This article is taken from Stand 221, 17(1) March - May 2019.

Yusi Avianto Pareanom Grave Sin #14
Translated by Pamela Allen
They’ve made comic strips about blind boxers, they’ve made films about blind samurai, they’ve written poems about blind swimmers, and there was even a rock opera about a blind kid who was a whizz at pinball. Some of that stuff is quite good; some of it just does your head in. But there’s something about blind people, or about blindness, that inspires us, that moves us, that astonishes us. It’s kind of like encountering courage in the depths of darkness.
Manik couldn’t go along with all the hype. At least not during the past week he couldn’t. It was partly because he couldn’t abide the over-romanticising of blindness. He couldn’t help laughing at some of the cheesy sub-text, like ‘it’s better to be blind in one’s eyes than blind in one’s heart’. So clichéd. The other reason, and probably the more significant one, was because of something that had happened years ago, which had suddenly re-surfaced and unsettled his equilibrium.
Once, when he was a little boy, he had hit a blind boy on the head. It was 30 years ago, and Manik would have completely forgotten about the incident if it hadn’t been for that damned insurance salesperson.


One night the previous week Manik had worked late and it was after midnight before he got to bed. He dreamed that he owned a black slave girl. Dispensing with formalities, she approached him as he lay on the couch. Smiling broadly, she removed the top part ...
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