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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.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Recent Perak stories compiled...

OK. I did mention somewhere that the recent stories on a travel to Perak were made to support a series running in the Malay blogspot CATATAN SI MERAH SILU. Well, I've completed the series just before dusk so let me have all the links for both sites compiled for easier read.


1. Ziarah Al-Rasyid ke makam-makam lama Perak : Perjalanan malam ke Kuala Kangsar

2. The bridges across the Perak river at Kuala Kangsar

3. Mouth of Sayong river and the palace of Bukit Chandan

4. Ziarah Al-Rasyid ke makam-makam lama Perak : Sembilan makam Sultan dan lain-lain di Kuala Kangsar

5. Visiting the mystical island of Pulau Semat

6. The trip back from Pulau Semat

7. Ziarah Al-Rasyid ke makam-makam lama Perak : Makam keramat di Pulau Semat...

8. Ziarah Al-Rasyid ke makam-makam lama Perak : Lima makam Sultan di sekitar Bota

9. Going around Pasir Salak

10. Latest visit to the tombs of the two Muazzams...

11. Ziarah Al-Rasyid ke makam-makam lama Perak : Tujuh makam Sultan di sekitar Kampung Gajah ...

12. Latest visit to the old abandoned mosque at Teluk Memali (or is it just Bandar Baharu)?

13. Looking for the tombs of Sultan Shahabuddin and Sultan Iskandar Zulkarnain...

14. Ziarah Al-Rasyid ke makam-makam lama Perak : Lima makam Sultan yang susah diziarahi di sekitar Pulau Besar

15. Latest visit to the tomb of Keramat (saintly figure of) Sungai Durian

16. Ziarah Al-Rasyid ke makam-makam lama Perak : Satu makam Sultan di Teluk Intan dan satu makam yang menjadi punca segalanya buat saya

Latest visit to the tomb of Keramat (saintly figure of) Sungai Durian

In the article Looking for the tombs of Sultan Shahabuddin and Sultan Iskandar Zulkarnain... I've mentioned how hard it is to get to the tombs of the said Sultans. Travel after that was practically a breeze. From Kampung Bandar I just have to get back to Kampung Gajah and then head to Teluk Intan to visit a certain tomb which I've visited many many times.

Next, it's time to visit tomb of the last Sultan of Perak in the list. As it lies just next to town I managed to reach it in no time. But I still have to visit one more tomb before calling it a day and it lies 17 km from Teluk Intan. Its position inside a secondary jungle that is quite hard to penetrate would make it daunting but the harder part is trying to reach it before dusk bearing in mind that I left town at 7 pm.

After a quite frustrating traffic crawl I managed to reach the bridge 9 km outside of Teluk Intan. It was 7.15 pm. Could I cover the other 8 km and make the walk to penetrate the jungle before dusk?


This bridge lies 40 km from the Perak river mouth. It is the only option available to cross the Perak river anywhere near Teluk Intan. The next bridge lies another 40 km upstream at Kampung Gajah. If only I could go on a straight line from town... then the place I was heading for is only 5 km away...


I soon reached the place called Sungai Durian. As my wife haven't done her Asar (late afternoon prayers) and the way to the said tomb could be rather challenging, I decided to drop her and baby at the nearest mosque. For the record she has reached the tomb once when she was 7 months pregnant. This time I just can't risk bringing baby along knowing there's a rather hard secondary jungle to penetrate while the sky was getting dark...


Having parked the car at a local's compound I was ready to make the walk. The time was almost 7:30 pm.



You see. I have to get to the tomb before dusk because according to the Islamic Hijriah calendar, a new day starts after dusk. I wanted to be able to call the current string of tomb visits as being accomplished in a day. Behind the trees and growth lies the river of Perak...




There, I've reached the boundaries of the secondary jungle. Mind you, it is probably no more than 100 metres to the river banks while the jungle covers a stretch at most 300 metres long. That's not a huge area to look for a tomb unless it's all covered by thick growth with thorns nearly at every juncture.

