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.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Wanna drag?

This one reminds me of the days I used to travel up and down, 70km per way with my favourtie big bike to Sepang to cover motorsports events at Sepang International Circuit... Used to really enjoy walking the whole length on the 1km-long grandstand areas and the pits in front with motor fumes filling the air like some sort of aphrodisiac... For men who love motorsports that is.
Hmm... Suddenly snapshots of the sort of girls you'd see at the racing tracks comes into mind... Waif, model-figure, with lotsa beautiful figures to look at, with ready smiles, always nice to people like me... No... No... I left that sort of life a long time ago... I wanna be a good boy, please... Ha! Ha!
Well, do have a look at this article... :]

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These cars are not a drag!
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By Radzi Sapiee
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THERE was no mistaking the sound. The loud growl of the 8.5 litre V8 2,000 horsepower drag car engine could be heard, even from the far end of the dining tables of the air-conditioned hospitality suites at the paddock building above the pits at the Sepang F1 Circuit.
The distinctive sound made avid motorsports fans in one of the suites rush towards the glass window, even though Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin was still in the suite giving out the prizes for the Silverstone Merdeka Millenium Endurance 12-hour race.
The crew members and some of the racers who were resting after the gruelling long drawn race ran from behind their pits to be as close to the 1km-long straight as possible, knowing there's a spectacle in store. And true enough, it was a sight to behold.
The first drag car, yellow with huge rear wheels, zoomed off past the straight to a top speed of 340kph before two parachutes sprung out from behind to slow it down to a more managable speed. That whole run took only seven seconds.
The second car, longer and black, had the fans screaming more as thick smoke billowed out to tickle their fancy but unfortunately, it didn't get to top speed as it veered a metre or two to the right.
"The track was slightly slippery. So I had to take my foot off the pedals," said the Australian driver Dean McClennan. The cars can accelerate 0-100kmh in one second, twice faster than the most powerful Formula One car and McClennan is not taking any chances.
According to the more experienced first driver John Payne who is also from Australia, the straight at Sepang is not exactly level and if a car starts veering off, it could just crash into the sides. Nevertheless, the cars and the drivers who were specially brought from Brisbane, Australia to impress the local crowd coming for the inaugural 12-hour race have done their job.
Earlier, on the eve of Merdeka Day, they have made two sets of two runs each and the second, held in front of a crowd of 25,000 really got them going as the sparks coming out from the wheels can be clearly seen in the night.
Two drag cars, dubbed the "Funnycars" by the drivers due to its closeness to streetcars but slightly odd shape were shipped from Brisbane to Malaysia for the show and Zaifa chief executive officer Zainal Osman Mohamed who paid the bill of RM100,000 said it was a prelude to start drag racing here.
The original plan was to let the two cars race each other like in any drag race but this cannot be done due to the slightly lopsided Sepang straight.
"We also normally use a special glue compound poured on the track to get the best traction but obviously we can't do that here," said the 48-year-old Payne who have 25 years of drag racing under his belt.
Their engineer David Blee said even then, the cars they used were second-grade in the world of drag racing.
"The best ones churn out 6,000 to 7,000 horsepower and can reach a top speed of 510kp from a stand-still in just four seconds!" he said.
Both types use rocket fuel - methanol for second-grade and nitro for the top notch. An F1 car, on the other hand, spews out 800 horsepower using normal but advanced petrol that is intended to reach average road-users later.
But that doesn't mean that drag racing is expensive. Rob Oberg who puts the show together said the cars cost only RM100,000 each.
"The engines cost RM80,000 each. We have workshops specialising in making such engines in Australia and put the rest together by our selves either using locally-made parts or those from America where drag racing is huge," he added.
This is peanuts compared to the cost of an F1 car and that is why Oberg reckons it could catch on in Malaysia especially among the youngsters.
"The idea in drag is to race two speed machines, even a normal motorbike along a straight. If one machine is less powerful, we could introduce a handicap by allowing it to start a few seconds ahead," he added.
He said, off-street drag racing was encouraged by the Australian police who wanted the young to get their kicks at the right places.
"We could start with souped-up normal cars before moving to the supercharged ones. In time, Malaysian workshops could even make their own methanol or nitro-ran engines or acquire it from overseas," he added.
For the record, drag cars are the fastest machines on earth and only slower than the sub-rocket machines that are used to break world land-speed records.
Although the Sepang show provides only a sample of it, given the response, there's no doubt that many would want to get involved and given the relatively low cost, drag racing could have just firmly planted one foot in Malaysia.


