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.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Wanna drag?

This one reminds me of the days I used to travel up and down, 70km per way with my favourtie big bike to Sepang to cover motorsports events at Sepang International Circuit... Used to really enjoy walking the whole length on the 1km-long grandstand areas and the pits in front with motor fumes filling the air like some sort of aphrodisiac... For men who love motorsports that is.
Hmm... Suddenly snapshots of the sort of girls you'd see at the racing tracks comes into mind... Waif, model-figure, with lotsa beautiful figures to look at, with ready smiles, always nice to people like me... No... No... I left that sort of life a long time ago... I wanna be a good boy, please... Ha! Ha!
Well, do have a look at this article... :]

Publication :
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Headline :
These cars are not a drag!
Words :
Byline :
By Radzi Sapiee
Text :
THERE was no mistaking the sound. The loud growl of the 8.5 litre V8 2,000 horsepower drag car engine could be heard, even from the far end of the dining tables of the air-conditioned hospitality suites at the paddock building above the pits at the Sepang F1 Circuit.
The distinctive sound made avid motorsports fans in one of the suites rush towards the glass window, even though Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin was still in the suite giving out the prizes for the Silverstone Merdeka Millenium Endurance 12-hour race.
The crew members and some of the racers who were resting after the gruelling long drawn race ran from behind their pits to be as close to the 1km-long straight as possible, knowing there's a spectacle in store. And true enough, it was a sight to behold.
The first drag car, yellow with huge rear wheels, zoomed off past the straight to a top speed of 340kph before two parachutes sprung out from behind to slow it down to a more managable speed. That whole run took only seven seconds.
The second car, longer and black, had the fans screaming more as thick smoke billowed out to tickle their fancy but unfortunately, it didn't get to top speed as it veered a metre or two to the right.
"The track was slightly slippery. So I had to take my foot off the pedals," said the Australian driver Dean McClennan. The cars can accelerate 0-100kmh in one second, twice faster than the most powerful Formula One car and McClennan is not taking any chances.
According to the more experienced first driver John Payne who is also from Australia, the straight at Sepang is not exactly level and if a car starts veering off, it could just crash into the sides. Nevertheless, the cars and the drivers who were specially brought from Brisbane, Australia to impress the local crowd coming for the inaugural 12-hour race have done their job.
Earlier, on the eve of Merdeka Day, they have made two sets of two runs each and the second, held in front of a crowd of 25,000 really got them going as the sparks coming out from the wheels can be clearly seen in the night.
Two drag cars, dubbed the "Funnycars" by the drivers due to its closeness to streetcars but slightly odd shape were shipped from Brisbane to Malaysia for the show and Zaifa chief executive officer Zainal Osman Mohamed who paid the bill of RM100,000 said it was a prelude to start drag racing here.
The original plan was to let the two cars race each other like in any drag race but this cannot be done due to the slightly lopsided Sepang straight.
"We also normally use a special glue compound poured on the track to get the best traction but obviously we can't do that here," said the 48-year-old Payne who have 25 years of drag racing under his belt.
Their engineer David Blee said even then, the cars they used were second-grade in the world of drag racing.
"The best ones churn out 6,000 to 7,000 horsepower and can reach a top speed of 510kp from a stand-still in just four seconds!" he said.
Both types use rocket fuel - methanol for second-grade and nitro for the top notch. An F1 car, on the other hand, spews out 800 horsepower using normal but advanced petrol that is intended to reach average road-users later.
But that doesn't mean that drag racing is expensive. Rob Oberg who puts the show together said the cars cost only RM100,000 each.
"The engines cost RM80,000 each. We have workshops specialising in making such engines in Australia and put the rest together by our selves either using locally-made parts or those from America where drag racing is huge," he added.
This is peanuts compared to the cost of an F1 car and that is why Oberg reckons it could catch on in Malaysia especially among the youngsters.
"The idea in drag is to race two speed machines, even a normal motorbike along a straight. If one machine is less powerful, we could introduce a handicap by allowing it to start a few seconds ahead," he added.
He said, off-street drag racing was encouraged by the Australian police who wanted the young to get their kicks at the right places.
"We could start with souped-up normal cars before moving to the supercharged ones. In time, Malaysian workshops could even make their own methanol or nitro-ran engines or acquire it from overseas," he added.
For the record, drag cars are the fastest machines on earth and only slower than the sub-rocket machines that are used to break world land-speed records.
Although the Sepang show provides only a sample of it, given the response, there's no doubt that many would want to get involved and given the relatively low cost, drag racing could have just firmly planted one foot in Malaysia.


This is an old sports article. Coincidently written just a month or two before I left the whole official journalism business... Or was made to leave because of the whole office politicis...
Oh well, I did have some very fond memories at the New Straits Times. After all, I grew up and learned English reading the daily. It's just the whole political game of pandering to the powers-that-be is just too much....

Publication :
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Headline :
Only cool heads count
Words :
Byline :
By Radzi Sapiee
Text :
TAKE a 50 cent coin and place it 10 metres away. Now, take aim with a pistol and try to shoot a hole in it. Tough? Maybe not for the national shooting team preparing for the Kuala Lumpur
Sea Games. For the national shooters who will compete at the Games next month, shooting a target that small is not a problem. The challenge is to hit it right at the centre and everyone who understands a bit of physics, know this is easier said then done.
The principle is every reaction carries an opposite reaction. In a gun, the force that shoots out a bullet is countered by a recoil which a shooter must absorb properly. Failure to do so will cause the the nozzle of the gun to move away from the intended line of fire and you'll be off target.
Now imagine the 50 cent coin divided into ten equally-spaced concentric circles. The smallest circle which in shooting contains the bulls-eye should have a diameter one-tenth of the original circle while its size is only one per cent of the whole coin. In the preliminary rounds of the 10-metre events like the air pistol and air rifle, one could shoot within that area for a perfect score of 10 but come the final, a 10-pointer shot is considered just good.
One must try for the dead centre where you can get a perfect point of 11 but even a 10.1 point shot, just slightly inside the smallest circle is considered excellent enough. Thus pressure plays a big part in shooting.
Breathing at the wrong moment, or a high heart-beat rate is a definite no-no. Pull the trigger at the wrong moment and the slight twitch caused by even the inner mechanism of the body is enough to put one off contention. Don't even try to shoot when your fingers are a little shaky.
Former world champion, Ukraine-born Irina Maharani said among the measures needed to be on target is to lower her heartbeat to about 54-per minutes or so. For the record, the heart-rate of a reasonably fit human when calm is 70.
Hameleay Abdul Mutalib, who won a gold at the South-East Asia Shooting Championships in Bangkok last month, relies more on getting the correct "rythm", to be in-sync with all body movements from breathing to heart-beat.
Other events which use the 25m or 50m ranges or clay shooting can afford bigger margins of error but the same principle still applies. One must be very still and relaxed to get the job done but since this is not always possible, one must be able to minimise all disturbances - at least for a
That is why National Shooting Association of Malaysia (NSAM) secretary Mej Jasni Shaari downplayed the results achieved at the SM Yong Trophy held at the Subang range last weekend, although it was the last national meet before the Games.
Before the SM Yong Trophy was held, Jasni predicted that the Games shooters will not break any records, nor show any significant improvement and he was right on target.
"What is more important is not to place the shooters under any kind of pressure," he said.
The 1998 Commonwealth Games air rifle champion Nurul Hudda Baharin was placed under the spotlight and she finished seventh in the event on Thursday against a field of local shooters while none of her Games team-mates made the top five.
Jasni, when asked to comment on Nurul's finish, said that the event is no longer on their Games medal target list although a few months back, Nurul was expected to deliver the gold.
Pressure will definitely decide the Games shooting medal tally at the end of the day. So the less pressure their shooters are under it, the more medals will come Malaysia's way. radzisapiee@nstp.com.my


Greetings dear readers... Just feel like updating this blog with some articles written at the New Straits Times starting with this...

Publication : NST-LTIMES Edition : 2* 
Date : 28/10/1997 
Page Number : 07 
Headline : Warming up to 4x4 challenge 
Words : 1272 
Byline : 
Text : 

THE day was hot and humid. The stage, a dusty laterite hilltop, was interspersed with cracks and bushes. In the distance, something was roaring and rumbling, leaving behind a trail of dust and dry mud, as it made its way towards the plateau, the vantage point we were on. 

On the left side of the plateau, facing the distant skyline of Ipoh, was the television crew. Photographer Roslin Mat Tahir and I were sitting beside a nearby bush. Others were standing behind the route markers at one end of the plateau. 

Eager for action, our eyes were focused on the almost vertical laterite ramp in front. Will someone dare to make the jump and soar into the sky? From the roar emanating from the spectators, we knew this was definitely going to be "the jump". Yes. This was it. This was going to be a fully air-borne baby. 

And there it was. Out of the blue, a huge piece of machinery appeared, its belly fully exposed. Its four tyres spun wildly in the air. From where I was sitting, it looked as if the vehicle was a full two metres in the air. Yes! 

One second. Two seconds. It's back on the ground. Right on cue, the air was resounding with the triumphant shout of those present. No one could deny it. That was definitely one hell of a jump. 

OK. It might not really be that great. But that was the only car that flew on all its four wheels throughout this special stage (that is, circuit and obstacle test) held at Ulu Kinta, or any special stage throughout the whole five days of the National 4x4 Challenge for that matter. 

Hungry for action, I was looking forward to seeing some stunts. Maybe a flip in mid-air or a flying jump across a 100-metre deep gorge. The special stages include uphill and downhill driving on hole-ridden tracks, reversing into a river using the winch and driving across a deep mud pool. 

Although tough and rather tricky, they were quite tame in my opinion. But then the competitors - 42 drivers and co-drivers in 21 4WD vehicles - were mostly city folks, executives, businessmen, contractors and such, not stuntmen. And the Challenge was not really the ultimate. 