The truth is looking for an old tomb inside this area is like looking for a needle in a haystack. The first time I've tried was in 2007 and I failed to find it. In 2008 I came with a cousin and a friend and somehow got a hunch it is located at the foot of the coconut trees seen in the middle. We managed to find the tomb after a hard time trying to get through the growth and thorns and that's the case too when I came in 2009 with the wife. Now I have to go inside again with the clock ticking fast...





This is the closest to a decent path going inside. Then I have to practically crawl under some branches while avoiding thorns...




Thank God I could find the tomb again. And time was 7:35 pm. But I couldn't really sigh a relief until I get back to my wife and baby at the mosque. It is only after I fetched them that the call to prayer signifying dusk and time for Maghrib, the dusk prayers came out. It is only then I could be sure I've succeeded in my mission to reach this tomb, the final tomb in my list before dusk.


OK. In the starting paragraphs of this article I've said that the tomb in Teluk Intan is that of the last Sultan of Perak on the list. With that, I've stepped foot on all 28 tombs of Sultans available in Perak. My list also included a number of tombs belonging to Perak important persons. For the record, the tomb in Sungai Durian, the final tomb in my list belong to a person called Toh Jambu or Tok Jambu.


Apart from being a warrior and a religious person he is said to be a saintly figure. While official records mentioned his ties with royalty as due to the fact that the 18th Sultan of Perak, Sultan Ahmaduddin Shah married his daughter and gave birth to the 19th Sultan, I have reason to believe that Toh Jambu himself was a person of high descent. My private research showed that he was a member of the Aceh-Bugis royalty... in fact he became a Sultan in Perak using a different identity and name but that's all I can say. Cheers! :]


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Looking for the tombs of Sultan Shahabuddin and Sultan Iskandar Zulkarnain...

In the article Latest visit to the old abandoned mosque at Teluk Memali (or is it just Bandar Baharu)? I've told that I've visited tombs of 2 Sultans and a royalty before going to the old abandoned mosque. After that I visited the tomb of another Sultan by the name of Sultan Alauddin Mansur Iskandar Muda some 2 km south of the mosque. It's a tomb I've never ever visited before because of its very remote location.

Actually I've tried once to get to this tomb 2-3 years before only to find the road badly broken and very unaccesible. This time I managed to go in far by riding a bike with a local. Even then we had to park the bike somewhere and walked a distance.

After the tomb of Sultan Alauddin Mansur Iskandar Muda, there's 2 more tombs of Sultans I haven't ever visited. It's supposed to be on the same route heading south... why, according to the signboard the tomb of the next Sultan should be just a kilometre or down the route and the other tomb another kilometre away. But I was told the route is no more accesible with some parts having to cross rivers and such apart from secondary jungles. The only way to reach it said the local is to drive up north to Kampung Gajah to get to the only bridge crossing the Perak river within a 20 km radius, then get to Kampung Bandar a distance south of Pasir Salak for a boat. I had no choice. I had to drive some 25 km to get to that place...

So here we are at the area near Kampung Bandar...


Thank God I managed to get the help of some locals for a boat...

In the yellow shirt is Pakcik Ismail accompanied by his nephew who owns the boat. I came across him while looking for the mosque of Kampung Bandar and he roped in the nephew when I told him I had to get a boat in order to reach the tombs of 2 Sultans across...


Here is a look behind after we've passed the mouth of the river Kinta. Seen in the middle is an island, to the left is the river mouth. The tomb of the 15th Sultan of Perak, Sultan Iskandar Zulkarnain is somewhere on the right bank of the mouth. We went on ahead because we wanted to get to the other tomb first, that of the 21st Sultan, Sultan Shahabuddin...



About 200 metres later we entered a swampy area...





The small opening is enough for a boat to get through. But at times we have to push the plants apart as it not only blocked the way, it could also get entangled to the boat engine and fan...






