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, June 29, 2007

A new look for this blogspot

Just after I made the postings for the English translation/adaptation of "Berpetualang ke Aceh"'s prologue, I noticed that some of the links forwarded were not clear enough to the eyes because of the colours. This prompted me to make a change in the template, so here goes a new look for you to enjoy, a whole new change for all to view!
Oh... While I'm at it, might as well make this posting slightly longer and more meaningful. For those new to the club let me provide some links to previous postings which you could find interesting... At least, don't have to make the dreary search inside the archives...

Some articles made as a journalist at the New Strait Times (1996-2001) posted here...
Equestrian again? Why not?
Equestrian sports gaining ground?
Equestrian endurance in France
Endurance 3
Endurance 2
Endurance 1
Wanna drag?
Experience with orang Asli

And some articles based on my personal travels made not long ago...
A visit to the royal mausoleum at Langgar, Kedah?
Pictures in Muar 3
Some more pictures in Muar
Pictures in Muar
Trip to the East Coast (2)
Trip to the East Coast
The return of Admiral Muhammad Amin's remains to the royal mausoleum of Perak
OK... Got to get ready for the Jumaat congregational prayers... Take care!

"Berpetualang ke Aceh" prologue 3

And the final parts of the chapter...

Rasyid is so excited and in high spirit whenever talking about Aceh and related things. That is why he wants so much to write a book about it, especially to bring up the deep connection he sees exist between the Islamic struggle of Aceh and Malays Sultanates in Peninsular Malaysia. The University College of London Bachelor of Science in Mathematics graduate believes that the land of Aceh was the Islamic umbrella for the whole Malay Archipelago, starting with the inception of the Sultanate of Perlak 1,200 years ago followed by the enlightineng age of Samudera Pasai 400 years later. So that is why he feels obliged to write these all…
The Sultanate of Aceh contained the former territories under Perlak and Samudera Pasai and then inherited the greatness of the Sultanate of Melaka along with the legacy of the above kingdoms… After Melaka fell into Portuguese hands in 1511. And so the lad is adamant there existed a continous link to protect the welfare of Islam in this region by Perlak, Samudera Pasai, Melaka and then Aceh, a continuity of struggle supported by the related blood coursing through the veins of the rulers of these Malay kingdoms.
Too bad, this link is purposely hidden by Western colonialists when they divided the Eastern region into two parts which eventually became Indonesia and Malaysia, through the English-Dutch Treaty of 1824. The existence of such a link can be proven by the presence of more than 300 tombs belonging to royalty, religious scholars and the nobles in Peninsular Malaysia graced by Aceh tombstones, a type of unique gravestone signifying the owner as having traces of the Verandah of Mecca noble blood. Among such tombs is the the tomb of Bendahara (something like the prime minister of olden days) Padang Saujana in Kota Tinggi, the Bendahara of Johor whose offsprings became the later rulers (after the 16th century) of Johor, Pahang and Terengganu to this day.
More importantly, Rasyid believes the history of the land of Aceh and its struggle is actually the history of the struggle of Islam and the Malays itself. But many don’t realise this because of the colonialists’ subtle and evil ways of politicking which managed to make the old Sultanates fought against each other..,, All these the colonialist did to ensure and increase their hold over this region, also to erase the light of Islam from the face of the earth! And so the Malay unity forged by the spirit of Islamic brotherhood which used to exist in ancient times is replaced with narrow nationalism which saw the Malays splitting into rival factions.
“In fact Aceh had many times fought the Portugeuse and Dutch to free the city of Melaka from the colonialists’ hold while Johor who is supposed to inheret the struggles of the Melaka Sultanate dared to work in cohorts with the West,” Rasyid espoused his views with such a spirit in front of an academician who also likes old stories.
“But Aceh’s struggles were hardly mentioned in Malaysia, what more to be recognised in official text such as history books used in schools just because the kingdom of the Verandah of Mecca is now under the sovereignity of Indonesia. So how can the people of this country especially the Malays be able to see the link of struggle beared by the Sultanate of Perlak, then Samudera-Pasai followed by Melaka and finally Aceh before the Eastern region is overpowered, divided and shaped by the colonialist? Before the region is literally eaten raw and broken apart?”
Therefore, in order to wholly understand the Malay struggle and the fight to bring forth the light of Islam to the Eastern world, the lad believes the borders between nations created through the games of the colonialists which also serves as the dividing borders of history must be forgotten at least for a moment. Therefore too, the old stories and history of Aceh and related tales must be shared, especially after the Tsunami of December 26, 2004…
