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.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Masjid (mosque of) Lebuh Aceh. A trip down memory lane...

Hmm... I'm already too tired to write but must continue this posting however brief. Masjid Lebuh Aceh and the surroundings has such a strong meaning for me that I must let free the feeling here before I can hope of getting a good night sleep. Here it is...
Since learning about the existence of Masjid Lebuh Aceh some 4 years ago, I never fail to pay a visit whenever in Penang. Of course, the proper manners is that I should at least conduct the optional prayer Tahiyatul Masjid as sign of respect for having arrived at such a venerated place...

Hmm... Why did I say 'venerated'? Perhaps many don't realise this The official history books say, Masjid Lebuh Aceh and the surrounding area was opened some time in the 19th century by a wealthy Acehnese trader of Arab origin. Some added further, the said trader was an Acehnese royalty. But many don't know, the trader, Tuanku Syed Hussein Aidid actually became the Sultan, ruler of Aceh albeit for only 3 days before handing the throne to his son because he was said to suffer from a sickness!

The tomb area in front of the mosque. Again, many don't realise the existence of the tombs, that of a group of Acehnese royalty! Then again, the area is kind of sheltered from the outside because of the way it is flanked by anothet building...

The tomb of Tuanku Sayyid Hussein Aidid... Al-Fatihah...

The tomb of his wife, didn't get the name... Al-Fatihah too...

The mosque seen from another direction. I first came to this mosque in January 2004 and slept there for 3 nights... Before making a trip for Aceh when the country was still torn by war between the Indonesian national army and the GAM or Free Aceh separatist group...

This picture was taken when I was last there 16 January or so 2007, Lebuh Aceh (Aceh broadway?) and the surrounding area was still under renovation... Funny because I see the same renovation from the first time I was there in 2004. Why is it not completed yet? Or is it intentional to achieve certain purposes?

One thing I do know, although Lebuh Aceh has lost its granduer as the place for Muslims as far as Singapore and Indonesia to converge before performing their hajj to Mekah, it was still the main centre for Penang Malays of modern times up till the renovation started, I don't know when. Lebuh Aceh was known for its many Islamic bookshops but now it is not even a shadow of its past. For information, the works carried out has forced the Malays in the area to move elsewhere, all under the name of development.

It seems, they are to told to make way for the works and in time will be asked to come back. And so the shops that used to belong the Malays were left empty. At the same time, the Chinese who occupied other shops nearby could still be seen at large. Is there something wrong with this picture? Or is this something similar to the story of Central Market in Kuala Lumpur after it was taken over by a Singaporean outfit? Where the raised rental rate have reduced the presence of the Malays while increasing that of another ethnic group with more cash to play around?

Look at this. Sure, there is some progress but is it really any good for the Malays? Improved amenities and all the touch up to make the place worthy of a world-class tourist destination walk might be good for some but it could make the cost of living too high for the generally poorer Malays, forcing them to leave the area for the outside while the land that used to belong to them fell into other's hands?

Remember, the whole Lebuh Aceh area is actually tanah wakaf, a piece of land kind of donated to public used. Under Islamic law, no one could infringe or sell this kind of land. Then again we don't operate under the Islamic law. Although the present system inherited from the British did make allowances for such land, what used it is when the politicians in power could simply play with technicalities and turn everything into fair game all in the name of progress?

Or progress for some simply means that the Malays can go on living but only in memories preserved through the establishment of museums such as this... The house of the Al Attas family in Lebuh Aceh used to be a centre for Malay resistance against the British colonialists. Now, how much resistance can it put up against the economic onslaught of the Penang Malays? What is even more saddening, it appears even the Malay politicians have a hand in making the poorer members of society pack their bags for elsewhere. After all, who cares about history?

What is important is money... One only cares about history if it makes good speech in winning the heart of the voters. Isn't that the way of life? In fact some would even dare twist verses from the Quran and act like an Ustaz, a religious teacher to justify many wanton acts using the name of God! Truly the ends of times is near... Rotten people who are very good at pretending to be heros just like Nicholo Machiavelli's Prince get too run the country while true people of noble intentions are forced to fight the just cause from inside the drains! Allah! Do help us...

The Jejak Warisan or Heritage Trail signboard. Perhaps it should say: "Once upon a time the Malays used to rule this land, along with the dinasours and the trilobites..." Enough said! Good night!

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