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…

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The will concerning the end-times

The tombstone of Sultan Malik Al-Salih, the founder of the kingdoms of Samudera and Pasai situated in present-day Aceh. Believed to have died in 1297 AD.

When I first started writing here, I did mention one of the main purpose of this blog was to start the English adaptation of the Malay novel "Berpetualang ke Aceh: Mencari Diri dan Erti" indirectly... That is, by trying to explain the contents of the book to English readers, God willing I would unconsciously convert enough material which would eventually become a book on its own. So let me start by telling you a story about a very enigmatic will, a will concerning the end-times and how the Malay Archipelago fits into the prophecies!

The ancient Malay text, Hikayat Raja-raja Pasai (the annals of the kings of Pasai) believed to be written before 15th Century AD mentioned - The Prophet Muhammad SAW said....

Sometime after I leave this earthly existence, there will appear a kingdom under the winds, Samudera is its name. When you hear the name, send a ship to bring all the state regalias, also convert the whole kingdom to Islam and teach them the Syahadah (the two Islamic articles of faith, Lailahaillah Muhammadurrasulullah - There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah).... Because in the kingdom, many people will become the saints of Allah. But on the way to there, you must stop and fetch a fakir (a man who have renounced wordly goods) at the state of Menggiri and bring him along.

The Sulalatus Salatin dubbed as the History of the Malays by the Orientalist Stamford Raffles, written sometime in the 17th Century by the Bendahara ( a noble title almost similar to the present day prime minister) of Johor, Tun Sri Lanang also mentioned the same will but differ a bit by calling the state where the fakir is to be fetched as Muktabar. Nevertheless, the person in question is the same, a king who renounced his kingdom to become a full-time missionary in service of God.

This will is the main premise or raison d'etre of the Malay novel "Berpetualang ke Aceh" as the book explores the reasons behind the will, particuarly the existence of a particular lineage of Malay kings with certain ties to the Prophet Muhammad which is why the kingdom of Samudera must be found so that the state regalias from Mekah in the Arabic Peninsula can be passed to them... For what? That is one of the misteries. But one can surely surmise, such precious items as the state regalias of Mekah which represent the Ahlul Bait, the family of the Prophet's legitimate right to rule and guide the people to the right path can only be passed to those with royal credentials worthy of the Prophet's attention... Or the Prophet's thickest bloodline?

The book is written through the eyes of a traveller Muhammad Al-Aminul Rasyid who is searching for his roots following so many deja vus and dreams he had all throughout his life, deja vus and dreams which came more often around his 30s. Particular disturbing was a dream regarding a Malay kingdom he had just a week or two before the September 11th 2001 terrorist attack in New York which saw the World Trade Centre twin-towers totally devastated and crumbled to earth... For the dream had indirectly prophecied the event as the clarion call to the coming of World War III and the end-time events as envisioned by Prophet Muhammad SAW 1,400 years ago.

At first Rasyid tried to ignore the dream but when he saw the WTC crumbed on television one night at his office, he couldn't shake it off - this is it his heart calls out... This is the sign of the coming of a new age related to the dream. Thus he took some days off and looked for nenek, his father's mother whom he hadn't seen for the last 3 years. And for the first time ever, they talked about the family roots and that's when Rasyid learnt about some legendary figures from the days of yore particularly a person called Keramat Kuala Bidor.

Nenek told him how Keramat Kuala Bidor left a kingdom somewhere in Sumatera to start a new life with his wife and became poor fisherman in Teluk Intan, Perak. Nevertheless, they lead a fulfilling but simple existence because they never really cared about the material world. Of some interest were the miraculous events associated with this saintly-person including walking Jesus-like on the vast waters of the Perak river on the night of Lailatul Qadar (a blessed night in the Islamic lunar month of Ramadhan), hence the reason he is known as Keramat (as in blessed by miracles) Kuala Bidor (Bidor river mouth which meets the Perak river where he used to stay)... Or simply in English, the miraculous man of Kuala Bidor.

