Revisiting The Terrible Novel ‘Papa… Akhirnya Kau Tewas Jua’ That Taught Us Grooming & Misogyny
If you were a Form 4 high school student in Malaysia during the years 2010 to 2015, then you might have heard of the novel Papa… Akhirnya Kau Tewas Jua.
This novel was required reading for Malaysian students as part of Komsas which is our version of literature studies.
For those who are aware of the existence of this atrocious novel, I feel your pain and I’m sorry for the trauma this book has caused you at such an impressionable age.
But for those who have never heard of it, let me rewind the clock, so you can revisit Papa… Akhirnya Kau Tewas Jua with me.
Picture this. You’re 16 years old and you’re beginning to form your own personality and interests based on the morals and ideas you have collected from family, peers and of course, media.
Being a teenager, naturally, we’re influenced by the media we consume which is why it is integral to nourish our minds with movies, music and books that coincide with our ideologies.
Now, with that in mind, you’re suddenly exposed to an unassuming novel titled, Papa… Akhirnya Kau Tewas Jua.
At first, you don’t think anything of it because of course, the Malaysian education system would not encourage you to read something that’s damaging to your growth as a human being but alas, anything can happen in a country filled to the brim with possibilities.
What is Papa… Akhirnya Kau Tewas Jua about? (As told through images from HBO’s House of The Dragon because both are equally as barbaric)
Where do I even begin with this?
Papa… Akhirnya Kau Tewas Jua revolves around a family, Julia; the daughter, Intan Maliana; the mother and Jeffri; the infamous Papa.
On the outside, they portray themselves as a typical middle-class family but as you take a closer look, the novel reveals that they have some deeply-rooted issues with elitism, misogyny, grooming and domestic abuse.
This is how the story goes…
Intan Maliana has trouble with conceiving. When she gave birth to her firstborn, Julia, she fell into a coma and Julia was born premature at 7 months.
Since then, the people around Intan have advised her not to conceive again in fear that history might repeat itself or worse, she could die.
But that didn’t stop Papa from enforcing the idea of more children onto his wife, despite knowing the risks.
Fulfilling her “duties” as a wife, Intan Maliana becomes pregnant again and lo and behold, after giving birth to stillborn twins, she falls into a coma… for three years.
At first, Julia and Papa are devastated by the news. Mustering up the courage to continue their lives while caring for Intan who is comatose in a hospital, Julia begins to grow into her own woman before eventually finding love in a boy named, Rasylan.
Rasylan was born out of wedlock and as an infant, he was abandoned by his biological mother by the side of a ditch. Because of this, Papa, who is sitting too high on his horse to have a grounded perspective, forbids his daughter from seeing him due to his unknown ancestry.
Sure, let’s blame an innocent child for the sins of his parents!
While that’s happening, Papa, a lecturer at a university, has no problem grooming one of his students, Aisyah, into becoming his new wife. Let’s not forget, his first wife – who sacrificed herself to conceive a child based on his wishes – is still comatose in the hospital. Husband of the year?
Papa goes out on dates and eventually asks Aisyah to marry him. Julia, rightfully furious by his decision, opposes the marriage, which earns her a slap in the face from Papa.
It’s starting to make sense now why he prefers blaming children over the mistakes of grown adults…
Julia reluctantly agrees to the marriage and the two wed. Shortly after, Aisyah becomes pregnant.
Even though Aisyah is now the future mother of his children, Papa forbids her from visiting his first wife’s hospital room without him there in fear that she would poison her. That’s a great role model to have for your future kin – a potential murderer. Did Gillian Flynn write this book?
One day, while Papa and Aisyah – who is now noticeably pregnant – are sitting in the hospital room, Intan opens her eyes.
Guess what she sees after being in a coma for three years? Her husband, with another woman, who is carrying his child after she valiantly grazed death to do just that.
Naturally, Intan does what any one of us would do if we saw that. She dies. And the story ends.
Who do we blame for this monstrosity?
You may be wondering, who would write something like this and who would select this book as required reading for susceptible 16 year olds?
Well, let me answer those questions for you.
Papa… Akhirnya Kau Tewas Jua was written by Deana Yusof, an elusive writer whom, until now, has only written one book, which is the one we are discussing in this article.
I also have reason to believe that Deana Yusof is a pseudonym, considering there are no hits on Google when I try to search her name. Google only reveals information about famous actress, Deanna Yusoff.
One blog has written that Deana Yusof could be an alias for Norhaiza binti Yusof, a housewife turned one-time novelist, but I tend to not trust blogs that greet with you porn pop-ups as soon as you click on them.
It’s strange that the Ministry of Education at the time would select a book from an unknown author who has only written one book – a terrible one at that – to be taught in high schools across the country…
From the looks of it, it’s either a coincidence or a well-hidden secret. You can choose which one you like more.
Maybe “Deana Yusof” isn’t even a woman and Papa… Akhirnya Kau Tewas Jua was written by a man who chose a woman’s name to cover his misogynistic tracks. Now, that would make more sense.
As for the person who approved this book for our 16 year olds in the years 2010 to 2015, it was none other than our ex-PM, Muhyiddin Yassin who was tapped as our education minister at the time by (surprise surprise) ex-PM, now-convict, Najib Razak.
Essentially, a string of incompetence made this book that romanticises “traditional” female subservience in a patriarchal household, a requirement for Malaysian teens in government schools.
Not only does the book “teach” you to bow down to the man of the house, it also encourages elitism as shown through the dismissal of Rasylan and the trivialisation of domestic abuse when Papa’s slap was dismissed because Julia was “overstepping” by standing up to her father’s clearly-wrong actions.
JUICE has reported our disdain for toxic masculinity and misogyny in Malaysian media before but none of those shows or movies were obligatory. People could choose whether or not they wanted to watch it.
What is truly abhorrent about Papa… Akhirnya Kau Tewas Jua is the fact that it was compulsory for Malaysian children and they even had to praise the clear antagonist for his grotesque behaviour throughout the book because of undue respect based solely on gender.
It is books like these that set us back, but Malaysia has proven that it can learn from its mistakes, so let’s hope that the Ministry of Education has heard our pleas and implemented better books into our education system.
Until then, let’s read JUICE Malaysia instead.