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Saturday, March 25, 2017


Juedai Shuangjiao (絕代雙驕), the story about Jiang Xiaoyu (江小魚) and Hua Wuque (花無缺), the twins who were separated from birth, has always been my favorite. I first read it in the 80s, when it was called Tapak Sakti (the Force of Buddha's Palm/如來神掌) by Tony Wong. It was the second Hong Kong comic released in Indonesia, right after Tiger Wong (Oriental Heroes/龍虎門), and it immediately became one of the most popular comics among the readers of our generation. Years later, through the comic series by He Zhi Wen, I learnt that the story in Tapak Sakti had been very much twisted by Tony Wong. Zhi Wen's version was more faithful to the original written by Gu Long and the story, much to my delight, was a lot better. It was so good that it made me curious to find out more about the novel version. As I couldn't read Chinese, the closest I could get was a stack of pocket-size paperbacks called Pendekar Binal, a translated version of Gu Long's original (I just discovered that it can be found here nowadays: 

It was mind blowing. I mean, if you wanted to see, let's say, how powerful the kung fu of Yan Nantian (燕南天) was, of course you'd have to pick up the comics. Otherwise, the novel would be an obvious choice. The main attraction of the Juedai Shuangjiao, however, was the colorful and interesting characters such as the cold-hearted Yaoyue (邀月), the tragic Lianxing (憐星), the cunning father and son Jiang Biehe (江別鶴) and Jiang Yulang (江玉郎), the ever charming Ten Great Villains (十大惡人), the evil Twelve Zodiac (十二星相) and many more. The major characters were so well-developed and the subplots involving these characters, interwoven seamlessly within the main story, were wrapped up nicely.

For the benefit of those who never heard of it, I'll give the brief summary of the story so that you have at least the faintest idea of what I'm talking about: the story began when Jiang Xiaoyu's parents were betrayed and murdered. When Yan Nantian, the sworn brother of Jiang Xiaoyu's father arrived on the scene, he found only a crying baby among the dead bodies. In his pursuit of the betrayer, he entered the Valley of Villains where he was tricked and defeated by the five members of the Ten Great Villains. The baby was then groomed to be the greatest villain in the history, though soon it was clear that it didn't turn out to be that way. Fast forward to more than a decade later, Xiaoyu'er, now a smart and happy-go-lucky young man, was kicked out from the valley as none could stand his antics anymore. That was when his adventure began, getting him tangled with romances and intrigues. He also made friends and enemies along the way. As the story progressed, Yan Nantian woke up from his coma state and since his return, everyone else seemed to make their come back as well. Xiaoyu'er also met Hua Wuque, a naive young man who tried to kill him for no apparent reason other than being asked by his teachers, the princesses of Yihua Palace. They fought five times throughout the story and the last one, as Xiaoyu'er outsmarted Yao Yue by faking his death, eventually revealed their relationship as siblings.

Now, through Jiang Xiaoyu's adventure, we are introduced to various characters and some came with complicated background, for example, Wei Wuya the Rat. The ugly looking and partially disabled leader of the Twelve Zodiac was an evil, perverted, heartbroken and sad man at the same time, thanks to his unrequited love for Yao Yue. There are many more that are worth discussing here, but if I have to single out a personal favorite, it must be the Ten Great Villains. 

First of all, the Great Villains were not exactly ten, but eleven, due to the inclusion Ouyang Ding and Ouyang Dang. They were not an actual group of bad guys operating together like the Twelve Zodiac, but were grouped together instead. Each villain was famous for his or her eccentricity, hence the nicknames, and not all were evil. Some harbored hatred against another and they didn't mind killing each other, a trait that ultimately led the Ten Great Villains to their demise. They were great characters that were well-utilized throughout the story. Just for the fun of it, here are the ten:
1. "Blood Hand" Du Sha - "血手" 杜殺
2. "Neither Male nor Female" Tu Jiaujiau - "不男不女" 屠嬌嬌
3. "Blade Beneath the Smile" Haha'er - "笑裡藏刀" 哈哈兒
4. "Not Eating Man's Head" Li Dazui - "不吃人頭" 李大嘴
5. "Half Man, Half Ghost" Yin Jiuyou - "半人半鬼" 陰九幽
6. "Mad Lion" Tie Zhan - "狂獅" 鐵戰
7. "Evil Gambling Ghost" Xuanyuan Sanguang - "惡賭鬼" 軒轅三光
8. "Trick People to Die Without Paying a Soul" Xiao Mimi - "迷死人不賠命" 蕭咪咪
9. "Trying Very Hard to Earn Profit, Better Die than Suffering Loss" Ouyang Ding, Ouyang Dang - "寧死不吃虧、拚命佔便宜" 歐陽丁、歐陽當
10. "Harming People Without Benefiting Himself" Bai Kaixin - "損人不利己" 白開心

While I like both the story and the characters, I also like the good quotes that were scattered around the series. When Wei Wuya was beaten by Yan Nantian, he bitterly complained, "if one wasn't born as the brightest jade, why bother living gloriously? If the world already has Wei Wuya, why must there be Yan Nantian?"