As event director Luis Wee constantly reminded me, the National 4x4 Challenge was a warm-up and a prelude to the coming international Rainforest 4x4 Challenge at the end of the year. That's where you can see some real action, he assured me. After all, it will pit competitors from all over the world through 2,000 kilometres of Malaysian rainforest, and in the rainy season too. 

Nevertheless, our guide from the Police Field Force assured me that the very same tracks I had considered as quite easy can be real hell during the rainy season. But I did get my fix when two vehicles overturned on two separate occasions. One while negotiating down a steep slope in Gunung Kledang, another while speeding down the bumpy hill in Ulu Kinta. 

Originally, the National Challenge was planned to include 12 special stages at various locations in Perak. However, we had to settle for only 11 due to the tight and tiring schedule. After all, we also had to attend other functions including some community work at the Orang Asli settlements of Kampung Tonggang near Tanjung Rambutan and Kampung Sungei Dala in Hulu Perak. And with more than 80 people in 29 vehicles tagging along, mainly event officials and the media team - six TV3 crew members, me, the NST photographer and a woman from a motor-sports magazine - it was more than a competition. It was also a community and friendship drive. 

Our itinerary started with the flagging off from Kuala Lumpur for Ipoh on Sept 20 where the first two special stages - finding the best route through difficult hill terrain and then a sand-driving circuit - were held near Gunung Kledang in the suburbs of the Perak capital. 

We were officially flagged off the next day from Ipoh by Menteri Besar Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib. He and his wife also joined us to visit Kampung Tonggang where we were welcomed by the ceremonial Orang Asli sewang dance. 

Three special stages were also held the same day at the Ulu Kinta Police Field Force training circuit before we drove into the jungle to spend the night at the Orang Asli settlement of Pos Poi, more than 50km away from civilisation. 

On the third day, we covered some twisting and turning hilly logging tracks, had two special stages at the logging camps en route to Kampung Sungei Dala for a night circuit test. Just when things were getting monotonous, then came next day's evening special stage which had the competitors grouped into teams of four cars to get past a difficult mud pool before going for another muddy river crossing. 

Talk of foul play was rife as the last team was made to struggle through the mud pool which some claimed had been purposely dug deeper by the previous team. It seems that by not engaging the 4WD mode while they were there, the "conspirators" had used the rear wheels to furiously dig the mud. 

"They were trying to get us disqualified," said a member of the last team. They missed the one-hour time limit by less than a minute. 

Nevertheless, they didn't make a formal complaint, saying that everybody knows about it and there's no need to make such a big fuss. Anyway, we concluded our round of special stages on Sept 24, the last day of the Challenge. Action was mild, with a short marathon run, a tyre-replacement speed drill, and another run - this time with team members rolling the huge 4WD vehicles wheels through mud, sand and water. 

We left Sungei Dala by noon, crossing the Perak River by an old metal ferry before driving off for an official reception in Kuala Kangsar, and yet another reception back in Ipoh, covering a loop of 500km throughout the State, 200km off-road. That's it?, you may ask. 

Still, it was quite testing for competitors Zawalan Razak and Abdul Hadi Yaakob who teamed up in a Landcruiser. "We have been in the game for quite some time now and go off-road twice a month. I'd say this one definitely has its tough moments," Zawalan said. 

Both of them, being among from the last teams for the Sungei Dala special stage, were badly caught in the mud pool, all soaked in the gooey stuff trying to pull their vehicle out as the day turned to darkness.

"At the end of the day, it's a great stress-buster," Abdul Hadi interjected. For Cheras-based Zamri, the jump that he did (the one mentioned earlier) was the peak of the event, except perhaps for the team event at Sungei Dala. The 28-year-old interior designer still proudly recalled the moment, saying his boss, driver Martin Wong, was really surprised and almost wet his pants when Zamri, who was then the co-driver, took over the wheels and attempted the Ulu Kinta circuit on full throttle. 

"What I can say? He owns the car. So he's the driver. Perhaps I did the jump to prove a point, that I can do it," Zamri conceded. 

Perhaps city-slickers parading their gleaming 4WDs around the city should let him have a go. Then he can put the Pajeros, the Mussos and the Landcruisers out of their misery - by testing it in real jungle rather than negotiationg the occasional flood in Jalan Bangsar. (END)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Trip to the East Coast (2)

Greeting dear readers, let me just continue this story where we left off in my last posting OK! Luckily, since then, the log kept inside the laptop is more proper language-wise, so I guess it's good enough to be copied and pasted here straight away (beside the fact I feel to lazy to do any editting).... Spent some time just now updating the other blogspot... So here goes!
Oh... If you want to see some pictures with stories, have a look at SENI LAMA MELAYU (MALAY OLDEN ART) OK... Cheerio!!! :]

Friday 22 Dec – From Pulau Manis, got a lift from a local Chinese to somewhere on the main road outskirt of KT. Got a bus to the town. Solat Jumaat. Took 3.30 bus to Jerteh. Arrived at 6pm or so. Got 6.30 bus to Kuala Besut… The reason, thought wanted to go to Tok Bali – The Kuala Besut-Kota Baru bus passes through Tok Bali. Ended up sleeping at Besut old mosque. Anyway arriving at Kuala Besut was quite and experience as I felt a sort of calmness haven’t felt for a long time.

Saturday 23 Dec – Got 11.30am bus to KB through Tok Bali. Didn’t stop there. Turns out Tok Bali is a main fishing port. Hmm… Arrived at KB around 12.30pm or. Rest at Masjid Muhammadiyah. Went to Kubang Kerian after Asar. Met Sahaja from CVT Forum at Makam Tok Kenali. Slept at Masjid Tok Kenali. Oh, just before Maghrib at the mosque, Sahaja pointed to out to a verse from the Quran inside the mosque behind the pulpit. Said there’s a “gift” for me, verse 55, Surah An-Nur!

Sunday 24 Dec – After Subuh, one of Tok Kenali’s cucu, Hj Abdullah Sani (60+ year old I think) brought me to Makam then to his house. Then dropped me at Masjid Sallehi where I had a 2 hour nap. Still thinking whether have to go to Danau Tok Uban and Bukit Panau as transportation seemed to be a problem, I’m runnung out of time and not feeling well too. Went to KB town. Had lunch with daging goreng and nasi putih that seemed to go well with the gravy and sambal. Took bus no 44 to Nilam Puri and dropped at Masjid Kampung Laut. Had an hour nap there. Afterwards took bus to Kuala Krai, Went too train station, there’s 8pm train heading south so bought ticket for Kuala Lipis. Went to the main mosque of Kuala Krai. There’s like a small monumentl building inside the compound with my favourite sort of roofing – that with “tounges” hanging down at every corner. Showered there and did Magrib jamak with Isyaq. Then took the train to Kuala Lipis. Arrived there just before midnight.

Monday 25 Dec – Slept at the old mosque of Kuala Lipis. As it turns out, it was built in 1888, almost 120 years old! And I realise something, I meant in a sense, why I had to go to Lipis and sleep at the old mosque. Seems like I owe an old debt, 3 years ago (before taking the train to Gua Musang then KB to go to see Tok Kenali’s tomb for the first time). I did say I wanted to spent the night there. Anyway after Subuh take a walk around town, had breakfast then went down the steps to sit by Sungai Jelai. Afterwards to 7.45am bus to Raub. Arrived about 9am or so. Had nasi lemak then when to rumah Nenek.
Oh… Bought some nila and cuka as recommended by some people to threat the beguk (I had mump) on my face. Made the mixture at rumah Nenek and apply it on the affected facial area. Rest and slept, until 5pm or so. Felt sick and suffering from cold.

Anyway, I practically rested for 3 days in Raub before going to Janda Baik on the main range, just 40km from Kuala Lumpur. That's where I am making this update... Take care

Friday, December 22, 2006

Trip to the East Coast

Greetings dear readers. Its been a while since this blogspot was updated, I’ve been occupied with other things while there’s 2 more blogspots to upkeep. As it turns out, the Malay one, CATATAN SI MERAH SILU is the most read and whatever time and opportunity I had to write on-line tends to be in there… Perhaps because it already has a wider and ready audience. And since writing professionally in Malay through the novel “Berpetualang ke Aceh: Mencari Diri dan Erti”, I have more material in my mother tounge to share, so there.
Anyway, it’s not fair to neglect this English blogspot. Furthermore I actually started writing professionally in English, through a 5 year stint as a journalist as explained in the profile... So here I am attempting to write again in the language of the colonialist. Then again, I do tend to think in English maybe because of the years spent as a university student in London plus the reading on much scientific material in English during my younger days… Except my proper command of the language (especially when it comes to good grammar, the tenses and such) is a bit rusty as I am out of practice. And I don't have the service of a sub-editor or editor to correct my rubbish, Ha! Ha!
It happens that currently I’m outstation backpacking through the East Coast. So it seems natural to update this blogspot with bits and pieces of stories from the travel.
Luckily, for certain reasons, I’ve been keeping a log of my daily activities the last one month or so. So let me just tell it as it is with minor editing and adjustments of course as the log is written in a mixture of English and Malay… (Plus I had to take out some juicy details… Nudge! Nudge! Wink! Wink!)
Hmm… Somehow, I feel like starting from Wednesday, 3 days before the actual travel starts… Oh... The main reason that moved me to go to the East coast this time is because my cousin Amar is having his wedding ceremony in Terengganu on Sunday. So might as well take the opportunity to visit other places too as the last time I was there was 2 years ago or so... Here goes!

