This blogspot is a medium to share my thoughts and adventures apart from promoting my books. Below are the books which have been written or authored and published by myself.

"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Mencari Diri dan Erti".

ISBN 983-42031-0-1, Jun 2006

"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Membela Syiar yang Asal"

ISBN 983-42031-1-x, May 2007

"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Sirih Pulang ke Gagang?"

ISBN 978-983-42031-2-2, November 2007

It is interesting to note that while these books were written in Malay it has gained enough attention to merit being part of the collections of the American Library of Congress and National Library of Australia. Look here and here.

While the first three books were published by my own company, the fourth titled "Rumah Azan" was published in April 2009 by a company called Karnadya with the help of the Malaysian national literary body Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. It features beautiful pictures along with stories behind selected mosques which could be related to the history of Islam and the Malays alongside the formation of the Malaysian nation. Look at the article A collaboration of old collegemates - the book "Rumah Azan".

My fifth book "Ahlul Bait (Family) of Rasulullah SAW and Malay Sultanates", an English translation and adaptation of the Malay book "Ahlul Bait (Keluarga) Rasulullah SAW dan Kesultanan Melayu" authored by Hj Muzaffar Mohamad and Tun Suzana Othman was published early 2010. Look here... My 5th book is out! Ahlul Bait (Family) of Rasulullah SAW and the Malay Sultanates... . For more information check out my Malay blogspot CATATAN SI MERAH SILU.

Like my fourth book "Rumah Azan", the sixth book "Kereta Api Menuju Destinasi" is also a coffee-table book which is published by the company Karnadya with the cooperation of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (the main Malay literary body in Malaysia). Coming out January 2011 it features pictures and stories on the adventure travelling by train to all of Peninsular Malaysia along with the interesting places which could be reached this way.

My seventh book "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah" in turn is a coffee-table book which is written, editted, designed and has pictures taken by me. Coming out of the factory October 2011, this book which combines family history with history of places such as Singapura, Johor, Batu Pahat, Muar and in fact the history of the island of Java and England has been reviewed with me interviewed live in the program Selamat Pagi Malaysia at RTM1. Look at the article Siaran langsung ulasan buku "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah" dan temu ramah di Selamat Pagi Malaysia. Some selected contents have been featured in Sneak peek "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah".


The "Berpetualang ke Aceh" series of novels could be obtained in e-book form. Enter http://www.e-sentral.com/, click general novel and go to page 4. You can also type the word "Aceh" at the search box. Or click straight Book 1, Book 2 and Book 3.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Exciting discovery of old Muslim Gravestones at Kuala Lumpur's Masjed Jamek

OK. Four days ago an exciting news regarding some new discoveries at the Masjid Jamek (main mosque) ok Kuala Lumpur came to the forefront on the Intenet. For researchers like me who are always on the lookout for more proofs to help strengthen the Malay's position in Malaysia this is very good news indeed. So let me copy it lock, stock and barrel. From the newspaper The Star's online portal which could be accessed here...

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Rock-solid proof of 200-year-old graves

Precious artefacts: A Masjid Jamek staff member showing the gravestones believed to be from the early 18th century. —AZMAN GHANI/The Star
Precious artefacts: A Masjid Jamek staff member showing the gravestones believed to be from the early 18th century. —AZMAN GHANI/The Star
CONTRACTORS digging up the vicinity of the century-old Masjid Jamek in Kuala Lumpur for the River of Life (RoL) project stumbled upon several gravestones believed to be from the early 18th century.

So far more than 45 gravestones, mostly granite and a few marble as well as sandstone ones dating back almost 200 years were found buried near the construction site from December 2015 to March this year.
It is learnt that the RoL project conservator had alerted workers who are currently constructing a water fountain at the site to be on the lookout for more artefacts to emerge.
The site where the project is taking shape was a Muslim cemetery two centuries ago.
The gravestones that were recovered were tagged and put aside to be studied. It is yet to be established which party will be studying the gravestones.
The site where the first gravestones were found. Construction workers who were building a water fountain here discovered the gravestones. (Right) A cat lying amidst gravestones found earlier which have been tagged and placed inside the mosque storage. —Photos: AZMAN GHANI/The Star
The site where the first gravestones were found. Construction workers who were building a water fountain here discovered the gravestones.