“All these must be revealed and explained to fill the gap which I believe exist in official history of the Malay Archipelago… At the same time to strenghten the self-esteem of the Malays which has been diminished due to lost of direction because of Western propaganda which often belittle the ability and character of the Malays,” he adds.
“Do bear in mind! World history as you know and accept as the whole truth and nothing but the truth, the so-called result of academic studies by those in the know which allegedly can’t be reputed are actually history written and shaped by the West… According to their views and standards made as they please. It’s the same with history of the Malay world which is written by Orientalists such as Stamford Raffles, the man said to be the founder of Singapore… So much so that such views are taken as the gospel by local historians including the Malays too! Well, is the island never ever been explored before? Is there no humans in Singapore before the Whites came? If so, who is Sang Nila Utama (the ruler who opens up the island in Malay history) then? Monkey? Donkey? Until when must we be made fools by the West?”
Rasyid also writes so that Malaysians especially the Malays take note of what is happening in Aceh, so they become more conscious and caring of the fate of their brothers in faith and religion there.
“They should know that Aceh has been long under pressure. In fact it is still under pressure. Since hundreds of years ago, its people are involved in the fight against Western colonialist. And from 1873 until the 20th century, they suffered because of the Dutch attacks too,” the lad continues.
“As if that’s not enough, when the Western colonialist left the Malay Archipelago, the people of Aceh are bullied by the authorities of Republic of Indonesia in turn! The bullies want them to bow to Jakarta and hand all the resources of the Verandah of Mecca which is rich with God’s blessings such as oil reserves and timber. Besides that, there also exist efforts to bring down the dignity of Islam there as is happening in Pattani (a former Malay Sultanate now within the sovereignity of Thailand) until this very day! The people there are further traumatised by the Tsunami which took so many innocent lives and destroyed all sorts of infrastructure and goods,” he added sad and angry at the same time.
Whatever, the former sports jounalist concedes the book is not a history book, what more a book on politics… Although it does contain historical facts and commentaries on politics current and old.
“Consider it a story book which contains facts and lessons… Or a collection of personal and unique views on some events related to the Verandah of Mecca,” he said summing up his thoughts.
The book also records Rasyid’s experience travelling alone to Aceh while elaborating some happenings in his childhood till adulthood which became his raison d’etre for stepping to the land. This is because the experiences and reasons are what made it possible for the historical stories and tales to be compiled and presented into a unique personal sequence of stories.
Let it be reminded, the travel was made in January 2004, while the emergency because of armed confrontations between GAM and TNI was still going on strong, often spilling blood. At the time, outsiders are not allowed to get into Aceh without written permission from the authorities in Jakarta. So, the situation and background mentioned might be different from that as known now… For one, there is no more major obstacles imposed by anyone to enter country.
Rasyid’s friends are not surprised to see him so spirited when talking about all these whenever they met. They know since in college, the lad is very passionate whenever he believes in something, know of the weird ways he carries himself… Just think of this… How many people you know studied Mathematics up to university level, then totally change direction to become a journalist (later on, a sports journalist some more!) and now wants to write books on Islam and Malay history? When one can practically count the number of Maths graduates in Malaysia especially among the Malays, what more one who became a journalist and then a book author…
His shift from the news-desk which is considered intellectual to the sport desk which borders on entertainment and the glamourous while being a journalist is also not that surprising. His friends also don’t find it strange that once upon a time, Rasyid used to be very excited talking about science theories such as Quantum Mechanics, Unifield Field Theory and Big Bag but now not a days goes on without him mentioning the history of Malay rulers, the saints and coming of Islam.
What made them perplexed, why is this guy from Muar, Johor keeps talking in favour of Aceh as if he is a freedom fighter for the Verandah of Mecca? Since when did Rasyid join GAM? Or maybe he is a member of the infamous Islamic League which often cries about jihad, the fight under the name of Islam? Maybe this lad wants to use all his expertise and natural intelligence to teach the West especially America and Britain which he considers very rude, even evil in their ways?

