So What’s Your Name, Sandra?

Works in Translation


Norman Erikson Pasaribu, translated by Tiffany Tsao
Published as a part of Catapult in Translation, May 01, 2020

Originally published in Personal Blog, Dec 24, 2019 as Siapa Namamu, Sandra?.


Her son’s name was Bison and, wouldn’t you know, she’d enjoyed calling him “Son” for short.
Four months after the death of her one and only son, Mama Sandra took a trip to Mỹ Sơn, Quảng Nam, Vietnam.

She left Jakarta on a Friday morning in early October, changing planes in Kuala Lumpur. The ticket was cheap. After the two “incidents” a few years back, Malaysian Airlines was always offering special deals, including on the KUL-HAN route. But having no privileges when it came to keeping well informed, Mama Sandra was ignorant of this fact. Instead, she saw the price and thought our Father in Heaven had given the idea His blessing.

Receiving this divine signal with outstretched palms, Mama Sandra promptly liquidated what remained of her leave: nearly twenty whole days. Her supervisor, a thoroughly Javanese man from Solo, was aware some recent tragedy had befallen his underling. So he signed off on the matter without asking too many questions.

Read the full story here.