Thursday, February 12, 2009

Brooking No Nonsense, for Books

Among kith and kin alike, I have acquired some kind of notoriety - for being 'kedekut' (stingy). Woh, if you hear them talk about this ‘despicable’ trait of mine, you would think I am nothing less than mean Old Scrooge himself.

What? A bit low on cash and need tiding over? Sure, have some. Cash (whatever little I have, that is), I can part with, easy.

Going to a formal do and need sparklers? A party coming up and you gotta have the right bling-bling to go with the cocktail dress? Waddaheck, take your pick. Just don’t forget to return them when you’re done.

Say what? Your little boy is collecting far too many naughts in his exam marks in school and need a bit of nurturing in the English department?

Bring him over. Let’s see if I can turn the tyke’s 'Manglish' (mangled English) into something good old Queen Beth could be proud of.

I'm no Shakespeare, but I sure can string two sentences together decently without embarrassing that wonderful 'cikgu' of mine, Cik Jawhariah, who taught me English when I was in Form Five.

I am never scrimpy with money, material things and God’s gift of the gab. Heck, I even gave my heart away one time too many (he he he). What more do you want?

I am not asking for the impossible. No special request for the moon, the stars, nor faraway planets in the Milky Way; nothing remotely resembling the universe.

Just don’t touch my blinkin’ books, y’hear?

It goes without saying that I love books; all 2500 of them in my mini-library, and still counting. Let’s just assume at RM40 per book, that would be RM100,000 thus far spent on shreds of paper with writings on them.

I know I had spent a helluva lot more than just that. And every single sen was well worth it. They had transported me to places I had never been, into the lives of people I had never met, and taught me things I never knew existed.

Before you crucify me for being ‘kedekut pahit’ (penurious) with my beloved ‘buku-buku’ (books) let me tell you a story. It's a tale guaranteed not to make you reach out for Kleenex, so relax.

I used to be very accommodating, lending my books to all and sundry; the second cousin of a friend of a friend, for example, whom I knew not from Adam (or Eve, for that matter).

You see, those days I had absolute faith in the kindness and integrity of fellow humans, that they would return what they borrowed. Sadly, they never did. I lost many books this way.

It’s not how much the books had cost me; that’s negligible. I can replace them physically, no doubt, but the emotional tie that bound me to those gone astray through no fault of mine, had been severed.

Then it dawned on me, that these borrowers were merely exercising their ‘right’ not to be a moron while duping me into becoming one. How so?

They must have read what I myself had read (but never practiced, stupid me) many years ago that there are only two kinds of morons in this world; the ones who lend their books to others, and those who return books they borrow.

I reckon since they had successfully made an idiot out of me, they had to double their efforts not to fall into the same moronic trap. I am sure it must have been one hell of an inner fight, to overcome this urge to return my books.

Well, I shall be a moron no more. The library is closed - forever and more. You still want to read? Get off that lazy arse of yours and haul yourself to a bookshop. Now git! No more free-loadin’, y’hear?


bergen said...

I don't borrow people's book, that's because I can't read.

Laptop™ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ĺaptop™ said...

I did miss a BookReader once in MBSC; way back

Kak Ezza said...

saya pun sangat suka membaca dan membeli buku terutama nya novel..tak suka meminjam orang punya sebab saya suka buat koleksi..hati senang jer bila lihat deretan novel kat almari.
Dulu saya ada pinjam kan buku dan novel ni kat kawan atau kawan anak anak..tapi ada satu kes,budak ni tak pulang pulang kan buku walau pun dah di beritau banyak kali..rupa rupa nya adik nya telah mengoyak kan buku tu, Saya jadi marah dan menyuruh dia menggantikan buku tersebut dalam keadaan seperti mana dia meminjam. Saya suruh bertanggung jawap kerana bukan sikit duit saya keluar kan, Tolong lah hargai buku dan hak orang! budak tu walau lambat tapi tetap mengganti kan buku saya tu. Lepas hari tu..saya cakap ngan anak anak..tak yah ko nak promote buku mak ni...tolong laah..ini saja yang ada untuk kamu semua bila mak tak da nanti...boleh ke macam tu!!!

Kak Teh said...

You sound like my husband and his books and newspapers. One day, as we were out walking, it started to rain, and i said, give me your Guardian so i can cover my head and he gave me a dirty look.

guess what , since january, i have read 5 books and promised myself no more books - just concentrate on what i bought last year. but no, i went out and bought four three days ago.

Pi Bani said...

Masa sekolah boleh pinjam buku kat library pun I tak pinjam... nampak benor pemalas kan? :)

Pak Idrus said...

I would never ever lend books to others any more. Once I did but the person[s] never seem to appreciate it and I had to ask for it back. After that no way I would lend books. I kept all my books and now have some 6000 books in my library. My kids and now the grandkids read it and that shall be the way. Personally I am attached to the books and happy to see it on the shelves.