Radzi Sapiee
Janda Baik, Bentong, Pahang.
19 September 2005 (equivalent to 15 Sya’aban 1426 on the Islamic calender)

p/s: Just before 9am local time December 26th 2004, an underwater earthquake with its epicentre in the Indian Ocean outside the west coast of Aceh measuring 9 on the Richter scale caused a big wave of Tsunami to hit the coastal areas of some Asian countries up to Africa. The calamity caused huge destructions at every place it touched especially in Aceh and Sri Lanka. More than 230,000 lives were lost, some 200,000 of them the people of Aceh so much so that it practically paralysed the region which have long suffered from war.
Al Fatihah (read the Opening Verse of the Quran) for their souls. Hopefully however small in effect and contribution, this book is able to perk up the spirit of the people of Aceh who seems to suffer never-ending calamities, at the same time restore back the feel for greatness of the Verandah of Mecca which seemed to be diminishing in time. Amen oh Lord of all that exist… God willing!


Note: Don't know when the next round of translation/ adaptation will start. Meanwhile, do have look at Kingdom of Perlak: The story unfolds and The tale of Keramat Kuala Bidor 2… Touching a bit on the world shadow government. Cheerio! :]

"Berpetualang ke Aceh" prologue 2

Continuation from the previous post...
Hmm, perhaps readers should have a look at The will concerning the end-times before proceeding with the following adaptation/translation.


