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, October 05, 2007

From Perak to Selangor... Time to start settling down

Greetings dear readers... Without much further ado, let me just continue from where we left off in Revisiting Teluk Intan the birth-place of my dad...

Above is a picture of the leaning tower of Teluk Intan. After spending 3 nights there it's time to make a move. As it is, before that I've stayed 2 nights in Ipoh and a night in Kuala Kangsar. That sums up to 6 nights in Perak so far.

Remember in my previous articles, I mentioned that I've stayed 4 nights in Pahang followed by 5 in Kelantan and 6 in Kedah? Thus following the sequence of numbers, logic dictates (mine that is!) I must spend 7 nights in Perak and I've already done 6... So it's another night to go in the state where my dad was born but not in Teluk Intan. It has to be elsewhere as I've already spent 3 nights there, 2 in Ipoh and 1 in Kuala Kangsar...

See the logic behind the sequence? Thus the question is where next in Perak? What is for sure it has to be somewhere on the way to the state of Selangor as it is time to return to Kuala Lumpur after 3 weeks being on the road. It's time to start settling down...

Now there's two major routes to get to Selangor from Teluk Intan... One heading south-west through Hutan Melintang before entering the state through Kuala Selangor, the capital of Selangor 18th up to the end of 19th Century AD... Another which is a more regular route goes south-east to Bidor before entering Selangor via the town of Tanjung Malim. I chose the second one as it is the more straight-forward route back to Kuala Lumpur...

From Batak Rabit where I spent the night at a relative's place, I arrived in the town of Teluk Intan at about 12.20 or so , just in time to catch the 12.30 bus to Bidor. Problem is the day, 27th July 2007 was a Friday... As a good Muslim I should be joining the weekly congregational prayer at the closest big mosque which should start at 1.30...

Now, if I go for the prayers, I would not only have to miss the 12.30 bus but also the 1.30pm service too... The next one would be at 2.30pm, meaning I have to spent 2 more hours in Teluk Intan should I decide to go for the Friday prayers here. So how?

After deliberating for some time, I decided to gamble. Bidor is about 40km (or was it 60km?) from Teluk Intan... If I take the 12.30 bus, I might be able to catch the Friday prayers in Bidor!

Too bad, I missed the prayers there by just about 10 minutes or so... As I walked towards the main mosque of Bidor (seen in the picture above) some 300 metres from the bus station, others were leaving the mosque after completing their Friday prayers.

Luckily, as a long-distance traveller, I'm not obliged to do the prayers although I try to make it everytime possible. Instead I substituted it for the regular Zuhur (afternoon prayers) which I combined with Asar (late afternoon) as allowed under Islamic rules for those travelling more than a distance of 90km or so.

From Bidor I went to Sungkai. Now, I could either take a bus straight to Tanjung Malim which is just beside the state border of Selangor or stop in-between at a place called Trolak. A fan of my "Berpetualang ke Aceh" book series have many times voiced his wish to meet me in person. The guy in his early 20s happens to be related to my big family tree in Teluk Intan, at least that's what he claimed having seen some postings regarding my family roots made in an Internet forum... So I thought why not, all in the name of trying to mend ties between relatives (or possible relatives?) especially those I've never met my whole life...

So there I was making my way to the Felda (a government body coordinating settlers opening up new areas for plantations) area of Trolak... I've called the guy in question and he picked me up to his house where I had a long chat with his father about my big family in Teluk Intan.

Of particular note was the spiritual subject that was brought up in our conversation. His father could somehow surmise my connections with the Perak royalty especially the spiritual guidance I've been receiving through the blessings of certain ancestors who are said to be of saintly status.

Later at night I was asked, do I want to spend the night, my 7th and last night (remember? I had to follow a certain progression after spending 4 nights in Pahang, 5 in Kelantan and 6 in Kedah) at their house or go to Tanjung Malim. Somehow earlier, my heart got the message that I must go to Tanjung Malim... The father said he also got the same message through spiritual means but only after Isyak, the late night prayer. And so the family, the guy, his father and mother send me to the town at the Perak-Selangor border some 30 km away...