After tying our boat at the banks we climbed up only to find out two Indian persons fishing at the connecting canal. We were perplexed. How did they got in when this place is said to be inaccesible by land? Well, they did'nt realise that neither did they knew the way. It seems a friend have brought them by car, cutting through a nearby oil palm plantation. Hmm...






Anyway we went on with our business looking for the tomb of Sultan Shahabuddin...






Thank God I could spot the tomb building in the background. Even Pakcik Ismail was not sure of its location as it's been awhile since he's been around...






Next, it's time to look for the tomb of Sultan Iskandar Zulkarnain.






We retraced our steps back towards the mouth of the Kinta river. Seen on the right is the island in front of the mouth. I did a check with Google Earth and found it 300 metres long...





At this point we have entered the Kinta river. In the background is the island...








About 300 metres upstream from the mouth or so we turned right and entered what looked like a drain...






We climbed on land and followed Pakcik Ismail...







The old man pointed to the direction where he remembered the tomb to be. However no one could catch any sign of the tomb building structure...







Did he made a mistake and embarked at the wrong place? Pakcik Ismail decided to try another spot a bit upriver...






Memory dictates that the tomb shouldn't by any further from this point. Both Pakcik Ismail and his nephew who have often plyed the waters around agreed. He walked towards the river mouth to look for signs...




The thick foliage continued to deny us any glimpse. We decided to return to the boat...





Here we stopped at a point between the first stop and the second one...






Still no luck. Not only the thick foliage blocked the view, there's actually deep drains at some parts so you can't simply walk through by trial and error...





Pakcik Ismail became more perplexed. The last time he had a look at the tomb was sometime last year. Then, he could spot it easily from the river banks. But now it's nowhere to be seen. We decided to have a look again from the first stop.




After walking around for quite a distance Pakcik Ismail concurred that the tomb should lie within the high foliage seen in the background. I took this picture at a place some 300 metres (I think...) from the river banks while it is clear to them the tomb should not be more than 150 metres away. At this juncture I was too tired to verify. The last time I had a meal was breakfast around 8 am while when I took this picture, it was almost 5 pm.

Remember I have been around to a number of places before coming here. Besides, the way to high foliage was blocked by a rather big and deep drain which seemed to encircle it from all points. I have no choice but to call it day. There's still a number of places to be visited before the day ends and oh did I tell you? I had to leave the wife and little baby near Kampung Bandar as there was not enough room on the boat. So I didn't want to keep them waiting... it's been one and a half hour since I left...



Latest visit to the old abandoned mosque at Teluk Memali (or is it just Bandar Baharu)?

OK. After stopping at the tombs of the 2 Muazzams (see Latest visit to the tombs of the two Muazzams...) I visited tombs of another 2 Sultans and a member of the Perak royalty called Raja Ahmad before visiting this old abandoned mosque.


This is either my 5th or 6th visit here. I remember accidently coming across the mosque while looking for the tomb of Raja Ahmad in September 2006. The second visit happened with my good friend Zaidi @ PerpatihTulus sometime in 2007. In August 2008 I came with a number of friends while in December the same year I was joined by my then newly-wedded wife and an old friend Shamsul Yunos who was acting as a photographer for a certain project.

Plus this latest visit, that makes 5 altogether. But I do feel like I could have made another visit sometime between 2006 and 2008 but I just could not put a finger on it. That is why I said this is either my 5th or 6th visit...

Inside still lies and old pulpit which is at least 80 years old. I was told that it was once removed to a modern mosque but something supernatural happened prompting for it to be returned here, never mind that this mosque has been abandoned since at least 1997. OK, I know for sure that the area around was called Bandar Baharu (the new town), a name which came out when the 19th Sultan of Perak, Sultan Abdul Malik Mansur Shah built his capital here almost 200 years ago. But the town practically withered away and died after the Perak war against the English from 1875 to 1877.

