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.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My latest trip to Janda Baik and the number 22222!

First, let me rant a bit and let a thing off my chest...

The number above is taken from the counter at the bottom of this blogspot right after I refreshed it upon completing the article My brief take on Kajang... And some thoughts including that of my bike which suddenly came out! Although the blog's record said the article was posted on Wednesday 11.59pm, it was actually published about half an hour ago as the time 11.59pm was actually the time I started opening the window to make a new posting while the whole process of writing the story was actually completed much later. Oh... The time was almost 2am when I wrote this paragraph.

Anyway, the number 22,222 above might not come as great... Not when many blogspot have millions of hits and such. But I do believe it quite rare to refresh a page and found the number of hits to be so beautiful ordered! After all, I do have a fetish for numbers and I found this particular number rather auspicious.

Now that I have let this off my chest, I could finally say that I'm writing all this from one of my favourite places of rest which is the small village of Janda Baik. Without much further ado, let me present some pictures taken early Wednesday morning. Here it is!

The pictures itself could tell a thousand tales. Then again for those who want to see words to describe the situation, let me just present these links below to a collection of old articles on Janda Baik for your pleasure... Now I could finally call it a day, at least with regards to writing on this particular blogspot. Tata! :]

Janda Baik revisited again... (posted October 2007)

Janda Baik my resting place (September 2007)

So refreshing Janda Baik! (June 2007)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My brief take on Kajang... And some thoughts including that of my bike which suddenly came out!

OK... The current storytelling mood on Pulau Besar which follows the continuation of the journey to Negeri Sembilan is actually a break from the storytelling on my 'A' Level college days which started with the article Remembering the "A" level college days some 20 years ago! Just to get the juices flowing... published more than a month ago. Then again I'm prone to just shift my storytelling to somewhere else without warning. So here is another break... Or an interlude if you may call it so...

This is a picture of the town of Kajang taken from on top of a bridge across the railway tracks. The skyline have changed much since the town became famous for its rather tasty satay decades ago. If then, the town consist of about 3-4 rows of shophouses, now it's almost becoming a metropolitan of it's own... Why, it sits among the less than 5 cities and towns or so in Malaysia which have it's own ring road to disperse the major traffic plaguing its boundaries!

For information, my Malaysian identity card hails me as originating from Kajang... My father who used to work in Kuala Lumpur bought a house there in 1983 and since 1987 I've used the place as my official place of residence as shown in the identity card althought I've barely stayed there, having been born in Muar and raised in the state of Johor before continuing my studies in Kuala Lumpur and then flying overseas to England.

Now, I spent most of my time staying at my auntie's place in Ampang, that is if I'm not travelling all over the Peninsular. However these days, I tend to take a few days respite to be left alone at the Kajang house...

For the record, since my dad became a pensioner having completed his term of work in Kuala Lumpur about 10 years ago, he returned to stay in Muar, where my mother's side of the family hailed from. And thus once in a while only would dad and mum drop by at Kajang. Most of the time it is empty and whenever I feel like wanting to have my own private time resting and languishing as and when I feel like it without being disturbed, I would go there and stay to my heart's content.

Last week, I was in Kajang again. Except there's a big difference this time. I came with my loved big bike which I haven't used for the last 5 years!

You see, the bike had a major break down sometime between mid 2003 till the end or so. I haven't got the money to fix it and thus had to leave it behind where it broke down... In the village of Janda Baik up in the jungle and the mountains of the main range of Banjaran Titiwangsa, the area which became my unofficial place of residence from 2002 till 2005... When I'm in the midst of some heavy soul-searching and practically lived like a bum, a madman even!

Since my bike broke down, I had to rely on public transport most of the time. As I was in the midst of heavy soul-searching which me made travel a lot all over the Peninsular including to places unaccesible by any public transport, I became used to walking for miles on end without stopping and thus had developed a stamina which could rival my youthful days in school as a serious rugby player!

Now, I bought the big bike, a 535cc Yamaha Virago in 1997. Since I could practically go anywhere by bike including to places unaccesible to cars or any four-wheeled transport, I have become too lazy to walk. Thus I remember being so exhausted and famished whenever I had to walk a bit to places which I couldn't get into by bike!

The good thing is, the years of having to walk for miles have toughen me up at least stamina-wise. While I'm happy that I finally got my bike working again, I'm worried that I might lose the wonderful stamina if I got too attached to my bike again! Besides the petrol is much more expensive nowadays, almost twice the price I had to pay before the bike broke down...

Oh, by the way... It should have been repaired since last year as I had the money to fix it then. The problem is a friend who promised to get it back to form, a friend whom I gave the chance as he is a part-time local mechanic in Janda Baik failed to deliver. Not only that, he used to money for his own business while the bike was left to languish at his place to rot so much so that many parts were stolen there and I almost gave up the idea of seeing it up and running again for good! That is until I got the right encouragement from some friends while this particular part-time mechanic friend finally returned my money back... So 2 months ago I rented a lorry and took the bike down to Rawang where I found a nice Malay big bike workshop to do the job.

Two weeks ago I finally got the call that it was fixed. On Tuesday I took the bike from Rawang to Ampang and the next day did whatever was needed to put it officially back on the road... That is getting the necessary check-up to get it certified fit enough to run again after 5 years out of action and 7 years without a road-tax (yes... The last road tax expired in September 2001!), having the insurance covered and finally getting a new road-tax.

Thank God, the whole process was dully completed. And on Thursday, I finally brought it back to Kajang after more than 5 years!

As I'm afraid that I might lose my current walking stamina if I relied too much on the bike, I promised to walk a lot in between rides whenever possible. So on Friday, after the congregational noon prayers at the main mosque, I parked the bike just outside the southern fringes of the town centre and decided to do some walking. And thus I got to the far western side of town and felt like taking the first 3 pictures above.