Above is a picture of parts of Tanjung Malim taken after spending the night at the town's main mosque. A pictorial story of the mosque will be done later in the blogspot SENI LAMA MELAYU (MALAY OLDEN ART)

Actually I would like to write longer explaining what happened but the computer I'm using right now at an Internet Cafe in Brickfields gives me a lot of headache... Somehow without me realising it, portions of text including pictures are defined and then wiped out and this happened many many times. So sorry, now I have to be really brief.

Above is monument that marks one is about to leave Perak...

This is a river in Tanjung Malim which marks the border between the states of Perak (on the left) and Selangor... Oh, the name is Bernam river...

I stopped by an erected the "Berpetualang ke Aceh" book promotion poster made a month before using a picture of the same scenery!

There. I'm officially in Selangor...

Stopped a while at the Sheikh Ismail mosque... You can read about the mosque in Masjid Sheikh Ismail di Ulu Bernama (The mosque of...

After walking some time, I got a bus to Kuala Kubu Baru. There... Enough headache for the day. Cheers! :]

note: From Brickfields, I broke my Ramadhan fasting with a packet drink at the KL Sentral station before conducting the Maghrib (early night) prayers at the surau (small praying hall) there. Then I took the Komuter train to Kajang... Feels like spending the night alone at a family house. I had a hefty meal at Kentucky's and then a glass of sirap bandung (syrup with milk) and a foodstall nearby. Next, after feeling much better that is, I went to an Internet Cafe and made these note...

I also added a bit on the writings above but come to the part where I mentioned about the problem I had with the computer at the Internet Cafe in Brickfields, I just couldn't add more. So I hope whatever is already written is enough to maintain the continuity of story-telling regarding the long travelling made over 2 months ago. Cheers! :]

Monday, October 01, 2007

Revisiting Teluk Intan the birth-place of my dad...

Greeting dear readers. Today, I decide to make a posting using pictures taken in Teluk Intan, the birth-place of my dad and home to my forefathers (on the staff side) for many generations.
Actually this story is a continuation of my last posting here Taiping to Kuala Kangsar... A dangerous look at Malaysian history? After all, it is part of a long trip I made covering places in Pahang, Kelantan, Kedah, Perak and Selangor more than 2 months ago.
I've already made some pictorial stories about Kuala Kangsar in my other blogspots SENI LAMA MELAYU (MALAY OLDEN ART) and CATATAN SI MERAH SILU. After visiting the royal town of Perak, I went to to the state capital Ipoh where I spent two nights at a junior's place without taking any significant pictures. So let us just go straight to Teluk Intan ya... And let me be very brief as the time is almost 6.30pm and I still haven't done my Asar (late afternoon prayers). Here it is...

note: I did my Asar, broke my fast (the day was 19th of Ramadhan) and also did Maghrib at the Kampung Baru mosque just 50 metres across the road. So here I am (at 7.50pm) editting this article and adding some more material... Just in case if you wonder why it is now not so brief.

The old mosque of Batak Rabit, some 5 km from Teluk Intan's town centre... I've written a rather elaborate story on it in Masjid lama Batak Rabit (The old mosque of Batak Rabit) .
Have a look as it concerns a portion of unwritten history. For the record, the mosque stood on a land given as wakaf (for public use) by my forefathers... Beside it lies the private graveyard of the family.

This is the Perak river seen from the mouth of smaller river not far from the mosque... Despite its tranquility, the place hold plenty of history.

There... Nice view of Perak river isn't it? Who would have thought wars used to be waged in this area... There was a time when British colonialists came with their soldiers and ravaged this area (Batak Rabit used to be one of Perak's capital or administration centre), especially after their first resident to Perak, J.W.W. Birch was murdered by Perak nobles. There was another time when royal princes used to bring their own factions and fought over what... A legendary beautiful lady who I'm quite proud to say was my great great grandmother! :]

A rather cute house at the end of a long corner in Batak Rabit. This house at the end of a row of wooden shophouse belongs to a relative... I often lodge here when visiting Teluk Intan... This area including the mosque shown used to be part of the fort and administration area for the 26th Sultan of Perak, Sultan Abdullah Muhammad Shah (ruled Perak 1874-1877).