Wednesday 13 Dec – So tired today., body aching all over the place (Hmm... Suddenly an old tune by The Queens came to mind). So lazy to go out of the auntie Cik Yah’s house in Ampang (where I’m bumming nowadays)… Feels like just want to lie on bed and sleep the whole day. However around 5.30pm, came a strong urge to go out, so showered and get ready. Went around Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC)... Continued editing second part of the novel “Berpetualang ke Aceh” (BKA II) in front of KLCC garden fountain after a week or so of leaving the work behind. Then went to Ampang Point. Back at Cik Yah’s almost 10pm.
Also today is the installation the 13th Agung (King of Malaysia), Sultan Mizan of Terengganu

Thursday 14 Dec – Hmm… Tired but spent time surfing Internet until 6am before going to sleep. Woke up by a call from Celcom at 8.30am asking to register the handphone number. For information, the Malaysian government had made it compulsory for all users to register their numbers by Dec 15 or risk losing their subscription. Then surfed the Internet, went back to sleep at 10.30pm. Woke up at 12.15pm, this time by a call from Puan Musalmah of the National Library saying paperworks for their order of 850 “Berpetualang” books are settled, just need my signature.
Get ready, after luncthtime when to Wisma Selborn and signed the documents. Then took bus to Pertama Complex. Later came heavy rain, stopped by at Sogo, continued editing BKA II in front of the 3-storey high man-made waterfall at the 5th or 6th floor of the shopping complex…
Afterwards, walked through Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (TAR) to Masjid India. Went to Mydin, bought GrandVision digital camera for RM299 (including 512k SD Card) and got a nice big harversack for RM24.90. Returned to rumah Cik Yah via LRT (Light Railway Transit), got there after Maghrib, just after twilight. So tired, felt like going to sleep early but the CVT guys (people I know from my favourite on-line forum) called asking to meet especially S Pandang (his nickname, that is. We all have one, mine is MerahSilu). He had a wish. So went out to Dagang Avenue (near Cik Yah’s) with the new haversack containing the laptop inside… Normally, I use the special laptop bag but both left and right straps recently broke.
Archer and Wali7 also around, then came Tulis-tulis also CoD3. Went to Pandan Mewah, rendesvous with Abnormal. Yap Perlis also came followed by Husmawi CVT then Empty. Hmm… That’s 10 CVT guys isn’t it?
S Pandang tired. Wanted to leave at 1.36am or so, I followed. He sent me back to Dagang and I had drinks at Israq… At about 2.20am or so went to the surau nearby (small prayer hall) and completed editing of the chapter titled Bab 9, of BKA II, praise God!

Friday 15 Dec – Went back to Cik Yah’s at about 8am (after spending much time outdoors). Her family had already left for Terengganu (for my cousin Amar’s wedding on Sunday). I just stayed indoors most of the day…

Saturday 16 Dec – So tired and lazy again. Luckily AbnormalSuam called at about 10.30am and woke me up. Met at Ampang Point, he paid me RM600 cash (for some money he owed including for articles written for the tabloid Kencana, so owed me another RM600). So I had some more cash in hand for travel… At least that made me go out of the house and then check the bus schedule to Kuala Terengganu. Went to Putra station, don’t want to wait till 10pm (for the next bus). Went to The Mall to kill time while figuring out what next, then got the urge to go to Pudu station. Ended up taking 4.30pm bus to Kuantan. Arrived at about 9pm. Check the schedule of buses to KT… There’s one for 11pm, also for 2.30am… The soonest next day is 9.30am. Decided to walk around Kuantan, head for the main mosque and see what happens.
Along the way saw the shopping complex (Kuantan Parade of something) which I went to with my cousin Hanif when I was last in Kuantan sometime in June or so. Wanted to go to bookshop inside but it was moved. Instead went to bookshop in front, then read the self-defence magazine Beladiri. That’s when my darling Nur called after nearly a month not contacting each other. Well actually I did sent her a few messages but it was left unanswered. Then she told me, she got the messages but was “too bored” to answer. Ha! Ha! I know she was angry because I asked her to forget me when I last called her on 20th November or so, just before I went to Janda Baik in Pahang. Don’t know what got me to tell her that but actually I don’t really mean it… I was just to confused with problems and stuff and needed time apart but it came out the wrong way…
Anyway she’s OK but slightly pissed off. Had a long chat. She wants to go out and see the movie Cicakman… Oh… The call got severed, maybe her credit ran-out? Anyway it happened while she was scolding me, Ha! Ha!
Stopped somewhere for a drink. Then went to Kuantan main mosque, took a shower and complete the obligatory prayers.

Sunday 17 Dec – The day for Amar’s wedding in Terengganu… Continued from above. Walked to Kuantan bus-station. Turns out there is a TransNational bas to KT at 1am. So took it… And there I was inside trying to sleep (well, sort of) while wondering why is the bus taking so long to arrive… Thought because it made too many stops. As it turns out, I overshoot up to Kota Bahru in Kelantan, twice the distance to KT! Well, the bus is heading for Kota Bahru through Terengganu and most of the passengers wanted to go the further distance. I should have warned the driver but was too busy trying to fall asleep while ignoring what goes outside… Only noticed this when daylight broke and saw the road-sign Jalan Long Yunus (named after a Kelantan king). Did Tok Kenali (the famous saint of Kelantan) called or what? After all, I do plan to visit his tomb after completing this Terengganu trip…
Anyway arrived in KB town at 7.30pm. Checked with TransNasional, there’ a bus back to KT at 8.30pm but my stomach don’t feel right, needed to “let go”. Walked to Masjid Muhammadiah (the town’s main mosque) and also took a shower and did the prayers there before having breakfast with nasi dagang and coffee in front of the mosque. Then walked back to station… Oh no! There’s no more direct bus available to KT, I mean there are but after lunch-time. The trip would take 3-4 hours while Amar’s wedding starts at 2pm! Had to take 9.30am non-express bus to Jertih, arrived after 11pm. Then got 12pm bus to KT, arrived after 2.30pm. To cut a long story short, finally arrived at Amar’s wedding nearly 4pm… So there… Then went to the bungalow (actually semi-D) rented by Cik But (Amar’s mum)’s family at Pantai Baru Buruk.
Didn’t feel well, slept early at 9pm woke up after 9am.

Monday 18 Dec – The family (including from Cik But’s husband Uncle Nawi’s side) left by 11pm or so. Amar and wife, Nad sent me to Pasir Payang. Wanted to eat turtle eggs, bought boiled ones at RM10 per plastic pack then climbed Bukit Puteri, the hill next to the royal palace mid-town. Actually it was closed due to construction works but I went up anyway and visited the tomb of Syed Yassin, a respected religious scholar and saint who was also the son-in-law of the first Terengganu king from the current dynasty, Sultan Zainal Abidin I (ruled early 18th century). Sat by the tomb and eat a turtle egg…. Urrggg!!! Taste rotten, is it bad or what? Nothing like the way I remember it… But there’s some more, thought at least could stomach 3… Took the second one, only managed to digest half… Just can’t take it. On the way down, left the whole lot at the construction site. Who knows? Someone might want it?
Walked through Kampung Cina area then went to Masjid Putih (the main mid-town mosque) for prayers. Felt so tired and sleep, not well, slept until past 4. Woke up, showered then walked to bus station. Had late lunch then checked out the buses, not sure where to go.
Time was about 5.30pm, saw bus to Kuala Berang. Hmm… Maybe should go there, I thought so. Then saw Pustaka Seri Intan (a big local bookshop) next to bus-stop, decided to go in, Went to novel section, couldn’t find “Berpetualang”, decided to check agama (religion) section, saw a book on doa makbul (answered prayers), took it and opened at random… Saw some doa on rezeki (allocation of goods as in means of living and such) or something from Nabi Ibrahim (the prophet Abraham). While putting the book back, saw “Berpetualang”… So my novel is there! To top it up, there’s seemed to be some meaning in the way the book is arranged alongside some religious books… From left to right in this order – some books titled Mekah something, followed by something on Tariqat Naqsyabandiah then “Berpetualang”!. Masyaallah!
On the way out, I merrily strutted down the stairs and nearly tripped at one point. The problem… A nail in my sandal went out of place. Tried to fix it, that’s when I saw the bus Kuala Berang right outside the bookstore on the move… Oh no! I missed it! Went to have coffee at the stall in front and sit dumbfounded… What should I do? What next? Where to go? Just when I thought I might have to sit like that (practially in a stupor!) until night, lost and not sure what next, Azrul (a fellow I know through the Internet, a KT local) called saying his car is ready to take me anywhere.
Oh… He called earlier during the day saying his car is in the workshop and should be out by lunch… If so, he would take a half-day of from work to spend time taking me around KT but as it turned out the repair job (had problems with the crankshaft or something) took more time than he had anticipicated, so much time that I thought we were not meant to meet in this particular trip to Terengganu.
And so he came… Decided to check out Makam Lama (the old tomb) at Cabang Tiga. Turns out be that of Sayyid Mustapha, the earliest known member of the Al-Idrus family in Terengganu… Died 1794, grandpa of Tokku Tuan Besar, great grandpa of Tokku Paloh, the famous Terengganu saint. There while sitting at the tomb, the inspiration on what to do for the day finally came… Go visit Tok Pulau Manis (an earlier saint born sometime in 1650 AD, his tomb 20km away), then sleep at Masjid (the mosque of) Tokku Paloh.
Went to Pulau Manis, arrived just before Maghrib. Solat at Masjid Pulau Manis then head back to KT. Dinner on the way, then when to Dr Syed Salleh’s house, an acquaintance last met on the last Terengganu trip about 2 years ago. He’s not in, oh well…
Next when to Surau Kampung Cina, Azrul wants to know the way. Oh… It’s Azrul’s birthday. Then went around Pulau Duyung to see the Monsoon Cup yatch base before having drinks and tidbits at Batu Buruk. Afterwards Azrul sent me to Masjid Tokku Paloh.
It so happens, there 2 fellows there, so made new acquaintances… Sayyid Abdullah al-Idrus and Nazir… Nazir had some historical notes on Tok Pulau Manis and Tokku Paloh. Read it, then rest. Sayyid Abdullah was more like an uncle… Actually he is, if I were to take into account family roots that originated from Mekah in Arabia 1,400 years ago.
Oh… Nur called at nearly 3am… Said she came back from Kak Maria’s and fell asleep (she promised to call earlier). She woke up and called me, told me what happened at Kak Maria’s but that’s another story… Hmm… Can’t help it. Just love her so much… It’s just not the right time yet.

