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, November 06, 2007

A visit to my old haunt at The New Straits Times

Last week, I went to The New Straits Times group building in Bangsar to hand a copy of my latest book "Berpetualang ke Aceh: Sirih Pulang ke Gagang?" ("The trip to Aceh: The prodigal son returns?" or so) or BKA III to the Berita Harian literary section for review. It was a short stop as I had much to do that day. Only the next day did I went there again, this time spending a whole day to get a friend to help me with the graphics of a bunting I'm designing to promote the whole "Berpetualang ke Aceh" book series.
I took the opportunity to visit almost every section of the dailies The New Straits Times, Malay Mail, Berita Harian and Metro where many people still knew me from the old days. One of them suggested I visit my old haunt... The sixth floor of the building where, believe it or not, I used to spend almost 3 years bunking and sleeping on the floor while working as journalist! Hence the pictures here....

Now, much have changed since I left the company at the end of 2001... For one, the control over the company have changed hands a number of times but the essence is still the same... Those who work for the powers-that-be of the day control the place... It doesn't matter much who is or are actually at the helm... What matters are, do they work in the tandem with those who control the present national policy.
I don't care anymore who rules the company literally or not. Once, I was banished from the place... In fact I was banned from stepping foot within the confines of the office building by a former cabinet minister of yore who then become the most powerful editorial personality in Malaysia. Then again he was sacked a few years later when the country changed reins again...
What do concern me is the change of atmosphere at the work-place... Somehow much have changed... Perhaps the whole personality of the company!

For one, the floors have shifted. When I was still around, the 4th floor used to house the main editorial components of The New Straits Times paper and Berita Harian. It also houses the Malay Mail while Metro is at third.
Now, NST is in 2nd, Berita Harian 4th... Hmm... Funny, I've forgotten the exact location of the editorial floors of the two other dailies under the NST group.
Still, that's besides the matter. What troubles me is the interior decor which looks much sleeker than before... Sure, aesthetically, you could say it is much pleasing but somehow to me (and some of the guys still serving there too), it is just too plastic...
Instead of looking like a place for people of the press to juggle the importance out of the day's events for public consumption, it felt more like an advertising place... It doesn't feel like a place where people returned to and sort things out after finding news... It looks like a factory to manufacture news!

The full brunt of the change only occur to me when I went up the old haunt, the 6th floor where I have spent many nights within a period of 3 years snuggled inside a sleeping bag alone... Sure, the place, an open-air car-park looked much more developed with a Futsal court on it but the many slogans dished out on the walls say it all.... H.G. Wells (or was it Orson something)'s big brother have arrived full-time in Malaysia to keep an eye and determine what's news, what's not...
The testimony to that is the conspicuous absence of many senior journalists from the mainstream papers... Once upon a time, they can boldly argue with the upper editorial figures as to what makes the pages. Now, it's more like hear ye, hear ye... Follow the line or take the walk to oblivion like I did six years ago.
It didn't take a genius to figure out, this place is now under strict control... Of much bigger proportion than it ever was including during my days. Enough said....

Text for Views from on top a telecommunication tower in Muar...

OK... Two weeks ago I did say I will be telling the story for the posting titled Views from on top a telecommunication tower in Muar... . I'm sorry that it took longer than I thought before I could even say a few words on the matter... I was stuck with so much work regarding the release of my third book "Berpetualang ke Aceh: Sirih Pulang ke Gagang?" ("The trip to Aceh: The prodigal son returns?" or so) or BKA III. And whatever time I had in-between was either spent sleeping to get rid of the tiredness or travelling here and there to get the juices flowing... So let me just get this over with ya...
When I first posted the pictures, I was thinking of dissecting it into groups which explained what happened then... How I climbed from stage to stage of a certain telecommunication tour near my village in Muar and enjoyed a very refreshing perspective of the local geography especially that which concerns the winding Muar river...
What happened was the day before I took the pictures, I decided to take a long walk, about 5km or so around Bukit Treh and at the end of the walk then I saw this telecommunication tower which felt like it was calling out to me to take a climb and look around. It's just the time then was almost 7pm and I might not get a good view. So I decided to wait until the following day, a Friday... The day I decided to return to Kuala Lumpur after spending a week in Muar at my parents' place for the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration and holidays.
As it turn out, it rained quite long that Friday morning. The moment it stopped, I went on to start the climb only to find the ladder quite slippery while there was no safety column to save me should I slip and fall.
My God! I nearly quit after arriving at the first stage almost 30 feet above ground. You see, two days before I had quite a nasty fall at Tanjung Emas where I was teasing some monkeys... I jumped and immediately climbed a tree at point some 10 feet high before it snapped while my whole body was already up! So there I was falling straight to the grown on my back (ouch!) while the 8-inch thick and12 foot long section which broke fell down and hit my breast.
Honestly, I felt like I almost fainted. In fact I'm sure my heart stopped a beat or two and so was my breath. Strangely, my auto-pilot reaction was to throw aside the section that broke and immediately jumped backed up straight, the pain throbbing in my chest notwithstanding.
Back to the climb up the telecommunication tower. The memory of what happened in Tanjung Emas almost made me quit. By right, one should wear a safety harness to climb up the tower but I don't have one meaning I would fall straight down should I lose grip.
So there I was contemplating the next step action... Then I made the decision... If I quit, it's going to bug me the rest of my life or until I make a succesful climb at some other tower if not this one... So I decided to continue with a lot of caution and prayers...
The result is the pictures in Views from on top a telecommunication tower in Muar... . I believe from here on, the pictures taken from several angles should be able to explain itself. Enough ya!