Armed with new-found knowledge of his roots, Rasyid soon set off on his trusty big bike to Perak to look for the old tombs associated with Keramat Kuala Bidor and certain personas related to the royalty. Realising that there's some 30 tombs of Perak kings or Sultans alone scattered in the state, he followed his heart as to which tomb to visit. Then's when he uncovered links that goes much further beyond the 500 year old Perak Sultanate... Officially, the Perak royalty is the most-legitimate off-spring the old Malaccan Sultans which flourished in the 15th Century but here, Rasyid found the roots stretching to Aceh 700 years ago to the twin kingdoms of Samudera and Pasai, then much further to the Sultanate of Perlak established 840 AD.

The links however didn't stop there... Rasyid also found the Middle-Eastern origins of the Sultans of Perlak which relates to the troubles and civil wars in Baghdad at the end of the Umaiyyad Caliphate and the establishment of the Abbasids. The whole thing also involved the fights between the opposing Islamic sects of the Sunnis and the Syiahs and in order to understand more, the traveller had to understand what makes the two sects constantly at odds with each other. And so he learned about the explicit and implicit circumstances behind the tragic death of Prophet Muhammad's eldest grandchild Saidina Hassan who was poisoned, allegedly through the instruction of Muawiyah, the founder of the Umaiyyad Chalipate... And the execution Hassan's younger brother, Saidina Hussein in the fields of Karbala in Iraq when his band of 70 plus family members and supporters were cornered by an army of thousands, at the command of Muawiyah's son and succesor Yazid.

Whatever, the most important thing was how the roots link to Prophet Muhammad through a very respected branch which yielded a person known as Sultanul Awliya (king of the saints) Sheikh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani... And thus this Rasyid believed explained why the Prophet insist a ship be sent to the kingdom of Samudera and the state regalias handed over, and that in the kingdom there will appear a lot of saints for that is where the blessed seed has been thrown by circumstances and from there it will bloom and cover the whole Malay Archipelago.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What's up at Bukit Belachan

Greetings earthlings! After spending a hectic day settling some things, I returned home around 9pm and started updating my Malay blogspot "Catatan Si Merah Silu". Material-wise, that is infinitely much easier than updating this blogspot as all I have to do if don't want to write something totally new is to tap inside the rich contents of the Malay novel "Berpetualang ke Aceh: Mencari Diri dan Erti", written of course by yours truly. As it happens, I made 3 new postings there and that's when I realise, the total number of Malay postings have exceeded the English ones at this blogspot by 1 article... So let's make it even (or odd?)... A total of 9 postings each before calling it a day and so here we are... The 9th posting in this blogspot.
One of the reasons I started this English blogspot is to indirectly start the English adaptation of the book "Berpetualang ke Aceh". However presently, I'm too tired and not really in the mood to do any translation work or adaptation so we have to wait another day OK... Insyaallah!
Luckily, I've still got some old articles from my days as a journalist at The New Straits Times and it happens that the moment I went into the relevant folder, one particular title suddenly caught the eye to fit immediately into the moment. So here is a piece on Bukit Belachan, translated literally - Prawn-paste Hill...
What? You may ask?... Well have a go. You'll find some philosophy in it that neatly sums up my entire believe... Go... Read!