National Heritage site
The Masjid Jamek area and its surroundings have been declared a National Heritage site by the National Heritage Commission (JWN).
Contractors have been told that any artefacts found at the site are subject to the compliance with the National Heritage Act 2005 and the workers have a legal responsibility to report any findings to JWN.
“These are exciting discoveries,’’ said Masjid Jamek head administrator, Ustaz Mohd Faisal Tan Mutalib.
“Our knowledge of the area’s history is limited, but what we do know is that there was a Muslim graveyard here in the early 18th century,’’ Mohd Faisal said.
“The graveyard was relocated to Jalan Ampang in several phases between early 1900s to the late 1970s.
“There were expectations that some remnants of it would show up sooner or later ever since construction began,’’ he said.
“To find old gravestones, some with legible writing on it from 18th century is wonderful,’’ Mohd Faisal added.
The 108-year-old Masjid Jamek is currently undergoing major upgrading works which is part of the RM4bil RoL project.
Phase 1, which started in 2012 involved the exterior and interior of the mosque, while phase 2 involves landscaping work.
Masjid Jamek, is under Precinct 7, which is one of the 11 precincts under the 10.7km RoL project and is being developed into a riverfront esplanade.
The gravestones found earlier have already been tagged and placed inside the mosque storage. Yes, thats a cute black cat.
A cat lying amidst gravestones found earlier which have been tagged and placed inside the mosque storage.
Must be documented
Mohd Faisal said more than 100 years ago, the area where the mosque sits was called Kampung Rawa.
“The village was sandwiched between Jawa Street (now Jalan Tun Perak) and Malay Street.
The site included the entire stretch that is now Burger King, 7-Eleven and the Masjid Jamek LRT station.
It was the first official Muslim cemetery in Kuala Lumpur.
During the late 1800s, the confluence of Sungai Klang and Sungai Gombak was the centre of commercial activities.
The community who lived here were mostly Malays from the Rawa, Mendaling, Minangkabau, Javanese and Bugis tribe who formed the early settlers of Kuala Lumpur carrying out tin mining work for a living.
“Those days, when people died, their bodies would be buried in front of their homes. So it is not surprising to find old gravestones in this area.
“Some of them are quite grand and beautiful.
“It needs to be documented,’’ said Mohd Faisal.
“Back in the day, prominent Acehnese merchants would travel with their gravestones with them.
“Some of the stones have unique deigns which must be studied further,’’ he said.
Faisal added that the early Malay settlers lived in the northern side of the Klang River while the Chinese settlers occupied the southern part.
A consultant attached with Ekovest Bhd, who was appointed the project delivery partner of the RoL project, said: “We have been finding all sorts of artefacts from the project site since late last year. First it was broken ceramic bowls, glasses, bottles and pots,’’ he said.
“The first few gravestones emerged on the last few days of December last year.
“Some of them looked quite fancy, while others had Jawi scripts embossed on them,’’ he said.
One of the gravestones was of Achehnese influence as seen on the lotus-like design on its head.
The consultant said that in 2013, contractors working at the site unearthed an old staircase adjoining Masjid Jamek, which was long forgotten.
The staircase was part of the original mosque design from more than a hundred years ago.
Transparency needed
Meanwhile, advocates for conservation are calling for transparency over the findings as they say that the gravestones are a matter of public interest and that people should be made aware of its existence.
“The descendents have the right to know about these discoveries and they should be told,’’ said International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos) Malaysia chairman Datuk Hajeedar Majid.
“Some of the inscriptions on the gravestones are legible, with dates and names as well as time of birth and death. People must be informed about this,’’ he added.
Hajeedar, who is also the National Heritage Council chairman, urged those handling the project to report and surrender all artefacts to JWN, who is the right authority to study the gravestones.
Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Centre for Global Archaeological Research officer Shaiful Idzwan Shahidan said the discovery was tangible proof of the early Malay settlement in the city.
“It must be documented and studied further and we urge conservators and the Government to work hand-in-hand to find out more about the gravestones,’’ Shaiful said.
“We don’t know what else is down there. It would be exciting to find out,’’ he added.
Heritage expert and author Abdur-Razzaq Lubis, who is writing a book titled Sutan Puasa: Founder of Kuala Lumpur 1800s-1908 said it was common knowledge that the Masjid Jamek site was previously a Muslim burial ground.
“Construction must stop. This would be the case in Europe where there is protection of heritage value.
“The relevant authorities, Heritage Commission and Icomos should be notified immediately,’’ he said.
“There are laws covering antiquities, historic and heritage sites.
“Masjid Jamek is sacred and historic, and as such should be treated with the utmost care and respect,’’ Lubis added.
“Kuala Lumpur has lost most of its old treasures. This is probably the last remaining one; therefore its integrity should be protected,’’ he said.