Now that's just resentful, isn't it? On another occasion, when he was captured together with Xuanyuan Sanguang, Xiaoyu'er remembered what Du Sha told him when he was a kid, "cowards are those who like titles and fame to cover up their bad behavior. They shirk responsibilities. Only those who face their own demons can act honestly. Why should one regret to die? Or to live?"

Coming from a villain, that was just so cool! The best one, as you might have guessed, were of course reserved for the main character, Xiaoyu'er. One of his greatest gift is his easygoing manner. Instead of admitting that Su Ying was right when she cornered him about his plan, Xiaoyu'er simply brushed her off with his cheeky answer, "my days are too good. If there are people who make me miserable, that will suit me just fine!"

The optimism is just infectious! This is the reason why I keep coming back to this story once in a long while...

The Impeccable Twins, the complete series.

Pendekar Binal/Tapak Sakti/The Impeccable Twins

Juedai Shuangjiao (絕代雙驕), cerita tentang Kang Siau-hi (江小魚) and Hoa Bu-koat (花無缺), dua anak kembar yang terpisah sejak lahir, adalah kisah Chinese favorit saya. Pertama saya baca di tahun 80an, cerita ini dikemas dalam judul Tapak Sakti (the Force of Buddha's Palm/如來神掌) yang dikarang oleh Tony Wong. Ini adalah komik Hong Kong kedua yang dirilis di Indonesia setelah Tiger Wong (Oriental Heroes/龍虎門) dan dengan cepat menjadi komik favorit generasi saya. Bertahun-tahun kemudian, lewat komik yang dibuat oleh Ho Ce Wen, saya baru tahu bahwa Tapak Sakti itu sebenarnya sudah diubah sana-sini oleh Tony Wong. Versi Ce Wen tidak ubahnya seperti versi komik dari novel Khu Lung, sang pengarang, sehingga alur ceritanya lebih menarik. Setelah saya baca habis, saya jadi tergelitik untuk mencari tahu tentang versi novelnya. Karena saya tidak bisa membaca tulisan Mandarin, akhirnya saya membaca stensilan yang berjudul Pendekar Binal, saduran dari karya Khu Lung (Pendekar Binal sekarang bisa dibaca online lewat situs berikut ini:

Versi novelnya tidak kalah seru. Tentu saja, kalau misalnya anda berminat melihat kehebatan kungfu pendekar besar Yan Lam Thian, mungkin anda harus membaca komiknya. Akan tetapi atraksi utama dari kisah si kembar ini adalah penokohan karakternya, seperti Putri Kiau Goat (邀月) yang berhati sedingin es, Putri Lian Sing (憐星) yang tragis nasibnya, bapak dan anak yang culas Kang Piat-ho (江別鶴) dan Kang Giok-long (江玉郎), Sepuluh Penjahat Ulung (十大惡人) dan Cap Jie Shio (十二星相) yang keji serta masih banyak lagi. Karakter-karakter utama ini benar-benar unik dan alur cerita yang melibatkan mereka merupakan satu kesinambungan yang tidak terpisahkan dari cerita utama.

Bagi yang belum pernah mendengar tentang kisah ini, saya bisa ceritakan dengan singkat supaya anda memiliki gambaran tentang apa yang sebenarnya saya bicarakan sampai sejauh ini: cerita ini bermula dari terbunuhnya ayah dan ibu Kang Siau-hi. Ketika Yan Lam Thian, abang angkat Kang Hong, tiba di lokasi, dia hanya menemukan seorang bayi di tengah mayat-mayat yang bergelimpangan. Pendekar besar Yan masuk ke Ok Jin Kok demi menemukan pelakunya, namun dia dijebak dan akhirnya dikalahkan oleh lima dari Sepuluh Penjahat Ulung. Bayi yang dibawanya kemudian diasuh dengan tujuan dibesarkan sebagai penjahat paling kejam, walau hasilnya tidak seperti yang diharapkan.