Publication :
Edition :
Date :
Page Number :
Headline :
Grasping the unknown at Bukit Belacan
Words :
Byline :
By Radzi Sapiee
Text :
WHILE at the office one night, I had a sudden urge to bunk in the woods, preferably where a stream ran nearby if not a waterfall.
Actually, it was just another periodic urge. Having decided to lead a rather nomadic life in the last seven months, I had been accustomed to follow my instincts and make quick decisions on where to spend the next night. The stack of spare clothes in the office closet, a few pairs of shoes
under the desk, a huge rucksack and a worn-out sleeping bag bore testimony to that.
But I hadn't really roughed it out for some time now. I used to bunk at the office parking space - for almost three months - while working on a book that seemed never to be finished. Otherwise I was at some friends' place. At times I went to Dad's for laundry and fresh clothing. So why this sudden urge to head for the woods? And at four o'clock in the morning too!
Well, for a start, my house in Kajang had no water supply. And it's already too late to call up friends. Besides, I had been at their places much too often and some were not too happy at the way I kept shifting venues. So after changing into a pair of batik trousers, a loose t-shirt and a pair of sandals, I slipped on my leather jacket, took the rucksack and sleeping bag and left the office on my trusty bike.
The destination - Bukit Belacan - was decided upon while I was on the elevator down. I hadn't been there for years and the last time I really roughed it out was when I became homeless in London for three months and travelled in Europe for one month on a RM500 budget. So there.
Actually, I did spend the previous night outdoors - beside the lake at Taman Tasik Perdana. But that didn't count.
So there I was riding past Jalan Bangsar, heading for the city centre before turning into Jalan Sultan Ismail. Then it was through Jalan Ampang, all the way until the end where the jungle reserve was. About 15 minutes later, the sleeping bag was nicely laid out on a bench beside a stream. The surroundings were dimly lit by a street lamp and the stars.
But I just couldn't sleep. After tossing and turning on the bench for half-an-hour, I realised that too much was racing through my mind.
And being alone in the middle of a jungle was scary. At times, I even heard a rustling noise coming from the bushes. Unknown noise that could belong to anything from a wild animal to, well, ghosts and such.
Yet it was my yearning for the unknown that had led me here in the first place. It was also the unknown that had prompted me to choose the nomadic life and responsible for my state of mind for the last 10 years. And so I stood my ground.
Now what is my excuse for turning into a bum? Allow me, my dear friends, to explain.
Since young, I had been fascinated by the stories of the travels of adventurers like Marco Polo and Ibn Batutta. Accounts of UFOs, not to mention ghost stories and such were also the fuel that lighted my eyes.
In time, the fascination turned to curiosity of the unknown, leading me to consume stories that follow the likes of Prince Siddharta Gautama Buddha, along with such celebrated Sufi mystics like Ibn Arabi and Sheikh Qadir Jilani. These men had all been fuelled by the impetus to travel, sometimes aimlessly, before they were initiated into the mysteries of the unknown.
Siddharta abandoned a kingdom to head for the woods while Qadir walked the deserts on the outskirts of Baghdad for seven years.
For similar reasons, even Prophet Muhammad left the comfort of Mecca and the embrace of his wife to climb the surrounding mountains and take retreat in a cave.
Now it's not easy to explain what exactly is this unknown. Nevertheless I find myself consumed by the same yearning. I too find myself prone to retreat and wonderment in an attempt to grasp the unknown.
Although what I had discovered so far was insignificant compared to the knowledge achieved by some, it nevertheless helped me weather some hard times while increasing my conviction in a higher power. For one, it had helped me come to terms with my tumultous teenage years and a past filled with gangsterism, sex and scandals apart from the normal fights with families, authorities and the like.
In a country where materialism runs rampage, where money talks and bullshit walks, and where corporate figures and stockbrokers are worshipped like gods, there seems to be little space for spirituality. But when the material fabric that creates the illusion of well-being - the money, the big house, the posh cars - breaks down, then one would be hard-pressed to look for the significance of events, or at least to rationalise them.
One would be called, albeit forcefully, to find how to seek fulfilment of life without the Porsches, the credit cardsand the drinking bouts in Bangsar. One would be called to get to the core of matters in a manner that money can't buy.
On a bigger scale, look at the development of Malaysia itself. What does it mean to be developed?
So far, my impression is that it is only about ringgit and sen. About creating thousands of entrepreneurs and erecting monuments for prosperity.
But countries like America and Britain were not developed only on tall buildings and corporate multinationals. There's a whole host of cultures comprising arts, literature, scientific discoveries and such.
And when we look at the European renaissance, or even the great days of the Baghdad Caliphate or the Muslim Cordova civilisation, the accent was not on tonnes of jewels or such but on the flourishing of learning, of intellectual and aesthetically-pleasing endeavours.
Now how do such intangible goals fit into our society, people and youths? How many aspire to be another Einstein or Ibnu Sina? How many want to be Bill Gates because of the ideas he inspires rather that the billions he pockets?
If you get my drift, then look again: What made Einstein great, Mozart awe-inspiring or Beethoven simply divine? What creates geniuses and lights the way for mankind?
I'd say they were all inspired and consumed by a fire within them, a minute spark of spirituality that stems from the unknown. Whether they have travelled physical or mentally, they are all wanderers and in time turned to be such great beacons of mankind.
Now, I am very far from the status of these people although I hope to achieve the same elevation. Nevertheless, in these trying times, I did prove that one need not stay in five-star hotels to feel fulfilled.
Anyway, I was not the only one in Bukit Belacan that night. An hour later, a few cars came and parked next to my bike. Out came men and women wearing the barest of clothes with towels and buckets in their hands.
Ingatkan apa, rupanya nak mandi.
Hmm. Bless the water woes for bringing people back to nature and bless the economic problems for showing the path to a stronger and more mature Malaysia.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Starry starry night

