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The Emergence of Sundanese Minifiction

Literature | Thursday, 3 November 2011 | sundanesecorner.org

Hawe Setiawan

Nazarudin Azhar (reproduced from Nunu’s facebook account, with kind permission of the writer)

For the past two months several Sundanese writers have been exploring a relatively new form of composition that is called fiksimini ‘minifiction’. The emergence of this kind of online short short story was initiated by Nazarudin Azhar, a prolifict Sundanese writer and poet based in Tasikmalaya, West Java. He created a chatting group on the social media of facebook in mid September, inviting his fellow facebookers to publish their stories on the media. Well-known writers along with new comers have joint Grup Fiksimini Basa Sunda ‘Sundanese Minifiction Group’ (FBS), and they have published thousands of stories. More and more stories are posted nearly every minute on FBS’s wall, generating warm and enthusiastic chattings. There was even a heated debate on FBS’ page concerning literary value and literariness of this sort of composition provoked by a lengthy note written by a young lecturer of Indonesian University of Education (UPI) following its emergence.

Early last month FBS organized Saémbara Ngarang Fiksimini Sunda ‘Sundanese Minifiction Writing Contest’, which was reported of having financially supported by Dr. Ganjar Kurnia, Rector of Padjadjaran University (Unpad). Ganjar, which is himself a writer and poet, seemed to encourage Nunu —that’s the way Nazarudin is called by his friends— and his FBS’ friends to enhance the quality of the so-called minifiction by organizing such event. According to writer Dadan Sutisna, one of the committee members of the writing contest, fifty two writers submitted fifty two works to the contest held from October 18th to November 1st. Every participant had to write a very short composition of some 50 to 100 words. Just a couple of days ago, in an award presenting ceremony at Unpad campus in Bandung, the committee revealed those who won the contest, which consecutively were “Tulang” ‘Bones’ by Hadi AKS, “Tarate” ‘Lotus’ by Endah Dinda Jenura, and “Sepidermen” ‘Spiderman’ by Muhammad Shohiba Nu’man.

Indeed, since forms of fictional prose have long been well-known in the history of modern Sundanese literature, what these Internet friendly writers are exploring nowadays is in fact not really new. Appeared from the background of rich oral tradition, and embraced the notion of modernity since around the end of nineteen century through Dutch colonialism, Sundanese literature has contributed a huge numbers of short story published both in periodicals and books since the first half of twentieth century up to the present day—not to mention innumberable short anecdotes and folk tales inherited from its oral tradition. Nearly a decade ago, when facebook didn’t yet exist, some writers published the so-called carpon mini Sunda (literally means ‘Sundanese mini short story’ or ‘Sundanese short short story’), a form of composition that is shorter than the average short story.

As far as the media is concerned, however, one may recognize something that more or less new with this development. What these writers denominate as minifiction —which seems to be identical with what people also call as ‘microfiction,’ ‘short short story,’ ‘flash fiction,’ and many more— demonstrates a new phenomenon due to the way it is produced, distributed, and disscussed as well. Some of FBS’ members even view the mode of writing and publishing minifiction as an ‘alternative’ to the ‘conventional’ one, in the sense that today they can write and publish their works without depending themselves to publishing houses and elite literary critics as well. They seem to think that every one is a writer, an editor, a publisher, and a literary critic. Just write it down and publish your work on the Internet, and let your fellow facebookers express their comments.

Yet the crucial problem remains that every one who is willing to write and publish a good writing —a good minifiction, for sure—-needs to embrace a good set of standards. A good minifiction is resulted from a good craftmanship—something that everyone can find by oneself.***

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3 Responses to “The Emergence of Sundanese Minifiction”

  1. Cho says:

    Dear Kang Hawe,

    I personally state that the FBS group has encouraged me and (I believe) many other young writers to start writing in Sundanese. This one collective passion owed Nunu so much for delivering the idea… And “the heated debate provoked by a lengthy note” part? OMG I never think you’d write about it 😀

    This is absolutely a must-read enjoyable article that brilliantly written. Thank you.

  2. Hadi AKS says:

    I really appreciate the effort of Hawe Setiawan to announce Sundanese literary works to the wider communities. As we know, many people merely know Javanese literature of Indonesia. Facts about literary life in the country, in my opinion, are the most needed by both authors and readers at this time. Thank you, Hawe.

  3. Nevenka says:

    That’s the thinking of a creative mind

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