Satu dekade kemudian, Kang Siau-hi tumbuh menjadi pemuda yang cerdas dan keluar dari Ok Jin Kok. Dari situlah petualangannya bermula, melibatkannya dalam berbagai kisah cinta dan perkara besar di Kang Ouw. Dia pun bertemu dengan banyak kawan dan lawan. Di saat bersamaan, Yan Lam Thian juga terbangun dari koma dan berbagai tokoh lainnya pun turut bermunculan. Kang Siau-hi akhirnya bertemu dengan Hoa Bu-koat, pemuda yang ingin membunuhnya hanya karena perintah Putri dari Istana Bunga. Mereka bertarung lima kali sepanjang cerita dan di pertarungan terakhir, Kang Siau-hi berhasil menjebak Putri Kiau Goat untuk membocorkan rahasia bahwa mereka berdua adalah saudara kandung.

Kang Siau-hi berkelana dan bertemu dengan beraneka tokoh yang memiliki beragam latar belakang, misalnya Gui Bu-geh, pemimpin Cap Jie Shio yang buruk rupa dan lumpuh. Walau jahat dan maniak, Gui Bu-geh juga pria menyedihkan yang patah hati karena cintanya ditolak oleh Putri Kiau Goat. Banyak lagi karakter lain yang menarik dan bisa didiskusikan, tapi jika saya harus memilih tokoh favorit, maka yang paling saya sukai adalah Sepuluh Penjahat Ulung. 

Pertama-tama, Sepuluh Penjahat Ulung sebenarnya bukanlah sepuluh orang, tetapi sebelas, karena keberadaan kakak-beradik Auyang Ting Tang. Yang lebih unik lagi, mereka bukanlah para penjahat yang satu komplotan seperti halnya Cap Jie Shio. Masing-masing Penjahat Ulung terkenal karena karakternya dan tidak semuanya jahat. Beberapa di antaranya membenci satu sama lain dan tidak segan untuk saling membunuh. Para anggota berikut julukannya adalah:
1. "Tangan Berdarah" Toh Sat - "血手杜殺
2. "Bukan Laki-laki, Bukan Perempuan" To Kiau Kiau - "不男不女屠嬌嬌
3. "Di Balik Tawa Ada Pisau" Ha Ha-ji - "笑裡藏刀哈哈兒
4. "Tidak Makan Kepala Manusia" Li Toa-jui - "不吃人頭李大嘴
5. "Separuh Manusia, Separuh Setan" Im Kiu-yu - "半人半鬼陰九幽
6. "Singa Gila" Tie Cian - "狂獅鐵戰
7. "Setan Judi Jahat" An Wan Sam-kong - "惡賭鬼軒轅三光
8. "Menipu Orang Sampai Mati Tidak Mau Membayar Nyawa" Siao Mi-mi - "迷死人不賠命蕭咪咪
9. "Mati-matian Dapat Untung, Lebih Baik Mati Daripada Rugi" Auyang Ting, Auyang Tang - "寧死不吃虧、拚命佔便宜歐陽丁、歐陽當
10. "Merugikan Orang Tidak Menguntungkan Diri Sendiri" Pek Khek-sim - "損人不利己白開心

Saya suka cerita dan karakternya, tapi saya juga suka kalimat-kalimat menarik yang diucapkan para tokohnya. Misalnya, ketika Gui Bu-geh dikalahkan oleh Yan Lam Thian, dia dengan pahit mengeluh, "jika tidak terlahir sebagai giok cemerlang, buat apa hidup berjaya? Jika di dunia ini sudah ada Gui Bu-geh, kenapa masih mesti ada Yan Lam Thian?"

Pedih rasanya, bukan? Contoh lainnya, ketika ditangkap bersama An Wan Sam-kong, Kang Siau-hi teringat apa yang diucapkan Toh Sat kepadanya sewaktu dia masih kecil, "pengecut adalah orang yang menyukai jabatan dan ketenaran untuk menutupi tabiat buruk mereka. Hanya yang berani menghadapi setan dalam diri mereka yang bisa bersikap jujur." 

Bayangkan, seorang penjahat bisa mengucapkan hal seperti ini! Gagah nian! Akan tetapi yang terbaik tentu disisihkan untuk karakter utama, Kang Siau-hi. Salah satu dari sifatnya yang menarik adalah gayanya yang santai. Ketika dipojokkan oleh So Ing tentang rencananya, Kang Siau-hi dengan enteng menjawab, "hari-hari di dalam hidupku terlalu baik. Jika ada yang membuatku susah, itu pun boleh-boleh saja."

Rasa optimisnya sangat menular dan luar biasa positif! Ini alasannya kenapa saya kadang membaca serial ini kembali setelah beberapa lama...

Berbagai versi 絕代雙驕
Dari kiri: Tapak Sakti, The Impeccable Twins dan Pendekar Binal
Image credit: Gorief, Tokopedia dan Bugiskha

1 comment:

  1. Respect. Saya mencari-cari identitas lengkap 10 setan penjahat ulung. Akhirnya ketemu juga. Terima kasih. Im Kiu-yu iu berkhianat kan ya?