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.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Pulau Besar 1: Enter the 'big' island!

Greetings dear friends and readers. I'm currently in Ipoh, Perak and still travelling on the road after leaving the comfort of my auntie's place in Ampang almost 3 weeks ago. As promised, I would add more pictorial stories here based on a travelling session starting December last year which practically lasted into February to cover places on the East Coast, the South and then North Peninsular. Meanwhile, stories of my current travel can be gleamed at my all-Malay blogspot CATATAN SI MERAH SILU .
Let me continue from where we left off here on Thursday, from the story titled In Kuala Lipis to settle an old 'debt'?. Chronologically, after Kuala Lipis, the next story should be on the town Muar, the place I was born at as after returning to Kuala Lumpur in that particular session of travelling, I went down South to be in my hometown in time for the Aidil Adha celebration.
But following some urge sometime ago, I already did some pictorial stories on these in Pictures in Muar, Some more pictures in Muar and Pictures in Muar 3. Thus let us start this new session of story-telling on the island known as Pulau Besar in Melaka, a mysterious place said to be full of mystical powers. Go on... Enjoy it!

Third January 2007. After spending some time with the family in Muar, Johore, it is time to return to Kuala Lumpur. Besides, after that, I intend to head up North. A cousin who is an engineer was temporarily stationed at Seberang Prai and he asked me to join him and stay at a comfortable hotel there whenever I'm ready.

Since I'm already somewhere near Melaka, I might as well visit Pulau Besar, the mystical Island I last dropped by at maybe more than six months ago. So without much further ado, I took the non-express bus to Melaka... Dropped at the Anjung Batu junction some 15km before the historical city and got on the ferry to the island, the biggest off the coast of the state of Melaka.

As it turned out, the water was very choppy that day, the worse I've experienced in the 9-10 trips I've made to the place the last 4 years or so. Often the ferry felt like it was about to overturn as the waves tossed it up and about, at times sea-sickness began to set in reminding me of the time when I was small travelling in dad's car meandering through the old route of KL to Raub, Pahang and then having to stop by the roadside to throw up!

As the bad weather continued without any sign of abetting, came to mind, tales of how some boats went down because there's people on it who wanted to go to Pulau Besar with bad intentions. The story goes that the island is guarded by mystical powers which require those who come to maintain purity at heart. But that was some time ago when the unseen powers that are said to permeate the island were much more potent. Nowadays with the advent of a more liberal modern life, a lot of taboos have been broken causing some of the said powers to 'migrate' elsewhere!

The weather was still choppy but at least we were nearing the island. People said, although Pulau Besar is not as 'potent' as before, still there were cases of boats going down and people drowning because the 'powers-that-be' don't like some of them onboard. Maybe there were people trying to bring alcoholic drinks which are forbidden in Islam, maybe there were couples on board who intend to use the island as the place to satisy their hormones without being caught? As for me, I intend to make a visit and pay some respect at the tomb of some elders which are said to be saints of Islam. Hopefully the journey would eventually smoothen up!

There, the jetty is already in sight. But we are still some 200 metres off the coast. Maybe I can breathe a sight of relief while keeping my fingers crossed...

Ah... Now I can sigh with real relief... Time to walk... At least I know I'm a much better walker than a swimmer...

At the end of the jetty one can see the signboard to a resort, the biggest on the 170 hectare or so island. This place has changed names and ownership at least three times, they say because the owners can't make ends meet. Despite the Melaka's government attempt to turn the island into a full-fledged resort, despite its peaceful and beautiful surroundings, despite it being the only island within a hundred mile radius worth having a holiday on, there seemed to be some unseen obstructions that hampers any attempt to develop it beyond a certain limit. Perhaps the 'powers-that-be' has a hand in it? Perhaps they don't want the island to be fully developed as a resort destination knowing that often in such resorts, there would be moral transgressions, people drinking, couples out of wedlock fornicating and such?

Rather than walking through parts of the resort, I prefer using the coastal route. Suddenly an old dream of 7 years ago or so came to mind, a dream, where I embarked on an unfamiliar jetty somewhere only to be greeted by two ghostly figures which managed to spook me out. That was then before I learned of my ancestry and how it would totally change my life later on. As it turned out, I finally decided to step on Pulau Besar in 2003... That's when I found out, the jetty in that dream and surroundings looked exactly as the real one greeting me at the island!

Not only that, along the coastal route, there exist two mysterious tombs belonging to two legendary figures, one religious another a warrior known simply as Tok Putih and Tok Janggut. Are they the ones who greeted me in the dream? Maybe, I don't know... As to who they really are and which era they came from , the stories vary. But most pointed out Tok Putih as a religious teacher of saintly status while Tok Janggut is the warrior from Aceh who was the bodyguard...

This the tomb just outside the building which houses the main tombs at Pulau Besar especially the tomb of someone known as Sultanul Ariffin Sheikh Ismail. This tomb is said to be of someone related to Sheikh Ismail, perhaps a son, grandchild or so...

OK, I've got to run... Someone's waiting at the place I'm staying in Ipoh for lunch. Cheers! :]

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