Views from the National Planetarium

Peace be upon you all. Something from yesterday...

Saturday 16th April 2016. Me and wife brought the kids to the National Planetarium.

We arrived at its doorsteps exactly at 12 noon. That's when we found out and interesting show has just started.

If we want to see the same show we have to wait for the 3pm session. So we decided to explore a different part of the Planetarium.

It happened that the exhibition section is under renovation until early May. So the only thing left to do was to go to the observation deck situated on a tower.

From there we could get excellent views of the city of Kuala Lumpur and its surroundings...

Here are the views as I went around the observation deck going anti-clockwise...

Monday, April 11, 2016

Kesang river at the route from Asahan

Continuing the journey to Muar we soon arrived at the border between the states of Melaka and Johor.

See the signboard ahead? That marks the point were one has entered Johor and it is situated above a bridge.

The bridge crosses the Kesang river which is a natural boundary between Melaka and Johor. Here's a look upriver. In the background is the mountain called Gunung Ledang.

Going for a downriver view.

For the record dry season has been running the last few months. So there's not much water to be seen...

A look again at Gunung Ledang from Asahan

This is from last weekend...

Saturday 9th April 2016. After attending a wedding function in Jelai, Negeri Sembilan me and family took a rural road to get to Muar.

From the road one could get to the small town of Asahan in the state of Melaka, an access point to get to the mountain called Gunung Ledang.

From Asahan you need to travel some 7 km to get to the foot of the mountain. On the way we found a nice vantage point to have a good look at the famous mountain.

A look to the right...

A look ahead at the mountain peaks...

A look to the right.

A close up look at the peaks. Go figure which one is the summit. By the way we have been to Asahan a few times before and have been to the summit. But that is via another route...

Visit to Kuala Kubu hot spring

Just something from end of last month...

Wednesday 30th March 2016 me and wife went to the town of Kuala Kubu Baru to settle some urgent matters. On the way out we noticed a signboard leading to the local hot spring. So we decided to follow up.

We soon arrived at the said place.

We have been to a number of hot springs around the Klang Valley and this is the first time we checked out the one in Kuala Kubu...

Friday, April 01, 2016

Late stop at Lata Kekabu

From Tasik Raban we then rushed to Lata Kekabu.

It is a popular picnic spot in Lenggong with streams, rapids and waterfalls.

But to get to the closest waterfall one have to walk for quite a distance. As we arrived at 6.50 pm and sunlight was diminishing we decided to make a shoot at the stream and rapids closest to the car park.

The idea was after we're done with the shooting, everyone could take a break and take a dip at the waterfalls.

As it turned out we have to be contented with just hanging out around here. We sure don't want to take a dip in the dark especially since afterwards we have to get back to the Klang Valley which is more than 250 km away...

Looking at the western side of Tasik Raban

Once we're done shooting at the caves and its surroundings we rushed back south to get to the lake called Tasik Raban.

Pictures of the lake in the morning has been shown in the article Views from Tasik Raban resort. But that is from another part.

Here, we were looking at the western parts.

As such we could see the sun clearly in the background though slightly hidden behind the clouds. For the record these pictures were taken at around 6pm...