Take a journey across space and time through the multi-dimensional door that is the soul of my being... For the Salik (Arabic for traveller, also a Sufi term for a searcher) merges in him the raw qualities of an earthly being nicely blended with the divine qualities that belong to Him, the Alpha and Omega of everything.
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.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
The Malay Annals
The Malay Annals
The Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals) is clearly the most famous, distinctive and best classical Malay prose to be ever produced, sharing in the great literary tradition other Malay works such as the Hikayat Hang Tuah, Hikayat Raja-Raja Pasai and the Hikayat Marong Mahawangsa (Kedah Annals).
It chronicles the establishment of the Malaccan sultanate, charting a course of more than 600 years in a solid compact book filled with intricate details regarding royal protocol, royal lineages, weaving in various historical, mythical and legendary figures and episodes in a compendium that still captivates its audiences three centuries later. Not historically connected, the collection of stories focuses on the activities of the Melaka sultans, their ancestors, their courts, government officials, allies and enemies. Certainly, foreign rulers were also described, as were Malacca's foreign relations and its importance as a regional trading centre. A noteworthy omission was the absence of any mention of peasant life.
Attributed to Tun Seri Lanang as its first editor, the work was commissioned by Sultan 'Ala'u-d-din Ri'ayat Shah of Johor. It was claimed to have been begun in on Sunday May 13, 1612, in Pasai, Sumatra, where the Sultan was being held captive Mahkota Alam of Acheh. However, some scholars think that the original text was written prior to 1536 and underwent changes in 1612.
Scholars agree that its well-written narrative and characterisation of personalities makes it a world-class literary classic. Like any literary work of the medieval age, it has its downright boring moments - the endless geneaologies of rulers, every girl must be of peerless beauty, no army or fleet numbers less than "the thousands past counting".... But, on the other hand, the sheer narrative power is electric in many passages. It is most brilliant when the author admires the cunning (cherdek) of the peoples of the peninsula - time after time, the "men of Melaka" are just too clever for the foreigner and there is sheer artistry, wit and humour when the author has his gentle digs at the foreigner (gunting makan di-hujung!). Tales abound of the Melaka men (and women) outwitting, outflanking and befuddling all and sundry - from the Emperor of China to the largest Siamese fleets.
It is also an important historical source about Malacca and the Malay world prior to Malacca's defeat by the Portuguese in 1511. Although the Sejarah Melayu mentions only one date, events described in it can be verified by other historical sources. Much of the material found on this website is derived from the Sejarah.
However, the main aim of this work was, undoubtedly, to laud the spleandour, greatness and superiority of the Melaka Sultanate - and it was written at a time when the Johor court, successors of the Melaka sultans, were being attacked by Portuguese and Achinese, their capital sacked many times and having to be moved from one part of the Straits to another. The court was frequently on the run from marauding invaders, their territories being overrun. The Sejarah Melayu was probably an attempt by the Johor court to overcome its sense of lost fortunes by regaining the past glories of a mythical golden age that was less than a generation past. It still serves to inspire the Malay of today - and to remind them of the heights that they can be, and have been, capable of reaching.
Holding infinity in your hands
For reasons I can't figure out, I suddenly got the urge to post this famous poem. So here goes...
William Blake - Auguries of Innocence
To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
A robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all heaven in a rage.
A dove-house fill'd with doves and pigeons
Shudders hell thro' all its regions.
A dog starv'd at his master's gate
Predicts the ruin of the state.
A horse misused upon the road
Calls to heaven for human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted hare
A fibre from the brain does tear.
A skylark wounded in the wing,
A cherubim does cease to sing.
The game-cock clipt and arm'd for fight
Does the rising sun affright.
Every wolf's and lion's howl
Raises from hell a human soul.
The wild deer, wand'ring here and there,
Keeps the human soul from care.
The lamb misus'd breeds public strife,
And yet forgives the butcher's knife.
