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.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The rumah Kutai and old articles regarding the happenings around the Pangkor Treaty of 1874

Greeting all. Above is a replica of the rumah Kutai, the olden Perak Malay house at the Pasir Salak Historical Complex. I was doing a research on rumah Kutai today when I felt like digging into my old files. That made me realise that after a trip last year going around Perak to visit certain places related to the happenings around the famous Pangkor Treaty of 1874 and telling the story according to my perspective for a video, I never did any proper summing up of the story-telling although I've posted a number of articles on the subject matter. Here let me take the opportunity to present the links to the articles and a few others for posterity and easy viewing for readers. Here it is...

Exploring the happenings around the 1874 Pangkor Treaty in Perak... Opening the 'act' at Tanjung Malim

Exploring the happenings around the 1874 Pangkor Treaty in Perak... Batak Rabit in Teluk Intan, a major ground where the story unfolds...

Exploring the happenings around the 1874 Pangkor Treaty in Perak... From the tomb of Keramat Kuala Bidor to that of Raja Ahmad...

Exploring the happenings around the 1874 Pangkor Treaty in Perak... From Kampung Gajah to Pasir Salak

Exploring the happenings around the 1874 Pangkor Treaty in Perak...Pasir Salak historical complex

Exploring the happenings around the 1874 Pangkor Treaty in Perak...Foraying into Beruas

Exploring the happenings around the 1874 Pangkor Treaty in Perak... The fort of Ngah Ibrahim

Exploring the happenings around the 1874 Pangkor Treaty in Perak... To Kuala Kangsar and 'beyond'

And these are articles containing the Malay video clips as featured in the blogspot CATATAN SI MERAH SILU ...

Teluk Intan dan masalah video yang sudah selesai!

Sultan Abdullah I, Laksamana Tok Janggut dan Tok PutihKeramat Kuala Bidor

Masjid lama misteri, makam Sultan Abdul Malik dan kubur Birch - Petanda bandar Melayu yang hilang

Makam Raja Ahmad... Sekali lagi sampai waktu malam!Sultan Jaafar dan Bandar Tua

Apa ada di Pasir Salak?Beruas dan suasana misterinya

Ke Taiping untuk mendengar cerita di Kota Ngah Ibrahim

Menutup cerita di Bukit Chandan

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dream of a lil' Luke Skywalker...

Look at the above picture. Can you see anything interesting?
Tell you what. Let me zoom in on the same picture. Can you see it now?
What happened was one morning, I went to Kuala Lumpur from Kajang. As I got closer to the city centre, there looms in the horizon the Telekom Tower at Bukit Nenas and the Petronas Twin Towers at Jalan Ampang with a major part of the buildings hidden under the clouds.

Now, it is not often you get to see the buildings this way. The previous day it has been raining cats and dogs the whole day and this could explain why the clouds appeared in such a manner the following morning.

What is interesting is how the top of the buildings look like it is on clouds. That sort of reminded me of the giant's castle in the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and the old Malay folklore of the kayangan, kingdoms up there on the clouds.

Hmm... suddenly I remembered mum telling the story in bed when I was about 2 years old or so. And everytime I would ask for the same story on Jack to be repeated. I learned about kayangan a bit later when I'm able to read. It is an oft repeated theme in many ancient folklores that I often wished one day I would get whisked away to the land above the clouds, maybe by riding one of the winged horses.

Here's a zoom in of the previous picture. For those who don't know, the Telekom Tower is at the centre and the Petronas Towers on the right, slightly hidden also by the blue signboard. Now I know the Telekom Tower stood at a height of 421 metres, the Petronas Towers at 452 metres. Both heights include slender telecommunications towers. Still both buildings appeared to be of the same height as the slightly shorter Telekom Tower actually stood on top of Bukit (hill of) Nenas which should add another 20-30 metres to its overall elevation.

OK, I understand that normally the lowest rain cloud should be at 1,000 metres above sea level. That should be way above the towers. But since the observation deck, the lowest part of the diamond-like section which could accomodate people (the rest of the tower are practically parts of a tall hollow column with elevator shafts) at the Telekom Tower stood at around 276 metres high, then this picture shows the clouds must be at most that high and at its lowest parts perhaps under 100 metres off the ground.

So this cloud might actualy be a fog on its way up. That could explain why it is so low from the sky. Then again how do you actually define a fog and differentiate in from a cloud? Up there in the sky you can call it a cloud but down there on the ground it is just a fog.

I remembered when the myth inside me regarding clouds was first broken when I was a small boy. Before that, I used to believe that the clouds are solid enough for humans to walk on it and that I got from reading many fairytales and watching cartoon shows. I remembered watching cartoons which show little clouds appearing in one's room before letting out rain along with thunderbolts of lightning. Thus I used to dream of two things - one, I would one day walk and play on the clouds and second, I would catch a small cloud to keep in my house, perhaps as some sort of 'pet'.

One day my parents brought me and the brothers up to the Cameron Highlands. At a height of over 6,000 feet, the top is often concealed by the clouds and as we started climbing by car up the winding road, I set up a plastic bag which I often used to catch bugs and grasshoppers. But as we neared the top, the clouds that I saw earlier have all disapperead. Instead I only saw patches of fogs and that's when I learned that, one... there's no such things as solid clouds, two... since there's no solid clouds, you could never catch a 'small' cloud as seen in the cartoon shows and three... fogs and clouds are practically the same... just a collection of small droplets of water hanging in the air.

Anyway, looking at the top of the Telekom Tower and Petronas Towers set up the fertile imagination back on fire. For one, it reminds me of an episode from the epic film series Star Wars where there was a city in the clouds. Second it made me think again about the origin of the name of the place Rembau in Negeri Sembilan.

You see, the story goes that the name Rembau came from the word Merbau, a type of local tree which could grow up to gigantic proportions. The story added that there used to exist a huge and high Merbau tree which reaches the clouds.

All this while I thought this was an exaggeration. But looking at the clouds covering the Kuala Lumpur skyline, I realised this is quite possible after all. It is no exaggeration that some local timber trees can rise up to a height of 100 metres. Since the clouds (or fog? depends on your perception really) in the picture do go down to that height, why must it be impossible for the Merbau tree to touch the clouds? That's all... :]

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Remembering the "A" Level college days. The disco circuit of those days... and the girls

Back to the remembering process. The last article on the matter Remembering the "A" Level college days. Start of the disco fun and girls... talks about my first disco day in that college. It was in the first weekend after we moved to Damansara and it immediately became a regular fixture for us youngsters. Every weekend night practically became disco night. In fact every Saturday and Sunday nights plus any night before and during public holidays, we would rush to our favourite discos.

If in the the last article, I only talked about the one called Scandals at KL Plaza, soon the list included such celebrated places like Faces in Jalan Ampang and then the newly-opened (new in 1988 or 1989 that is) Phase II at Jalan Tun Razak, which is practically Faces phase II. While I couldn't remember if I have ever been to the Tin Mine, a well-known upper-class disco inside a hotel, I don't think I ever really need to check it out it as I understand the patrons where mostly middle-age VIPS looking to chase sweet-young-things especially local celebrities actresses and singers, fashion models and stewardess. Never mind, I had my fair share of encounter with such SYTs in other discos especially in Scandals. But let me just continue this piece with what I can recall from the disco days ya.

OK. In Remembering the "A" Level college days. Start of the disco fun and girls... , my first disco day was started with a girl called Az. While she continued to be a close girlfriend who accompanied me to many places for at least another month, I began to develop (again) the appetite for having many partners. Now, I can't remember everything off the cuff but I do remember having a number of liasons with other girls from the same college. Sometimes I would go the discos accompanied by any of these girls. Sometime I would practically go alone and meet the college girls at the discos where we normally hit on immediately after a game of deep staring from across the floor to get us up in the mood.

The supply of girls increased dramatically when our juniors entered college sometime in 1989. You see my batch totalled about 200 only while the next batch, Batch 8 had more than 400 students and majority of them were girls... sweet young things who tends to come to class fully attired with high heels and matching hand-bags. By then I already had a rather huge reputation for getting my way with girls. Having the juniors around just upped the stakes to a whole new level.

God Lord, it's been a long time since I tried to remember this. For many years I was so proud that I could simply pick a SYT from across the floor just by playing with eye signals and body language. Then some time later all these memories became something I would like to forget and burn out of my skull because of what happened during a later relationship. You see despite the fact that I was succesful in getting many SYTs to lodge cosily under my armpit, the fact is when it comes to actual love relationship, I was a total failure. Maybe because I was not disciplined enough to last the actual mile of developing a real meaningful relationship.

Yes, I was shallow in wanting only things of beauty which would last only for a little while before I got bored, before the thirst for the next conquest developed. But never mind, I'm digressing. Let's just say, judged in terms of having fun like what most youngsters would want, I had a hell of a good time. Like I said, I had my fair share of encountering SYTs who were local celebrities, models and such. And by the word encounter, I mean it's not just me admiring them from afar, but us getting close enough to fit the description of a scandal. Again I digress, between trying to remember what happened then as a way of opening up certain parts of me that seemed to be lost over the last two decades, against the more conservative me now who have realised and felt really bad for the amount of mistake and sins I've made.

OK, for the sake of writing this article and keeping up to the sub-title "The disco circuit of those days...", let me just add a few more memories. So I've mentioned Scandals, Faces and then the later opened Phase II. Then there's DV8 in Petaling Jaya, I've forgotten where it was and the house disco at PJ Hilton. Later there's also 11 LA in Lebuh Ampang and the few discos which I have forgotten the names in Jalan Pinang. Back then, the area known as Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) was still a horse racing track.

Whichever disco we go to, and we do go up to 7 discos in one night, it tends to end at the basement disco in the Merlin Hotel (now Concorde where the Hard Rock Cafe is situated years later). Hah, now I remember another favourite disco, the Traxx inside a certain building at Jalan Ampang. Anyway, the basement disco in Merlin was called Reflections if I remember correctly. We tend to end the day (or rather the night) there because as far as we know, it is the only respectable disco in town which opens up to 7am, sometimes 8am.

Now on the favourite spots inside the discos. I can't remember much except the favourite spots at Phase II and the one in Scandals. Hmm... let me start with Scandals. Oh, by the way our (me and my guys) like to go to discos known for its middle and upper-class patronage and the music tends to be soulful, RnB with a tinge of jazz and the discos mentioned so far met the criteria.

Scandals had this winding staircase inside leading to a platform where the DJ plays his music. It is among the darkest area providing room for 'private' matters. On the platform were a few chairs and this is a favourite place for me to spend 'quality' time with the girls.

Phase II had a similar staircase connecting it to a sister pub called Patio if I remember correctly. While other parts of the disco and the pub tend to be sardine-packed, the area under the stairs provided relief and enough space for me to enjoy proper liasons.

I think that should be enough details spilled out. Oh, forgot to tell, my favourite activity at the discos was to dance, at the dance-floor of course. Being students, we don't spend much on drinks. As we already had to pay a cover charge of between RM15 to RM20 per head at each disco (except when there's special occasion or the night is late enough and there's no need to pay for entry anymore) entitling us to a drink, we tend to just hang on to that drink for hours. A normal routine I remembered was to hang at the tables with the drinks as we eyed the crowd. This was normally when I look for potential 'victims'. Upon the slightest opportunity, I would try to lock my eyes on the eyes of the sweet thing of the moment. If she is available, then we exchanged signals before getting near and actual conversation ensued. Then it's time to pull them to the dance-floor for the mating ritual to fully kick in before we head for the more private spots, in the disco or later outside.

With that I end this piece. Cheers all. If any of you remember me from those days, please forgive whatever bad thing's I've done. Thanks! :]

The birds at Bandar Tasik Puteri

Look at this picture. Can you see the white spots all over the green? I bet you can. It's just perhaps you are not sure what it is. For information the white spots are birds, plenty of birds. I took this picture just about a week ago at the highway leading to the residential area of Bandar Tasik Puteri where I haven been staying for the last 4 months.

The area is situated between the Selangor small towns of Kundang and Batu Arang. Bandar Tasik Puteri was opened just under 10 years ago and now has a population of about 20,000 people I'm told. One thing I like about this area is its vast expanse of land. Unlike most residential areas of the same class I've been at, it is not congested and is full of green.

One of the most notable green is the one seen in this picture. Covering a few acres, it is practically a wetland with tracks of swamps or marsh. It happens that this particular area is a favourite for several species of migratory birds to stop and converge at. I don't know the names of the birds but you should see it for yourself.

I bet there's not many area in Malaysia which has this number of population of birds. And this one happened to be on the way to where I now live. That's all...