“This book is written for several purposes,” Rasyid went on. “First, I want to share some stories and ancient history concerning Aceh for all to view. So that it is not lost swallowed by the sands of time…”
“What do mean by using the word ‘concerning'” Asri cuts the conversation.
“There is a reason… Because the stories are not just about Aceh. In fact it include events and related characters in Malaysia… Stories which as far as I now has not been featured or elaborated in official form whether in books or magazines.”
“Hmm… Have your heard the name Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah, the ruler of Melaka?”
“Hey! Of course I’ve heard the name… I’ve learnt about it since in primary school,” Asri answered with a less than pleased tone.
“Ha! Good for you then,” Rasyid continued with a smile.
“Here, I want to tell you something,” he opens up. “The book Sulalatus Salatin (an old Malay text) also known as the History of the Malays written by Tun Sri Lanang did mention the Sultan died in the palace of Melaka, after making a will for the throne to be given to Sultan Mahmud. But there’s people who say that Sultan Alauddin have long left Melaka… Because there’s a conspiracy to topple him from power! Anyway there was actually a more deserving heir!”
Asri went quiet. It seems he is interested to know more… Surely stories like this are intriguing enough, stories about the Malays but…
“Are you confident with these tales,” the friend asks for clarification. “What if somebody challenges you, where did you get all this? Some might even say how dare you, trying to be clever, trying to go against the official interpretation of history, trying to write new tales… How would you answer that?”
Rasyid smiled upon hearing the line of questions. Actually, he saw it all forthcoming…
“Hey! Why are you smiling?” now Asri is more perplexed. “I’m asking serious questions. How would you answer if people start asking questions and challenge your interpretations?”
“Look! Be patient,” came the answer. “The kind of things I’m trying to tell here takes time to understand as it must be studied in detail carefully. You just can’t swallow it all in one go. That’s why I’m writing a book… To tell all and sundry in a way that can be properly understood!”
The truth is it’s not just Asri who felt that way. Rasyid often tried to forward his ‘theories’ on historical events to anyone who would give him the time of the day, generally about Melaka, the Malay lands and the Archipelago, particularly about the olden kings related to the Verandah of Mecca. And so his friends became the ‘victims” whenever there’s chance, that is almost everytime he came across them!
It can’t be denied, since the last three years, the Muar, Johor-born lad is very obsessed, always wanting to talk about such old tales… So much so that it seems he hasn’t got the slightest interest in talking about sundry and ‘normal’ things like matters relating to work and family. Not only that, most of the stories he told do not exist in any official record. No wonder many are questioning what he is up to… Some are even questioning his sanity!
Yes. His interest can be considered very strange, as if there is nothing else to be talked about. While most people are busy looking forward to this IT (information technology) open sky world and the latest science and technology innovations, Rasyid on the other hand seems like he wanted to return to the dark ages, so obsessed with old tales which don’t exist in official history. Still, the lad is supremely confident with the stories and views he held along with unique arguments which he believe can hold water, even if the arguments are not as strong as the academical ones forwarded by historians.
“Anyway, I never claim to be an expert in history,” he willingly concedes… Realising he hasn’t got any qualification to make people take serious note of his views, what more for anyone to take it as the gospel.
“But this doesn’t mean I just write as I please,” he said, advocating his confidence. “I have a degree although not in history. And I’ve served five years as a journalist with a leading mainstream English newspaper in the country… Trained to study every information in detail so that it can held accountable, not depending on street or coffee shop talk, surely not gossips or just plainly shooting from the hips…”
According to him, he had spent much energy and time going to several locations and met plenty of characters… All these so that he can study the old tales and stories he got from many angles and views before he dares pushing it forward to the masses.
“Whatever, read the book completely first… Then only can you make fair comments.”

"Berpetualang ke Aceh" prologue 1

Greeting dear readers. More than six months ago, I started this blog, my first ever in the shadowy realms of cyber space with these intentions in mind... First, to get me started writing in English again after leaving my job as journalist with mainstream English daily 6 years ago. My English writing has gone very rusty since then... I was too busy travelling in search of and studying my family roots which extend from Peninsular Malaysia up to Aceh and on to the Middle East especially Mecca and Madinah.
Second, to start an English translation/adaptation of my Malay novel, "Berpetualang ke Aceh: Mencari Diri dan Erti" (literally "The travel/trip to Aceh: In search of self and meaning"). I was told many would be interested if there is an English version. The problem is I am too busy taking care of other things and of course, my English writing is rusty...
And thus I started this blog so that I can start the translation process by taking bits and pieces, excerpts from the novel while at the same time making some semblance of English writing.
Too bad, up to date, I've made little progress in making the translations... So far, I've done some bits and posted here, pieces like The reason behind the fall of Melaka and The tale of Keramat Kuala Bidor which are just parts of the chapters inside the book. However while at Fraser's Hill last week, for the first time ever I actually managed to sit down and translate/adapt a whole chapter, the opening "Mukadimah: Mengapa Berpetualang" (literally "Prolouge: Why the travel").
I started by editting/streamlining the starting segment which was posted in this blog months ago under the heading Why Berpetualang! . There where words and sentences which could be presented better and I continued making the English adaptation and covered the whole prologue which is actually a chapter in itself.
As for presenting the chapter here, it is better to break it up into three parts because of the length. So without much further ado, here goes part one...



In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful,
Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds;
Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
Master of the Day of Judgment.
Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek.
Show us the straight way;
The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray.