There used to be a village here which lasted a number of decades but continous flooding has made the populace moved 2 km or so towards the inland main road. Since the place has been uninhabited for some time I was made to understand that the name Bandar Baharu has become redundant... instead the name Teluk (bay of) Memali took centre stage. Recently only did I noticed that the tomb of Sultan Abdul Malik which lies about 200 metres from the mosque is said to be at Kampung (village of) Bandar Baharu, a name associated with this place after the original Bandar Baharu which was the capital of Perak withered away. I also noticed the tomb of the 17th Sultan, Sultan Alauddin Mansur Iskandar Muda (ruled 1773-1792) which is situated some 2 km to the south is said to be in Teluk Memali.

So does this mean Teluk Memali is a distinct place from Bandar Baharu? Or does it actually include the old Perak capital? As the name Teluk Memali refers to a bay area somewhere along the Perak river, I decided to check the satellite pictures using Google Earth. A bay on a river shows when the river bents and it seemed to cover an area more than 2 km long. Anywhere there's a signboard which says the tomb of Sultan Abdul Malik is situated at Bandar Baharu, Teluk Memali. So I guess the name Teluk Memali covers the whole stretch... :]


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Latest visit to the tombs of the two Muazzams...

After Pasir Salak, we visited a number of tombs before heading to a place called Pulau Juar where lie the tombs of two Perak Sultans who have the word Muazzam in their names.


This is either my 3rd or 4th visit. The last time I was here was sometime in September 2008. Have a look at the article Makam 2 Muazzam (Tombs of the 2 Muazzams) written in the blogspot SENI LAMA MELAYU (MALAY OLDEN ART) six months earlier...

Anyway this is the first time I brought the wife along... and of course the first time for baby Al-Rasyid...


We started by paying respect to the first Muazzam, Sultan Abdullah Muazzam Shah, Perak's 19th Sultan (ruled from 1818 or so till 1830).



I'm glad that baby Al-Rasyid could get along...




Next, the second Muazzam, the 23rd Sultan, Sultan Jaafar Muazzam Shah (ruled 1857-1865).






Besides his tomb lies one marked by Aceh gravestones. If I'm not mistaken this belongs to his wife, Wan Mahtra. For the record, Sultan Jaafar and Wan Mahtra were parents to the 26th Sultan, Sultan Abdullah II who was banished to the Seychelles Island 1877 for his involvement in the killing of the first British resident to Perak, J.W.W. Birch.


Going around Pasir Salak

In the article The trip back from Pulau Semat I've mentioned how me, the wife and baby had to encircle a mystical island on a boat before we got back to the jetty at Manong. Well, from there we went to Parit, Bota Kanan and on to Kampung Gajah visiting some old tombs along the way. We ended up spending the night at Kampung Gajah. As it lies near the historical place known as Pasir Salak, we decided to pay a visit the following morning.




After crossing the bridge across the Perak river the we could the signboard to the Pasir Salak Historical Complex pointing ahead...




However I prefer to take the left turn to use the rural road named after the Maharajalela, a famous palace official who is very closely related to the history of Pasir Salak.


For the record, the Maharajalela (I think the equivalent Western term would be the palace chamberlain) was involved in killing the first British resident to Perak, J.W.W. Birch.



This happened not far from this part of Pasir Salak and that is why a historical complex was built here to recount what happened.

In front of the main entrance lies the tomb of certain person called Sipuntum or Seputum who is said to have delivered to killing blow against Birch.


At the southern end of the complex lies the old mosque of Pasir Salak.





Behind it there's a monument dedicated to Malay warriors involved in the killing. You see, the Englishman had been such an arrogant nuisance to the local populace. The British might consider his killing as a mob act of revolt but for the Malays it was a brave act of dignity to drive domineering colonial forces out of their homeland. Hmm... better read the old article The main players of the Perak-British war as depicted at the fort of Ngah Ibrahim... for more understanding.





We then took a rest inside the mosque.






Here's a view of the Perak river which ran alongside the complex. Oh, Birch was killed somewhere along this part...




The old houses which forms part of the complex.







Across the road there lies this building which if I'm not mistaken is a museum. Just a reminder to myself, this is the 474th article in this blogspot...