Okay, so there's a new novel that our Malaysian Form 5 students need to
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.
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. Go here for plot summary.
Azreen Saleh is the daughter Saleh Abdullah. She is the total opposite of her sister, Madhuri who is pretty, sweet, polite and obedient. Hence, she was always compared to her and she hates it. She was a tomboy when in school, and she often got into trouble. Her bestfriend in school was Asraf. She would do anything to help him, even if it meant taking the blame for his faults. She did had feelings for him, but Asraf was in love with someone else. She seems not to get along with her father. She joined a foster programme and met her foster parents, Datin Sharifah and Datuk Zulkifli, and they remain close even when the programme ended. She was offered a scholarship to study in UK, and she hadn’t gone home for a long time – not until Madhuri’s death.
· Jealous of Madhuri
“And oh, how Azreen had despised her! Madhuri was always the pretty one.” (pg. 8)
· Short, wears glasses, fiery tempered and outspoken
“Who would want anything to do with a short, bespectacled and fiery-tempered girl who always spoke her mind, no matter how improper the ideas were? (pg. 8)
“Who would love an obstinate child who was such a contrast to her beautiful and soft-spoken sister? (pg. 8)
· Hates being compared with her sister
“She could not stand it when her parents and friends compared her to her sister.” (pg. 8)
· Fond of her sister anyway
“Perhaps she had not always despised her sister.” (pg. 8)
“If she can find her way around London by herself, I’m sure she can find her way around the airport.” (pg. 15)
“Azreen, according to them, was a troublemaker.” (pg. 26)
“Socially accepted, I mean. Look at me. Everyone hates me.” (pg. 38)
“She must gather her strength and face this.” (pg. 39)
“Why must you be so stubborn?” (pg. 88)
“She was confident she could beat half of those scrawny boys.” (pg. 88)
“But her loyalty to her friend was greater than her self-preservation and so she took the blame calmly and bravely.” (pg. 95)
“She was fearless.” (pg. 163)
“Like how you’d beat up the bunch of kids who threw stones into her home and burnt her crops?” (pg. 173)
Madhuri Saleh is the adopted daughter of Saleh Abdullah who has kept it a secret. He found her seemingly abandoned at a paddy field. He fell in love with her immediately and raised her as his own. She married Haji Ghani, the village headman and was his second wife. She had an affair with Asraf though, and they planned to get married and run away together. But she was murdered by Saleh when he caught them together at the rubber estate.
· Pretty, charming and filial
“Madhuri was always the pretty one. The charming one. The filial one.” (pg. 8)
· Beautiful, soft-spoken
“Who would love an obstinate child who was such a contrast to her beautiful and soft-spoken sister? (pg. 8)
Madhuri was so well-liked by everyone.” (pg. 8)
“She stuck by you and even tried to shield you from your father.” (pg. 50)
Saleh Abdullah is the father of Azreen and Madhuri. He seemed to love Madhuri more than Azreen. But he knew that Azreen’s characteristic is very much like him, and that is why they don’t really get along. He blames Azreen for his wife’s accident that caused her feet to be paralyzed – a fault that Azreen claimed to do but actually didn’t. He caught Madhuri with another man and killed her out of rage.
“I said, take her home. Now.” (pg. 31)
“Then he returned to his position and paid no further attention to his daughter.” (pg. 32)
“We don’t need their sympathies, or their charities.” (pg. 109)
Azreen and Madhuri’s mother. Her feet were paralysed in an accident. Her Alzheimer was getting worse, so Saleh didn’t want to tell her about Madhuri’s death. She died not too soon.
Mohd Asraf is Azreen’s bestfriend since school. He works as a teacher. He had feelings for Madhuri since the first time he met her, and so did Madhuri, eventhough she was married. They planned to get married and run away, but she was murdered before they could. He was even more devastated with the death of his grandmother and he was convinced it was the doing of the Old Lady. He went there with an angry mob and set her house on fire.
· Smart, handsome, friendly
“He was smart and handsome and would always give her a big friendly smile each time they met in their editorial club meetings.” (pg. 34)
“But you’re well-liked. People swarm around you like flies to a garbage can.” (pg. 38)
“He was a tall man with thick curly hair, very dashing and charming…” (pg. 41)
“Superstition gripped him by the throat.” (pg. 163)
· Easily influenced
“Somehow Cikgu Asraf is convinced that it is true.” (pg. 197)
The Old Lady
The Old Lady was casted out from the village because she murdered her husband when she was younger. She was abused, so she could not take it any longer. She now lives in the middle of the jungle and is very good in mixing herbs to make medicine – therefore, she is rumoured to be an evil witch and knows how to cast spells. People are afraid of her, except for Azreen. She helped heal Asraf’s grandmother, but she died a few days later. The villagers convinced Asraf that the Old Lady murdered his grandmother, and so he torched her house and she died before Azreen could save her.