(Al-Fatihah – The Opening Verses of the Quran)

Four o’clock in the wee morning hours. Rasyid found it really hard to get a snooze. Felt like ages changing sides and contorting his body to all manners of shape and size just to get comfortable enough for a wink but nothing seemed to work. Rather than continuing this fruitless charade, might as well do something useful. He got up and went to the living room, then took out the Compaq Presario laptop which haven’t been touched for quite a while.
“Maybe I have to start writing again,” his heart whispered.
The lad began to recall his trip to Aceh 2 years ago, when the land also known as The Verandah of Mecca was under emergency rule by the military… A trip that must be made to find the answers to some questions that have been plaguing his mind since as long as he can remember.
There’s no denying it. Of late, Rasyid always have Aceh in mind. If the end of 2004 have seen the world in shock after the Tsunami of 26 December took some 200,000 lives in the war-stricken region, lately the 4 million or so remaining population there begin to see some glimmer of hope.
As it turns out, there is a silver lining behind the cloud. Behind all the casualties and infrastructures destroyed, the Indonesian Republic government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM. For the Malay equivalent – Gerakan Aceh Merdeka) were pushed to sit at the round-table. And so the most solid treaty ever between the two since Indonesia gained independence from the Dutch colonial powers in 1945 were struck. The visible result, GAM is willing to surrender the guns and weapons they’ve held for many years while the Indonesia military (TNI for the Malay words Tentera Nasional Indonesia) began to eliminate their presence at the war-stricken region in stages.
Rasyid who have been practically unemployed the last 4 years soon remembered his promise to write a book about Aceh. The work will contain pages of old sunken tales interwoven with the history of The Verandah of Mecca and its relation with the Malay Archipelago along with his travelling experience and relevant events.
Actually Rasyid already had all the relevant materials compiled for some time - in fact he already started writing a year ago. The title of the book has also long been decided on, a title which appeared at heart when he first stepped at the Aceh-North Sumatera border sometime ago. However, personal problems and many other worries got in the way until it all got too much... The seemingly never ending trials and tribulations he had to face in life made him felt so desolate and frustrated as if the whole world itself conspired to bring him down. And so he walked broken-hearted and lost his way in life.
Rasyid switched on the laptop and searched for the folder “Petualang”. Thank God, as soon as he saw the book cover’s design made a year ago using the Adobe Photoshop software at his adopted father Pak Syed’s office, a new resolution to continue his long-forgotten writing attempt blossomed. And so his finger danced as the story unfolds to the alluring background of the traditional music called Asyik whispering mystically from the laptop.
“Berpetualang ke Aceh? Sounds very disturbing,” said a friend, Asri upon hearing the title of the book. “Why ‘berpetualang’? Doesn’t it sound evil?”
As it turns out, the word has such a negative connotation in Malaysia but in Indonesia, it carries a totally different meaning, a positively adventurous one too but that is another story… For the record, officially Aceh is considered to be in Indonesia. But bear in mind some Acehnese would beg to differ as they considered theirs a free country which happens to be illegally ran by the Indonesians. So there…
“I thought ‘Petualang’ applies only to those who disturb the peace? Those who bring trouble and destruction? Aren’t you worried what people would say? This sounds rather like a communist manifesto!” the friend, a native of Lenggong in Perak badgered…
Malaysians in general have a very bad impression of the Communist because of the bloody disturbances they caused all over the country in the 60s to early 70s. In Malaysia , the word “Petualang” means trouble-maker, unlike in Indonesia where it means to travel with a purpose like searching for something... Or simply being adventurous. And so, in Malaysia words like “Petualang” are used to describe the Communist and traitors to the country while in Indonesia, it coul be used to describe someone going on a holiday!
Asri suggested the title changed to “Berkelana ke Aceh (Adventure to Aceh)” or “Mengembara ke Aceh (Travels to Aceh)”. Or maybe “Jejak-jejak Aceh (The Aceh tracks)” considering the story do cover actual travelling experiences coupled with history and tales.
Rasyid thought for a moment. Fair enough… No harm done using these titles. Don’t sound so bad either. It’s just that the titles are not strong enough to convey the explicit and implicit message of the story… They also sound like something out of a travel brochure when in fact, the stories included does carry with it a hint of rebelliousness (which the word “Petualang” does imply!)… Some sort of struggle that needs to be made public. So he explained to Asri but the friend seemed rather perplexed!
“Don’t be shocked!” Rasyid tried to smoothen things out. “The struggle and rebellion I meant is more on the inside, a spiritual process to understand the true Self. Anyway the world “petualang” does have a positive and healthy spin, so much so it can represent the struggle to make the truth prevail over falsehood.
“Here, look at this…” he continued while shoving an article titled “Music Tutur dan Futtuwah Aceh (Music, speech and brotherhood in Aceh)” by Otto Syamsuddin Ishak in the weekly Indonesian magazine Tempo, 12-18 July 2004.

