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".
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
The tale of Keramat Kuala Bidor
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?