This is an old sports article. Coincidently written just a month or two before I left the whole official journalism business... Or was made to leave because of the whole office politicis...
Oh well, I did have some very fond memories at the New Straits Times. After all, I grew up and learned English reading the daily. It's just the whole political game of pandering to the powers-that-be is just too much....

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Only cool heads count
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By Radzi Sapiee
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TAKE a 50 cent coin and place it 10 metres away. Now, take aim with a pistol and try to shoot a hole in it. Tough? Maybe not for the national shooting team preparing for the Kuala Lumpur
Sea Games. For the national shooters who will compete at the Games next month, shooting a target that small is not a problem. The challenge is to hit it right at the centre and everyone who understands a bit of physics, know this is easier said then done.
The principle is every reaction carries an opposite reaction. In a gun, the force that shoots out a bullet is countered by a recoil which a shooter must absorb properly. Failure to do so will cause the the nozzle of the gun to move away from the intended line of fire and you'll be off target.
Now imagine the 50 cent coin divided into ten equally-spaced concentric circles. The smallest circle which in shooting contains the bulls-eye should have a diameter one-tenth of the original circle while its size is only one per cent of the whole coin. In the preliminary rounds of the 10-metre events like the air pistol and air rifle, one could shoot within that area for a perfect score of 10 but come the final, a 10-pointer shot is considered just good.
One must try for the dead centre where you can get a perfect point of 11 but even a 10.1 point shot, just slightly inside the smallest circle is considered excellent enough. Thus pressure plays a big part in shooting.
Breathing at the wrong moment, or a high heart-beat rate is a definite no-no. Pull the trigger at the wrong moment and the slight twitch caused by even the inner mechanism of the body is enough to put one off contention. Don't even try to shoot when your fingers are a little shaky.
Former world champion, Ukraine-born Irina Maharani said among the measures needed to be on target is to lower her heartbeat to about 54-per minutes or so. For the record, the heart-rate of a reasonably fit human when calm is 70.
Hameleay Abdul Mutalib, who won a gold at the South-East Asia Shooting Championships in Bangkok last month, relies more on getting the correct "rythm", to be in-sync with all body movements from breathing to heart-beat.
Other events which use the 25m or 50m ranges or clay shooting can afford bigger margins of error but the same principle still applies. One must be very still and relaxed to get the job done but since this is not always possible, one must be able to minimise all disturbances - at least for a
That is why National Shooting Association of Malaysia (NSAM) secretary Mej Jasni Shaari downplayed the results achieved at the SM Yong Trophy held at the Subang range last weekend, although it was the last national meet before the Games.
Before the SM Yong Trophy was held, Jasni predicted that the Games shooters will not break any records, nor show any significant improvement and he was right on target.
"What is more important is not to place the shooters under any kind of pressure," he said.
The 1998 Commonwealth Games air rifle champion Nurul Hudda Baharin was placed under the spotlight and she finished seventh in the event on Thursday against a field of local shooters while none of her Games team-mates made the top five.
Jasni, when asked to comment on Nurul's finish, said that the event is no longer on their Games medal target list although a few months back, Nurul was expected to deliver the gold.
Pressure will definitely decide the Games shooting medal tally at the end of the day. So the less pressure their shooters are under it, the more medals will come Malaysia's way. radzisapiee@nstp.com.my


Greetings dear readers... Just feel like updating this blog with some articles written at the New Straits Times starting with this...

Publication : NST-LTIMES Edition : 2* 
Date : 28/10/1997 
Page Number : 07 
Headline : Warming up to 4x4 challenge 
Words : 1272 
Byline : 
Text : 

THE day was hot and humid. The stage, a dusty laterite hilltop, was interspersed with cracks and bushes. In the distance, something was roaring and rumbling, leaving behind a trail of dust and dry mud, as it made its way towards the plateau, the vantage point we were on. 

On the left side of the plateau, facing the distant skyline of Ipoh, was the television crew. Photographer Roslin Mat Tahir and I were sitting beside a nearby bush. Others were standing behind the route markers at one end of the plateau. 

Eager for action, our eyes were focused on the almost vertical laterite ramp in front. Will someone dare to make the jump and soar into the sky? From the roar emanating from the spectators, we knew this was definitely going to be "the jump". Yes. This was it. This was going to be a fully air-borne baby. 