Tuesday 19 Dec – Woke up for Subuh congregation prayers then went back to sleep. Feel so tired and sick, slept until 1pm. Showered, do combined prayers then had lunch and visited tomb of Tokku Paloh. Returned to his mosque, climbed up the tower there and took some pictures then left… Walked until almost Cabang Tiga then hitch-hiked an express bus which just got out from workshop until the road to Bukit Kecik. Walked towards town centre, and then my insticts told me to head towards a certain area. Turned out to be the back-part of Bukit Keledang, so went in and visited again the tomb of Sultan Zainal Abidin I and the old tombs there. Then walked around KT, also went to the Terengganu river estuary.
Went to bus station and immediately saw the 5.30pm bus to Kuala Berang left. Walked around the area before getting into the 6pm bus. Got tired of waiting, so went out for a drink… Then went to toilet because the time on my handphone said 5.47pm, should have enough time right?… Went out of toilet, the bus, the last one to K Berang was gone! Thought about going to Pulau Manis, checked with cabbies, said it cost RM20, so declined… Can’t afford to throw that much money around unless no choice at all…
At last, just take the bus southwards to Dungun as that’s the only one left for the day… Just follow wherever it goes and drop anywhere when I feel like it. Arrived at the junction to Bukit Putih or so (if I remember correctly), or is it at Cendering, a few kilometres after the famous floating white mosque of Kuala Ibai? Anyway saw signboard pointing to a right junction heading for Bukit Payong and K Berang. Decide to drop and walked that way. Saw wau bulan (big traditional kite) with Malaysian flags as tail, 3 of them in the air.
After walking about 3 km, managed to hitch-hike a small pick-up lorry up to Bukit Payong., 25 km or so from K Berang. Arrived by Maghrib. Saw the local Pustaka Seri Intan but had to go to main mosque first for shower and prayer. Then went to Pasaraya (supermarket) Seri Intan to buy biscuits before entering Pustaka (the bookshop). Saw 5 copies of “Berpetualang” on sale at the religion section. Then walked a bit before having dinner - mee rebus and sirap bandung drink. Then walked again and arrived at surau just in time before the rain got heavy. So there….

Wednesday 20 Dec – After Subuh, walked toward K Berang. Then got a cab on the way there, cost only RM3. Arrived in at about 8am or so, walked around and had breakfast. Then took van (cost RM1 only) to Jenagor, wanted to visit the old tomb across the river Terengganu there. As it turns out, there’s problem as the engines of the boat crossing the river is out of order. Went back to K Berang town. Walked across river Berang, ended up sleeping at the old mosque of Kampung Buluh.

Thursday 21 Dec - Woke up for Subuh solat jemaah then went back to sleep. Keep raining outside. Only woke up after 10am, rest a bit before shower, had simple breakfast then walked to Kuala Berang town, went to Internet and surf. Time was 12pm, on the Net till 2.20pm. Did prayers at main mosque then had Nasi Ayam at the stall next to taxi stand. Time was 3pm. The elder lady manning the stall said there’s a 3.30pm bus following the old route through Pulau Manis and Serada to KT. After lunch and coffee, I went to where the bus usually pass, and there it is on the move right in front of my eyes! I miss the bus again! What the heck???
Anyway, I somehow managed to hitchike lorries carrying sand, 2 of them until the junction to Tanjung Ketum, just 2km to Pulau Manis… Time near 5pm… Had coffee and laksam (a Kelantan variety of the Malaysian local food laksa). Then walked until Pulau Manis, reached makam (the tomb of) Tok Pulau Manis before 6pm. Felt tired, slept next to the makam… Woke up before Maghrib, did prayers at the mosque nearby and recited the Surah Yassin… After all it is malam Jumaat (the night going to Friday).
After Isyaq (the night obligatory prayers), someone brought me to the nearest foot-stall about 1km away. Had mee sup, biscuits and buah kana, drink coffee and watched TV until nearly 10pm. Then walked back to makam. Went inside the surau in front, now converted to some sort of childcare centre or kindergarten… As it turns out, the place now have electricity! I’ve slept here at least on 4 occasions, the last time 2 years ago and there was none then. That means I can recharge laptop and here I am making this update!

Note: I spent last night sleeping right smack next to the tomb of the religious scholar and Terengganu saint Sheikh Abdul Malik bin Abdullah, better known as Tok Pulau Manis. He was believed to be born in 1650 AD and lived up to 80 years, so I was actually sleeping beside an almost 300-year-old grave!
Before that, I did my night prayers at the village mosque about 100 metres away. The locals asked where I was from and where do I intend to spend the night. When I told them my intention, one asked: "Are you not afraid of ghost?"... After all it is Malam Jumaat (the night before Friday) and superstitious folks believe that's when supernatural forces tend to go out in full force.
Well, as it turned out, I was the only "ghost" around. Nevertheless, I did have a good sleep although the rain was quite heavy outside the tomb building. Alhamdulillah! Praise be to Allah!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Pangkor Treaty of 1874

And to complete a trio of rather odd choice of postings for the night, let me present you the history of the Pangkor Treaty 1874 as recorded in the Wikipedia. Mind you though, the official perspective on the matter tend to be Western-centric but nevertheless have a look...
For information, the treaty paved the way for direct intrusion into local rule by the colonialist. Soon enough it caused an uproar and the killing of the first British resident to Perak and this give the British the right excuse to flex their muscles and practically rule the country.
In time, the whole Malay Peninsula felt under their control and the rest is history.
Eh... Just read what Wikipedia have to say...

The Pangkor Treaty of 1874 was a treaty signed between the British and the Sultan of Perak. Signed on January 20, 1874 on the island of Pangkor off Perak, the treaty is significant in history of the Malay states as it signalled official British involvement in the policies of the Malays.

Perak was a major tin producer throughout the nineteenth century, leading the UK, which had already obtained Penang, Malacca and Singapore, to consider Perak of significant importance. However, local strife collectively known as the Larut War between the local Malay elites and frequent clashes between secret Chinese societies disrupted the flow of tin from the mines of Perak.

In 1871, Sultan Ali, the ruler of Perak died. Due to Perak's complex succession system, Raja Abdullah should have been appointed as the next Sultan of Perak but Raja Ismail was elected instead. At around the same time, two secret Chinese societies known as Ghee Hin led by Chin Ah Yam and Hai San led by Chung Keng Quee constantly waged battle against each other for control of the tin mines.

Raja Abdullah later asked for the British help to solve these two problems. The British immediately saw this as a great opportunity to expand its influence in Southeast Asia and strengthened its monopoly on tin. As a result, the Pangkor Treaty of 1874 was signed.

The agreement dictated:

Raja Abdullah was acknowledged as the legitimate Sultan to replace Sultan Ismail who would be given a title and a pension of 1000 Mexican pesos a month.

The Sultan would receive a British Resident whose advice had to be sought and adhered to in all matters except those pertaining to the religion and customs of the Malays.

All collections and control of taxes as well as the administration of the state had to be done under the name of the Sultan but arranged according to the Resident's advice.

The Minister of Larut would continue to be in control, but would no longer be recognized as a liberated leader. Instead, a British Officer, who would have a vast authority in administrating the district, would be appointed in Larut.

The Sultan and not the British government would pay the Resident's salary

Perak handed the area of Dinding to the British.

Raja Ismail did not attend the meeting arranged between Sir Andrew Clarke and Raja Abdullah. Raja Ismail obviously did not recognize the agreement but he had no choice against the alliance between Raja Abdullah and the British. As a result, Raja Abdullah was made Sultan and Sir J.W.W. Birch was appointed as Perak's first British Resident after the treaty came to force.

Following this agreement, the British actively became involved in three other Malay states; Negeri Sembilan, Selangor and Pahang. These states along with Perak later became the Federated Malay States

Protocols of the Elders of Zion - Protocol 3

Have you ever heard of the document called Protocols of the Elders of Zion, also known as the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion? It is supposed to be a set of document detailing the Zionist plans to rule the world made ages ago and still in action until today.
Nevertheless have a look... This is from Protocol 3, the third out of a total of 24.
Hmm... Let me just list the protocols:-

Protocol I The Basic Doctrine
Protocol II Economic Wars
Protocol III Methods of Conquest
Protocol IV Materialism Replaces Religion
Protocol V Despotism and Modern Progress
Protocol VI Take-Over Technique
Protocol VII World-Wide Wars
Protocol VIII Provisional Government
Protocol IX Re-education
Protocol X Preparing for Power
Protocol XI The Totalitarian State
Protocol XII Control of the Press
Protocol XIII Distractions
Protocol XIV Assault on Religion
Protocol XV Ruthless Suppression
Protocol XVI Brainwashing
Protocol XVII Abuse of Authority
Protocol XVIII Arrest of Opponents
Protocol XIX Rulers and People
Protocol XX Financial Programme
Protocol XXI Loans and Credit
Protocol XXII Power of Gold
Protocol XXIII Instilling Obedience
Protocol XXIV Qualities of the Ruler

And here's Protocol III... Read and tremble!


1. To-day I may tell you that our goal is now only a few steps off. There remains a small space to cross and the whole long path we have trodden is ready now to close its cycle of the Symbolic Snake, by which we symbolize our people. When this ring closes, all the States of Europe will be locked in its coil as in a powerful vice.

