Indonesian author writes of life’s journey to UNISSA

Siluet Cinta di Unissa
Author: Yenni Patriani Yakub
Publisher: Mujahid Press, Bandung, July 2013, 197 pages


Darul Aqsha

DARE to dream! Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing and knows what His servants need. If people believe in Allah and work with righteousness, He will open the door for sustenance.” That is the core message of this novel “Siluet Cinta di Unissa” (“Silhouette of love in UNISSA”) written by Yenni Patriani Yakub.

This book tells the story of a female student, Fakhra, who hailed from a remote village of Bengkulu, an Indonesian province in the southern part of Sumatra island.

For many years she has nurtured the dreams of meeting the His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam. She admires the Monarch for leading his people with just and wisdom based on the Syariah (Islamic law), thus allowing the people in the Sultanate to live in peace and tranquility.

Fakhra, who comes from a poor family, even installs a poster of His Majesty in her room’s wall. She later met her old friend who was on vacation from her studies in Brunei.

The friend, a daughter of a wealthy merchant in her village, assisted Fakhra by paying the medical expenses of her sick mother who was initially refused by the hospital management for being too poor to pay.

It was through her good friend that Fakhra gets information about scholarship opportunities at Brunei’s Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) in Bandar Seri Begawan.

But the path to achieve her dreams are not easy. Poverty is one of her hurdles. She has been living with her mother in the remote village since her father who worked as a rubbish dump scavenger in Jakarta was jailed. In the capital city, her patience mother laundrying neighbours’s clothes. After moved to their village, she works as a local traditional bag weaver.

In her ‘pesantren’ (Islamic boarding school), Fakhra is known as a smart and rather rebellious student. But, she experiences life’s hardships such as the jailed father, ailing mother, burned home, failed in love, and corruptions in local bureaucracy – All of these resentful things make her sick and hate her own country.

However, the news from Brunei that she is received as a scholarship student in the UNISSA pushes aside her resentment. In Brunei, she lives in the university’s hostel. Involved an association of foreign students, she meets a Tanzanian male student who reminds her to her ideal classmate in the pesantren who has married to her best friend. The Tanzanian student expresses his love and proposes her . She agrees. But, the student turns out has a wife in his country. Their plan to get marry is cancelled after the Tanzanian’s wife did not approve him.

Anyway, there is a Bruneian student who loves Fakhra secretly. As he completed his studies and proposed to her, the disappointed Fakhra agrees.

They eventually marry in a ceremony at her village in Bengkulu. Fakhra and her husband now live happily in Brunei with a child. She loves her husband because he always reminds her to love her country that had disappointed her.

In the meantime, Fakhra has made efforts to complete her study. During the university’s convocation day, she had the opportunity to meet His Majesty the Sultan. At last, her dream comes true.

Reading the novel thoroughly, readers are reminded to the narrative style and plots of the novels of Habiburrahman Al-Shirazy, an Indonesian author, well-known for his Islamic novels such as Ayat-ayat Cinta, Dalam Mihrab Cinta and Ketika Cinta Bertasbih. Some of Al-Shirazy’s works had been made into feature films and TV series.

Despite the story is interesting to drive people to have any dream and to reach their ideals, unfortunately, in the chapters when the Fakhra living in the sultanate, the author lacks of building another conflict in the novel plot.

The author also makes readers are confused with a brief chapter about the death of her father in the middle of the story, while in the next chapters she asks an approval from her father and mother to marry with a Bruneian man. There is no information when and how his father was released from jail.

Besides, the novel apparently is published in haste. Its book cover, typography and editing are not seriously done. And instead of photographs, sketches or vignets are better for the novel’s illustrations.

The author, Yenni Patriani Yakub, nicknamed Yeyen, is an Indonesian student who received a Master degree scholarship in Arabic at UNISSA from Brunei’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She wrote this novel just a year living in Brunei.

Yeyen was born in Curup, Bengkulu, 33 years ago. She is also known as the writer of several books such as Panduan Belajar Mengaji Untuk Santri (Guide to Study Al-Quran for Muslim Students in Islamic Boarding School, 2007), Rumus Cerdas Memahami Kaidah dan Tata Bahasa Arab (Smart Formulation to Understand Arabic Principles and Grammar, 2011), Biografi Iblis (Devil Biography, 2011), and some education books for primary and secondary schools such as Senam Poco-poco (Poco-poco Gymnastic), Globalisasi di Sekitar Kita (Globalisation Around Us), and Kumpulan Ekspresi dalam Bahasa Arab (A Collection of Arabic Expression).

The Brunei Times

Bandar Seri Begawan

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Yenni Patriani Yakub



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