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.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Why Berpetualang!

At last, I finally got the urge to actually start the English adaptation of the Malay novel “Berpetualang ke Aceh: Mencari Diri dan Erti”… By making an almost direct translation of the opening chapter, “Kenapa Berpetualang” which literally means “Why the travelling” or another way to say it - “Why bother travelling (going trough all the trouble in the first place).”
I have also decided to keep the Malay/Indonesian words of the main title “Berpetualang ke Aceh” which to me carries a certain significance that can’t be properly translated to English… I mean “The trip to Aceh” or “The Aceh chronicles” doesn’t quite cut it… Instead, the sub-title “Mencari Diri dan Erti”, translated to “The search for self and meaning” should be apt enough to convey the raison d’etre behind the book’s name, bearing in mind this is actually the first of a trilogy of books under the name “Berpetualang ke Aceh”.
Thus in keeping with the spirit, the word “Berpetualang” in the first chapter should also be preserved, hence the opening story below. Go through and you’ll find how the word can resonate far beyond mere translations, making the title below fits very well into the whole reason for the quest… Read on!


In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful,
Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds;
Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
Master of the Day of Judgment.
Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek.
Show us the straight way;
The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray.

(Al-Fatihah – The Opening Verses of the Quran)

Four o’clock in the wee hours. Rasyid found it really hard to snooze. Felt like ages changing sides and contorting his body to all manners of shape and size just to get comfortable enough for a wink but nothing seemed to work. Rather than continuing this fruitless charade, might as well do something useful. He got up and went to the living room, then took out the Compaq Presario laptop which haven’t been touched for quite a while.
“Maybe I have to start writing again,” his heart whispered.
The guy began to recall his trip to Aceh 2 years ago, when the land also known as The Verandah of Mecca was under emergency rule by the military… A trip that must be made in order to find the answers to some questions that have been plaguing his mind since as long as he can remember.
There’s no denying it. Of late, Rasyid always have Aceh on his mind. If the end of 2004 have seen the world in shock after the Tsunami of 26 December took some 200,000 lives in the war-stricken region, lately the 4 million remaining population there begin to see some glimmer of hope.
As it turns out, there is a silver lining behind the clouds. Behind all the casualties and infrastructures destroyed, the Indonesian Republic government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM. For the Malay equivalent – Gerakan Aceh Merdeka) were pushed to the round-table. And so the most solid treaty ever between the two since Indonesia gained independence from the Dutch colonial powers in 1945 were struck. The visible result, GAM is willing to surrender the guns and weapons they’ve held for years while the Indonesia military began to eliminate their presence at the region in stages.
Rasyid who have been practically unemployed the last 4 years soon remembered his promise to write a book about Aceh. The work will contain pages of old sunken tales interwoven with the history of The Verandah of Mecca and its relation with the Malay Archipelago along with his travelling experience and relevant events.
Actually Rasyid already had all the relevant materials compiled for some time; in fact he already started writing a year ago. The title of the book has also long been decided on, a title which appeared at heart when he first stepped at the Aceh-North Sumatera border. However, personal problems and many other worries got in the way until it all got too much. The seemingly never ending trials and tribulations he had to face in life made him felt so desolate as if the whole world itself conspired to bring him down. And so he walked broken-hearted and lost his way.
Rasyid switched on the laptop and searched for the folder “Petualang”. Thank God, as soon as he saw the book cover’s design made a year ago using the Adobe Photoshop software at his adopted father Pak Syed’s office, a new resolution to continue his long-forgotten writing attempt blossomed. And so his finger danced as the story unfolded to the alluring background of the traditional music called Asyik whispering mystically from his computer.
“Berpetualang ke Aceh? Sounds very disturbing,” said a friend Asri upon hearing the title of the book. “Why ‘berpetualang’? Doesn’t it sound evil?”
As it turns out, the word has such a negative connotation in Malaysia but in Indonesia, it carries a totally different meaning, a positively adventurous one too but that is another story… For the record, Aceh is considered to be in Indonesia. But bear in mind some Acehnese would beg to differ as they considered theirs a free country which happens to be illegally ran by the Indonesians. So there…
“I thought ‘Petualang’ applies only to those who disturb the peace? Those who bring trouble and destruction? Aren’t you worried what people would say? This sound rather like the communist” the friend, a native of Lenggong in Perak badgered… Malaysians in general have very bad impression of the Communist because of the disturbances they caused all over the country in the 60s to early 70s. And so he suggested the title changed to “Berkelana ke Aceh (Adventure to Aceh)” or “Mengembara ke Aceh (Travels to Aceh)”. Or maybe “Jejak-jejak Aceh (The Aceh tracks)” considering the story do cover actual travelling experiences coupled with history and tales.
Rasyid thought for a moment. Fair enough… No harm done using these titles. Doesn’t sound so bad either. It’s just that the titles are not strong enough to convey the explicit and implicit message of the story… They also sound like something out of a travel brochure when in fact, the stories included does carry with it a hint of rebelliousness (which the word “Petualang” does imply)… Some sort of struggle that needs to be made public. So he explained to Asri but the friend seemed rather perplexed!
“Don’t be shocked!” Rasyid tried to smoothen things out. “The struggle and rebellion I meant is more on the inside, a spiritual process to understand the true Self. Anyway the world “petualang” does have a positive and healthy spin, so much so it can represent the struggle to make the truth prevail over the wrongs.
“Here, look at this…” he continued while shoving an article titled “Music Tutur dan Futtuwah Aceh (Music, speech and brotherhood in Aceh)” by Otto Syamsuddin Ishak in the weekly Indonesian magazine Tempo, 12-18 July 2004.