2. The constitution scales of these days will shortly break down, for we have established them with a certain lack of accurate balance in order that they may oscillate incessantly until they wear through the pivot on which they turn. The GOYIM are under the impression that they have welded them sufficiently strong and they have all along kept on expecting that the scales would come into equilibrium. But the pivots - the kings on their thrones - are hemmed in by their representatives, who play the fool, distraught with their own uncontrolled and irresponsible power. This power they owe to the terror which has been breathed into the palaces. As they have no means of getting at their people, into their very midst, the kings on their thrones are no longer able to come to terms with them and so strengthen themselves against seekers after power. We have made a gulf between the far-seeing Sovereign Power and the blind force of the people so that both have lost all meaning, for like the blind man and his stick, both are powerless apart.

3. In order to incite seekers after power to a misuse of power we have set all forces in opposition one to another, breaking up their liberal tendencies towards independence. To this end we have stirred up every form of enterprise, we have armed all parties, we have set up authority as a target for every ambition. Of States we have made gladiatorial arenas where a lot of confused issues contend ... A little more, and disorders and bankruptcy will be universal ...

4. Babblers, inexhaustible, have turned into oratorical contests the sittings of Parliament and Administrative Boards. Bold journalists and unscrupulous pamphleteers daily fall upon executive officials. Abuses of power will put the final touch in preparing all institutions for their overthrow and everything will fly skyward under the blows of the maddened mob.


5. All people are chained down to heavy toil by poverty more firmly than ever. They were chained by slavery and serfdom; from these, one way and another, they might free themselves. These could be settled with, but from want they will never get away. We have included in the constitution such rights as to the masses appear fictitious and not actual rights. All these so-called "Peoples Rights" can exist only in idea, an idea which can never be realized in practical life. What is it to the proletariat laborer, bowed double over his heavy toil, crushed by his lot in life, if talkers get the right to babble, if journalists get the right to scribble any nonsense side by side with good stuff, once the proletariat has no other profit out of the constitution save only those pitiful crumbs which we fling them from our table in return for their voting in favor of what we dictate, in favor of the men we place in power, the servants of our AGENTUR ... Republican rights for a poor man are no more than a bitter piece of irony, for the necessity he is under of toiling almost all day gives him no present use of them, but the other hand robs him of all guarantee of regular and certain earnings by making him dependent on strikes by his comrades or lockouts by his masters.


6. The people, under our guidance, have annihilated the aristocracy, who were their one and only defense and foster-mother for the sake of their own advantage which is inseparably bound up with the well-being of the people. Nowadays, with the destruction of the aristocracy, the people have fallen into the grips of merciless money-grinding scoundrels who have laid a pitiless and cruel yoke upon the necks of the workers.

7. We appear on the scene as alleged saviours of the worker from this oppression when we propose to him to enter the ranks of our fighting forces - Socialists, Anarchists, Communists - to whom we always give support in accordance with an alleged brotherly rule (of the solidarity of all humanity) of our SOCIAL MASONRY. The aristocracy, which enjoyed by law the labor of the workers, was interested in seeing that the workers were well fed, healthy, and strong. We are interested in just the opposite - in the diminution, the KILLING OUT OF THE GOYIM. Our power is in the chronic shortness of food and physical weakness of the worker because by all that this implies he is made the slave of our will, and he will not find in his own authorities either strength or energy to set against our will. Hunger creates the right of capital to rule the worker more surely than it was given to the aristocracy by the legal authority of kings.

8. By want and the envy and hatred which it engenders we shall move the mobs and with their hands we shall wipe out all those who hinder us on our way.


10. The GOYIM have lost the habit of thinking unless prompted by the suggestions of our specialists. Therefore they do not see the urgent necessity of what we, when our kingdom comes, shall adopt at once, namely this, that IT IS ESSENTIAL TO TEACH IN NATIONAL SCHOOLS ONE SIMPLE, TRUE PIECE OF KNOWLEDGE, THE BASIS OF ALL KNOWLEDGE - THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE STRUCTURE OF HUMAN LIFE, OF SOCIAL EXISTENCE, WHICH REQUIRES DIVISION OF LABOR, AND, CONSEQUENTLY, THE DIVISION OF MEN INTO CLASSES AND CONDITIONS. It is essential for all to know that OWING TO DIFFERENCE IN THE OBJECTS OF HUMAN ACTIVITY THERE CANNOT BE ANY EQUALITY, that he, who by any act of his compromises a whole class, cannot be equally responsible before the law with him who affects no one but only his own honor. The true knowledge of the structure of society, into the secrets of which we do not admit the GOYIM, would demonstrate to all men that the positions and work must be kept within a certain circle, that they may not become a source of human suffering, arising from an education which does not correspond with the work which individuals are called upon to do. After a thorough study of this knowledge, the peoples will voluntarily submit to authority and accept such position as is appointed them in the State. In the present state of knowledge and the direction we have given to its development of the people, blindly believing things in print - cherishes - thanks to promptings intended to mislead and to its own ignorance - a blind hatred towards all conditions which it considers above itself, for it has no understanding of the meaning of class and condition.


11. THIS HATRED WILL BE STILL FURTHER MAGNIFIED BY THE EFFECTS of an ECONOMIC CRISES, which will stop dealing on the exchanges and bring industry to a standstill. We shall create by all the secret subterranean methods open to us and with the aid of gold, which is all in our hands, A UNIVERSAL ECONOMIC CRISES WHEREBY WE SHALL THROW UPON THE STREETS WHOLE MOBS OF WORKERS SIMULTANEOUSLY IN ALL THE COUNTRIES OF EUROPE. These mobs will rush delightedly to shed the blood of those whom, in the simplicity of their ignorance, they have envied from their cradles, and whose property they will then be able to loot.


13. We have demonstrated that progress will bring all the GOYIM to the sovereignty of reason. Our despotism will be precisely that; for it will know how, by wise severities, to pacificate all unrest, to cauterize liberalism out of all institutions.

14. When the populace has seen that all sorts of concessions and indulgences are yielded it, in the same name of freedom it has imagined itself to be sovereign lord and has stormed its way to power, but, naturally like every other blind man, it has come upon a host of stumbling blocks. IT HAS RUSHED TO FIND A GUIDE, IT HAS NEVER HAD THE SENSE TO RETURN TO THE FORMER STATE and it has laid down its plenipotentiary powers at OUR feet. Remember the French Revolution, to which it was we who gave the name of "Great": the secrets of its preparations are well known to us for it was wholly the work of our hands.

15. Ever since that time we have been leading the peoples from one disenchantment to another, so that in the end they should turn also from us in favor of that KING-DESPOT OF THE BLOOD OF ZION, WHOM WE ARE PREPARING FOR THE WORLD.

16. At the present day we are, as an international force, invincible, because if attacked by some we are supported by other States. It is the bottomless rascality of the GOYIM peoples, who crawl on their bellies to force, but are merciless towards weakness, unsparing to faults and indulgent to crimes, unwilling to bear the contradictions of a free social system but patient unto martyrdom under the violence of a bold despotism - it is those qualities which are aiding us to independence. From the premier-dictators of the present day, the GOYIM peoples suffer patiently and bear such abuses as for the least of them they would have beheaded twenty kings.

17. What is the explanation of this phenomenon, this curious inconsequence of the masses of the peoples in their attitude towards what would appear to be events of the same order?

18. It is explained by the fact that these dictators whisper to the peoples through their agents that through these abuses they are inflicting injury on the States with the highest purpose - to secure the welfare of the peoples, the international brotherhood of them all, their solidarity and equality of rights. Naturally they do not tell the peoples that this unification must be accomplished only under our sovereign rule.

19. And thus the people condemn the upright and acquit the guilty, persuaded ever more and more that it can do whatsoever it wishes. Thanks to this state of things, the people are destroying every kind of stability and creating disorders at every step.

20. The word "freedom" brings out the communities of men to fight against every kind of force, against every kind of authority even against God and the laws of nature. For this reason we, when we come into our kingdom, shall have to erase this word from the lexicon of life as implying a principle of brute force which turns mobs into bloodthirsty beasts.

21. These beasts, it is true, fall asleep again every time when they have drunk their fill of blood, and at such time can easily be riveted into their chains. But if they be not given blood they will not sleep and continue to struggle.

A history of Aceh

Found this at aceh.net. Thought it fits nicely here...

Aceh is a region on the northern tip of Sumatra. Aceh first rose to importance as a center of resistance to the Portuguese. Aceh went into decline when the Dutch established a presence in Malacca.

It was used as a counter to the Dutch by the British, and an Anglo-Dutch treaty guaranteed Aceh's independence in 1824. In 1871, the Treaty of Sumatra gave the Dutch a free hand in Aceh in return for recognition of British rights in the Horn of Africa. The Dutch invaded Aceh in 1873. While the Dutch gained control of the cities, they could not project their power into the countryside. Major war lead by strong Acehnese resistance leaders ended in 1912. Outside main cities, guerrilla war continued until 1942.


Chinese chronicles from as early as the sixth century speak of a Buddhist kingdom called Po-Li on the northern tip of what is now Sumatra. Arabic writings and Indian inscriptions from around the 9th century also mention this area and its obvious importance.

Of all the regions in Indonesia, Aceh, at the northwestern end of Sumatra, is the first to have contact and be influenced by the outside world. Ironically, it is still one of the least known regions of Indonesia, even among Indonesians themselves.

Aceh has a fascinating history which over the centuries has shaped and transformed the region into what it is today. In 1292, Marco Polo, on his epic voyage from China visited Sumatra on his way to Persia and reported that in the northern part of the island there were as many as six busy trading ports including Perlak, Samudera and Lamri. Islamic writings and Indian inscriptions from around the ninth century also name the area and its importance, primarily as a busy and highly strategic trading posts.

The first Islamic kingdom of Perlak was established in the year 804 about 100 years after Islam is first believed to have reached the archipelago. In 1511, the Portuguese seized the important strategic port of Malacca, pushing many Asian and Arabic traders to call instead on the developing port of Aceh, bringing with them wealth and prosperity. Aceh's dominance in trade and politics in northern parts of Sumatra and in the entire region had begun and would last until it reached its zenith between 1610 and 1640.