BTW you should read the book 'The Gift of Rain' it is about our country during the Japanese occupation. The best novel about that dark period of our history.

Have a nice day.

MrsNordin said...

That's a lot of books you have.

We do have quite a lot in our library but half of it belong to the late MrsN. They are mostly romance novels, so I don't read them coz I don't like romance.

It's quite annoying, isn't it, when people don't return the books they borrowed. One more thing, when they fold the top part of a page to mark where they stop. Hey, itu bukan buku you lah!!

Anonymous said...

This is something I have yet to learn. Yes, I have let others borrow my books (sometimes consciously, even) and that would be he last I see of them (the books, I mean). Yet, being the moron that I am, I keep repeating the mistake over and over again.

Anyone wants to borrow any of my books? Please feel free to prise them from the clutches of my cold dead fingers.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Bergen - You pandai meratib Bergen, bagus tu.. :)

Laptop _ Even I have forgotten this nick. Too many nicks l;ah those days. Menyamar all da time. Now I can't even remember the password for this nick..hehehe

Ezza - Betul tuh. Kalau dah pinjam dan terkoyak ke apa ker, kenalah replace. Paling bagus, jgn bagi pinjam langsung..:)

Kak Teh - If it was me, Kak Teh, I would have given you a dirty look as well! LOL... seriously, that's a lot of books you read in a month. At best, I can do one book per week because banyak kerja lain nak buat. Since I returned from the Hajj, I hv finished one and almost done with another... just a couple more pages.

Pi - He he he PI, zaman I skolah dulu jadi librarian masa form 3.. betul2 bookeworm. merendek pun dlm library..:)

Pak Idrus - Oh, here comes a kindred spirit. Whoa, 6000 books! I salute you Pak. Apart from my books, I have about 500 copies of Readers Digest, some backdated to before I was born and a few to pre-war.. the oldest copy 1939.

Mrs N - Bab-bab lipat corner ni I kurang gemar. I always use a proper bookmark.

Mat B - Tsk tsk tsk.. You are far too nice, Mat B. I guess you are one of those baik hati fellas who doesn't like to disappoint ppl.. from now on, jangan bagi lagi!..hehehe

Pak Tuo said...

Mak Aji,

I am looking for a translation piece into English of 'Putra Gunung Tahan'by arwah Pak Sako.

By any chance do you have a copy or is it available in the market?
I intend to give it as a present for my nephew,a 17 years old lad birthday present.


Naz said...

I love books and I love reading. This winter so far, i have finished four. Quite good, considering all the other work that I have to do.
I don't lend out my books unless I know that I will get it back. Egoist? Yes, I have to be because I have lost a lot of books and quite a few came home capik and tempang.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Pak Tuo - I am sorry to say I takder that book, Pak. Try Kinokuniya (KLCC) atau Borders (THe Curve), they uually stock obscure titles including buku2 Melayu. Kalau ada, I pun nak.. hehehe..

Naz - Book lovers are the same anywhere. Segan nak lend to ppl sebab takut hilang. My children love to read and they don't borrow from me; they prefer to buy and build their own individual collection.

Aida said...

Kak Puteri,

Oh u've touched on a very very very sensitive topic here... my books are my love, after my hubby, kids, parents, religion (obviously not necessarily in that order).

Should anyone want to borrow any of my books, I'll tell them, no dog ears, not even crease the spine (yes my books look like new) though most of them have yellowed with age... but once I lend them a book even if they do not return it that book will have a special place and I only hope that the borrower has received the same enjoyment as I from it.

I do not keep my books in one place, cos I rather hide them away from the public eye. I love your bookshelves very much. Mine are overflowing with my children's books as well.

OK I better stop... I can carry on.
However, I must add that during my single days, I could read 4 bona fide novels a night thanks to speed reading, but now, its a couple of pages before I arrive at the land of nod ehehhehe too tired melayan the little ones.

An-Nimr said...

Hah! Samalah kita!

(but i got some books orang punya i belum pulang...bukan tak nak..tapi LUPA la kak oi...)

kay_leeda said...

Kak Puteri,

No, no, no...noone touches my books, unless it comes from my very deepest heart wanting to lend them.

I really hate it when they say, "Did I borrow the book from you?" Ehh, kura-kura dalam perahu, pura-pura tak tahu!!

Say whatever, stingy yes I am with me books.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Kay, An, Aida - it feels sooo good to be in the company of these endearingly book-kedekut people.. hehehe

The Ceramic Designer said...

assm kak..
i used to read a lot of books too when much younger.. then 'graduated' to magazines.. then flyers.. now lately just gardening.. ;)

jooli said...

Hi kata kama,
Can't help commenting on this one. I was once kedekut when it came to books too, but 'repented' recently. I've just given away to family and friends hoards of my beloved books: those I've read and kept for old times sake or whatever reason only we know. Reason: termites came a-marching and devoured many. :(

Bijou Beads Bouquet said...