Hikayat pra-kolonial lazimnya memuat petualangan anak raja budiman dalam meudagang (menuntut ilmu) hingga mendapatkan pengalaman sufistik, sebelum petualangan meraih kembali takhtanya. Banta Beuransah berada dalam petualangannya memasuki sebuah dunia aneka hayati yang penuh makna simbolis hingga terjelaskan selepas seorang aulia hadir. Dalam hikayat lain, Malem Diwa mengalami pengalaman sufistik. Dalam petualangannya untuk menolong para putri, ia selalu mengendarai Buraq, kenderaan Nabi Muhammad SAW saat berisra’-mikraj.

Loosely translated – The old pre-colonial tales usually contains the petualangan of the wise prince (in this context, travelling while learning the lessons and meaning of life) until he achieves the necessary Sufistic spiritual experience (most probably gnosis – the ‘merging’ with the source of all being) before he proceeds for petualangan to gain back his throne (in this context, the mission to establish truth over falsehood… As in returning the rightful heir and disposing the usurper to the throne). Banta Beuransah (an Acehnese folk hero) was in petualangan entering a colourful world of multi-delights full of symbolism (in an alternate universe? This is common in Malay folklore) until everything is explained through the presence of a saint. In another tale, Malem Dewa (another folk hero) had a Sufistic experience. In his petualangan to help the princess (he actually married three!), he often rode the Buraq (a kind of beast slightly resembling a horse, perhaps like the Pegasus), the Prophet Muhammad’s ride in his Isra’ Mikhraj (the night journey where he went from Mecca to Jerusalem before climbing up the seven heavens and above in very small space of time).

“So what’s the problem with “Berpetualang ke Aceh?” Rasyid asked. Enough said…

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bird-watching at Fraser's Hill?

So colourful... The scenery greeting visitors at Fraser's Hill for the international bird-watch race 23-24 June.

