Last night while forcing myself to sleep, a thought occurs to mind - the minute I got my hands on the Net, I would do an article called "The number 191 and what it means to me".
You see, the day before when I looked at this blogspot at noon, the hit counter below shows that it has been visited 19,100+ times. The number 191 has a certain meaning for me.... It signifies the end of a particular episode in life and the beginning of a new one. Hopefully a better one...
For the record, I've written 3 novels in Malay, under the series "Berpetualang ke Aceh" (could literally be translated as the (adventurous trip to Aceh") and all have the page number 191 as the beginning of a chapter. In book one sub-titled "Mencari Diri dan Erti" ("Looking for self and meaning"), the chapter is called "Legenda Merah Silu: Kemunculan Sultan Malikus Salih ("The legend of Merah Silu: The appearance of Sultan Malikus Salih", the pious king). In book two "Membela Syiar yang Asal" ("Advocating the true faith), the page 191 simply starts a chapter called Bab 9 (the 9th chapter) while in book three "Sirih Pulang ke Gagang?" ("The prodigal son returns?"), it opens up the chapter called "Tok Pulau Manis dan beberapa warisan Aceh" ("Tok Pulau Manis and some heritage of Aceh").
The chapter in book one basically talks about how a central historical character of the series, the pious king Sultan Malikus Salih formerly known as Merah Silu came to being. For information, he founded the twin kingdoms of Samudera and Pasai (situated in modern Aceh) sometime in the middle of 13th Century AD and the making of Samudera was said to have been mentioned by no less than the Prophet Muhammad himself, some 600 years earlier!
The chapter in book two talks about how the hero of the story, a certain Muhammad Al-Aminul Rasyid was about to leave the island of Pulau Kampai south of Aceh when the old man with whom he was staying there for 3 days offered him his humble abode for him to continue staying. Then there's the chapter in book three talking about the famous 17th century Terengganu religious scholar Tok Pulau Manis and his relationship with Aceh among other things... A chapter relating him to his great-grandfather Sharif Muhammad Al-Baghdadi who could have been the mysterious figure called Nakhoda Khalifah who called at Aceh's port of Perlak. For the record, Sharif Muhammad could have been the celebrated figure known as Muhammad Nafs Az-Zakiyah. This grandson of Prophet Muhammad was a main player in the overthrow of the Umaiyad Chalipate in Baghdad...
Anyway, when the number of hits in this blogspot reached 19,100++ (that is 191 hundred and plus) I thought that it does mark the end of an episode and the start of a new one for the blogspot! You see, this blogspot is the first I started among 3. The others, the Malay-language CATATAN SI MERAH SILU and the bi-lingual SENI LAMA MELAYU (MALAY OLDEN ART) were started just a few days later, that is if I remember correctly. But as it turns out, CATATAN SI MERAH SILU has already garnered 90,000++ hits while SENI LAMA MELAYU (MALAY OLDEN ART) got almost 37,000! Whatever, it means the least popular of my blogspots have passed the 19,100 mark meaning it is the start of a new episode for all my blogspots in fact for my life in general too.
Thus the thought kept playing in my mind last night making me hope that the number 19,100+ still stands today so that the story I intend to do would be more relevant to the current situation. As it turns out, the hit counter was at 19,258 when I opened this blog after 1pm and so I have missed the boat. But since I still feel I must still talk about it, I went on making this post... The only difference being the title is "The number 191 and what next", otherwise it would have been "The number 191 and what it means to me"!
So what's next? Let's just recap a bit of history. This blogspot was started November 2006 to get me writing in English again after leaving my post as a journalist with the major Malaysian English daily The New Straits Times. It was also to be the tool for the English translation/adaptation of my Malay novel series "Berpetualang ke Aceh"... Hence the name of the blogspot which could also explain why it is not as popular as the other two... Because the Malay title could have initially attracted Malay readers only to turn them around because the contents is 100 per cent in English while English readers couldn't be bothered because they couldn't comprehend the title in the first place!
Anyway, I never got to do the translation/adaptation properly, at least no yet... But I managed to get my writings in English going especially on the travels made since then.
Nowadays, I feel like age is catching up. For the record I'm 38 but still walks about as if I'm still 18 despite my muscles and bones actually aching up! I want, in fact I have to slow down on my travellings. Instead, I would like to write more about old sessions of travelling (and perhaps streams of thoughts) which I haven't got around to relate properly in any of my blogspots.
About a month ago, I had a reunion with my old college chaps, England-bound students doing "A" Levels under PPP/ITM a prepatory college, the class of 1988 of Batch 7. It was the first time we met in a group after 20 years! Most of us have lost touch after graduating from England in the mid 90s... The ensuing conversation made me realise how much things I've forgotten... Maybe because I was so busy having my own head stuck up my own arse especially when I was with the girls instead of the guys! Then again, I could have been so self-centred or simply that most of my grey matters have withered away so soon...
God... It would have alright if I don't remember things I was not involved in. But my friends were relating some of the things which supposedly have happened right in front of my eyes including the tricks I used to play on some of the guys and I could only nod in agreement because I could not remember zit! So I've decided, my next project or series of writing for this blogspot would be my college days from the start... And once that's done, I'm going to move to my days at the University in London and some of the things that have happened then!
To my friends from those days. Watch out for what's coming next. I might not remember all that have happened but I would to try to relate it as best as I could recount, of course from my own eyes... But if my dear friends wish, you could have it from your eyes too even if it means I have to swallow my own shit! To fill in any gaps, feel free to comment and give suggestions in this blogspot... Or simply type and relate what happened from your own views and I would try to fit it in the coming stories. Please do help to make me remember again even if it means exposing my own failings! Cheers... :]