The last picture here is actually taken on the way back to where my bike was parked at. Since I have poured out so much about my bike (honest, I actually just wanted to share these pictures of Kajang when the thoughts about the bike came out just like that!), let me put a picture of it taken last week ya! Here it is...

For more pictures of it, have a look at the article Yahoo, eh... Alhamdulillah... Moto beso aku boleh jalan dah! in the Malay blogspot CATATAN SI MERAH SILU . There, I'm finally satisfied for the night! Oh, almost forgot... I wanted to post some pictures of Janda Baik here before I call it a day. Have a look later! :]

A whirlwind tour of Pulau Besar in 2 hours or so...

Let me continue where we left off in the article My favourite place of hang-out in Pulau Besar, Melaka. After I'm done fooling around the jungle hut, me, Zaidi @ PerpatihTulus and my cousin's friend Asri decided to take a walk. My cousin Nizam opted to stay behind at the hut as he had a bad knee following a nasty slip in front of the Keramat at Tanjung Tuan (see The Negeri Sembilan journey continued : On to the 'Keramat'... ) and all the strenous walk within the last 24 hours or so.

Our destination for the day was actually a long grave known as Makam (tomb of) Nenek Kebayan (something like the old hag from fairy-tales but a kind one that is) and a place called Gua (cave of) Yunos near a rocky shore of Pulau Besar as we felt too tired to go any further. The places were within 2km of the hut and we thought we had enough energy left for that. Instead, we found ourselves somehow immensely rejuvenated at Gua Yunos and decided to extend the walk for at least 3km, maybe 5km or more! Here is the story...

OK... This picture is actually taken after getting rejuvaned at Gua Yunos and having walked more than a kilometre further. Somehow I forgot to take still pictures at Makam Nenek Kebayan and Gua Yunos, maybe because I was too busy playing the host for the video clips taken by Zaidi. Have a look at my Malay blogspot CATATAN SI MERAH SILU to view the video clips.

Anyway, I still got the relevant old pictures from previous articles in this blogspot. Do have a look at these: -

Pulau Besar 2: Why so many long tombs? (posted July 2007) and

The mystery of Gua Yunus (the cave of Yunus) (posted November 2007)

Back to the current flow of storytelling. The picture above is of a stone 'bounded' by the roots from a tree growing on it!

As we walked further ahead, we could see this part of Pulau Besar behind. Near the rocky shores, I think just behind the ones seen at the right tip here lies Gua Yunos somewhere up the slopes...

We went to reach a certain place we have walked through the night before... In pitch darkness except for the little torchlights we carried around.

This is it, the entry to the certain area with a prohibition of entry sign in front...

For here lies an abandoned multimillion five-star apartment project, the only one of its kind in Pulau Besar, in fact the only one of this stature within a 200km radius outside of Kuala Lumpur I think! To know why it became this way, please read the article Sedikit citarasa Itali di Pulau Besar? (A bit of Italian taste in Pulau Besar?) published in the bi-lingual blogspot SENI LAMA MELAYU (MALAY OLDEN ART) November 2007.

From the abandoned apartment buildings, we went up this path to get to another certain place on top of the second highest peak in Pulau Besar. Hmm... Now I remember why I didn't bother to take much still pictures. Busy making video clips aside, I already have a stash of pictures taken from previous trips - I think I have been to Pulau Besar more than 10 times and most of the time, I would make it a point to walk around the island covering at least half of it!

Anyway, for the pictures from the other certain place, have a look at the article Pemandangan sekitar kelab golf tinggal di Pulau Besar (views around the abandoned golf club at Pulau Besar) ... Also posted in the blogspot SENI LAMA MELAYU (MALAY OLDEN ART) November 2007.

Then we walked down and up a ridge to reach another certain place. Hmm... I seem to be pretty fond of using the words "certain place" tonight. Wonder why...

Anyway, along the way is this huge tree which could be seen halfway up the highest peak of Pulau Besar even from afar... I guess that gave a clue that we want to get the highest peak right?

So in time, we arrived on top. Here a lies a certain split stone (ooppsss... I used the word 'certain' again!). And here's Zaidi posing on top of it! For the story, let me continue another time when I feel like it ya! Meanwhile have a look at the video clips to be posted in the blogspot CATATAN SI MERAH SILU afterwards. Cheers! :]

Monday, July 21, 2008

My favourite place of hang-out in Pulau Besar, Melaka

Greetings all. This is the 222nd posting in this blogspot. At first I was thinking of starting a new series of postings based on my latest trip to Pulau Besar, Melaka made immediately after the continuation trip to Negeri Sembilan was completed almost a month ago. Then I realise I took only 27 pictures in Pulau Besar, perhaps because I've taken so many pictures in my previous trips and have posted some in my blogspots including here. So let me just concentrate on a few areas starting with this ya... My favourite place of hang-out...

This is the hut we I spent the night with my friend Zaidi @ PerpatihTulus, my cousin Nizam and his friend Asri. It is situated at my favourite place of hang-out. In fact it is part of the 'complex' that is a certain private jungle hang-out!

From the hut, you can step down the slopes to reach the main place...

Here it is... My favourite place of hang-out! I've been to Pulau Besar more than 10 times and everytime I would at least stop here if not spend the nights! It belongs to a friend who have stayed here for 15 years. Call it what you like, a survival hut, "High Chapparal", whatever... For me, here is peaceful unhurried jungle living at its best!

The area in front of the main hut. Behind the bushes is a well and the place where we take showers and wash ourselves. That's all... Good night! :]