And there it was. Out of the blue, a huge piece of machinery appeared, its belly fully exposed. Its four tyres spun wildly in the air. From where I was sitting, it looked as if the vehicle was a full two metres in the air. Yes! 

One second. Two seconds. It's back on the ground. Right on cue, the air was resounding with the triumphant shout of those present. No one could deny it. That was definitely one hell of a jump. 

OK. It might not really be that great. But that was the only car that flew on all its four wheels throughout this special stage (that is, circuit and obstacle test) held at Ulu Kinta, or any special stage throughout the whole five days of the National 4x4 Challenge for that matter. 

Hungry for action, I was looking forward to seeing some stunts. Maybe a flip in mid-air or a flying jump across a 100-metre deep gorge. The special stages include uphill and downhill driving on hole-ridden tracks, reversing into a river using the winch and driving across a deep mud pool. 

Although tough and rather tricky, they were quite tame in my opinion. But then the competitors - 42 drivers and co-drivers in 21 4WD vehicles - were mostly city folks, executives, businessmen, contractors and such, not stuntmen. And the Challenge was not really the ultimate. 

As event director Luis Wee constantly reminded me, the National 4x4 Challenge was a warm-up and a prelude to the coming international Rainforest 4x4 Challenge at the end of the year. That's where you can see some real action, he assured me. After all, it will pit competitors from all over the world through 2,000 kilometres of Malaysian rainforest, and in the rainy season too. 

Nevertheless, our guide from the Police Field Force assured me that the very same tracks I had considered as quite easy can be real hell during the rainy season. But I did get my fix when two vehicles overturned on two separate occasions. One while negotiating down a steep slope in Gunung Kledang, another while speeding down the bumpy hill in Ulu Kinta. 

Originally, the National Challenge was planned to include 12 special stages at various locations in Perak. However, we had to settle for only 11 due to the tight and tiring schedule. After all, we also had to attend other functions including some community work at the Orang Asli settlements of Kampung Tonggang near Tanjung Rambutan and Kampung Sungei Dala in Hulu Perak. And with more than 80 people in 29 vehicles tagging along, mainly event officials and the media team - six TV3 crew members, me, the NST photographer and a woman from a motor-sports magazine - it was more than a competition. It was also a community and friendship drive. 

Our itinerary started with the flagging off from Kuala Lumpur for Ipoh on Sept 20 where the first two special stages - finding the best route through difficult hill terrain and then a sand-driving circuit - were held near Gunung Kledang in the suburbs of the Perak capital. 

We were officially flagged off the next day from Ipoh by Menteri Besar Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib. He and his wife also joined us to visit Kampung Tonggang where we were welcomed by the ceremonial Orang Asli sewang dance. 

Three special stages were also held the same day at the Ulu Kinta Police Field Force training circuit before we drove into the jungle to spend the night at the Orang Asli settlement of Pos Poi, more than 50km away from civilisation. 

On the third day, we covered some twisting and turning hilly logging tracks, had two special stages at the logging camps en route to Kampung Sungei Dala for a night circuit test. Just when things were getting monotonous, then came next day's evening special stage which had the competitors grouped into teams of four cars to get past a difficult mud pool before going for another muddy river crossing. 

Talk of foul play was rife as the last team was made to struggle through the mud pool which some claimed had been purposely dug deeper by the previous team. It seems that by not engaging the 4WD mode while they were there, the "conspirators" had used the rear wheels to furiously dig the mud. 

"They were trying to get us disqualified," said a member of the last team. They missed the one-hour time limit by less than a minute. 

Nevertheless, they didn't make a formal complaint, saying that everybody knows about it and there's no need to make such a big fuss. Anyway, we concluded our round of special stages on Sept 24, the last day of the Challenge. Action was mild, with a short marathon run, a tyre-replacement speed drill, and another run - this time with team members rolling the huge 4WD vehicles wheels through mud, sand and water. 

We left Sungei Dala by noon, crossing the Perak River by an old metal ferry before driving off for an official reception in Kuala Kangsar, and yet another reception back in Ipoh, covering a loop of 500km throughout the State, 200km off-road. That's it?, you may ask. 

Still, it was quite testing for competitors Zawalan Razak and Abdul Hadi Yaakob who teamed up in a Landcruiser. "We have been in the game for quite some time now and go off-road twice a month. I'd say this one definitely has its tough moments," Zawalan said. 

Both of them, being among from the last teams for the Sungei Dala special stage, were badly caught in the mud pool, all soaked in the gooey stuff trying to pull their vehicle out as the day turned to darkness.

