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, June 24, 2008

Remembering the "A" Level college days. How I got the nickname Fly!

Greetings dear readers. Today I made a quick check of where I had my orientation week for the Batch 7 PPP/ITM "A" Level programme starting 1988 in Shah Alam. From what I remember, I could only surmise it was at Section 2 or Section 3. Whatever, it was at a group of PKNS flats right in front of the main entrance to ITM (now known as UiTM). The flats look somewhat like the picture above... ninus the PAS party flags of course. For the record, I got this picture after making a quick Google image search. So pardon me for any political tinge in it ya. It was surely unintended although I must admit I don't have much respect for the present Malaysian government!

OK. Now comes the process of trying to remember the college days. Believe it or not, I'm writing this straight in an Internet Cafe in Kuala Lumpur while trying to recall what happened some 20 years ago, without any afterthought or premeditation in building up this article. Frankly, I was too busy with other things to even try to record it properly elsewhere before putting it on-line. Nevertheless I'm doing this because I feel I must do it as part of coming to terms with my past while having a look at how much I could remember spontaneously without forcing my brain to churn out the information.

Four days ago, I wrote the article Remembering the "A" level college days some 20 years ago! Just to get the juices flowing... to start the process. Today I thought it best to continue the story with how I got my nickname in college... the short but meaningful "Fly", a name which is still used to call me by my friends from college days, some from later times in university and on. So here goes...

Now some people thought the name "Fly" was given as I was as pesky and obnoxious as the insect namesake. Perhaps they do have a point. When I look back, I do find myself annoying to some, even perhaps to all for my self-centered ways! Then again others thought it referred to the "Fly" as in the zippers of my trousers. And they were not so far off the mark as I was known for my exploits with the girls then, hence the thought...

Anyway, I got the name during my orientation week. Now I couldn't remember was it in the first week or second but I do remember the hours were packed with all sort of activities said to be important in getting used to college life plus confinement in dormitories and the resulting rules...

Yes, we actually stayed in dorms those days although plenty of us were past 18, unlike the juniors in later years who got to choose the places they wanted to stay at out of campus. We on the other hand practically stayed in pigeon holes under strict house rules. Then again I've been in a full-boarding school for four years in Kluang. So I've gotten used to the whole strict rules thing and the idea of being stuck within a very limited courtyard. But perhaps others do need the orientation more since that was the first time they stayed elsewhere without parents or their normal guardians around...

Back to the orientation days. Almost every hour we're up to something or rather, at the receiving end of something including getting ragged by seniors from ITM who were supposed to show the way of things. We had to wake up before 5am every morning and only got to sleep sometime after midnight.

Hmm. Come to think of it, I have trouble remembering the guys who stayed in the same dorm as mine. I think Taufiq who later joined me at dorm 51C and kept in touch until today was one of them. I do remember there was a Kelantanese guy whose name is Tengku something who turned out to be a national level sprinter. And I do remember showing a small album of pictures of my girlfriend then to the 'inmates'. Yep, that was one of the instances where I tried very hard to remain loyal to one girl. At least I did, a few times!

OK. One of our favourite escapades in-between all the activities were to go the Seven Eleven nearby for goodies such as slurpies and sweets. My favourite were the doughnuts, I think it was Dunkin Donuts... all colourful with plenty of finger-licking flavours and I think it cost only 70 cents a piece then!

Soon enough, within a space of 3 days I think, I got addicted to the goodies. Now at every 5am the whole lot us, 200 plus students guys and girls have to dress decently and go to the nearest mosque. Hmm. Was it a mosque or a surau? Whatever, it was the nearest place for congregational prayers. From our dorms, all of us were forced to assemble in the courtyard in rows and orderly walk to the mosque or surau. Whatever..

Now, since my boarding school days, I have sort of perfected the art of disappearing in front of prying eyes and sneak somewhere else to escape from the mundane reality of having to continuosly stay within confined walls. That ability proved to be useful in many instances later including the college days especially during the orientation week. .

I've gotten tired of the whole discipline thing. It felt stupid having to walk in a row like some animals being herded only to be forced to hear some boring lectures especially when one didn't have enough sleep. Besides my taste buds were aching for the goodies at Seven Eleven. So one day I sneaked out unnoticed during the walk.

When I'm done with the goodies, I would just slowly sneak in back to join the rest. Somehow no one noticed... no sir. Those who were initially close to me by virtue of being in the same dorm or group of friends just thought I was somewhere with another group during the lectures. Likewise, if someone were to check with the other group, they would say I would be in another group as I have a knack for socialising across board, joining many groups of diverse interests and personalities with ease! Sometime I would just sit out until the whole affair at the mosque or surau ended and managed to squeeze in back just in time for the walk back to the dorms...

Soon enough I would escape to Seven Eleven and the shops nearby whenever there's a slight chance of getting out. I became so familiar with the territory and the whole thing, so confident I wouldn't get caught that I would zip out right in front of the poor guys who had to stick in the mosque or the surau while flashing the goodies out! Or just walk slowly with a smile as long as the Seniors wouldn't notice. The point being some of the guys noticed. Luckily none blabbed out!

During one of the little gatherings with the guys (yes, some of us got on famously especially among the smokers including me and the guys who turned out to be popular with girls...), one known as Din G said this: "Waaa... you alway go out hah... I think from now on I want to call you Fly!"

You see, "Fly" is a famous boarding school term for escaping from the strict confines of dormitory and school for an illegal outing. Din G came from the famous full-boarding outfit Selangor Science School while I came from it's equivalent in Kluang, Johor.

