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, June 20, 2010

The new but boring train stations between Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh

Peace be upon you all. Now is the time to continue the train travel-related stories. The last article on this was Kuala Lipis new town made 27th May based on the travel on the East Coast route 15-16 May. A week later me and photographer Faliq from Karnadya publishing made a trip to the north and this is a story...

After we left Kuala Lumpur the train made its first town in Tanjung Malim, a border town in the state of Perak.

Tanjung Malim now have a new station as part of the railway double-tracking project which would cover the distance along the Peninsular's West Coast route from Johor Bahru in Johor furthest south to Padang Besar in Perlis furthest north.

One the look at the station and you could be awed at its modern design and size. Compare it to the old station which could be seen here at the end of the platform...

There, a closer look from the end of the platform. See the old station in the middle? I guess folks in Tanjung Malim must be proud that they now have a new station which could be compared to the ones in developed countries such as in Europe.

Here is one of the new shuttle trains that ply the route from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh. The double-tracking project has been fully completed along the route and the shuttle trains now ply it to and fro 5 times a day.

This is the our next stop...

Like at Tanjung Malim, it is also modern and of immense size if not just simply long...

This stop is at Sungkai. But the word Sungkai inscribed smaller the those for the stations before and after could easily fool you into thinking you have arrived at Tapah Road (as it is the top of the more prominent words).

Next stop is at this station...

At this point I have become bored at the design of the stations...

While the modernity is welcomed, the similarity and uniformity could be tiresome...

And here were at at Kampar but can you tell the difference?

The only way you can tell the difference is if you walked out of the train and get to either end of the platform where you can better see the view outside.

You see, the old stations made from wood were also rather similar and uniform but at least they have character...

Apart from certain rustic elements that made it quaint, the much smaller size of the old stations allowed the view outside to dominate giving way for distinct qualities of each place to stamp its mark as it could be clearly seen from inside the trains. It is not a bad thing to modernise the stations and have it all covered for passengers' convenience. But something must be done to make each station stands out on its own...

To the railway operater KTMB (Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad) let me humbly make these suggestions. First the words bearing the names of each station should be made MORE PROMINENT that that of the station before and after. Second they should have drawings, paintings, murals or sculptures to reflect the DISTINCTIVE FLAVOUR of each station, such as that of handicraft, unique building and history or popular picnic spots at each place.

Another way of doing this is to extend the height of the boards bearing the names of the stations and the ones before and after. Perhaps it is best to put the name of the station PROMINENTLY on top of the board followed by a painting describing the place below. And then only you have the names of the stations before and after...

Luckily there are stations like the one in Ipoh which has it old parts preserved (pictures will be presented in the next article). Then again Ipoh has a huge concrete train station made during the British colonialist days. Obviously this distinct quality could not be emulated for all the modern stations as it would be much too costly. Besides it is a quality which makes the Ipoh (and the old Kuala Lumpur station too actually) distinct from the rest because of history, not just architecture and design. The best advice should be what I have laid out under the previous picture. It wouldn't cost that much to built distinctive drawings, paintings, murals or sculptures for each station and it would cost even less if it is made as extensions to the present boards bearing the names of the stations...

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