Aceh's decline began with the death of Sultan Iskandar Thani in 1641, and as a result the British and Dutch both began vying for domination of the area. Eventually the signing of the London Treaty in 1824 saw the Dutch gain control of all British possessions in Sumatra in return for their surrender of enterprises in India and withdrawal of all claims on Singapore.

The Dutch found gaining control of Aceh to be more difficult than they had anticipated. It was a long drawn out struggle for the Dutch in their attempts to subdue the recalcitrant Acehnese. The Aceh War, which lasted intermittently from 1873 to 1942, was the longest ever fought by Holland.

From Po-Li to Aceh Darussalam

"The city of Achin, if you could call it a city, is incredibly spread out, and is built in the forest itself in such a way that no even one home is visible until we find ourselves directly in front of it. And everywhere we went there were houses and people, so that I felt that the city covered the whole land," John Davis, a British observer on a Dutch ship which visited Aceh in 1600 AD wrote. The kingdom of Aceh he spoke of was ruled by Alaidin Riayat Syah.

The history of the Liang Dynasty of China (506-556) spoke of a kingdom called Po-Li to be found on the northern tip of Sumatra. This same kingdom was again mentioned in the history of Sui Dynasty (581-671). "The people in this land are masters at throwing a disk, about the size of a small mirror, whose edges are cerated and sharp, and in whose center a hole is cut. If they throw this weapon they never miss. The other weapons they use are much the same as those existing in China."

In the history of the T'ang Dynasty (618-906) the existence of this kingdom is listed in Book 222. "There is also found a bird called s'ari, which can understand the speech of man. It is black, with a read head, and claws like those of an eagle." The bird referred to was the minah (Gracula religoisa).

Several Arabic writings of the early 9th century also mention an area called Rami or Ramni, and sometimes Lambri. "On that island - I am referring to Lambri - there are many elephants. There is also sapang wood, bamboo and a tribe of cannibals," the Arab notes report. And most experts agree that the positioning of the area indicated is that of what is now known as Northern Sumatra.

In an inscription found in Tanjore, India which was carved in around 1030-31, the name Ilamuridesam is used to refer to a place near Manakkavaram (Greater Nickobar island). Texts from 13th century China also refer to a country called Lan-Wuli or Lan-Li. All these names are very similar to Lamuri, which was mentioned in earlier reports.

At the end of the 13th century, Marco Polo, the adventurer from Venice reported that in the northern part of Sumatra there were to be found as many as 6 trading ports. These were Ferlec, Basman, Smudra, Dagroian, Fansur and Lambri. The name Lamuri was also refered to by Arab explorers like Ibn Sa'id (end of the 13th century), Rasyid ad-Din (1310), and Abulfide (1273-1331). And in 1323 the Christian Father Odoric de Pordenone angrily wrote of the habits of the people of Lamuri, whom he described as savages because they practiced poligamy and cannibalism.

Cheng-Ho, and admiral serving the emperor of China of the Ming Dynasty, in the first part of Sumatra: A-lu (Aru), Su-men-ta-la, or Hsiu-wen-ta-la (Samudra) and Lanwul-li, or Lan-po-li (Lamuri). Concerning Samudra he reported that the region exported precious stones, other kinds of stone, indigo, rhinoceros, pumice stone, gaharu, kalambak, and pucuk wood, cloves, incense, daggers, arches, tin, pepper, sapan wood, belereng and other things. According to the same notes, after a struggle for the throne the name of the region referred to was change to A-tsi (Aceh).

The influence of Hinduism and Buddhism was also felt in this region, but it is not clear when this first occurred. The are is close to India so it is assumed that this influence existed there long before it did in other parts of Sumatra or Java. In the 54th book of the Ling Dynasty history there are several indications that the religion embraced by the king of Po-Li was Buddhism. Several other histories report the presence of Hinduism in Aceh. However it is all but impossible to find any physical sign of this presence, so it is difficult to reconstruct what type of influence India actually had in Aceh. This is probably because of the influence of the Islamic religion in the 7th and 8th centuries A.D.

"All aspects of the culture which were in direct opposition to Islamic law and teachings were wiped out completely" according to A. Hasjmy. Almost all structures and objects related to Indian influence were destroyed and almost no trace at all is left.

According to A. Hajmy the mosque in Indrapuri (Aceh Besar) was built on the foundation of a huge temple. "Its form was similar to that of the Borobudur temple."

The first Islamic kingdoms in Aceh were Perlak, Lamuri and Pasai. The kingdom of Pasai was the first to embrace Islam in Southeast Asia. Two other Islamic kingdoms of Aceh, Samudra Pasai (14th and 15ths centuries) and Aceh Darussalam (16th and 17th centuries), had major impact on the development and expansion of Islam in Indonesia. The religious, philosophic and literary works of the ulemas of Aceh opened up new horizons all over Indonesia.

The name Aceh itself began to be used more definitely around 1520 when Tome Pires of Portugal wrote, "Aceh is the first nation along the coast of Sumatra and is bordered by Lamri, which extends into the interior." Concerning the king of the region Tome Pires refers to him as being a Moslem king with power great enough to bring all of his enemies under control.

Denys Lombard, and expert on the history of Aceh, in his book, "The Kingdoms of Aceh" (1986) speculates that the king referred to was probably Ali Mughayat Syah, who is believed to have been the establisher of Islamic power. This king won the first sea war against the Portuguese in May 1521. Under his rule, and those of his successors, Aceh continued to expand its borders into the whole of Sumatra island and into Semenanjung, Malaysia.

The golden age of Aceh came during the period of kingdom of Aceh Darussalam (Land of Peace) under the rule of Sultan Iskandar Muda (1607-1636). According to Ausgustin de Beaulieu, a French admiral, the Aceh kingdom was the strongest of all the neighboring nations in terms of its sea power. In its three main harbors as many as 100 war ships were on the alert and ready to sail at a moment's notice. "A third of them were larger than any war ship ever seen in Christiandom," Beaulieu wrote. He also recorded the information that each ship carried three cannons and 40 tons of shells, and were manned by between 600 and 800 men.

Peter Mundy, a Briton, in 1673 reported that Aceh had an armada of 200 large ships, besides numerous large and small boats with sails made of woven matting or rattan. The Portuguese, the foe of Aceh, called these large Acehnese ships Espanto del Mundo or the "bogey men of the world". These ships were about 100 meters long, with three sails and equipped with 100 guns. "Even though our eyes were accustomed to seeing things of great beauty, we all amazed to see this (the ships)," Faria y Sousa, a Spaniard, who worked for the Portuguese, reported.

On land Aceh's army featured the use of elephants, which were greatly feared. Beaulieu reported that the elephants forces numbered as many as 900. These forces were supported by a cavalry mounted on 200 horses. The Aceh kingdom also had a force of at least 40,000 foot soldiers. With this type of military strength Aceh expanded its territory and successfully fought off the Portuguese in areas as far away as Malacca and Semanjung, Malaysia. Because these forces inspired such confidence the people of Aceh did not bother to build high, thick walls to protect Aceh city. Explorers from Europe who are used to seeing such fortresses in Europe and India were amazed that Aceh had none.

As time passed the Dutch became the threat instead of the Portuguese and Aceh was the only part of Indonesia that had yet to fall under the influence of the colonial forces at the first of 20th century.

The Aceh war (1873-1942) was the most major war ever fought by the Dutch and it claimed over 100,000 lives, including that of the Dutch Major General J.H.R. Kohler.

On Aceh's side many heros and heroines surfaced, many of them dying, during this prolonged struggle, among them being: Teungku Chik di Tiro, Teuku Umar, Cut Nyak Dien, Panglima Polem, Cut Meutia, and many, many more. Aceh was the last region in Indonesia to fall to the Dutch colonial forces, and the first to break away.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Tale of Keramat Kuala Bidor 3 – And so the story goes…

The tomb of Keramat Kuala Bidor in Perak

Continued from the article “The Tale of Keramat Kuala Bidor 2 – Touching a bit on the world shadow government”. This story is translated/adapted from the Malay novel “Berpetualang ke Aceh”.

Once upon a time, a long time ago in Sumatera, there were two brothers fighting for the throne of a kingdom. The elder one who deserved the throne more became disappointed and broken-hearted that his own brother would go to any lengths just to become the ruler, and so he left the whole fray and left the kingdom with his beloved wife and only the clothes they are wearing.
They rowed on a small boat across the Straits of Malacca. Arrived at the Perak river and landed in Teluk Intan. That’s where they stayed and lived… By planting vegetables and fishing for a living.

Nenek said, during that time the Kingdom of Perak have not existed yet… Don’t know how long ago this happened… The name Teluk Intan was not yet to be, so were the name Perak and the Perak river. But there was already a small fishing settlement there and so there were some populace. Not sure though where they came from, which kingdom there belong to or which king hold sway over them. According to official history, the Perak Kingdom was started in 1528 AD… So this story must have happened at least 500 years ago.
What is strange, Nenek said Keramat Kuala Bidor used to travel to and fro his orchard in Bidor. He went after Zuhur (the prayer after noon) and returned before Maghrib (time for the sunset twilight prayers). Come to think of it, it would take an hour by car to go from Teluk Intan to Bidor in this modern times, so how could anyone do it during that period travelling through thick jungle and vegetation to and fro with time to work an orchard all within a space of five hours? Did he rode a horse? As far as Rasyid knows, the legendary man was too poor to afford any mode of transportation… What can you say, after all he is a very poor man who owned only a set of clothers, can’t afford to have an ox what more a horse. Or… Perhaps he rode a tiger? Because there are tales saying he did befriended a tiger with one lame foot known in legends as “Harimau Tepok”…

Keramat Kuala Bidor also liked to fish in the wee hours of the morning and give the catch to the villagers without them knowing. Right after he made his catch, he would put a fish at the door of each house before Subuh (time for morning prayers)… The minute one opens the door, there is a fish in front but nobody knew where it came from. The man just took one or two for his own consumption with the wife.
Such was the simple life led by this legendary figure and his woman… They only owned a piece of good clean cloth. That is the cloth used in turn for their prayers but nevertheless they lead a blissful and happy life.