The bat that flits at close of eve
Has left the brain that won't believe.
The owl that calls upon the night
Speaks the unbeliever's fright.
He who shall hurt the little wren
Shall never be belov'd by men.
He who the ox to wrath has mov'd
Shall never be by woman lov'd.
The wanton boy that kills the fly
Shall feel the spider's enmity.
He who torments the chafer's sprite
Weaves a bower in endless night.
The caterpillar on the leaf
Repeats to thee thy mother's grief.
Kill not the moth nor butterfly,
For the last judgement draweth nigh.
He who shall train the horse to war
Shall never pass the polar bar.
The beggar's dog and widow's cat,
Feed them and thou wilt grow fat.
The gnat that sings his summer's song
Poison gets from slander's tongue.
The poison of the snake and newt
Is the sweat of envy's foot.
The poison of the honey bee
Is the artist's jealousy.
The prince's robes and beggar's rags
Are toadstools on the miser's bags.
A truth that's told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.
It is right it should be so;
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.
Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
The babe is more than swaddling bands;
Every farmer understands.
Every tear from every eye
Becomes a babe in eternity;
This is caught by females bright,
And return'd to its own delight.
The bleat, the bark, bellow, and roar,
Are waves that beat on heaven's shore.
The babe that weeps the rod beneath
Writes revenge in realms of death.
The beggar's rags, fluttering in air,
Does to rags the heavens tear.
The soldier, arm'd with sword and gun,
Palsied strikes the summer's sun.
The poor man's farthing is worth more
Than all the gold on Afric's shore.
One mite wrung from the lab'rer's hands
Shall buy and sell the miser's lands;
Or, if protected from on high,
Does that whole nation sell and buy.
He who mocks the infant's faith
Shall be mock'd in age and death.
He who shall teach the child to doubt
The rotting grave shall ne'er get out.
He who respects the infant's faith
Triumphs over hell and death.
The child's toys and the old man's reasons
Are the fruits of the two seasons.
The questioner, who sits so sly,
Shall never know how to reply.
He who replies to words of doubt
Doth put the light of knowledge out.
The strongest poison ever known
Came from Caesar's laurel crown.
Nought can deform the human race
Like to the armour's iron brace.
When gold and gems adorn the plow,
To peaceful arts shall envy bow.
A riddle, or the cricket's cry,
Is to doubt a fit reply.
The emmet's inch and eagle's mile
Make lame philosophy to smile.
He who doubts from what he sees
Will ne'er believe, do what you please.
If the sun and moon should doubt,
They'd immediately go out.
To be in a passion you good may do,
But no good if a passion is in you.
The whore and gambler, by the state
Licensed, build that nation's fate.
The harlot's cry from street to street
Shall weave old England's winding-sheet.
The winner's shout, the loser's curse,
Dance before dead England's hearse.
Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born,
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.
Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.
We are led to believe a lie
When we see not thro' the eye,
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.
God appears, and God is light,
To those poor souls who dwell in night;
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
The reason behind the fall of Melaka
Here is an alternative view taken from the Malay novel "Berpetualang ke Aceh: Mencari Diri dan Erti". The translation (and/or adaptation) below follows from a story on how the brave king Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah was actually betrayed by his own noblemen and forced to exile himself somewhere far from the court of Melaka. And thus his adult son Raja Munawar was sidelined from the throne, instead the prince's half-brother who was still a baby was promoted as the king Sultan Mahmud with the nobles actually in charge.
Sultan Mahmud grew up to be spoilt brat who made impossible demands on his people. It is within this unhealthy climate that city of Melaka finally fell to the West. Here is the story from the novel...
Have you ever sincerely ask, why the city of Melaka which the West called "The Venice of the East" can be conquered so easily? Wasn't it noted by many as the most affluent city in this part of the world at that time? And in order to protect it, didn't Melaka had a great army including the biggest and most advanced naval force in the Malay world? So how could it fell to the Portuguese who according to the stories came with only a few ships? Is it possible Melaka is that weak?
