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, November 12, 2010

An early look at the town of Labuan

Continuing from The trip to Labuan...

OK. There is Labuan the island, there is Labuan the town. Obviously the town is part of the much bigger island. But before we can explore the island we have to get settled down first at the town.

Labuan island has the special position of being a tax-free haven and an off-shore banking/investment destination (I hope I wrote that correctly) with activities centred in town. However we're not here for its financial position. So these initial pictures hardly reflect that. In fact we found it to be a rather quiet town maybe because we arrived just after office hours?

Then again these pictures were not taken at the financial area. Still it should be sufficient to show that Labuan is a fairly large town.

Despite the quiet and lack of activity upon our arrival it is apparent Labuan is rather developed.

Back to the jetty.

So far I could see the atmosphere relaxed and unhurried. And that is how I like it...

The trip to Labuan

So we have touched on a few places in Selangor and Perak. Now comes the time to return to the stories on Brunei. Without much further ado, let's continue from Views from the jetty at Muara.

In the last article on Brunei I said we went to the jetty at Muara but didn't say why. I simply put some pictures of the views around with some explanation. Well, actually we wanted to take the ferry to the island of Labuan. Here's a view inside the ferry.

Wife and baby Al-Rasyid.

View of the waters at the jetty from inside the ferry.

Ferry on the move.

OK. Some of you might know that Labuan is a federal territory of Malaysia. So how come this article is part of the Brunei stories?

Well, for one we went to Labuan within the bounds of our trip to Brunei. Remember, from Peninsular Malaysia we have to travel quite a distance across the South China Sea to reach Brunei. Kuala Lumpur and the airport at KLIA is some 1,500 km from the Brunei capital of Bandar Seri Begawan. The island of Labuan on the other hand is just 30 km from the jetty of Muara. Besides Labuan was once part of the kingdom of Brunei.

Here's a view as we passed the embankment extending out of the waters of Muara. Refer to the article Mouth of the Brunei bay/sub-bay?. After that it's just the open waters of Brunei Bay and South China Sea...

About an hour later we could see what looks like part of a port.

Ah... we have arrived at Labuan.

What a refreshing sight to be able to get out after a total of one and a half hour being cooped up inside the ferry.

Now it's time to explore what this island has to offer.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

'Escape' from Beting Beras Basah

Soon I could see the high tide starting to come. It's time to go... have to get the wife and baby ready.

After the ordeal of going through the mud trying to get here, I'm not sure if we still have the strength to return to land using the same way. So I called on to a fisherman who happened to be on a boat nearby and asked if he can help.

  Luckily he recognised us. You see we where already in Bagan Datoh 2 weeks before to check the conditions and had bumped across him. Being an expert in the ways of the water here, the fisherman said chances are we wouldn't be able to cross the mud in time. The water would rise fast soon and it is better we followed him on boat.

  So there we were, luckily thanks to God...

  I must say that I was worried about getting back on land and did prayed to God for assistance and He must have answered...

  As we made our way out the black line that is Beting Beras Basah continued to show...

Yes, it might take another hour or so before it was totally submerged. But before that the muddy parts around it would be inundated first posing a double obstacle of water plus thick and deep mud to cross.

  Ah. The cape in sight...

And here's the last picture taken as I prepare to step into the waters carrying the baby to wade our way across. Well, there's only so far the boat can approach land unless you want it to get stuck and stranded. For the record this is the 606th article in this blogspot.

Stepping foot on it... Beting Beras Basah that is

Continuing from Walking to Beting Beras Basah...

The walking through the mud got so bad that at one point my wife had to take the baby away from me. You see she is much lighter than me, so she didn't sink as much. Me on the other hand kept finding myself sinking up to the hip and still going down especially with baby Al-Rasyid's weight on top of mine. To stop the sinking and continue with the journey I had to practically crawl and walk on all four limbs.

The situation got so bad that I almost gave up. My wife was also thinking the same, after finding the path ahead still leads to more sinking and no end. That's when I realised we have taken a wrong path. But luckily I regained our orientation and caught sight of the tip of the sandbank. That gave my wife who was like 50 metres ahead new strength to press on and I followed until we reached safety!

I must say if not for the wife I'm not sure if I could have made it.

Whatever thank God for giving us the strength and willpower to go on. And so there we were on Beting Beras Basah, the place where the first Sultan of Perak had his ship stucked 500 years ago before he can proceed upriver to be coronated as ruler of this state...

Just look at how far we were from where we started.

Mind you at this juncture the river bank is about 300 metres away. And to reach this point we had walked almost 1.4 km, more than 250 metres of it through mud no less deeper than my knee...

Still Beting Beras Basah stretched on still further. I think I have written or said somewhere that it is 300 metres long. Wrong... my most recent check using Google Earth shows that it is at least 860 metres from end to end!

We walked on to these parts...

We wanted to stand directly in front of the viewing gallery seen behind. At this point we should be 400 metres away from it.

OK. I wanted to bring my wife and baby further on but Al-Rasyid was starting to get cranky. I guess he needed to suckle so just let him have it.

I had to continue walking on my own...

I went so far that when I looked behind it's hard to see them.

A portion of the above picture zoomed. The yellow line should point to where my wife and baby were left behind.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Walking to Beting Beras Basah

We move on (again) to Perak... practically a continuation from the article The difficult land route to the tomb of Sultan Iskandar Zulkarnain made some 2 weeks ago.

OK. Referring to The difficult land route to the tomb of Sultan Iskandar Zulkarnain... have I told you the visit to that tomb means I have stepped foot on the tombs and touched the tombstones of every deceased Sultan of Perak available in the state?

Well, I was just following the old rite and route taken for the coronation of a Sultan of Perak.

That means I have to complete the whole process at a place called Beting Beras Basah which lies at the mouth of the Perak river.

What is the Beting Beras Basah? It is a sandbank potruding out of the river during low tide.

See the 'black line' in the background? That is Beting Beras Basah.

The problem is how to get there safely. For the mud here could be deep at some parts. You don't want to risk getting stuck or sucked in...

The best way is to get a boat from Bagan Datoh 6 km away. But I just couldn't afford to pay the rather exorbitant fee so decided to take a risk.

Having studied satellite pictures through Google Earth and got feedbacks from some locals, it seems best that we approach Beting Beras Basah from the cape seen in the horizon. Oh, that's my wife ahead. By the way we took our steps on the recent Friday, while the nation was celebrating the Hindu festive celebration of Deepavali...

Me with one-year-old Al-Rasyid. No, we were not celebrating by going to Beting Beras Basah. It's just we wanted to take advantage of the holiday especially after learning the time for low tide. Come at high tide and the sandbank would be submerged under 2 metres of water. Wait another weekend and we're told it would be the period for air mati (static water?)... that is no low or high tide meaning the sandbank would just remain submerged albeit at less than 1 metre of water.

And so on we walked...

A look again at the target...

Ah, the cape...

We started to make our approach...

It seems there's quite a distance to cover...

This picture shows the less deeper part. Mind you when you start sinking to your hips you certainly don't have time to take pictures. You have to scurry out fast even if you have to crawl out of the mud. If you sink up to your waist then you are in real deep trouble. And I don't want my baby to suffer because of my mistake. To be continued...