Recognise this very famous painting? What about the lyrics below?...

Starry starry night,
paint your palette blue and grey
Look out on a summer's day
with eyes that know the darkness in my soul
Shadows on the hills,
sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills,
in colors on the snowy linen land
Now I understand
what you tried to say to me
How you suffered for you sanity
How you tried to set them free
They would not listen they did not know how,
perhaps they'll listen now
Starry starry night,
flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue
Colors changing hue,
morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand
For they could not love you,
but still your love was true
And when no hope was left in sight,
on that starry starry night
You took your life as lovers often do,
But I could have told you, Vincent,
This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you
Starry, starry night,
portraits hung in empty halls
Frameless heads on nameless walls
with eyes that watch the world and can't forget.
Like the stranger that you've met,
the ragged man in ragged clothes
The silver thorn of bloody rose,
lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

Got it yet? No? How could you! How could any self-respecting people of gentle feelings and straight-from-the-heart expression of arts not recognise the lovely portrait of a beautiful night sky up there or have a hint of the lyrics of a very famous song composed in dedication to the painter and the painting itself?

Alright! Alright! Perhaps we are products of a different era... Perhaps it's not fair to expect everyone to recognise this painting and song right away. So let me give it to you straight then... The picture is of a painting by the famous late 19th Century Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh and the lyrics are for the song written by Don McLean in 1971 after reading a book on the man. The name of the painting is "Starry starry night". So what happened to Van Gogh to spur such a childish but pure painting (from one point of view) and the tragic life reflected in the lyrics? I'll let you find out yourself... Just google the subject, that's what they do these days. As for why I brought it up, well here is what blogspots are for....

Once in a while, when the pressure of being a born non-conformist trying to make sense inside a very commercialised world of contrived values and much shadow play becomes too much, I develop a very strong urge to just disappear into nothingness. Call it what you will, to die or to just cease to exist... That is what comes to mind when things got too messy inside my head that I used to solat, pray totally in tears and come the final sujud, prostration, I used to actually ask God, please just send some gigantic foot ala Monty Python Circus and crash flat my head and put me into total oblivion.

Hmm... That's kind of gruesome and silly at the same time but on the final analysis, a rather cowardly departure out of the challenges and problems of the world you might say... Well, you are right. I can relate to the lyrics (perhaps you'll get a idea better as to why when more postings appear here to reflect my real thoughts) and I particularly feel melancholic when the song arrives at this juncture - For they could not love you, but still your love was true. And when no hope was left in sight, on that starry starry night, You took your life as lovers often do, But I could have told you, Vincent,This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you... Kind of poetically very sad isn't it... Just kind of?... Very sad indeed especially when you hear the song beautifuly rendered ala Don McLean with the right touch rife with feelings of loneliness and the longing to be understood.

