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, November 12, 2006

Starry starry night

Recognise this very famous painting? What about the lyrics below?...

Starry starry night,
paint your palette blue and grey
Look out on a summer's day
with eyes that know the darkness in my soul
Shadows on the hills,
sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills,
in colors on the snowy linen land
Now I understand
what you tried to say to me
How you suffered for you sanity
How you tried to set them free
They would not listen they did not know how,
perhaps they'll listen now
Starry starry night,
flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue
Colors changing hue,
morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand
For they could not love you,
but still your love was true
And when no hope was left in sight,
on that starry starry night
You took your life as lovers often do,
But I could have told you, Vincent,
This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you
Starry, starry night,
portraits hung in empty halls
Frameless heads on nameless walls
with eyes that watch the world and can't forget.
Like the stranger that you've met,
the ragged man in ragged clothes
The silver thorn of bloody rose,
lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

Got it yet? No? How could you! How could any self-respecting people of gentle feelings and straight-from-the-heart expression of arts not recognise the lovely portrait of a beautiful night sky up there or have a hint of the lyrics of a very famous song composed in dedication to the painter and the painting itself?

Alright! Alright! Perhaps we are products of a different era... Perhaps it's not fair to expect everyone to recognise this painting and song right away. So let me give it to you straight then... The picture is of a painting by the famous late 19th Century Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh and the lyrics are for the song written by Don McLean in 1971 after reading a book on the man. The name of the painting is "Starry starry night". So what happened to Van Gogh to spur such a childish but pure painting (from one point of view) and the tragic life reflected in the lyrics? I'll let you find out yourself... Just google the subject, that's what they do these days. As for why I brought it up, well here is what blogspots are for....

Once in a while, when the pressure of being a born non-conformist trying to make sense inside a very commercialised world of contrived values and much shadow play becomes too much, I develop a very strong urge to just disappear into nothingness. Call it what you will, to die or to just cease to exist... That is what comes to mind when things got too messy inside my head that I used to solat, pray totally in tears and come the final sujud, prostration, I used to actually ask God, please just send some gigantic foot ala Monty Python Circus and crash flat my head and put me into total oblivion.

Hmm... That's kind of gruesome and silly at the same time but on the final analysis, a rather cowardly departure out of the challenges and problems of the world you might say... Well, you are right. I can relate to the lyrics (perhaps you'll get a idea better as to why when more postings appear here to reflect my real thoughts) and I particularly feel melancholic when the song arrives at this juncture - For they could not love you, but still your love was true. And when no hope was left in sight, on that starry starry night, You took your life as lovers often do, But I could have told you, Vincent,This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you... Kind of poetically very sad isn't it... Just kind of?... Very sad indeed especially when you hear the song beautifuly rendered ala Don McLean with the right touch rife with feelings of loneliness and the longing to be understood.

Oh! What is it I wanted to say just now? Yep... At times, especially when the pressure got too much, that particular portion of the song sort of urge me to do the same as Van Gogh did. But I always remember, as a Muslim it is not only sinful but cowardly to take one's own life. And from the understanding and testimonies (don't ask me to elaborate on this OK...) of the after-life and the many, many worlds that exist beyond our own, suicied is hardly an escape from our problems... Chances are you will be made to repeat some particular (and spectacular) failure in life again and again in some sort of purgatory world that it is much better to suffer whatever problems that pushed you to contemplate suicide in the first place. So instead of letting the pressure makes your judgement go haywire, better just accept it as the Will of God in His infinite wisdom and with faith too believe, Insyaallah everything will turn out better soon.

Never give up for God the Wise knows what He's doing... And remember this, God is the Most Loving, very very much caring of you than the most caring person you can imagine, even your mother which would gladly sacrifice her life so you can lead a better one. So why the heck is God pounding you into near submission until you began to consider suicide as way to escape all the pain? Why does He let you be immersed in suffering, putting you down, flat rock-bottom down when you are trying to fight for what you truly believe is the truth while some liars, cheats and crooks have their way and their wishes granted however wicked it may be? Herein lies the difference between those with faith and those who don't have it. And herein also lies the value of religion.

Those with faith knows and believe God knows what is best for us, always. Thus there is the Quranic saying sometimes you think something is good for you but in reality it is bad. Sometimes you think something is bad but it is actually good. You might not know the true value of things yet as we being humans tend to judge things without the proper perspective and knowledge... Often this saying is proven only when we have the mettle and grit to struggle and persevere till the truth unfolds in due time, remember that... Due time! So obviously no coward, what more a suicide case can find out the true value of things as they have quit the game long before the actual score is shown and revealed.

Imagine this... You thought you are at the end of the game, life itself maybe. Everywhere your world crumbles around you and you see no way out at all, total disaster... No way out except escape of the highest degree, call it suicide, whatever. Whicever way, the message is to escape and forget any struggle. So of course you thought it best to call it quit and you did. But after a while or so, perhaps the next day you discover (in the afterlife?), all your lost were somehow miraclous returned and not only that, you'll get extra, manifold in return as the "fruits" of having to suffer your previous discomfort.... With the condition of course that you are still in the game to receive it. Otherwise you only get these thing returned on paper or in theory because you have forfeited the right to enjoy the rewards... Not clear enough?

Perhaps the better analogy is like playing in a stock market. You have been holding this lot of shares which price has been continously falling down until you became sure the only way to salvage something is to sell it off immediately to the next willing buyer. And often in this circumstance, a willing buyer would step in when you are ready to let things go at a ridiculously low price. Fearing the rock bottom is yet to come, you agreed, your mind starting to contemplate any way of making up the loss through purchase at a different counter of shares. But right after the transaction is completed, meaning the falling shares already changed hands, the trend is reversed. Before you know it, the shares already double the price you bought in the first place meaning you lost the opportunity to double your earnings.... And not only that, the person who bought it from you for a pittance got the benefit many-many fold in just a few seconds! How would you feel if this situation actually happens? Chances are you might start taking up head-hanging, for the rest of your live... That is if you haven' commit suicide yet! Ha! Ha!

Well, I started this posting to share some thoughts on Starry Starry Nights and the feelings it evokes. Before I get carried further away, let's call it a day OK... Cheers!!! :]

Oh... Just crossed my thought. Two things...

One, God said in the Quran (don't remember which verse OK), you claim you are a believer and you have yet to be tested. So if you are a believer, expect yourself to be tried, the more you believe and have faith, the stronger, almost to the point of despair.

Second, suddenly I vaguely recalled an old tale, Persian I think. A king ask a wise man to inscribe certain words on his ring so that whenever the king looks at it, he would not over-indulge or forget himself when something pleases him and would not be so upset to the point of giving-up when plagued by troubles. The wise man took time to think and did the inscriptions. The king looked at the ring and was deeply pleased. The inscription: "This too shall pass!". Got it?

No comments: