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, December 22, 2006

Trip to the East Coast

Greetings dear readers. Its been a while since this blogspot was updated, I’ve been occupied with other things while there’s 2 more blogspots to upkeep. As it turns out, the Malay one, CATATAN SI MERAH SILU is the most read and whatever time and opportunity I had to write on-line tends to be in there… Perhaps because it already has a wider and ready audience. And since writing professionally in Malay through the novel “Berpetualang ke Aceh: Mencari Diri dan Erti”, I have more material in my mother tounge to share, so there.
Anyway, it’s not fair to neglect this English blogspot. Furthermore I actually started writing professionally in English, through a 5 year stint as a journalist as explained in the profile... So here I am attempting to write again in the language of the colonialist. Then again, I do tend to think in English maybe because of the years spent as a university student in London plus the reading on much scientific material in English during my younger days… Except my proper command of the language (especially when it comes to good grammar, the tenses and such) is a bit rusty as I am out of practice. And I don't have the service of a sub-editor or editor to correct my rubbish, Ha! Ha!
It happens that currently I’m outstation backpacking through the East Coast. So it seems natural to update this blogspot with bits and pieces of stories from the travel.
Luckily, for certain reasons, I’ve been keeping a log of my daily activities the last one month or so. So let me just tell it as it is with minor editing and adjustments of course as the log is written in a mixture of English and Malay… (Plus I had to take out some juicy details… Nudge! Nudge! Wink! Wink!)
Hmm… Somehow, I feel like starting from Wednesday, 3 days before the actual travel starts… Oh... The main reason that moved me to go to the East coast this time is because my cousin Amar is having his wedding ceremony in Terengganu on Sunday. So might as well take the opportunity to visit other places too as the last time I was there was 2 years ago or so... Here goes!

Wednesday 13 Dec – So tired today., body aching all over the place (Hmm... Suddenly an old tune by The Queens came to mind). So lazy to go out of the auntie Cik Yah’s house in Ampang (where I’m bumming nowadays)… Feels like just want to lie on bed and sleep the whole day. However around 5.30pm, came a strong urge to go out, so showered and get ready. Went around Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC)... Continued editing second part of the novel “Berpetualang ke Aceh” (BKA II) in front of KLCC garden fountain after a week or so of leaving the work behind. Then went to Ampang Point. Back at Cik Yah’s almost 10pm.
Also today is the installation the 13th Agung (King of Malaysia), Sultan Mizan of Terengganu

Thursday 14 Dec – Hmm… Tired but spent time surfing Internet until 6am before going to sleep. Woke up by a call from Celcom at 8.30am asking to register the handphone number. For information, the Malaysian government had made it compulsory for all users to register their numbers by Dec 15 or risk losing their subscription. Then surfed the Internet, went back to sleep at 10.30pm. Woke up at 12.15pm, this time by a call from Puan Musalmah of the National Library saying paperworks for their order of 850 “Berpetualang” books are settled, just need my signature.
Get ready, after luncthtime when to Wisma Selborn and signed the documents. Then took bus to Pertama Complex. Later came heavy rain, stopped by at Sogo, continued editing BKA II in front of the 3-storey high man-made waterfall at the 5th or 6th floor of the shopping complex…
Afterwards, walked through Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (TAR) to Masjid India. Went to Mydin, bought GrandVision digital camera for RM299 (including 512k SD Card) and got a nice big harversack for RM24.90. Returned to rumah Cik Yah via LRT (Light Railway Transit), got there after Maghrib, just after twilight. So tired, felt like going to sleep early but the CVT guys (people I know from my favourite on-line forum) called asking to meet especially S Pandang (his nickname, that is. We all have one, mine is MerahSilu). He had a wish. So went out to Dagang Avenue (near Cik Yah’s) with the new haversack containing the laptop inside… Normally, I use the special laptop bag but both left and right straps recently broke.
Archer and Wali7 also around, then came Tulis-tulis also CoD3. Went to Pandan Mewah, rendesvous with Abnormal. Yap Perlis also came followed by Husmawi CVT then Empty. Hmm… That’s 10 CVT guys isn’t it?
S Pandang tired. Wanted to leave at 1.36am or so, I followed. He sent me back to Dagang and I had drinks at Israq… At about 2.20am or so went to the surau nearby (small prayer hall) and completed editing of the chapter titled Bab 9, of BKA II, praise God!

Friday 15 Dec – Went back to Cik Yah’s at about 8am (after spending much time outdoors). Her family had already left for Terengganu (for my cousin Amar’s wedding on Sunday). I just stayed indoors most of the day…

Saturday 16 Dec – So tired and lazy again. Luckily AbnormalSuam called at about 10.30am and woke me up. Met at Ampang Point, he paid me RM600 cash (for some money he owed including for articles written for the tabloid Kencana, so owed me another RM600). So I had some more cash in hand for travel… At least that made me go out of the house and then check the bus schedule to Kuala Terengganu. Went to Putra station, don’t want to wait till 10pm (for the next bus). Went to The Mall to kill time while figuring out what next, then got the urge to go to Pudu station. Ended up taking 4.30pm bus to Kuantan. Arrived at about 9pm. Check the schedule of buses to KT… There’s one for 11pm, also for 2.30am… The soonest next day is 9.30am. Decided to walk around Kuantan, head for the main mosque and see what happens.
Along the way saw the shopping complex (Kuantan Parade of something) which I went to with my cousin Hanif when I was last in Kuantan sometime in June or so. Wanted to go to bookshop inside but it was moved. Instead went to bookshop in front, then read the self-defence magazine Beladiri. That’s when my darling Nur called after nearly a month not contacting each other. Well actually I did sent her a few messages but it was left unanswered. Then she told me, she got the messages but was “too bored” to answer. Ha! Ha! I know she was angry because I asked her to forget me when I last called her on 20th November or so, just before I went to Janda Baik in Pahang. Don’t know what got me to tell her that but actually I don’t really mean it… I was just to confused with problems and stuff and needed time apart but it came out the wrong way…
Anyway she’s OK but slightly pissed off. Had a long chat. She wants to go out and see the movie Cicakman… Oh… The call got severed, maybe her credit ran-out? Anyway it happened while she was scolding me, Ha! Ha!
Stopped somewhere for a drink. Then went to Kuantan main mosque, took a shower and complete the obligatory prayers.

Sunday 17 Dec – The day for Amar’s wedding in Terengganu… Continued from above. Walked to Kuantan bus-station. Turns out there is a TransNational bas to KT at 1am. So took it… And there I was inside trying to sleep (well, sort of) while wondering why is the bus taking so long to arrive… Thought because it made too many stops. As it turns out, I overshoot up to Kota Bahru in Kelantan, twice the distance to KT! Well, the bus is heading for Kota Bahru through Terengganu and most of the passengers wanted to go the further distance. I should have warned the driver but was too busy trying to fall asleep while ignoring what goes outside… Only noticed this when daylight broke and saw the road-sign Jalan Long Yunus (named after a Kelantan king). Did Tok Kenali (the famous saint of Kelantan) called or what? After all, I do plan to visit his tomb after completing this Terengganu trip…
Anyway arrived in KB town at 7.30pm. Checked with TransNasional, there’ a bus back to KT at 8.30pm but my stomach don’t feel right, needed to “let go”. Walked to Masjid Muhammadiah (the town’s main mosque) and also took a shower and did the prayers there before having breakfast with nasi dagang and coffee in front of the mosque. Then walked back to station… Oh no! There’s no more direct bus available to KT, I mean there are but after lunch-time. The trip would take 3-4 hours while Amar’s wedding starts at 2pm! Had to take 9.30am non-express bus to Jertih, arrived after 11pm. Then got 12pm bus to KT, arrived after 2.30pm. To cut a long story short, finally arrived at Amar’s wedding nearly 4pm… So there… Then went to the bungalow (actually semi-D) rented by Cik But (Amar’s mum)’s family at Pantai Baru Buruk.
Didn’t feel well, slept early at 9pm woke up after 9am.

Monday 18 Dec – The family (including from Cik But’s husband Uncle Nawi’s side) left by 11pm or so. Amar and wife, Nad sent me to Pasir Payang. Wanted to eat turtle eggs, bought boiled ones at RM10 per plastic pack then climbed Bukit Puteri, the hill next to the royal palace mid-town. Actually it was closed due to construction works but I went up anyway and visited the tomb of Syed Yassin, a respected religious scholar and saint who was also the son-in-law of the first Terengganu king from the current dynasty, Sultan Zainal Abidin I (ruled early 18th century). Sat by the tomb and eat a turtle egg…. Urrggg!!! Taste rotten, is it bad or what? Nothing like the way I remember it… But there’s some more, thought at least could stomach 3… Took the second one, only managed to digest half… Just can’t take it. On the way down, left the whole lot at the construction site. Who knows? Someone might want it?
Walked through Kampung Cina area then went to Masjid Putih (the main mid-town mosque) for prayers. Felt so tired and sleep, not well, slept until past 4. Woke up, showered then walked to bus station. Had late lunch then checked out the buses, not sure where to go.
Time was about 5.30pm, saw bus to Kuala Berang. Hmm… Maybe should go there, I thought so. Then saw Pustaka Seri Intan (a big local bookshop) next to bus-stop, decided to go in, Went to novel section, couldn’t find “Berpetualang”, decided to check agama (religion) section, saw a book on doa makbul (answered prayers), took it and opened at random… Saw some doa on rezeki (allocation of goods as in means of living and such) or something from Nabi Ibrahim (the prophet Abraham). While putting the book back, saw “Berpetualang”… So my novel is there! To top it up, there’s seemed to be some meaning in the way the book is arranged alongside some religious books… From left to right in this order – some books titled Mekah something, followed by something on Tariqat Naqsyabandiah then “Berpetualang”!. Masyaallah!
On the way out, I merrily strutted down the stairs and nearly tripped at one point. The problem… A nail in my sandal went out of place. Tried to fix it, that’s when I saw the bus Kuala Berang right outside the bookstore on the move… Oh no! I missed it! Went to have coffee at the stall in front and sit dumbfounded… What should I do? What next? Where to go? Just when I thought I might have to sit like that (practially in a stupor!) until night, lost and not sure what next, Azrul (a fellow I know through the Internet, a KT local) called saying his car is ready to take me anywhere.
Oh… He called earlier during the day saying his car is in the workshop and should be out by lunch… If so, he would take a half-day of from work to spend time taking me around KT but as it turned out the repair job (had problems with the crankshaft or something) took more time than he had anticipicated, so much time that I thought we were not meant to meet in this particular trip to Terengganu.
And so he came… Decided to check out Makam Lama (the old tomb) at Cabang Tiga. Turns out be that of Sayyid Mustapha, the earliest known member of the Al-Idrus family in Terengganu… Died 1794, grandpa of Tokku Tuan Besar, great grandpa of Tokku Paloh, the famous Terengganu saint. There while sitting at the tomb, the inspiration on what to do for the day finally came… Go visit Tok Pulau Manis (an earlier saint born sometime in 1650 AD, his tomb 20km away), then sleep at Masjid (the mosque of) Tokku Paloh.
Went to Pulau Manis, arrived just before Maghrib. Solat at Masjid Pulau Manis then head back to KT. Dinner on the way, then when to Dr Syed Salleh’s house, an acquaintance last met on the last Terengganu trip about 2 years ago. He’s not in, oh well…
Next when to Surau Kampung Cina, Azrul wants to know the way. Oh… It’s Azrul’s birthday. Then went around Pulau Duyung to see the Monsoon Cup yatch base before having drinks and tidbits at Batu Buruk. Afterwards Azrul sent me to Masjid Tokku Paloh.
It so happens, there 2 fellows there, so made new acquaintances… Sayyid Abdullah al-Idrus and Nazir… Nazir had some historical notes on Tok Pulau Manis and Tokku Paloh. Read it, then rest. Sayyid Abdullah was more like an uncle… Actually he is, if I were to take into account family roots that originated from Mekah in Arabia 1,400 years ago.
Oh… Nur called at nearly 3am… Said she came back from Kak Maria’s and fell asleep (she promised to call earlier). She woke up and called me, told me what happened at Kak Maria’s but that’s another story… Hmm… Can’t help it. Just love her so much… It’s just not the right time yet.

Tuesday 19 Dec – Woke up for Subuh congregation prayers then went back to sleep. Feel so tired and sick, slept until 1pm. Showered, do combined prayers then had lunch and visited tomb of Tokku Paloh. Returned to his mosque, climbed up the tower there and took some pictures then left… Walked until almost Cabang Tiga then hitch-hiked an express bus which just got out from workshop until the road to Bukit Kecik. Walked towards town centre, and then my insticts told me to head towards a certain area. Turned out to be the back-part of Bukit Keledang, so went in and visited again the tomb of Sultan Zainal Abidin I and the old tombs there. Then walked around KT, also went to the Terengganu river estuary.
Went to bus station and immediately saw the 5.30pm bus to Kuala Berang left. Walked around the area before getting into the 6pm bus. Got tired of waiting, so went out for a drink… Then went to toilet because the time on my handphone said 5.47pm, should have enough time right?… Went out of toilet, the bus, the last one to K Berang was gone! Thought about going to Pulau Manis, checked with cabbies, said it cost RM20, so declined… Can’t afford to throw that much money around unless no choice at all…
At last, just take the bus southwards to Dungun as that’s the only one left for the day… Just follow wherever it goes and drop anywhere when I feel like it. Arrived at the junction to Bukit Putih or so (if I remember correctly), or is it at Cendering, a few kilometres after the famous floating white mosque of Kuala Ibai? Anyway saw signboard pointing to a right junction heading for Bukit Payong and K Berang. Decide to drop and walked that way. Saw wau bulan (big traditional kite) with Malaysian flags as tail, 3 of them in the air.
After walking about 3 km, managed to hitch-hike a small pick-up lorry up to Bukit Payong., 25 km or so from K Berang. Arrived by Maghrib. Saw the local Pustaka Seri Intan but had to go to main mosque first for shower and prayer. Then went to Pasaraya (supermarket) Seri Intan to buy biscuits before entering Pustaka (the bookshop). Saw 5 copies of “Berpetualang” on sale at the religion section. Then walked a bit before having dinner - mee rebus and sirap bandung drink. Then walked again and arrived at surau just in time before the rain got heavy. So there….

Wednesday 20 Dec – After Subuh, walked toward K Berang. Then got a cab on the way there, cost only RM3. Arrived in at about 8am or so, walked around and had breakfast. Then took van (cost RM1 only) to Jenagor, wanted to visit the old tomb across the river Terengganu there. As it turns out, there’s problem as the engines of the boat crossing the river is out of order. Went back to K Berang town. Walked across river Berang, ended up sleeping at the old mosque of Kampung Buluh.

Thursday 21 Dec - Woke up for Subuh solat jemaah then went back to sleep. Keep raining outside. Only woke up after 10am, rest a bit before shower, had simple breakfast then walked to Kuala Berang town, went to Internet and surf. Time was 12pm, on the Net till 2.20pm. Did prayers at main mosque then had Nasi Ayam at the stall next to taxi stand. Time was 3pm. The elder lady manning the stall said there’s a 3.30pm bus following the old route through Pulau Manis and Serada to KT. After lunch and coffee, I went to where the bus usually pass, and there it is on the move right in front of my eyes! I miss the bus again! What the heck???
Anyway, I somehow managed to hitchike lorries carrying sand, 2 of them until the junction to Tanjung Ketum, just 2km to Pulau Manis… Time near 5pm… Had coffee and laksam (a Kelantan variety of the Malaysian local food laksa). Then walked until Pulau Manis, reached makam (the tomb of) Tok Pulau Manis before 6pm. Felt tired, slept next to the makam… Woke up before Maghrib, did prayers at the mosque nearby and recited the Surah Yassin… After all it is malam Jumaat (the night going to Friday).
After Isyaq (the night obligatory prayers), someone brought me to the nearest foot-stall about 1km away. Had mee sup, biscuits and buah kana, drink coffee and watched TV until nearly 10pm. Then walked back to makam. Went inside the surau in front, now converted to some sort of childcare centre or kindergarten… As it turns out, the place now have electricity! I’ve slept here at least on 4 occasions, the last time 2 years ago and there was none then. That means I can recharge laptop and here I am making this update!

Note: I spent last night sleeping right smack next to the tomb of the religious scholar and Terengganu saint Sheikh Abdul Malik bin Abdullah, better known as Tok Pulau Manis. He was believed to be born in 1650 AD and lived up to 80 years, so I was actually sleeping beside an almost 300-year-old grave!
Before that, I did my night prayers at the village mosque about 100 metres away. The locals asked where I was from and where do I intend to spend the night. When I told them my intention, one asked: "Are you not afraid of ghost?"... After all it is Malam Jumaat (the night before Friday) and superstitious folks believe that's when supernatural forces tend to go out in full force.
Well, as it turned out, I was the only "ghost" around. Nevertheless, I did have a good sleep although the rain was quite heavy outside the tomb building. Alhamdulillah! Praise be to Allah!