Oh! What is it I wanted to say just now? Yep... At times, especially when the pressure got too much, that particular portion of the song sort of urge me to do the same as Van Gogh did. But I always remember, as a Muslim it is not only sinful but cowardly to take one's own life. And from the understanding and testimonies (don't ask me to elaborate on this OK...) of the after-life and the many, many worlds that exist beyond our own, suicied is hardly an escape from our problems... Chances are you will be made to repeat some particular (and spectacular) failure in life again and again in some sort of purgatory world that it is much better to suffer whatever problems that pushed you to contemplate suicide in the first place. So instead of letting the pressure makes your judgement go haywire, better just accept it as the Will of God in His infinite wisdom and with faith too believe, Insyaallah everything will turn out better soon.

Never give up for God the Wise knows what He's doing... And remember this, God is the Most Loving, very very much caring of you than the most caring person you can imagine, even your mother which would gladly sacrifice her life so you can lead a better one. So why the heck is God pounding you into near submission until you began to consider suicide as way to escape all the pain? Why does He let you be immersed in suffering, putting you down, flat rock-bottom down when you are trying to fight for what you truly believe is the truth while some liars, cheats and crooks have their way and their wishes granted however wicked it may be? Herein lies the difference between those with faith and those who don't have it. And herein also lies the value of religion.

Those with faith knows and believe God knows what is best for us, always. Thus there is the Quranic saying sometimes you think something is good for you but in reality it is bad. Sometimes you think something is bad but it is actually good. You might not know the true value of things yet as we being humans tend to judge things without the proper perspective and knowledge... Often this saying is proven only when we have the mettle and grit to struggle and persevere till the truth unfolds in due time, remember that... Due time! So obviously no coward, what more a suicide case can find out the true value of things as they have quit the game long before the actual score is shown and revealed.

Imagine this... You thought you are at the end of the game, life itself maybe. Everywhere your world crumbles around you and you see no way out at all, total disaster... No way out except escape of the highest degree, call it suicide, whatever. Whicever way, the message is to escape and forget any struggle. So of course you thought it best to call it quit and you did. But after a while or so, perhaps the next day you discover (in the afterlife?), all your lost were somehow miraclous returned and not only that, you'll get extra, manifold in return as the "fruits" of having to suffer your previous discomfort.... With the condition of course that you are still in the game to receive it. Otherwise you only get these thing returned on paper or in theory because you have forfeited the right to enjoy the rewards... Not clear enough?

Perhaps the better analogy is like playing in a stock market. You have been holding this lot of shares which price has been continously falling down until you became sure the only way to salvage something is to sell it off immediately to the next willing buyer. And often in this circumstance, a willing buyer would step in when you are ready to let things go at a ridiculously low price. Fearing the rock bottom is yet to come, you agreed, your mind starting to contemplate any way of making up the loss through purchase at a different counter of shares. But right after the transaction is completed, meaning the falling shares already changed hands, the trend is reversed. Before you know it, the shares already double the price you bought in the first place meaning you lost the opportunity to double your earnings.... And not only that, the person who bought it from you for a pittance got the benefit many-many fold in just a few seconds! How would you feel if this situation actually happens? Chances are you might start taking up head-hanging, for the rest of your live... That is if you haven' commit suicide yet! Ha! Ha!

Well, I started this posting to share some thoughts on Starry Starry Nights and the feelings it evokes. Before I get carried further away, let's call it a day OK... Cheers!!! :]

Oh... Just crossed my thought. Two things...

One, God said in the Quran (don't remember which verse OK), you claim you are a believer and you have yet to be tested. So if you are a believer, expect yourself to be tried, the more you believe and have faith, the stronger, almost to the point of despair.

Second, suddenly I vaguely recalled an old tale, Persian I think. A king ask a wise man to inscribe certain words on his ring so that whenever the king looks at it, he would not over-indulge or forget himself when something pleases him and would not be so upset to the point of giving-up when plagued by troubles. The wise man took time to think and did the inscriptions. The king looked at the ring and was deeply pleased. The inscription: "This too shall pass!". Got it?