"At the end of the day, it's a great stress-buster," Abdul Hadi interjected. For Cheras-based Zamri, the jump that he did (the one mentioned earlier) was the peak of the event, except perhaps for the team event at Sungei Dala. The 28-year-old interior designer still proudly recalled the moment, saying his boss, driver Martin Wong, was really surprised and almost wet his pants when Zamri, who was then the co-driver, took over the wheels and attempted the Ulu Kinta circuit on full throttle. 

"What I can say? He owns the car. So he's the driver. Perhaps I did the jump to prove a point, that I can do it," Zamri conceded. 

Perhaps city-slickers parading their gleaming 4WDs around the city should let him have a go. Then he can put the Pajeros, the Mussos and the Landcruisers out of their misery - by testing it in real jungle rather than negotiationg the occasional flood in Jalan Bangsar. (END)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Trip to the East Coast (2)

Greeting dear readers, let me just continue this story where we left off in my last posting OK! Luckily, since then, the log kept inside the laptop is more proper language-wise, so I guess it's good enough to be copied and pasted here straight away (beside the fact I feel to lazy to do any editting).... Spent some time just now updating the other blogspot... So here goes!
Oh... If you want to see some pictures with stories, have a look at SENI LAMA MELAYU (MALAY OLDEN ART) OK... Cheerio!!! :]

Friday 22 Dec – From Pulau Manis, got a lift from a local Chinese to somewhere on the main road outskirt of KT. Got a bus to the town. Solat Jumaat. Took 3.30 bus to Jerteh. Arrived at 6pm or so. Got 6.30 bus to Kuala Besut… The reason, thought wanted to go to Tok Bali – The Kuala Besut-Kota Baru bus passes through Tok Bali. Ended up sleeping at Besut old mosque. Anyway arriving at Kuala Besut was quite and experience as I felt a sort of calmness haven’t felt for a long time.

Saturday 23 Dec – Got 11.30am bus to KB through Tok Bali. Didn’t stop there. Turns out Tok Bali is a main fishing port. Hmm… Arrived at KB around 12.30pm or. Rest at Masjid Muhammadiyah. Went to Kubang Kerian after Asar. Met Sahaja from CVT Forum at Makam Tok Kenali. Slept at Masjid Tok Kenali. Oh, just before Maghrib at the mosque, Sahaja pointed to out to a verse from the Quran inside the mosque behind the pulpit. Said there’s a “gift” for me, verse 55, Surah An-Nur!

Sunday 24 Dec – After Subuh, one of Tok Kenali’s cucu, Hj Abdullah Sani (60+ year old I think) brought me to Makam then to his house. Then dropped me at Masjid Sallehi where I had a 2 hour nap. Still thinking whether have to go to Danau Tok Uban and Bukit Panau as transportation seemed to be a problem, I’m runnung out of time and not feeling well too. Went to KB town. Had lunch with daging goreng and nasi putih that seemed to go well with the gravy and sambal. Took bus no 44 to Nilam Puri and dropped at Masjid Kampung Laut. Had an hour nap there. Afterwards took bus to Kuala Krai, Went too train station, there’s 8pm train heading south so bought ticket for Kuala Lipis. Went to the main mosque of Kuala Krai. There’s like a small monumentl building inside the compound with my favourite sort of roofing – that with “tounges” hanging down at every corner. Showered there and did Magrib jamak with Isyaq. Then took the train to Kuala Lipis. Arrived there just before midnight.

Monday 25 Dec – Slept at the old mosque of Kuala Lipis. As it turns out, it was built in 1888, almost 120 years old! And I realise something, I meant in a sense, why I had to go to Lipis and sleep at the old mosque. Seems like I owe an old debt, 3 years ago (before taking the train to Gua Musang then KB to go to see Tok Kenali’s tomb for the first time). I did say I wanted to spent the night there. Anyway after Subuh take a walk around town, had breakfast then went down the steps to sit by Sungai Jelai. Afterwards to 7.45am bus to Raub. Arrived about 9am or so. Had nasi lemak then when to rumah Nenek.
Oh… Bought some nila and cuka as recommended by some people to threat the beguk (I had mump) on my face. Made the mixture at rumah Nenek and apply it on the affected facial area. Rest and slept, until 5pm or so. Felt sick and suffering from cold.

Anyway, I practically rested for 3 days in Raub before going to Janda Baik on the main range, just 40km from Kuala Lumpur. That's where I am making this update... Take care