Nenek said the guy could have had a very easy life if he wanted to, anytime if he needs it as he was blessed with many natural-born talents. But Keramat Kuala Bidor is not the type of person to relish wealth and treasure, or any form of worldly luxury and goods.
Rasyid was moved to hear this story. At the core of his being came the thought how happy he would be if he got a wife like that of Keramat Kuala Bidor, the kind of thoughtful pious woman who is willing to accept anything the husband has to give, even though he has nothing at all.
To him this is the example of a woman who truly follows the injunctions laid out in the holy book Al-Quran regarding the rights of woman to receive from her husband which sounds something like this: “Whenever the husband eats, and so the wife. Whenever the husband is clothed, and so the wife too”. This means, the woman is pleased and accepts whatever the husband could afford, not to make demands asking him to buy what-nots as is the case nowadays just to follow the trend or the times and thus forcing the husband to look for extra money just to keep up with the Joneses… Whenever the neighbours have new furnitures, and so the wife demands from the husband… That notwithstanding other things… In the end the husband suffers from migraine just to keep the wife happy.
According to the real injunctions of the Quran, if the husband has nothing to eat, then the wife should not mind to be patient in hunger too. So this would not be a burden on the husband especially in this modern times where one is often forced to go against one’s principles just to make ends meet, where clean and “not-so-clean” money are mixed and it is hard to recognise which is which, where usury holds sway until it becomes the ingredient of every human being.
Believe this ooo dear womankind, in an environment full of love and acceptance such as described above, there exist no man who would consciously allow his wife to suffer in hunger or not have proper clothing. There would not arise the man’s anger in having to compromise his principles just to chase the luxurios life demanded by some wives. If the wife is really pleased with whatever the husband has got to give, then he would have the peace of mind to really pray and lead his life according to the will of Allah. Meanwhile those men who are given certain principles to live and fight for especially those involving the purity and sovereignity of the religion, people and the country would be able to carry out their task whole-heartedly.
Eh… This Rasyid has gone overboard with these thoughts… Perhaps what Nenek told him about how Keramat Kuala Bidor lead his life with the wife made him remember his very own dear sweet-heart…

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Zionist Conspiracy

Last night I had trouble going to sleep. So after spending sometime trashing my body to find a sleep-inducing position, I woke up and turned on the laptop and shifted through MyDocuments. And so I found something I wrote 4 years ago, an outline in English on what was to be my first attempt at writing a book, a book in Malay. This happened a few months after leaving my job as a journalist for the Malaysian English-daily, The New Straits Times.
The actual articles which would have formed the book following the outline was written in Malay. Nevertheless, due to some problems, the book was never completed... Instead I wrote the Malay novel "Berpetualang ke Aceh: Mencari Diri dan Erti" and published it in June 2006.
Anyway perhaps for posterity, perhaps to give others points to ponder and food for thought eh?Here is the outline as it was written 4 years ago...
Oh... The words "Yahudi ingin memerintah dunia" can directly translated as "The Jews want to rule the world"... So there!


Outline - main themes

1. Sept 11 attack on WTC was actually organised by the Jews. points - north tower was hit first but south tower which was hit some 20 minutes later was the first to crumble. Also to check. The first plane was from an NY airport, the second from Boston meaning the first had more fuel on board. The towers also crumbled like a proper demolition job which needs explosives put and detonated at intervals but explanation offered was they crumbled like this because of jet fuel. SO how can the second tower crumble first when less fuel was involved and it was hit some 20 minutes later? What about black boxes or communications with ground control. How can the planes approach urban areas without some warning from the ground. Also the global hawk theory.

Check the facts that some 4,000 Jews who worked in the WTC were all on holiday when this happened. Strange huh? Also that shares expected to fall like airline shares were sold just before this happened while shares expected to rise like those for companies dealing with security products were snapped up. Attack also happened after George W. Bush were barely months into his office. Note that the whole American politics was divided in half after the Bush-Gore presidential fight but now Bush got total support. Also attack happened when US economy were facing recession. Wars have been known to be waged to revive economies while making the people's attention turn abroad. The attack also opened the way for control like phone taping and all soemthing the American people are bound to oppose under freedom of speech and right to privacy. But now they are giving that away in the name of national security.

2. The Jewish plan - Protocols of the Elders of Zion - this was mentioned and taken very seriously by Ford motor company founder who wrote the book the International Jews. Control of world finances. Dispersion of opposing ideas - Capitalism versus Marxism and all. An economy run through usury of riba The Illuminati plan - the fomenting of three world wars. Note: The UN and Bretton Woodsa institutions were created for these purposes

3. Signs for a third world war - Use Aquarian age theory, the propechies and books Stories of Dajjal - the false prophet - the rebuilding of the Temple of Solomon

4. Were do we (Malaysians) fit in this - The meeting of descendants of Alexander the Great and Prophet Muhammad. The fact that we have nine Sultans in Malaysia when that of our neighbour Indonesia have practically been destroyed.Use Hikayats like that of Raja-raja Pasai. Also the story about Ratu Adil and the contention by some that barang-barang ampuh from Jawa are disappearing only to reappear in the Klang Valley.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The return of Admiral Muhammad Amin's remains to the royal mausoleum of Perak

Praise be to God... In the labour (and wonderment?) of surfing the Internet and looking back at my blogspots while figuring out what to add, came the urge to show again an historical event rarely seen in Malaysia or at any part of the world. The event is the returning of the remains of two olden Perak warriors Laksamana Raja Mahkota (an official royal admiral title) Muhammad Amin and Menteri Paduka Tuan (minister) Ngah Ibrahim to their much beloved land, in September 9, 2006.
Both fighters were exiled to the Seychelles Islands in Afrika in 1877 after being implicated for involvement in the murder of the first British Resident in Perak J.W.W. Birch (died 1875 at Pasir Salak). Also exiled were Sultan Abdullah (Perak's 26th king, ruled 1874-1877) and Syahbandar (harbour-master) Uda Ma'amor. For information, they were all related. The Syahbandar and Menteri also happens to be the son-in-laws of the Laksamana.
Sultan Abdullah was "pardoned" by the British and so managed to return to Perak where he died 1922 whereas the others had to spent the rest of their lives still in exile but in Singapore. Thus here exist a certain confusion when there emerge parties who claimed Ngah Ibrahim managed to return back to Perak in secret... So they added, the remains brought back at the ceremony was not actually his.
Anyway, I'm here to bring forth the process of returning the remains of Laksamana Raja Mahkota Muhammad Amin out of love and respect as his 5th descendant. These pictures were taken personally while following the convoy to bring the remains from Lumut where the Malaysian royal navy ship KD Laksamana Muhammad Amin berthed after sailing over a day to bring the remains outside of Singapore. After the reception ceremony at Lumut, then only were the remains brought along the old road heading for the royal mausoleum at Bukit Chandan, Kuala Kangsar where the Laksamana finally returns.
Oh... Sorry if the pictures are not so clear. This is because I've used the GIF format when putting the pictures on-line to show to some friends at a favourite forum. In fact this is the same pictures and same comments (except it was originally in Malay) as shown in the forum more than 2 months ago... Well, it's good to put it in this blogspot in turn so that more people can see it, God willing!

The convoy carrying the remains of Laksamana Muhammad Amin and Ngah Ibrahim en-route from Lumut to Kuala Kangsar via the old road, after the completion of the reception ceremony by the army at the Lumut Naval Base. Here, the 1.5km-long convoy were somewhere in Sitiawan, at about 10.15 am.

The convoy passing near Kampung Kota main mosque in Beruas at almost 11am. For information, not far behind the mosque are situated tombs of the kings of Beruas of which many are marked with winged-type Aceh gravestones, similar to the ones found on the tomb of Sultan Malikus Salih situated at the former centre of the Samudera-Pasai kingdom in Aceh, also similar to the gravestone at the only remaining tomb of a Malaccan king in Malaysia, that of Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah at Kampung Raja, Pagoh, Muar... And, almost the spitting image of the gravestones marking the tomb of Perak's first king, Sultan Muzaffar Shah at Telok Bakong, Bota Kanan.

Convoy arrives at the t-junction of the old Lumut-Ipoh road to head for Kuala Kangsar via Manong at about 11.15.

Convoy nears Kuala Kangsar. The time is almost 12 noon...

The remains of Laksamana Muhammad Amin ceremoniusly brought into the Perak royal mausoleum area at Bukit Chandan, Kuala Kangsar. The time is about 12.15... Many have converged there including guest, relatives and those who just want to be part of the happenings... Seen at the background is the main mausoleum building housing a few kings of Perak closely related to Sultan Idris I who opened up Bukit Chandan in the early 1900s...

The remains of Laksamana Muhammad Amin brought near the mausoleum area which housed the bodies of the close kins of Sultan Abdullah Muhammad Shah II, the Perak king exiled to the Seychelles Islands in 1877 along with the Laksamana, Shahbandar Uda Ma'amor and Nga Ibrahim for being involved in the murder of the British Resident J.W.W. Birch in 1875. Both Uda Ma'amor and Ngah Ibrahim are Muhammad Amin's son-in-laws while the Laksamana is the third cousin of Sultan Abdullah.

The navy and those present paying their final respect before the remains are to be lowered down the ground. Seen in the background is part of the Ubudiyah Mosque of Bukit Chandan.

Workers making sure the coffin is put properly in place along with the remains of Laksamana Muhammad Amin inside the special box brought from Singapura.

Navy personnel working hard to cover the ground with red earth as prepared while those present watched.

