Owhh amanda u just save my life.. I'm Reading this novel now cz next week i might be teaching it.. At the moment baru smpai chapter 6. Jasmine will teach introduction of this novel next week..Actually this novel is so intresting to read n found it vry engaging..

Do upload more notes for this novel k.. Hehe thanks anyway..

Amanda Christine Wong said...

ziham: u're welcome! what, u're teaching form 5? that's odd. usualy they wont let the trainees touch the exam students. but anyway, that's all to it. just 4 parts :). if im hardworking i might add...

Ziham Fatimah Mazmin said...

Dat"s y la.. They give me form4 kelas blakNg and form5 kelas dpan.. N the lecturers r so eager to observe da form 4 class.. Aiyaa.. I"m doomed!!

Anonymous said...

hye...i need u help..what is a problem faced by a azreen in the novel???

Amanda Christine Wong said...

Anonymous: Well, she faced A LOT of problem. ALMOST EVERYONE is conflicted with her.

Dad- always feel that he doesn't care for her. she always felt misunderstood.

Mahduri- sibling rivalry. people like her more. she always felt jealous and unloved.

Asraf- she's in love with him. but he's in love with Mahduri. More reasons to hate Mahduri.

The villagers- most of them are don't like her - because she's not a typical 'kampung' girl, soft-spoken and all. she's aggressive and outspoken. so most of the villagers can't accept that.

The main problem I'd say is the fact that her sister died without knowing the truth. She set out to fix this problem by searching for the truth. But when searching for the truth, she faced more problems from her father and the villagers.

Hope this is helpful :)

Anonymous said...

frankly, I like this novel, the whole process of reading make you feel like you are solving puzzle, putting back pieces together...

Amanda Christine Wong said...

Anon: Yup, me too :)

Zen said...

I just remembered about this, so, i printed it as the abridged-abridged-abridged version of the novel for the students to read (which is NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER going to happen. now that's 4 "ever". See what I did there?). At least its something i can force down their throats.

btw awesome summary and notes. you could publish them as cliffnotes but its too late you already published them for free here. Please make more free stuff and post them in the internet.


Amanda Christine Wong said...


Anonymous said...

oh this is helpful...thankiu so much I would like to use this for my project

Amanda Christine Wong said...

Anon: Sure, no problem!