Official history often say Melaka was conquered because the modern war equipments of Portuguese hold sway over the ancient ones of the Malays. They had high-powered cannons, pistols, armour and shield made from iron while the Malays allegedly depended only on spears, swords and keris (a special Malay blade)... And the Malays were wearing the soft Malay traditional clothes which can be easily penetrated... Unlike the Portuguese whose iron-made war-clothings were practically indestructible. So of course it's natural for the Malays to lose isn't it given the "fact" they are backward and behind the times?
But do ask yourself sincerely and with an open mind. Is it possible, Melaka which at that time have received visitors and traders from big and advanced civilisations like the Islamic Empire in the Middle East, China and India can be so backward? They have long established diplomatic ties with kingdoms which were far more advanced that the West of the time. Is it acceptable the Malays don't understand the strategic needs to protect a port city which is practically the jugular vein of the Malay world, in fact the whole world? Can the Malays be so stupid and backward?
"Nay! Melaka didn't fall because the Malays were behind the times," Rasyid (the main character in the book) argues like a champion of his people in front some acquiantance. “For a long time Melaka had cannons and pistols which can be bought from the Middle East of China and knew iron-clad armour. In fact I’m confident the Malays already knew how to produce all these war equipments themselves. Do you actually think the Malays are so stupid?”
“Meanwhile, those who choose to fight using keris, spears and such were no mere fighters,” he continued. “It’s not that they never saw modern weapons or their thinking backward, it’s just believe it or not, they have certain ways to beat these weapons.”
The Melaka naval force which routinely patrolled the whole length of the Straits of Melaka, the world’s busiest trade route till now, was noted for its efficiency. Under the leadership of such illustrious figures like the Bendahara (something like the Prime Minister) Tun Perak and Admiral Hang Tuah, it had succesfully foiled attacks from Siam and any hostile forces.
“Isn’t it big and strong enough to ensure the safety of the populace, visitors and traders along the length of the Straits of Melaka?” Rasyid asks. “After all, the Melaka navy controlled the route from the uppermost northern parts of the Peninsula until down south near the island of Java, observing and able to sniff out any hostile activities before the enemy can go anywhere near the administrative centre at the city of Melaka?”
So how come Melaka did fall? And even more perplexing, where were the local navy when the city was attacked? A golden question which had many of his acquaintances totally dumb-founded and at lost for words.
“Go and read any literature on the fall of Melaka including the lop-sided Western accounts,” the guy now challenges. “The navy was nowhere in sight allowing the city to be pounded by Portuguese cannons from the sea. Not a single ship from Melaka tried to stop them, there were no obstacle at all to stop the enemy from advancing. Isn’t this strange?”
This should be enough food for thought isn’t it?
“Well. This is what happens when a stupid and irrational king is raised to the throne while corrupt officials hold sway over the nation,” Rasyid went on. “Those with real capabilities were sidelined while the remaining officials with clout became disillusioned. So how can the defence mechanism be employed to the fullest? Maybe the people of Melaka themselves were ready to change sides and barter their loyalty along with the foreign traders? Or maybe for a long time, there already exist traitors within the ranks just biding their time and that’s why the Melaka navy were rendered useless?”
Now, there are some old accounts from some Malay old folks saying most of the ships which attacked Melaka were not even Portuguese but were Malay-owned, in fact coming from the Melaka navy! Rasyid had also read somewhere, there was a Portuguese account saying they saw an armada which was recognisable as belonging to the Malays being prepared for seige somewhere along the Straits of Melaka. Maybe its true what the rumours say… That Tun Mutahir (the Bendahara alias Prime Minister executed by the king of the time on charge of treason) was making preparations to seize the throne or maybe there were other parties planning this but accused the Bendahara of doing so? Whatever, there sure were traitors in the fold.