Two weeks ago a cousin who have long not been in contact suddenly called. It turns out, he just read a review on the "Berpetualang ke Aceh" book series which just came out in the Malay daily Berita Harian that day. The cousin was excited with the review and suggested that I do promotion at Fraser's Hill, in conjunction with the international bird-watch race this year. It happened that I attended the same event last year and it was apparent lots of participants and visitors made it festive, so came the urge to follow the cousin's suggestion.
Thursday, 21 June. And so I rushed to the late grandma's house in Raub where Mak Uda, mother to the cousin lives. Then I found out, unlike last year where the cousin went to Fraser's Hill with his in-laws, this year they couldn't make it as everyone was busy with their own affairs. I almost cancelled the plan to go there, if not for some 'coincidences' which I considered as signs that I must go up to Fraser's Hill. Therefore I took the opportunity of the presence of many people there for the bird race to promote my book.
Earlier, I thought I had to be in Raub until Monday in order to help family members. An uncle had an accident which prevented him from driving the car so Mak Uda asked me to be ready to act as the driver to sent the uncle's wife, Mak Ngah to and from work.
For the sake of the family, I announced my willingness to start 'service' the next day. As it turns out, Mak Ngah is on holiday Friday and then came other relatives who took over some task, and so I have free time to do whatever is liked. But it felt hard to go to Fraser's Hill as I don't have transport... Last year I went with my cousin by car...
That Friday, I went to the town of Raub alone by bus then walked almost a mile to Simpang Kallang to have ikan keli gulai asam rong (I can't make out the translation except it was a local dish using catfish) for lunch. As the new main mosque is rather far away while I don't have any transport, I was thinking of just doing the Zohor (afternoon prayer) at the old main mosque which is nearer. Anyhow, I was on travel, thus it was not compulsory to do the Jumaat congregational prayer.
On the way back to the town centre after lunch, I was thinking of dropping by the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant since my cousin did mention there is Internet wi-fi signal there which I might be able to hop on. A sweetheart then called making me so occupied such that I walked 3 blocks of shops past the Kentucky restaurant!
As it turns out, there is a good reason why this happened. The walk which saw me overshoot caused me to come across the cousin which happens to be at a photo shop. Therefore I could hop on his scooter to do the Friday prayers at the main mosque. Later we stopped by his in-laws' place and that's where the mother-in-law said, their is a twice a day bus service from Raub to Fraser's Hill.
Cutting short the story, and so I managed to get up there and do the book promotion for "Berpetualang ke Aceh"... But let the promotion story be featured in a different article ya, methinks for the "Catatan Si Merah Silu" blogspot only. Here, I just want to tell a story about what happened and the feel at and around Fraser's Hill 23-24 June. Come... :]

The big clock of Fraser's Hill. While sitting and resting at a spot, I could see a group of young female students, looked like secondary school student walking heading for the big clock with a camera each.
Not long later, there appeared an adult with much advanced camera equipment, looks like the teacher. This man asked them to take pictures of the big clock. "This is the identity of Fraser's Hill!" he said.

Some of the exhibition stalls set up for the Bukit Fraser bird-watch race. For information, the event held since 1988 (if not mistaken) is also attended by participants and visitors outside the country.
This gives the chance for any party to promote their goods or produce to a bigger crowd. Therefore there were stalls promoting batik and optical goods such as binoculars and camera lenses. In fact there were stalls promoting jungle growths especially in the state of Pahang.
In the picture's background is Puncak Inn which is also one of the identity buildings of Fraser's Hill. The rate here, if not mistaken is around RM50 to RM90 for a room per day, is said to be the cheapest at the hill resort station.

View of the exhibition stalls from a different angle. This area is also known as Fraser's Hill 'town centre'. The big clock (not seen in the picture) is situated left of the picture's background.

The Golf Club building which also served as the comittee and secretariat centre for Fraser's Hill international bird-watch race.
Oh... The race is a team event where each team must go to the designated areas and look for as many species of birds at the area and take notes. The team which finds the most type of birds is considered the winner.

Fraser's Hill big clock seen from a different angle. Seen here the self-designed bunting for promoting the book "Berpetualang ke Aceh" erected beside a tree, the first location for the bunting here in an experiment to see passers-by' reaction.

The festive atmosphere due to the number of visitors at Fraser's Hill.

A concert was also held to perk up the atmosphere. Seen here are members of the group Kopratasa on stage.

This is the mosque where I spent the night to spare expenses... It is situated some 500 metres uphill from the 'town centre'.
Not that I had a good sleep, after all I was actually having cold while counting on a jacket and two pairs of clothes to protect myself from the chilly night mountain air.
For information, Fraser's Hill is situated some 4,000 feet above sea level. The daily temperature is often around 22 Celsius during the day and 20 Celsius or below at night while I'm used to the temperature in Kuala Lumpur at a minimum of 27 Celsium and often reaches 31 Celsius and above.
The result, I couldn't sleep properly and often shaking in cold in fact often got stomach-ache and uncomfortable kidney. At 5.15 in the morning, I woke up again to go to the toilet and thus went straight for congregational Subuh (early morning prayers) before going down to the 'town centre' to set up the "Berpetualang ke Aceh" bunting. So tired woo not having enough sleep!

