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, February 14, 2017

Taking the commuter from Arau to Alor Setar

Returning back to the 12-21 January trip which now concentrates on northern Peninsular Malaysia.

Wednesday morning, 18th January 2017. After spending the night at the Perlis state mosque in Arau I walked to the Arau train station.

It is situated just about 300 metres behind the mosque.

Actually I have walked here the previous night to get a Komuter (commuter) train to Alor Setar. But  I missed the 9 o'clock or service by just by minute.

The following train, the last service for the day was scheduled to stop here 2 hours later. That made me decide to spend the night at the mosque which could be clearly seen from the station.

In the morning the service is more regular.

Soon a Komuter train arrived. This picture was taken at 7.44am.

For information the Komuter service starts from Padang Besar at the Thai border down south to Butterworth in Pulau Pinang. That covers a distance of more than 150 km, further than that covered by the Klang Valley Komuter service.

This is the first time I took the northern Komuter service. I understand it was started some time last year, after the affected portion of  electric railway double tracking project was fully completed.

What is interesting is the service plies through vast tracts of paddy or rice fields.

After 20 minutes or so being on the train I could see parts of the city of Alor Setar.

The city is situated about 37 km south of Arau. At 8.09 am I was already well out of the train.

Time to have a look at Alor Setar...

Monday, February 13, 2017

Views from the upper floors of Istano Basa Pagaruyung

Late in the afternoon we visited the palace called Istano Basa Pagaruyung,

The palace has three floors. Checking the views from the front window of the second and middle floor.

Views from the rear window...

On for views from the front window of the third and highest floor.

For the record that is the 9,000 feet plus high (from sea level) Gunung (mount) Merapi in the background...

Views from the rear window,,,

Visit to the house of Sultan Taufik, the person said to hold the title of Daulat Pagaruyung

After stopping by at nearby mosque to change to more formal clothing we were brought to this house.

The design and size indicates it belong to a person of high status.

So there we were in full Malay traditional clothing.

This is one of the houses of  the house of Sultan Taufik, the person said to hold the title of Daulat Pagaruyung.

In Malaysia, the title Sultan is used only by ruler of states.

In olden times, the Sultan is the ruler or king of a kingdom. But in Indonesia which is a republic such titles has been officially abolished. It some places though it is used as remnants of a bygone era. A Sultan in Indonesia might not have power like in Malaysia but is still respected as the figurehead of a community, in this case the head of the Minangkabau people.

Till this day the Minangkabau people including those who have migrated overseas (many to Malaysia over many generations) look up to the palace of Pagaruyung in West Sumatera as the highest seat of power of the Minangkabau people.

Officially the Sultanate of Pagaruyung has ceased to exist after the Dutch colonialists asserted their power over the region almost 200 years ago. But descendants of the Sultans still exists till this day and our host is said to be among them.

Here we were given what could be said to be equivalent to a state lunch by remnants of the Pagaruyung kingdom.

Our host, the one in orange cloth is the Sultan Taufik. He is said to be the person currently holding the title of Daulat (sovereign of) Pagaruyung. In other words he is the Sultan of Pagaruyung.

But I understand there are also other claimants to the title. And Sultan Taufik has not be formally installed according to full custom in agreement by all the elders of the people. So others might not agree to him being called the Daulat Pagaruyung nor him being called a Sultan.