The burial is almost completed

The remains of Laksamana Muhammad Amin safely buried at Perak's royal mausoleum, Bukit Chandan, Kuala Kangsar. Those present followed the special prayers recited by the imam (prayer congregation leader), forgot to check who he is... Didn't realise the navy can follow the prayer with just one hand? Perhaps it's the way done during war-time?

The Raja dihilir of Perak (second in-line to the throne) Raja Jaafar with the poise of an admiral, the king of the sea coming forth to pay his respects while Perak chief minister Tajol Rosli watches on.

Tajol Rosli's turn to spread the flowers and water the tomb of Laksamana Muhammad Amin... In the picture were many palace people including those related to me but I don't know any of them except one or two.

The tale of Keramat Kuala Bidor 2… Touching a bit on the world shadow government

Continued from the previous posting, “The tale of Keramat Kuala Bidor” based on the story in the Malay novel “Berpetualang ke Aceh: Mencari Diri dan Erti”.

At first Rasyid tried to shrug off the weird dream, pretending as if it never ever happened. At that time, he was into his third year as sports journalist and was busy covering all sorts of events and tournaments especially in hockey, equestrian and motorsports. But the September 11 disaster of 2001 which saw the World Trade Centre twin towers in New York crumbling down to dust pulled him back to the dream which happened about a month before. As if there was a strong connection to the disaster which he believed marked an all-out attack by Zionist forces against the Muslim world. And this in turn would spark the Third World War soon enough, all of it in turn connected to the end-time propechies mentioned by the prophet Muhammad SAW 1,400 years ago!
Previously, the guy had studied the document called Protocols of the Elders of Zion which he found by accident while surfing the Internet at the office, a set of protocols which seemed to contain a detailed plan to conquer to world and create a huge world government to be known as The New World Order. The plan which was conceived by Zionist intellectuals from a previous generation also listed wholesale control over all forms of mass media – dailies, all sort of news, articles, radio programmes, TV, entertainment and Hollywood films to shape the kind of apathetic society which is easily manipulated… And this runs along with popular promotion of interest-based economics “sponsored” by the international bankers while political support is given to smart and charismatic budding politicians around the world but with moral faults making them easier to be herded by the Jews.
By then, Rasyid who was starting to get acquinted back to a moral good Muslim life while upholding the compulsory prayers as often as he could have also learned about the Freemason, a group with far-reaching tentacles which prided itself as built on the “correct” principles of universal brotherhood with the good intend of building a noble world-wide civilisation but is in fact an underground machinery created to support the Protocols. The machinery is in turn supported by the Illuminati, an elite group of wealthy and powerful thinkers from all over the world who move hidden in the shadows not unlike the dark figures behind all the webs of lies in the popular TV series the X-Files.
The views and explanations given by Henry Ford, the founder of the giant car-maker in his book The International Jews which detailed the tactics and workings of the Jews to control the early 20th century American economy just serve to plant more firmly his belief on the existence of a detailed Zionist plan to rule the world. His heart told him all these were already implied in the dream he had sometime ago.
For over a week Rasyid was restless with questions asking what is the meaning of this. Why did he felt the Third World War which according to a document on the Illuminati is mentioned as the last well-conceived war before the world could truly be conquered is just around the corner. In fact, maybe the war has already started with September 11… In the same fashion that the First and Second World War which took millions of life started with just small-scale violence somewhere in Eastern Europe before escalating within a few years to cover the whole world.
In the end, the guy couldn’t stand it any more. His instint told him, only Nenek (his father’s mother) could elaborate the meanings behind his weird dream and explain what is happening to him. All this while, he was closer to his mother’s family but nevertheless, he made a point of visiting Nenek at least once a year… Except during his student days in England and the last three years.
God knows how, Rasyid managed to get a weeks’ leave without much questioning. Normally it is very hard to get such a long leave from the sports desk especially when the regional Sea Games of 2001 would be hosted in Kuala Lumpur in a month’s time. And so, after three years of not visiting her, the guy rushed to see Nenek.
Nenek was all welcome and this was apparent the minute he arrived. The 70 plus year-old woman was her usual pleasant self, all smiles with soft lights showing how caring she is radiating from her eyes. And she still likes to wear Kedah traditional blouse along with Batik down her waist. Although her eldest grandchild (Rasyid of course!) have not visited her for ages, Nenek was not the least slighted. In fact the radiance on her face looked much more pleasant than before, as if suggesting she was already expecting his presence.
Muhammad Al-Aminul Rasyid waited after lunch is completed before bringing out what has been troubling his heart for some time… By telling her about the weird dream which involved the Perak Sultanate and its relationship with the end-times. Imagine, after so long not talking to Nenek, in fact never once in his whole life had he showed any interest on the state where his father was born, suddenly out of the blue he appeared and started asking about the old tales of Perak. Surprisingly, Nenek was not perturbed or astonished at all! She was so casual about it, as if it is high time her grandchild knew about his family origin, as if the time has finally arrive for him to take on a certain task… And so Nenek opened up the story…

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The tale of Keramat Kuala Bidor

Below is an initial attempt to translate/adapt parts of the chapter called "Dari Perlak ke Perak: Kisah Keramat Kuala Bidor" (From Perlak to Perak: The tale of Keramat Kuala Bidor)... From the Malay novel "Berpetualang ke Aceh: Mencari Diri dan Erti" - (The trip to Aceh: In search of self and meaning?)... Have a look...

Those studying the old history of Aceh must surely know the name Sultan Malikus Salih, the founder of the twin kingdom of Samudera and Pasai, very famous indeed especially in the annals of Islamic history and the Malay Archipelago. Long before the kingdom of Melaka existed and embraced Islam, his royal highness have made his kingdoms the main centre of Islamic knowledge, transmission and missionary activities of this part of the world.
Tales on this Sultan is immortalised in the old text Hikayat Raja-raja Pasai, considered by scholars and historians as the oldest Malay text available. His tomb in Aceh invites many who wants to get acquainted with Islamic civilization of yore. But how many knew his royal highness and the kingdoms would never have existed if not for a certain figure who used to live at Teluk Intan and died there? How many even realise the connection between the Sultan this particular Perak man?
Its just this man’s tomb is alienated inside a palm oil estate, unlike the prominent tomb of Malikus Salih in Sumatera which is marked by Aceh tombstones, symbolising the high status of the person. The one in Perak is only marked with stones picked from the river, enough to show there once existed a certain person who walked on this earth, once upon a time.
What shows this man is not just not any Tom, Dick and Harry is the yellow clothes tied to the stones, marking him as of royal prominence with saintly powers. And thus he was known as the Keramat Kuala Bidor, literally translated, the saintly person of Kuala Bidor (referring to the estuary of the Bidor river where he used to live).


Rasyid came to know of the existence of Keramat Kuala Bidor when he was moved to search from Nenek (his grandma) some old stories regarding Perak. Before this, he had not the slightest interest in such stories, having been branded by his own family of being too Westernised… Maybe because of his four years of study in London sometime ago?
Muhammad Al Aminul Rasyid used to be very proud of his God-given intellectual capacity to digest Western studies like the philosopies of Socrates and Plato. And thus Western ideological texts such as the Das Kapital and Communist Manifesto of Karl Marx, Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith and of course, The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli, the Italian political strategist known for the quote “the ends justify the means” which has become a mantra for politicians became his daily diet.
The guy also happens to have “Western features”. If his younger days in primary school saw him being ashamed of his clear white-reddish complexion plus his rather brownish hair, the tables are turned during his youth. His natural looks which used to be reasons for others to take a pick and make jokes on him became assets instead as the girls began to show interest… And all this happened while many Malay guys were trying to find ways to smoothen and withen their skin and paint their hair in lighter shade to look like Westerners and so be deemed fairer and more good-looking.
Rasyid really enjoyed his assets as more and more girls especially the really good-looking ones praise his “Western” looks, although as far as family history shows, he has not a shred of European or Western blood. And so the Muar, Johor-born lad became sure there was no need to know anything about old Malay folklore and tales… Although he used to really loved it when he was small with local tales like Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa and Hikayat Inderaputra receiving as much interest as the tales of Greek Gods like Zeus and Aphrodite, also the Norse Gods like Odin, Thor and Loki… After all he loves stories with mythical themes and magic in it.
The guy only change his stance when a sort of “Malayness” feeling began to permeate his being, a kind of a bitter-sweet feeling “activated” when he first heard a collection of songs on the CD written by M.Nasir but sung by Hattan particularly the one titled “Lagu Cenderawasih”. This particular song has some sort of mystical tinge to it, at least that’s what he felt upon hearing it one early morning while cleaning the chimneys alone at a Malay restaurant in London. It was in 1995 and Rasyid was in his final year of his Degree in Mathematics. But he had to take a few odd jobs including rearranging the books at the university library, serving customers and cleaning the pots and pans at the University of London Union cafetaria and handing leaflets in front of Dillon’s bookstore nearby to make ends meet after his scholarship was discontinued for breaking the contract.
Too bad, when he returned to Malaysia, he was soon immersed back in Westernised activities which set aside good Islamic and Malay norms. His job as a journalist attached to a prominent English daily often made him lost in enjoyment at prestigious functions and parties… The kind with free mixing accentuated by really sexy and glamorous ladies egged on further by what seemed to be never-ending supply of liquor and beer. Imagine, exclusive Formula One parties at the best night-clubs in town attended only by a list of who’s who… With model-type ladies (waif, alluring, plenty of smiles and ready for action) which one normally found at motor-races to take care of guests, courtesy of the big companies eager to make journalists very happy in exchange for perpetual publicity. Who would ever thought, one day, after spending so much happy-go-lucky time in this Internet age and free-for-all information world, Rasyid had a dream which would force him to study old Perak tales and then on Aceh and anything to do with it? Who would have thought it would go on until this book, a rather weird piece of writing materialised and is now sitting right in front of your face?