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.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dream of a lil' Luke Skywalker...

Look at the above picture. Can you see anything interesting?
Tell you what. Let me zoom in on the same picture. Can you see it now?
What happened was one morning, I went to Kuala Lumpur from Kajang. As I got closer to the city centre, there looms in the horizon the Telekom Tower at Bukit Nenas and the Petronas Twin Towers at Jalan Ampang with a major part of the buildings hidden under the clouds.

Now, it is not often you get to see the buildings this way. The previous day it has been raining cats and dogs the whole day and this could explain why the clouds appeared in such a manner the following morning.

What is interesting is how the top of the buildings look like it is on clouds. That sort of reminded me of the giant's castle in the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and the old Malay folklore of the kayangan, kingdoms up there on the clouds.

Hmm... suddenly I remembered mum telling the story in bed when I was about 2 years old or so. And everytime I would ask for the same story on Jack to be repeated. I learned about kayangan a bit later when I'm able to read. It is an oft repeated theme in many ancient folklores that I often wished one day I would get whisked away to the land above the clouds, maybe by riding one of the winged horses.

Here's a zoom in of the previous picture. For those who don't know, the Telekom Tower is at the centre and the Petronas Towers on the right, slightly hidden also by the blue signboard. Now I know the Telekom Tower stood at a height of 421 metres, the Petronas Towers at 452 metres. Both heights include slender telecommunications towers. Still both buildings appeared to be of the same height as the slightly shorter Telekom Tower actually stood on top of Bukit (hill of) Nenas which should add another 20-30 metres to its overall elevation.

OK, I understand that normally the lowest rain cloud should be at 1,000 metres above sea level. That should be way above the towers. But since the observation deck, the lowest part of the diamond-like section which could accomodate people (the rest of the tower are practically parts of a tall hollow column with elevator shafts) at the Telekom Tower stood at around 276 metres high, then this picture shows the clouds must be at most that high and at its lowest parts perhaps under 100 metres off the ground.

So this cloud might actualy be a fog on its way up. That could explain why it is so low from the sky. Then again how do you actually define a fog and differentiate in from a cloud? Up there in the sky you can call it a cloud but down there on the ground it is just a fog.

I remembered when the myth inside me regarding clouds was first broken when I was a small boy. Before that, I used to believe that the clouds are solid enough for humans to walk on it and that I got from reading many fairytales and watching cartoon shows. I remembered watching cartoons which show little clouds appearing in one's room before letting out rain along with thunderbolts of lightning. Thus I used to dream of two things - one, I would one day walk and play on the clouds and second, I would catch a small cloud to keep in my house, perhaps as some sort of 'pet'.

One day my parents brought me and the brothers up to the Cameron Highlands. At a height of over 6,000 feet, the top is often concealed by the clouds and as we started climbing by car up the winding road, I set up a plastic bag which I often used to catch bugs and grasshoppers. But as we neared the top, the clouds that I saw earlier have all disapperead. Instead I only saw patches of fogs and that's when I learned that, one... there's no such things as solid clouds, two... since there's no solid clouds, you could never catch a 'small' cloud as seen in the cartoon shows and three... fogs and clouds are practically the same... just a collection of small droplets of water hanging in the air.

Anyway, looking at the top of the Telekom Tower and Petronas Towers set up the fertile imagination back on fire. For one, it reminds me of an episode from the epic film series Star Wars where there was a city in the clouds. Second it made me think again about the origin of the name of the place Rembau in Negeri Sembilan.

You see, the story goes that the name Rembau came from the word Merbau, a type of local tree which could grow up to gigantic proportions. The story added that there used to exist a huge and high Merbau tree which reaches the clouds.

All this while I thought this was an exaggeration. But looking at the clouds covering the Kuala Lumpur skyline, I realised this is quite possible after all. It is no exaggeration that some local timber trees can rise up to a height of 100 metres. Since the clouds (or fog? depends on your perception really) in the picture do go down to that height, why must it be impossible for the Merbau tree to touch the clouds? That's all... :]

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