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.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Experience with orang Asli

Hmm... Suddenly I feel like sharing one more of my old articles from The New Straits Times. Have a look... Cheers! 

Publication : NST-LTIMES 
Edition : 2* 
Date : 30/10/1997 
Page Number : 10 
Headline : Straddling rural and modern life 
Words : 1077 
Byline : By Radzi Sapiee 
Text : 

DEEP in the haze-free hills of the Perak jungle are the Temiars, who make up the main portion of the State's Orang Asli. Clustered in small kampungs throughout the jungle, they live a precarious existence, balancing between the demands of the modern world and a rustic jungle life. 

My first encounter with these shy but friendly people was at Kampung Tonggang, a few kilometres from Tanjung Rambutan. I was part of a 50 four-wheel-drive convoy for the recent National 4x4 Challenge. From Ipoh, we drove past Hospital Bahagia before turning right into a riverside logging track, twisting and turning into an uphill route before arriving at the kampung, which was on top of a hill. 

We were greeted by smiling kampung folks, young and old, already gathered at the open area in front of the main gate, clearly excited at having so many visitors, including Perak Menteri Besar Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib, who was with our convoy. A festive mood was in the air as the Temiars, sporting their best clothes, simple and rural by city standards, and garlands on their head ushered us into the biggest hut there, the community hall where traditional dishes - petai, ikan bakar and umbut bayas - awaited. 

The visit was capped by the sewang, a traditional dance accompanied by traditional percussion, a set of bamboo sticks hammered in a rap-like beat on a log, and a song in their language, which managed to get some of the visitors, including Ramli, to dance on the bamboo floor. 

However, the brief visit did not give me a chance to get to know them better. As it was also an official visit by the Menteri Besar, they were understandably showing their best form, which was perhaps not reflective of their daily lives. 

Still, from their clothing - the men in simple baju Melayu and women in batik and T-shirt - and Ramli's pledge that he would introduce more amenities such as public telephones into the kampung, one can gather that they were eager to embrace civilisation as we know it, although preferring to stay near the jungle. 

I had to wait for the next day to get a better insight into the Orang Asli attitude towards modernity, this time at another settlement in Pos Poi, some 50km from the nearest town of Sungei Siput. Sitting on the banks of nearby Sungei Piah, some friends and me were enjoying a smoke when a group of six young Temiars in school uniform appeared at the opposite side before stepping into the water. 

Keeping their clothes above water level - the boys' blue trousers folded up to their knees while the girls' long skirts held at the tips - they waded across the stream, avoiding the deep end. 

Their books held on their head or tucked under the arms, they soon put on their socks and shoes and made their way to Sekolah Kebangsaan Pos Poi, where the rest of the National 4x4 Challenge members had camped for the night. 

It was not long before a boy was seen walking half-naked through the stream with only his white shirt on, his face puzzled by the onlookers, including the TV3 camera crew who quickly switched on its camera to get the rare footage of a teenager raring to go to school despite the watery obstacle. Upon reaching the sandy banks, he got into his trousers and shoes and coolly walked to the nearby school. 

But not everyone is as eager to go to school as these youngsters. A teacher, who wants to be known as Cikgu Ahmad, said out of the 126 pupils registered there, slightly more than half attend classes regularly. 

"Some question the virtue of education, saying it did not provide them with any tangible means of getting food," he said. 

Instead, they preferred to join their parents to hunt monkeys, birds and other small animals, abundant in the jungle that is their home, following the footsteps of their grandparents and those before them.

However, they were not totally immune from the trappings of the outside world as shown by the T-shirts, bearing pictures of popular Western rock groups, worn by some of the youngsters. 

According to village elder Abus Yong, 60, many teenagers work for timber companies operating in the surrounding forest or find menial jobs in small towns such as Sungei Siput to get enough money to sample city life. 

"It's kind of a balance. We sometimes go and join the mainstream public. At times, we go hunting in the jungle," he said, exhaling smoke from his kretek cigarette. 

While students of Pos Poi had to wade to school, those at Kampung Sungei Dala need only cross the two hanging bridges that connect the different parts of the Orang Asli resettlement area, about 60km from Grik. 

The area, which was opened in 1983 to accommodate the Temiars along Sungei Perak, especially those affected by the opening of the Kendering Dam, is home to some 600 people in four kampungs, each with its own headman. 

Orang Asli Affairs Department officer Azhar Yahya said the Kampung Sungei Dala resettlement scheme, which has the best facilities within that part of the Perak jungle, was also set up to modernise the Orang Asli. 

"So far the results have been encouraging. Here they can mix better with the outside world while maintaining their identity at the same time." 

Directly under the department's supervision, the area has amenities ranging from a surau, a small administration complex and a primary school. It also receives a twice-monthly medical visit from Grik Hospital staff. 

The National 4x4 Challenge members who spent two nights at the settlement also joined the Temiars for what was the highlight of their normal weekends, the weekly film show by the Information Department. Set on a field, also the venue for most community activities, the Ahmad Albab movie, featuring the late P. Ramlee, had everyone, even toddlers cuddled by mums, in stitches until the end. 

While the facilities and services offered for the Temiars were lacking and rudimentary compared to modern rural villages, all the signs point to progress for the community. Like the Malay kampungs of the '60s which also received periodical film shows and medical visits before graduating to better things, the settlement area and perhaps all other Orang Asli settlements will eventually pick up, taking its citizens into the fold of modern Malaysia and its vision of a developed nation. (END)

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