Oh, by the way his name is something Din... Sharifuddin or something like that. It's normal for any Malay with the word "Din" in his name to be called Din simply for abbreviation. But since there's so many Din, then people often add other nicknames alongside. In this particular Din's case, his steady girlfriend was known as G (at the time lah, now he's married to someone else...). I think her real name was Suzanna something which got abbreviated to Suzie then to Jee or simply G. So this Din is known as Din G and G (because there's also a few girls called G or Jee, both sounded the same...) was known as G Din! Funny isn't it?

So Din began to call me Fly and the guys followed suit. Soon enough even the girls called me that! Initially I wasn't pleased as I thought it was more akin to name-calling. But as I begin to get familiar with more girls (funnily within the space of a few days during the orientation I managed to find the time to gauge that. Now I find it strange how such a thing could have happened in the first place), the name Fly sounded rather cool! And that's how I got that nickname and to some people, it sticks till this very day!

Except for those who knew me much later, that is after I've decided to mend my ways especially regarding the girls, they would simply knew me by the abbreviation of my long name Mohd. (official short-form for Muhammad) Fahrulradzi. And thus most people now know me simply as Radzi. Or Radzi Sapiee (with my father's name Mohamed Sapiee abbreviated) which happens to be my by-line name as a journalist with the English daily The New Straits Times... and now the pen name to introduce myself in my writings especially novels.

Or you can call me Merah Silu, my on-line nickname which started when I joined a particular discussion forum but never Fly. You see, there was a time I myself felt the nickname Fly was associated with a lot of sins and decadence. And later, I got so engrossed with rediscovering my Malay roots after being rather Westernised for more than half my life that having myself associated with an English nickname with plenty of bad innuendos was a big no no!

Then again many from the old days still know me as Fly and it is still a comfortable nickname without any malice. And the name resurfaced more often these days when I happened to bump across many old friend and acquaintances after so many years living like a hermit to mend my ways. Most of them don't even know why real name. And it is much easier to relate the story of renewed friendships and acquaintances to others using the more familiar name. So there...

Now call me what you want... Radzi, Merah Silu or Fly. English or freakish it doesn't matter. Because it refers to the same person never mind all the wrongs that's left behind. There, I'm done! Alhamdulillah! :]


Uncle ZT said...

First of all, Radzi or Merah Silu or Fly, it was at section 6, shah alam.

Second, I remember that orientation week very samar2. What I do remember was Fique had to hitch a ride back during the 5km (or was it farther? It felt like it!) run. And I also remember John asking a question using the word "kesinambungan" which I only found out the actual meaning years later.

Third, that Tengku feller was a basketball player too, kan?

Other than those, I couldn't recall much of the orientation week. Selective memory, I guess.

Uncle ZT said...


1. Selective memory or old age, perhaps both.

2. Kesinambungan, after many years later I found out to mean, continuity.

3. I'm listing down my post here to follow Che Det's format, just in case the message wasn't clear.

4. Hehehehe...!

Radzi Sapiee said...

Allah! Section 6 ka? You know I really thought it was right in front of ITM's main entrance... There is a roundabout in front of the dorms right? So when I made some quick look at the maps of Shah Alam available by Google image search the impression I got is we where at either Section 2 or 3.
Thanks anyway for visiting and pointing out things. You are very right about selective memory kicking in... It's not just old age, it's just too much things have happened since then... And already too much things happening also around that time in 1988!
God, when the 51C guys finally had a little gathering after 20 years in PJ about a month ago, I was lost hearing some of the stories. I mean its alright if I don't remember things I was not involved in but some of things were supposed to have happened right in front of my eyes! And that bothered me for quite a while!
I must admit I was too self-centred... I was more engrossed in my own world, the popularity game and the girls... It's only later, much later that I realised the actual value of things!
So anyway, help me remember here ya... I will be writing more on the college days whenever I have the time and feel like it. That is when juices want to flow out...
Feel free to drop by and make more comments. Do get the other guys to join in too...
Please help me to remember... Cheers! :]

Radzi Sapiee said...

Terima kasih! :]

Anonymous said...

Fly... it's me Utoi...Group J @ budak Muor if you stil remember me.. aku mmg langsung tak ingat pasal orientation yg kau cerita.. tapi it sound like at Damansara already.. sebb kat situ ada boulevard tempat berkumpul... do contact me asukor@gmail.com

Radzi Sapiee said...

Yo Utoi, baru notice your comment. Thanks for dropping in... apa yang aku cerita tu memang berlaku di Shah Alam. Kat Damansara nanti cerita lain. La ni aku nak sambung balik cerita kenangan zaman A Levels. So bila next time soon aku terasa nak menulis, tengok le... aku tulis le mana mende yang aku ingat, terus dan terus sampai aku rasa puas hati. Engkau dan lain-lain kawan dijemput datang menambah-nambah atau membetulkan cerita mana yang patut.

p/s: Semalam baru aku teringat terfikir tentang satu girl yang paling rapat ngan aku masa mula-mula kat Damansara. Lama gak aku cuba ingat sapa nama dia. Tadi sat baru dapat - Az.. . Bukan apa. Aku letak kat sini untuk ingatkan diri sendiri apabila aku sambung menulis lagi! :]

kakyang said...

Tengku that you mentioned here is Tengku Azeezee. A Kelantanese kan? He is a QS now. I happened to be in the same Uni in Sheffield

Radzi Sapiee said...

Yep. I finally bumped again into him sometime end of last year near Shah Alam.