The Never Ending Saga Of NOVEL JIWANG

Kasihku Abadi, Bicara Hati, Cinta Pertama, Gemersik Kalbu, Ombak Rindu. What these ‘phrase’ have in common?

Yup, those phrase are ‘romantic’ phrase. Indeed, the above phrases are actually the title of several Malay Romance Novel (Novel Jiwang*). You may ask me, “Do you read Novel Jiwang?” Yes, to be honest. I’ve read Kasihku Abadi, Bicara Hati, and Gemersik Kalbu. My sister (Fatin Afiqah Ibrahim, see pic) has a large collections of Novel Jiwang at home, and she told me that she needs more! Haha, do girls really so in love with Novel Jiwang?

Novel Jiwang is not a new genre. I saw this type of novel since I was in primary school (around 1994+). At that time this genre was not so popular, but mystery-based novel/narrations are more popular among the Malays (remember Tok Awang Ngah series?). The sole publisher of Novel Jiwang at that time was Creative Arts Sdn Bhd (publisher of now defunct Gila-Gila magazine), and novels at that era are not thick as today! You can finished it in less than 2 hours. It was said the writer at that time was not ‘qualified’ to write romance-based stories, and most of the writers were guys. Isn’t guys a good writer? My sister said man is a good writer, but not in ‘romance’ field as they did not have the ‘feeling’! Huhu… (comment please…)

However, things changed around early year 2000, when Alaf 21 (division of Karangkraf) begin to publish several titles of Novel Jiwang written by various writers. Norhayati Ibrahim, Bikash Nur Idris, Anis Ayuni, Ramli Awang Murshid (not really a Novel Jiwang writer, he is more a thriller-based novelist) and several other writers started to publish their works. Interestingly, if you observed carefully, most of the writers are women and work as school teacher! I saw a novel written by IIUM student (Kasihku Abadi). The trend starting to grow. Girls and working women (housewife included) enjoyed reading the novels, as they said the narration and style of ‘modern novel’ is more realistic compared to its predecessor. Nowadays, if you go to any Malay house, there is at least 1 Novel Jiwang and actually at least there is 2 novels. Indeed, because of the success of Novel Jiwang in the market, several small publishers begin to market novels from the least known writers (newbies) to grab the market share (and profits!).

Why girls love Novel Jiwang so much? I cannot answer this question (I’m not a girl!) but according to my sister and several friends, Novel Jiwang gives them a sense of ’emotional stability’ and when there read, they will imagine that they are in the narration/situation (well, should I say ‘self-positioning’?). They feel that they are a part of the story itself, and of course, be with the Hero! :-P The basic storyline in any Novel Jiwang is the hero and heroin will meet in unexpected circumstances (car accident, as in Bicara Hati). At least one of the main cast (the heroin especially) were facing a harsh childhood life, and affects her. The story normally continues with ‘expected unexpected’ situations, such as ‘kahwin paksa’. In most novel, the main casts will face several challenges in their relationship (3rd party intervention etc.) before ends in happy life! Sounds typical rite? No! Guys, try to read some of the novels, and you will know what I mean… =)

Indeed, the positive side of this Novel Jiwang is it encourages reading habits among Malaysian (the Malays especially). International research shows that Malaysian read an average of 2 pages per year! So I think this statistic is no longer valid if they interviewed the Novel Jiwang readers. Negative side? Maybe reading Novel Jiwang too much will cause you to go beyond reality world (daydreaming all days…). So far, it seems that girls like to read Novel Jiwang, and it almost rare to find a guy who is a full time Novel Jiwang reader. In my family, my mum and my sister are fans of Novel Jiwang, in fact as I said before, my sister has a rack of Novel Jiwang at my house, and she is in process of adding her collections.

If you interested to share or discuss your passion of Novel Jiwang with my sister (she loves Korean soap opera too, and can read Korean!), you can add her in your Friendster friend list (Fatin Afiqah) or contact her via e-mail ( She is currently looking for ‘Cinta Pertama’ and ‘Bagaikan Puteri’. Anyone have it? =)

*Jiwang is a Malay jargon/slanga for love@romance.


Author: Audi Faliq Ibrahim

Executive at Yayasan Basmi Kemiskinan. Alumni of International Islamic University Malaysia. An old soul and #INTJ.

2 thoughts on “The Never Ending Saga Of NOVEL JIWANG”

  1. Well, im not into ‘jiwang’. but more to ‘sarang heyo’. i dunno, just cant stand the all lovey dovey malay words and phrases…euww…maybe because i understand the words said, unlike kdramas n jdramas cos i read the subtitle.hehehehe peace yall!!


  2. hey…u like ‘novel jiwang’? nape x ckp…me too…i’ve a few collection of them..a few for me is around 5 and 6 only k…x byk tp i slalu pnjam from my frenz..cousins..more saving..hehe…but it’s cool to know dat guyz like to read tis kinda book…btw..we shud be proud of our own language…


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