I wonder if I were to pinjam and willing to come and collect..will she allow me or will she still not.. I still wonder..

[I hope she dare not to cabar me to come and pinjam, please don't]

Kama At-Tarawis said...

TCD - Tq for dropping by. Hehehe, I like this one, 'graduating' from books to mere flyers and now to gardening.. don't tell me you dok 'baca' daun pulak..LOL.. Prince Charles speaks to his plants :)

Jooli - Tq for dropping by. Oooh dear, dont remind me.. some of my back copies of Reader's Digest (1960s issues) also kena but the culprit bukan anai-anai but silverfish.

Bijou - No lah, I won't cabar you for sure. Since nak jumpa Agong is easier than nak jumpa you, if ever you pinjam my book sure 10 years baru return (if I'm lucky!)LOL.. all the same, bila nak mai jumpa Ma?

Cik_kembang said...

Salam Ma (I hope u still remember me )..

I'd never let anyone touch my book let alone borrow it especially my books on farming and gardening..hehehe..LOL

p/s : If abglap miss "Bookreader" from MBSC..I miss Gildedcage even more...

Yr. sekotlen dotter
Cik Kembang

Ĺaptop™ said...

Stingy lot! hehehe

I have books but the one I treasure most is my 555 book.
Definitely you may borrow any of my book; the "555" included.
As time goes by you may forget about the books that you have borrowed (and returning them) but I'm sure you will never forget who you borrow the books from ;)

mamasita said...

Hai Hajjah.
Dato' sak pun skarang macam you..taknak dah pinjam2 books to others..maybe they thought he can always buy another.Tapi some books cannot be found dah..very old books.
So hes a bit 'lokek' nowadays unless the person betul2 promise to return the book back.

Zawi said...

I don't borrow people's book because I know I will never return them. More often than not I will forget from whom I borrowed it. So you will be safe from me.

ray said...

Komen Pak Malim kucing ray yg alim.

Saya rasa amat kagum, melihat koleksi buku2 yg begitu kemas dan tersusun, kata Pak Malim sambil memakai Vidal Sassoon. Kalau tak leh pinjam buku, nak pinjam almari, boleh? kata Pak Malim sambil memegang koleh.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Cik Kembang - Stick to your home & garden magazines, CK, and you'll have a beautiful lawn soon enough..

Laptop - My late mother used to hv a series of 555 books and I was appointed keeper of those books at the age of 11. My job was to hold on to the books while accompanying Mak to the sundry shop for grocery shopping.

Mamasita - I believe 'lokek' buku is acceptable but lokek duit is not.

Zawi - Hehehe Pak, I pulak lain. I don't like to hv other ppl's books in my possession. The couple of books that aren't mine in my collection belong to my eldest son Naj, another avid but extremely forgetful reader.. tinggal buku merata.

When he was flying dulu, he would borrow my books and would leave them in hotel rooms all over the world... one John Grisham in a New York hotel, some other books dlm kapalterbang..(sighh)

Ray - wah wah wah
Begitu lama tak nampak diri
jenguk aja nak pinjam lemari
amboi bergaya dgn vidal sassoon
awat ray la ni nampak macam bison?

Salt N Turmeric said...

Kak Puteri, another way you can keep track of your books (should you decide to lend them out) is to have a book for sign-in and sign-out. So those who did not return or returned the book in less than perfect manner than it was before must buy a new book. *wink*

I pun love books although mostly are fictions. Lost some exactly how you described it. Borrowed by my cousin's friend's friend or something like that. Pastu boleh tak mengaku tak bagi orang lain pinjam. :P

Bijou Beads Bouquet said...

This giving me the idea to open a 'book collector recovery' service.. searching for unreturn books..

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Farina - I already did. No-go. depa sign out and then simpan, never return..LOL..

Bijou - you will tutup kedai within 3 months for nobody want to return borrowed books..

Mat Cendana said...

It's fascinating and amazing - plus a source of envy for me - how a few people can keep coming up with quality posts you and Sakmongkol.

After reading this post and some of the comments, it's obvious that many people (book borrowers) take this lightly. This is also a good way to assess someone's integrity - someone who doesn't return one's books is surely of suspect quality when it comes to other committments in life.

I don't blame you and Pak Idrus for being stingy, for I know what it feels like to have a book never coming back to you.

There's the dilemma of whether to ask for it: Would the person feel slighted or hurt? Well, you'd just keep quiet rather than the possibility of losing a friend or acquaintance. But the relationship becomes devalued by more than a few percentage points.

When it comes to books, nowadays it's I who offer to lend some book or another to someone. I'd feel good about it, knowing that someone else is also enjoying the work. And I'd have no qualms about asking for it back after a few months have passed.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Mat C - bBe that as it may, I had, at some point in the past, recommended specific titles to friends and family alike as 'must reads'. Then they turned around and said: "Lepas you habis baca, can pinjam arr?" hehehehe, one simply can't win..