MEI HWA (AND THE AGE TRAVELER)

MEi Hwa

 

“She has been raped,” white suited man’s whispering hurt me so bad. A rape victim! I groaned. I was full with rage. As if an insatiable desire urged against fierce creatures that throwing me down into disgrace that night.

“Poor her,” that man said again, gauzy murmuring I still heard although the lump of snow hindering parts of my body worked normally as they were before.

“Why?” a woman in white asked.

“Her house was burnt down. The stores were robbed. Her father was mentally disturbed and sent to asylum. And her mother committed suicide cause she could not bear it all.”

***

Novel Mei Hwa told about something sacramental; women power. This novel cast two major characters, Ayu and Mei Hwa. Both of them were from different eras. Coincidentally, they had similarity; both of them were struggling against faith. They possessed their own miserable problematic past.

Mei Hwa was a Chinese girl. She was perfect. She was beautiful, generous, friendly, polite, and very obedient toward her parents, and importantly she was clever girl making her way to Medical Faculty UNS, yet living abroad from her parents who had electronic stores in Jakarta. Unfortunately, Mei Hwa had to face some obstacles in 1998 at the time she was in sixth semester, when riots happened in Jakarta killing all her family even she was brutally raped.

After that tragedy, Mei Hwa lost her sanity. She was transferred to Asylum. She pretended herself as sooty headed bulbul bird. What else she could do for this pathetic situation. Mei Hwa finally ran away. She even wandered around back to Solo. Then she met an old lady confessing herself as a wood. This woman was actually Ayu who had fully comprehended the meaning of life.

Ayu was involved in more tragic story than Mei Hwa in this novel. She had been sexually abused since she was a child, she had been a PKI (Communist Party) constituent precisely in Gerwani, she was damaged, and apart from that she had redeemed herself.

Within life adversity and misfortune, faith brought Mei Hwa to Sekar Ayu, an age traveler woman, a half man and wood, had been through stumble and falls in life as the country ruler kept on changing from Netherland to Japan till the tragedy of G30S PKI. Many similar backgrounds and life stories had tied Mei Hwa and Sekar Ayu becoming friendship across the ages. Both of them were bound in friendship with sincerity, sacrificing, and love within it.


“Dia korban perkosaan,” bisikan lelaki berjas putih itu menyakitiku.
Korban perkosaan. Aku mengerang. Meradang. Seakan ingin memapas sosok-sosok beringas yang semalam itu menghempaskan aku kepada jurang kenistaan.

“Kasihan dia,” ujar lelaki itu lagi, samar-samar kutangkap, meski gumpalan salju itu menghalangi seluruh organ tubuhku untuk bekerja normal seperti sediakala.

“Kenapa?” tanya seorang wanita, juga berpakaian serbaputih.

“Rumahnya dibakar. Tokonya dijarah. Ayahnya stress, masuk rumah sakit jiwa. Dan ibunya bunuh diri, tak kuat menahan kesedihan.”

***

Novel Mei Hwa mengisahkan sesuatu yang sangat sakral; kekuatan perempuan. Novel ini memang menceritakan hal itu lewat dua tokoh besarnya yaitu Ayu dan Mei Hwa. Keduanya berasal dari dua lintas zaman yang berbeda. Namun, kalau boleh dibilang keduanya memiliki kesamaan: sama-sama saling berseteru dengan nasib. Keduanya punya problematika sendiri-sendiri yang sangat kelam.

Mei Hwa adalah gadis Tionghoa. Ia sempurna. Cantik, baik hati, ramah, sopan, sangat berbakti kepada orangtuanya, dan yang paling penting dia cerdas sampai akhirnya dia berkuliah di UNS Fakultas Kedokteran, merantau jauh dari keluarganya yang membuka toko elektronik di Jakarta. Sayang seribu sayang, Mei Hwa harus menghadapi cobaan saat tahun 1998, saat dia menginjak semester enam, huru-hara di Jakarta membinasakan keluarganya, bahkan Mei Hwa sendiri diperkosa.

Setelah diperkosa Mei Hwa kemudian jadi gila. Ia dipindah ke RSJ. Ia mengaku dirinya burung kutilang. Apalah daya memang kenyataan berjalan menyedihkan. Mei Hwa berhasil kabur. Bahkan ia berkelana kembali ke Solo. Di sana dia bertemu perempuan tua yang mengaku kayu, sebenarnya dia adalah Ayu yang telah paham betul makna kehidupan.

Kisah Ayu pun diceritakan di buku ini, lebih tragis dari Mei Hwa si gadis Tionghoa. Ayu sejak kecil telah mengalami pelecehan seksual, bahkan ia pernah menjadi anggota PKI, tepatnya Gerwani, ia telah rusak, namun kini tobat.

Dalam keterpurukan dan kesuraman hidup, takdir mempertemukan Mei Hwa dengan Sekar Ayu, sang perempuan pelintas zaman, manusia separuh kayu, yang telah merasakan asam garam kehidupan bersama silih bergantinya penguasa negeri, mulai dari Hindia Belanda, Jepang, hingga peristiwa G30S PKI. Berbagai persamaan latar belakang dan kisah hidup membuat Mei Hwa dan Sekar Ayu menjadi dua sahabat akrab lintas usia. Keduanya menjalani persahabatan yang mengajarkan arti ketulusan, pengorbanan, dan juga cinta.

 

Title                 : Mei Hwa (And The Age Traveler)

Writer              : Afifah Afra

ISBN               : 978-602-1614-11-2

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