· Tall with greyish hair
“She was a tall woman with greyish hair.” (pg. 62)
· Old but wise
“Her wrinkles were deep but spoke more of strength and wisdom rather than age and frailty.” (pg. 62)
“All the other villagers think otherwise.” (pg. 71)
“I don’t want you to fall sick from this bad weather.” (pg. 156)
“So have you brought me anything? Like human liver? Lizard’s blood?” (pg. 164)
Datin Sharifah & Datuk Zulkifli
Azreen’s foster parents during her foster programme. But their relationship continued after the programme. They treat her like their own daughter, and even sponsored her to study in UK.
“In fact, they treated the girl very much like their own daughter.” (pg. 27)
· Kind and generous
“…you’ll see that they’re the kindest and most generous people you’ve ever met.” (pg. 109)
· Tall, heavily built but efficient
“Datin Sharifah was a tall, heavily built woman but her actions were always very quick, very efficient.” (pg. 15)
“…her husband Zul could not help thinking that his wife was like a lipas kudung, or a maimed roach as the Malay saying went; forever on the move, never still.” (pg. 15)
“He helped her with her suitcase, and hoped that when they got into the rented Proton, his wife would stop talking.” (pg. 16)
“Pak Cik insists working through the night.” (pg. 121)
Haji Ghani is the village head. He took Madhuri as his second wife. Knowing Madhuri had an affair and was murdered, he decided to cover up the murder and make it look like an accident.
Puan Fatihah is Haji Ghani’s first wife. Her life changed since Madhuri entered their lives. She felt bitter then, and she even feels bitter now that Haji Ghani is mourning the death of Madhuri and always angry at her. She plans to get a charm from the village witchdoctor to get her husband back but didn’t when she bumped into Madhuri’s mother who looks like a ghost.
“Puan Fatihah detested that girl, hated her husband for his weakness. And she despised herself for giving in to him when he asked for her permission to take Madhuri as his second wife.” (pg. 43)
Awang is the well-known ‘bomoh’ of the village. He is a rather strange man, but people do look for him for cures and charms. His actions seem suspicious, but he does it all for good, and he always mean to return the things that he took from the neighbours. He was the one who revealed to Azreen that Madhuri was not her sister. He is indebted to Azreen’s brave deed, that is taking the blame of not closing the buffalo’s gate which caused the accident of her mother, as he was the one who did it. So, he would help Azreen in any way he can since then.
“He was a stubby little man whose left leg was shorter than his right and so he walked with an unsteady gait.” (pg. 54)
“If you ask me, I think he’s up to no good.” (pg. 57)
“Whenever I could, I would try to help you out.” (pg. 212)
“I am so sorry to remind you of that terrible memory.” (pg. 214)
Siti is Puan Kamsiah’s daughter. She is Asraf’s student. Although people keep telling her that Azreen is a bad influence and that the Old Lady is evil, she thought the opposite of them when she met them. She is probably the only in the village who holds no prejudice against people.
“Let’s not call someone mean names. He never did anything to you.” (pg. 58)
“I’m sure the Old Lady wouldn’t have done anything to hurt Nek.” (pg. 197)
Asraf’s ailing grandmother. She raised Asraf after the death of his parents. She was cured by the Old Lady, but died a few days later.
“But come back fast because it looks like it’s going to rain very heavily, and I don’t want you falling sick too.” (pg. 117)
Siti’s mother. She is influenced by every rumour that she is told, and wanted Siti to stay away from Azreen and the Old Lady.
· Judgemental / Superstitious
“Her daughter had been in the same house as the cursed woman. Nothing good could come out of that.” (pg. 171)
The village’s biggest gossiper. She is very superstitious too. She claimed to see Madhuri bled with blood, and she believed that the whole island is cursed. The bad weather, people quarrelling and the appearance of the Old Lady in the village were bad signs for her. When she saw the Old Lady in Asraf’s house, she led a pack of people to get rid of her. However, they were stopped by Saleh.
“That Normala! Spreading nonsense again.” (pg.11)
“We have all been cursed!” (pg. 14)
“Why must you pollute our peaceful village with a pariah who does not belong here?” (pg. 187)
Puan Normala’s daughter. She is as gossipy and mean as her mother.
“Can’t you respect the dead, Noor, by not speaking ill of them?” (pg. 60)
“If you’d spend more time studying rather than gossiping, you’d probably get better grades in your trials.” (pg. 61)
Asraf’s boss where he worked part time. It was his buffalo that escaped that caused the accident.
A vegetable seller who suggested Asraf to get herbs from the Old Lady for her ailing grandmother.
A Filipino working at Azreen’s university.
“Rather early today, love,” he commented, flashing his fatherly smile, his accent more of a Londoner’s than an Asian’s.” (pg. 1)
Azreen’s coursemate in her university.
· Tall, amicable young man
“…in his place was a tall amicable-looking young man.” (pg. 3)
· Likeable, agreeable
“Julian Ng was very likeable – even to the meanest student in the residential hall, he was always exceedingly agreeable.” (pg. 3)
Azreen’s boss where she worked part time in her university.