Hikayat pra-kolonial lazimnya memuat petualangan anak raja budiman dalam meudagang (menuntut ilmu) hingga mendapatkan pengalaman sufistik, sebelum petualangan meraih kembali takhtanya. Banta Beuransah berada dalam petualangannya memasuki sebuah dunia aneka hayati yang penuh makna simbolis hingga terjelaskan selepas seorang aulia hadir. Dalam hikayat lain, Malem Diwa mengalami pengalaman sufistik. Dalam petualangannya untuk menolong para putri, ia selalu mengendarai Buraq, kenderaan Nabi Muhammad SAW saat berisra’-mikraj.

Loosely translated – The pre-colonial tales usually include the petualangan (in this context, the travels) of a noble prince in learning the lessons of life until he achieved the necessary Sufistic or spiritual experience (most probably gnosis – the ‘merging’ with the source of all being) before he proceeds for petualangan (in this context, the mission) to gain back his throne. Banta Beuransah (an Acehnese folk hero) was in petualangan (travels) entering a colourful world of multi-delights full of symbolism (in an alternate universe? This is common in Malay folklore) until everything is explained through the presence of a saint. In another tale, Malem Diwa (another folk hero) had a Sufistic experience. In his petualangan (travels) to help the princess (he actually married three!), he often rode the Buraq, a kind of beast slightly resembling a horse, perhaps the Pegasus said to be the Prophet Muhammad’s vehicle in his Isra’ Mikhraj (the night journey where he went from Mecca to Jerusalem before climbing up the seven heavens and above in very small space of time).

“So what’s the problem with “Berpetualang ke Aceh?” Rasyid asked. Enough said…


algembira said...

Asalamualaikum wr wb. Hendak berpetualang ke mana lagi pada masa yang akan datang? Ajak dong saya.

Radzi Sapiee said...

Wassalam... Baru nampak komen ini... Tak tentu mana petualangan seterusnya. Ikut apa gerak yang terbit samada melalui hati sendiri atau diajak orang lain, atau "digerakkan" mengikut keadaan ke mana tempat walau tak dirancang! Sekian...