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, July 28, 2007

The surau of Kampung Setul, Yan...

OK... Straight to the point... I must complete this story as quickly as possible as it is the last in a set of 7 stories for this blogspot started at Teluk Intan two days ago... Before I can feel comfortable and complete enough to leave Perak. And my gut feeling tells me, I must also complete one article for the bi-lingual blogspot SENI LAMA MELAYU (MALAY OLDEN ART) before I can enter Selangor which is just a kilometre away from where I'm writing this in Tanjung Malim! Here it is...

The verandah of surau (small praying hall of) Kampung Setul in Yan. This place might be only one of many places visited in Yan 18-20 January 2007 but I believe it deserves it's own story.
What happened was while at Titi Hayun (look at Yan again... The call of Gunung Jerai... ) I was greeted by a lad who was curious at my presence. After all, the way I look with my big rucksack, the way I walk with confidence despite being a lone stranger in an unfamiliar territory attracted much attention.
I told him about my Aceh connection and he pledged to sent me to a surau which he positively believed has ties with Aceh. Actually, he thought the surau is within the boudaries of Kampung Aceh but he thought wrong and that is another story. After I'm done having fun at Titi Hayun, he sent me to the surau before leaving to join his friends.
As it turns out, the surau was in Kampung (village of) Setul which is rather curious to me because it was named after some people immigrated from Setul. Hmm... Then again, maybe I shouldn't be that curious. For information, Setul is a district (some said even a small state with its own little king) which was under the rule of Kedah. Following some British-Siamese treaty or interference or such, it was handed to the Thais and went under their rule right to this day.
For all my stars I simply can't find the Aceh connection then but my heart says just stick around and see what comes about... So there...

Hmm... I did mention in the article In Yan to find the Aceh connection... there's something curious about the pink colour of the halls of main mosque of Yan. As it is, the surau at Kampung Setul is also predominantly pink too... Is there a connection here? (Apart from the same colour of course...)

The pictures you see here were taken after spending the night at the surau. I arrived the day before almost at dusk. The lucky thing was the locals were celebrating a kenduri (a feast) that night... So I actually had a nice free dinner with plenty of nice friendly company to boot!

Now, these people said they are related to each other and originated from grandparents who left Setul for some reasons... Maybe because of the Thai takeover? Maybe this could be a very obvious answer. The Thais are predominantly Buddhist and some especially the military were not so in favour of Setul's originally major Muslim population. So some said, what practically followed next was genocide... Either embrace their faith or suffer persecution, at least that's what some told me...

I did ask about the history of this particular surau... Is there any weird happenings? Or any good spiritual presence worth taking note of (I said this almost whispering to their elders)... Well, they were surprised that I planned to spend the night there. It's just, they said, do it at my own peril... For there is definitely some sort of presence around at it could scare those not that pure at heart.

Suffice to say, I survived the night intact. I did feel a strong unseen presence but then again I've had plenty experience of similar effect.

Nevertheless I'm there not to challenge any forces but just to follow my travelling urge while finding answers to some questions plaguing my life. It seems, the forces that guard the place acknowledge this. They (or he?) not only accepts my presence but guarded me from any possible disturbance from elsewhere... After all, I am just a lone traveller which is susceptible to attacks from those with bad intention. So there...

Oh... Back to the issue of the colour pink as seen at the surau of Kampung Setul, also at the main mosque of Yan... While writing this, I remember the locals at Yan saying that right in front of the main mosque, there used to lie the tomb of a saintly person... If memory serves me right, his name is Sheikh Uthman Al-Qadri. What is sure, he is a Sheikh ( a religious teacher) and carries the family name Al-Qadri which are said to be among the descendants of Prophet Muhammad SAW.

A day before going to Kampung Setul, a local took me by bike and brought me to to the saint's present grave, I can't remember in which village... Hmm... Come to think of it, perhaps that is the connection? Although the Al-Qadri family is said to flourish in Borneo, I have reason to believe it also has connections with Aceh through some families there which I positively believe are descended from the Sultanul Awliya (king of saints) Sheikh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani who lived in 12th century Baghdad!

Enough... I've told what can be told to release what's inside me... Now I must get on an complete a story for the blogspot SENI LAMA MELAYU (MALAY OLDEN ART) before I can get into Selangor. Take care! :]

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