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, April 17, 2016

Exciting discovery of old Muslim Gravestones at Kuala Lumpur's Masjed Jamek

OK. Four days ago an exciting news regarding some new discoveries at the Masjid Jamek (main mosque) ok Kuala Lumpur came to the forefront on the Intenet. For researchers like me who are always on the lookout for more proofs to help strengthen the Malay's position in Malaysia this is very good news indeed. So let me copy it lock, stock and barrel. From the newspaper The Star's online portal which could be accessed here...

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Rock-solid proof of 200-year-old graves

Precious artefacts: A Masjid Jamek staff member showing the gravestones believed to be from the early 18th century. —AZMAN GHANI/The Star
Precious artefacts: A Masjid Jamek staff member showing the gravestones believed to be from the early 18th century. —AZMAN GHANI/The Star
CONTRACTORS digging up the vicinity of the century-old Masjid Jamek in Kuala Lumpur for the River of Life (RoL) project stumbled upon several gravestones believed to be from the early 18th century.

So far more than 45 gravestones, mostly granite and a few marble as well as sandstone ones dating back almost 200 years were found buried near the construction site from December 2015 to March this year.
It is learnt that the RoL project conservator had alerted workers who are currently constructing a water fountain at the site to be on the lookout for more artefacts to emerge.
The site where the project is taking shape was a Muslim cemetery two centuries ago.
The gravestones that were recovered were tagged and put aside to be studied. It is yet to be established which party will be studying the gravestones.
The site where the first gravestones were found. Construction workers who were building a water fountain here discovered the gravestones. (Right) A cat lying amidst gravestones found earlier which have been tagged and placed inside the mosque storage. —Photos: AZMAN GHANI/The Star
The site where the first gravestones were found. Construction workers who were building a water fountain here discovered the gravestones.

National Heritage site
The Masjid Jamek area and its surroundings have been declared a National Heritage site by the National Heritage Commission (JWN).
Contractors have been told that any artefacts found at the site are subject to the compliance with the National Heritage Act 2005 and the workers have a legal responsibility to report any findings to JWN.
“These are exciting discoveries,’’ said Masjid Jamek head administrator, Ustaz Mohd Faisal Tan Mutalib.
“Our knowledge of the area’s history is limited, but what we do know is that there was a Muslim graveyard here in the early 18th century,’’ Mohd Faisal said.
“The graveyard was relocated to Jalan Ampang in several phases between early 1900s to the late 1970s.
“There were expectations that some remnants of it would show up sooner or later ever since construction began,’’ he said.
“To find old gravestones, some with legible writing on it from 18th century is wonderful,’’ Mohd Faisal added.
The 108-year-old Masjid Jamek is currently undergoing major upgrading works which is part of the RM4bil RoL project.
Phase 1, which started in 2012 involved the exterior and interior of the mosque, while phase 2 involves landscaping work.
Masjid Jamek, is under Precinct 7, which is one of the 11 precincts under the 10.7km RoL project and is being developed into a riverfront esplanade.
The gravestones found earlier have already been tagged and placed inside the mosque storage. Yes, thats a cute black cat.
A cat lying amidst gravestones found earlier which have been tagged and placed inside the mosque storage.
Must be documented
Mohd Faisal said more than 100 years ago, the area where the mosque sits was called Kampung Rawa.
“The village was sandwiched between Jawa Street (now Jalan Tun Perak) and Malay Street.
The site included the entire stretch that is now Burger King, 7-Eleven and the Masjid Jamek LRT station.
It was the first official Muslim cemetery in Kuala Lumpur.
During the late 1800s, the confluence of Sungai Klang and Sungai Gombak was the centre of commercial activities.
The community who lived here were mostly Malays from the Rawa, Mendaling, Minangkabau, Javanese and Bugis tribe who formed the early settlers of Kuala Lumpur carrying out tin mining work for a living.
“Those days, when people died, their bodies would be buried in front of their homes. So it is not surprising to find old gravestones in this area.
“Some of them are quite grand and beautiful.
“It needs to be documented,’’ said Mohd Faisal.
“Back in the day, prominent Acehnese merchants would travel with their gravestones with them.
“Some of the stones have unique deigns which must be studied further,’’ he said.
Faisal added that the early Malay settlers lived in the northern side of the Klang River while the Chinese settlers occupied the southern part.
A consultant attached with Ekovest Bhd, who was appointed the project delivery partner of the RoL project, said: “We have been finding all sorts of artefacts from the project site since late last year. First it was broken ceramic bowls, glasses, bottles and pots,’’ he said.
“The first few gravestones emerged on the last few days of December last year.
“Some of them looked quite fancy, while others had Jawi scripts embossed on them,’’ he said.
One of the gravestones was of Achehnese influence as seen on the lotus-like design on its head.
The consultant said that in 2013, contractors working at the site unearthed an old staircase adjoining Masjid Jamek, which was long forgotten.
The staircase was part of the original mosque design from more than a hundred years ago.
Transparency needed
Meanwhile, advocates for conservation are calling for transparency over the findings as they say that the gravestones are a matter of public interest and that people should be made aware of its existence.
“The descendents have the right to know about these discoveries and they should be told,’’ said International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos) Malaysia chairman Datuk Hajeedar Majid.
“Some of the inscriptions on the gravestones are legible, with dates and names as well as time of birth and death. People must be informed about this,’’ he added.
Hajeedar, who is also the National Heritage Council chairman, urged those handling the project to report and surrender all artefacts to JWN, who is the right authority to study the gravestones.
Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Centre for Global Archaeological Research officer Shaiful Idzwan Shahidan said the discovery was tangible proof of the early Malay settlement in the city.
“It must be documented and studied further and we urge conservators and the Government to work hand-in-hand to find out more about the gravestones,’’ Shaiful said.
“We don’t know what else is down there. It would be exciting to find out,’’ he added.
Heritage expert and author Abdur-Razzaq Lubis, who is writing a book titled Sutan Puasa: Founder of Kuala Lumpur 1800s-1908 said it was common knowledge that the Masjid Jamek site was previously a Muslim burial ground.
“Construction must stop. This would be the case in Europe where there is protection of heritage value.
“The relevant authorities, Heritage Commission and Icomos should be notified immediately,’’ he said.
“There are laws covering antiquities, historic and heritage sites.
“Masjid Jamek is sacred and historic, and as such should be treated with the utmost care and respect,’’ Lubis added.
“Kuala Lumpur has lost most of its old treasures. This is probably the last remaining one; therefore its integrity should be protected,’’ he said.

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