The atmosphere at the food outlet at the foot of Puncak Inn. Colourful isn't it?

Hmm... Enough of me story-telling ya. While writing this paragraph, the time is already past 2 in the morning (actually 4am when I made the English translation up to this point) when I actually haven't had dinner after returning for Kuala Lumpur city centre at 9... So busy to update the blogspots. Good night ya... :]

p/s: Perhaps some would ask, did I also watch some bird at Fraser's Hill? What more, isn't the title of this article "Bird-watching at Fraser's Hill"?
Hmm... Yes there's some species of birds seen flying everywhere. Maybe I can see more if I don't just stick around the 'town centre'... Maybe too I could find some birds in hiding if I brought my own binoculars.
What was sure, I met a beautiful 'bird', wearing head-scarf with a sweet and endearing smile. We got to know each other, share plenty of stories while walking about and I feel comfortable and like her.
It's just that I feel enough we become friends... I told this 'bird' that I still have feelings for the ex-wife especially when I think about our daughter. And I also have two girlfriends whom I love dearly. Enough that way...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A strange accident!

Look at the picture above. A BMW 3 series luxury car stuck inside a rather narrow drain sometime during the day... Look carefully. Actually, the width of the drain is not enough to accomodate the height of the car, so how did the car got stuck in such a way? Why not stuck beside the drain?
More curious, the drain is situated beside a small road at a housing estate in Ampang... The main road which is Jalan Ampang is actually behind the barriers and the witnesses along with those present as seen in the picture.
From a logical point of view, maybe it is easy to accept this accident if the drain is situated immediately next to the main road with no barrier in-between... Or the barrier has been hit until broken causing the car to plunge into the drain because the car was driven fast and then went out of control.
This can be considered common at the main roads where many often drive fast. How can such a thing happen at a small road which I know have many bumps? A road where people often drive below the speed of 30 km/h?

This rather strange accident made many people stop to have a look while being dumb-founded. Many where perplexed how can such a big car plunge and then fit nicely inside a drain which is not that big...
The incident made me feel obliged to take pictures for record. In fact I feel I must tell the story in all my three blogspots before I can continue with any sort of other writing!
It turns out, that is not enough... I thought what is told above is already strange enough. Actually, there is one more fact of incident which is far more curious!
I was told, the car came from the opposite direction before having the accident and got stuck inside the drain. If it was from the opposite direction, shouldn't it be the back part of the car which should be visible from where I was standing to take the picture? Why am I looking at the front part of the car instead?
According to one of those present, the car made at least one spin before getting stuck in the position seen here. Ait? Making a spin and then falling just enough to fit inside the rather narrow drain? Ouch... It gives headache thinking about how this incident happened!

Look again, from a different angle. Strange isn't it the position of the car?
Whatever, I was told the driver is safe, maybe suffering some minor cuts and bruises although he (or she?) was said to have driven rather fast when taking a corner at the housing estate until the accident happened.
What is sure, there was no hint of blood seen as often the case in fatal accidents which caused death or those involved to suffer badly. The side-mirror at the driver's side which was opened without any thrace of the mirror being smashed shows that at least the driver managed to escape rather comfortably.
Imagine if the side-mirror was closed and the the driver trapped inside? What would it be like?
Imagine now if the mirror can't be opened and the accident happened during heavy rain which often cause flash flood. For all we know, there would be fatality!

The car being pulled out using a pick-up lorry... As usual, Malaysians are rather 'conscious' whenever there's a road accident. Many are ready to contribute 'expertise' by sitting or standing looking on wide-mouthed... Or busy forwarding 'theories' on how an accident can happen, haha!

Whatever, thank God, the BMW 3 series was succesfully brought out. Now, I can continue with other writings ya... Keep on reading!