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.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Equestrian endurance in France

OK... Let me just post this article on equestrian some 7 years ago... You could say this was my introduction to the sports of endurance riding. Have a go! 

Publication : NST 
Edition : 2* 
Date : 15/11/2000 
Page Number : 41 
Headline : Wholesome family activity that captivates the heart 
Words : 891 
Byline : By Radzi Sapiee 
Text : 

CAMARADERIE is at the heart of equestrian sports in France, where horse-riding is a way of life enjoyed by all walks of life. This scribe recently followed Bukit Kiara equestrian resort executive director Datuk Kamaruddin Abdul Ghani to France and found a wholesome family activity that captivates the heart.

The stage was the FEI (world equestrian body) 2x100m equestrian endurance races at Montcuq, a small castle town at a hilly area some 200km north-east of the Spanish border. The participants, a mixture of blue blood horse-loving aristocrats, city slickers with penchant for the countryside, horse-breeders and even lowly farmers mingle with ease despite their different nationalities and upbringing. 

What was more astounding was the support they get from their kith and kin, nevermind that winter was close and temperature ranged from two degrees Celsius to a maximum of only 13 when the sun was up unhindered by the clouds. Many brought their spouses, kids and friends and toddlers were seen everywhere, playing with the family dogs that excitedly roamed the local fire department headquarters' ground, the makeshift centre for the event. 

Nearly 130 horse-riders came from as far as Australia and Brazil and the camaraderie of old opponents and friends making acquaintance with new ones was infectious as they settled their horses for the first of two-day races. 

"See, how friendly they are," said Kamaruddin as he waved to a few faces he'd met in other races. "If only our equestrian scene is like this." 

Having been on the FEI endurance circuit since 1998, the 55-year-old has become close buddies with the likes of veterinarian-turned-horse breeder Jack Begaud, who was last year's best European rider, and the Just family, who owns a 72-hectare farm with 75 horses near the Spanish border. Kamaruddin has used horses from Begaud's stable but this time, he decided to try Hose and wife Marie-Noelle's six-year-old Gusty De L'Aigual. 

The fun really began when the race started. All riders were flagged off simultaneously - each free to start from the front or behind according to their whims and tactics - at 8am from the town's main street before they head off to the twisting farm trail leading to the next stop at Caltenau Montratier. 

The town itself is just about 20km east of Montcuq but the trail which at certain points cut through the narrow country roads covered a distance of 35km. The points were where friends and family can help. They became the crewers - the support people who supplies food and drinks for both horse and rider. 

Some even came in as many as four cars for a rider with the richer ones bringing their own cobblers and equipment in mini-vans, making a cavalcade of more than 200 cars to inch up and down the winding roads. Traffic only eased up when the fast riders got separated from the slow ones whose crewers had to wait a while longer before springing into action. 

When the time came, kids from as young as 10 helped to pass bottles of water which the riders used to wash the horses from the neck up, a surprising new discovery for this scribe considering the chilly condition out there. 

"The horses are made for temperate climate and easily heats up after a run," explained Kamaruddin as he rested at the veterinarian checkpoint at Caltenau Montratier. "We use the water to cool it down." 

Hose and Marie-Noelle fed Gusty with hay, carrot and apples while daughter Celine and her friend Latitiea massaged the beast with lavender oil. 

Upon arrival there, each rider was given 30 minutes to calm the horse's heartbeat to below 64 beats per minute and do whatever necessary to ensure it can walk properly without limping or risk being disqualified. Free hands like mine (when Kamaruddin didn't request for assistance) walked about to see how the others were doing. 

The usual question: "Is your horse OK?", in French or otherwise, was answered by the universal `OK' with a thumbs-up or the other way around, meaning you are on the way out, binded even the most quite of strangers. 

The town square which became the checkpoint was abuzz with activity as every townsfolk and visitors converged to partake in the festive atmosphere. 

An hour later, Kamaruddin was ready to be flagged-off for the second stage, another 35km endurance ride to La Bastide Marnhac. Some riders had left earlier while others were still going through the veterinarian check. 

"Whoever completes the check early gets to continue sooner," he said. 

The official looked at his clock and began the countdown. Five, four, three, two, one and off he goes. Hose, his family, Latitie and myself who, by then have became Kamaruddin's fifth crewer, lunged to get our gear before we ran off for our two cars to catch our rider at the next point. 

By the time the race was done on the next day, we had virtually recognised every face on the field, never mind that some like me came with a limited French vocabulary of "Bon jour (good day)" and "Sava (ok?)". 

There is no doubt that camaraderie abounded there and newfound friends made the memory even sweeter, making me wish that we could have such an endurance race in Malaysia really soon. (END)

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