An abandoned house somewhere nearer to town. It is situated right in front of an old abandoned palace.. Have a look at Istana Raja Muda (The crown prince's palace), Teluk Intan, Perak

A secondary school nearby... Oh, now I know where I took the picture, at Jalan Raja Muda Musa named after a long deceased crown-prince (or is regent the right word?) of Perak.. For the record, among the recent (as in after British intervention started with the signing of the Pangkor Treaty of 1874) royalties close to the throne, Raja Muda Musa is the one closest to the late Sultan Abdullah who was exiled to the Seychelles. The other royals were mostly members from a different branch of the Perak Sultanate.

Houses on the way to Kampung Terengganu... At the villlage lies the only tomb of a Perak Sultan in Teluk Intan, the tomb of the 22nd Sultan, Sultan Abdullah Muhammad Shah I (ruled 1851-1857).
Bear in mind though this is not the Sultan Abdullah who got exiled. It's just they have the same name, that's all. The one who got exiled was allowed to return just before he died. The Sultan was buried in the royal mausoleum in Bukit Chandan, Kuala Kangsar.

A big tree which I find rather attractive in a mysterious way at Jalan Mak Intan, a road named after an almost legendary female figure. For information, the name Teluk Intan is also named after the same lady... Or so they say! The road lies on the way out northwards from Kampung Terengganu.
I don't know much about the lady except that they say she came from a noble family. One thing's for sure, she must be quite exceptional to have a place named after her!

North-west Teluk Intan seen from the leaning tower. Seen far is the only hill within the province of Kampung Gajah some 30 kilometres away, an area which contains Pasir Salak, the place where J.W.W. Birch was murdered 1875...
Notice the Perak river behind the buildings. This is a part where the big river, longest on the west coast of the Malay Peninsular first curved northwards before making a u-turn, marking the north boundary of the town of Teluk Intan.
Have a look at Menara Condong (leaning tower of) Teluk Intan for others views from and of the tower...

A look to the west where the Perak river extends to its mouth some 30-40km further towards the town of Bagan Datoh... At the river mouth lies a legendary area known as Beting Beras Basah, a quite long sand bank visible during low-tide with sand that feels and looks like rice! Hence the name Beting (sand bank) Beras (rice) Basah (wet). Get it?
The legend goes that Beting Beras Basah was the place the first Sultan of Perak arrived before getting installed in 1528. He came on a ship from Sumatera but the ship got stuck at the river mouth... That's it until he throws away his crown into the waters. And so they say that's why Perak Sultan's down wear any crown! Hmm...
Come to think of it, they also say that's why Perak's first in-line to the throne is called Raja Muda (the young king or regent), not Tengku Mahkota (crown prince) like in some states... Which makes one wonder, how come the Laksamana (royal admiral) of Perak is called Raja Mahkota (literally translated as crown king)? Is it because the Laksamana originated from the crown prince of Aceh who got sidelined from the throne? For the record, the mosque shown at the start of this article is built on land given away by the Laksamana family. Enough...

And lastly and old madrasah or Islamic religious school sandwiched in-between modern shophouses occupied by Chinese right smack in the town centre. Here is a building which reminds me, once upon a time, the Malay Archipelago truly belong to the Malays... Until the Western colonialists came and change everything including the real meaning of the Malays which used to be a mixture of races bounded by some common factors, mainly professing the religion of Islam, practising the Malay custom and speaking in Malay.
Once upon a time, anyone including people from China and Westerners from Eastern Europe can come here and become Malay! As long as they meet the criterias said, criterias which could be learned and embraced in due time, God willing. That's all ya. Cheers! :]