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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".


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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.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Gunung (mount) Banang in Batu Pahat, Johor...

Greetings all... Glad to inform that I'm currently in Muar, Johor to rest after completing an almost 2 week trip covering Johor's main districts of Batu Pahat, Pontian, Johor Bahru, Kota Tinggi, Mersing, Kluang, Segamat and of course Muar... After a week up not making any updates, so come the time to tell the tale which would be distributed as I please both in Malay, English and mixed languages at all my 3 blogspots ya... That is this one, CATATAN SI MERAH SILU and SENI LAMA MELAYU (MALAY OLDEN ART) . So let the session be opened with a story about Gunung or Mount Banang in Batu Pahat...


In the background, near the town of Batu Pahat lies a set of hills (or mountains depending on how you define it)... One peak on the road leading to Air Hitam is known as Bukit or Gunung Soga, the other, on the road to Pontian, comprising a few more peaks with the highest one rising above 400 metres or about 1,400 feet tall is known as Gunung Banang...

The one seen above taken from an old mosque (which I will feature later in the blogspot SENI LAMA MELAYU (MALAY OLDEN ART) ) is Gunung Banang. Since I was small, then when I became a student at Sekolah Menengah Sains Johor (Johor Secondary Science School) in Kluang, a full-boarding school more than 20 years ago, I have many times made trips pass Batu Pahat and looked in wonder at the peak. But it is only about 2 weeks ago on December 24th 2007 that I actually took steps to make that climb.

It came unplanned. I was going to Batu Pahat to visit an elderly person, en-route to Kluang which figures in the current travelling plan. After all, the last time I was in Kluang was in 2001 and the last time I visited my old school there was sometime in 1987!

When I called a friend who works in Kuala Lumpur to check if he has any plans to go to Kota Tinggi (I was contemplating of going there later on and he is a native), he happened to be on holiday at his in-laws in Seri Medan which is about half-an-hour trip by car to Batu Pahat. That's when we decided to meet up and so on...

Above is a picture taken close to the peak of Gunung Banang...


Now, as I've said before, the reason I wanted to go up was I have long felt like I must go to the top one day... The yearning was made stronger when about 2 years ago, I read a certain story about Aceh's famous conqueror Sultan Iskandar Muda who ruled in the early 17th Century.

It is said that one day he was heading for Melaka to fight the Portuguese colonials there. His wife then (he had one another equally famous wife said to have died early), a Pahang princess told him not to destroy Banang (the conqueror had a reputation of grazing down any opposition to the ground) because up there lies 3 tombs of Wali (saints) of Allah...

I tried to check if there's any other place known as Banang within all possible routes from Aceh to Melaka. It seems there's only the Gunung Banang in Batu Pahat. Besides, there are Malay folk songs mentioning about the peak. Why, one even relates the mythical princess of Gunung Ledang (very famous in Malay folklores) to the princess of Gunung Tahan (at almost 2,200 metres or 7000 feet plus the highest peak in Peninsular Malaysia) and then the princess of Gunung Banang. Then again that was the only song I've heard mentioning about a princess living on Gunung Tahan what more on Gunung Banang. Wait a minute... Or did the song mentioned about the same princess? That is only one princess who have been on top of those 3 peaks? I forgot...


We went all the way to the top. Too bad it is a restricted area guarded by no less than the army itself! Is there a secret to be guarded up there? Perhaps the tombs of the said 3 saints? Or a residence of a mythical princess...

One thing's for sure... There is a telecommunication tower up there... And when I checked again from the ground later, there are actually 2...

Now, I've been on top of many hills and mountains in and around Malaysia and there's many with telecommunication towers on top. In fact I've climbed up a few towers myself just to get a better view of the surroundings. Not all are guarded, what more with the military carrying sub-machineguns like at Gunung Banang. So what's the deal here?


That's my friend Zaidi taking a smoke... We've tried to talk to the guards asking to let us in or at least walk outside the perimetre of the fences surrounding the telecommunication tower on top... But even that is out of the question. In fact we have to go down the road by at least 100 metres pass a sign-post that says restricted area ahead.

It's not like we're going to spy on anything or breach the security. We just wanted to look around for any trace of old tombs. Or if we can't find anything, then at least let us go to were there's a clearing so we could see the town of Batu Pahat from the top (or any place near and high enough) of Gunung Banang...


Well, what can we say. The only clearing that would provide the view we seek is right on top within the restricted area. So after smelling the fresh air enough to our satisfaction, we made the trip down...


Here is a view as we approached the feet of Gunung Banang... In the background, I believe is the hills that made up the area known as Gunung (mount) Ma'okil in Muar. I guess that's all about Gunung Banang. At least we've stepped our foot up there....

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

thank for the picture, me too is a muar boy from birth.

Joe of 5E1 1975 said...

Radzi, you should follow the jungle track if you want to find the tombs. I have been to the peak in year 1972. Three quarter way, I saw this huge stone shaped like a ship. There was an opening at the side of the stone more like a cave. However I did enter into the cave and wondered inside. It was quite a long walk into the cave when I finally stopped as I met this group of Buddhist monks meditating. Recalling back, I did not see any tombs though I heard about it years later after the trip.

Lynelle said...

Well written article.

SJ said...

Good to know! I was poking around on the internet to see if there were any decent mountains in Johor to get away for a week. Your blog came up, and after reading the article, I'm thinking Gunung Banang is not the solution. :) Thanks! Very helpful.

wakdanial said...

salam bro..sya dah smpai ke puncak gunung jerai..even kt sini pn ada army post...xyh lah marah askar2 tuh..dieorg pn xnk berjaga kt atas tuh..tmbh biler malam pulak...