Thursday, October 30, 2008


  1. A late nocturnal excursion in town helped to reveal some aspects of the city which we seldom see in the course of the normal visit.The hues and colors as captured by the lenses and the steady adjustment of the camera and the tripod stand added a new dimension. One particular thing that came to mind was the variety of street lamps in the city that either decorate or illuminate the streets and its surroundings.That naturally will become a subject for review.

The State Museum at Bakar Bata mystifies as if its own collections helped to add to the magic of the night with the shrouded cloud above its roof.

These lights stand as sentinels alongside the Anak Bukit Road giving spirited confidence to those who pass by and guaranteeing safety to those behind its walls.

The new gate to the istana. A facade that appeared with the celebration of the Sultan of Kedah golden anniversary recently.

Light at the courtyard of Wisma DarulAman, the State Administrative building.

Wisma Darul Aman

No visitor to the city will miss viewing the magnificent Balai Besar right in the centre of the City

Another view of the wall fronting Istana Anak Bukit

Perhaps the brightest section of the City even late in the night

This is the Rukun Negara Fountain at the round- about along Jalan Teluk WanJah and Jalan Sultan Badlishah in the city

Wisma Negeri in the centre of the City, was at one time the seat of the government

Soon enough before dawn the devout will approach Zahir Mosque, one of the most beautiful mosque in the country

Two pictures taken at Titi Gajah with the lights of the airport in the background. The padifield in the foreground and the darkening sky remind us of the threatening seasonal flood that comes far too often A new park built at Jalan SukaMenanti with the characteristic kris as one of its symbol perhaps lent a strong sense of confidence to those who wish to wonder around in the dead of the night.

For the photographer crazy enough to hit the street and whereabout of the city at the dead of the night, it was not surprising that those who met him wonder if he was a 'seeker' or a 'ghostbuster' moving around with his SLR Nikon and a steady tripod stand.

Friday, October 24, 2008


It was four years ago on 1st June 2004 that we had the golden opportunity to travel luxuriously on the national carrier, Malaysian Airline System from KLIA to Jeddah. Not that we paid for the first class tickets but by sheer coincidence or fortune we were invited to take the seats in the first class cabin. Who would refuse? Who would bother to ask question why us? We accepted with glee and fortitude. It was not just the two of us. My father and mother- in- laws travelled likewise. On this occasion we were twenty in numbers all with economy class tickets and headed for Jeddah and continuing to Madinah and Makkah, two Islam holy cities for our umrah visit.

Coincidentally, while in the waiting foyer before departure and shortly before the invitation from the airline official, my wife intimidated:
"Abang, kalaulah kita ada duit lebih bolehlah kita bawa mereka naik kelas atas. Lagi pun dengan usia mereka sekarang wajar dapat duduk dengan selesa serta segar menunaikan ibadat nanti" Insya'Allah was the proper reply.

We knew that at Makkah or Madinah people do get retorts either way. It has been said that sometimes people get responses in double quick time especially for saying out things deplorably.

"Bayaran, katanya datang secara tunai" It is cash payment and made on the spot. 'Ada mata boleh tengok tapi lidah mesti waspada dan tak sebut sebarangan"

Blessed indeed it happened when we were still on home ground and in good measures too. I have not looked back at that incident till now accepting that it was an isolated case. Our recent journey in June 2008 to the same cities in Saudi Arabia triggered a new perspective. Maybe we were on a special journey then; a historic trip and the incentive was there laid out much earlier. Pilgrims who make their journey to Makkah this year for Haj have been cautioned to be extra careful. It will be cool and comfortable since it is winter time in the northern atmosphere but it will be dusty as construction works continue around alHaram in a frantic phase.

That we saw in June 2008. It was not desert dust or sand but blasting works as buildings were pulled down or blown to bits to make way for ultra modern Makkah.

Arab News dateline Makkah on 14 June 2008 read: " King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, has given approval for inviting international companies to set up a comprehensive plan for the development of Makkah, said Prince Khaled Al Faisal, Emir of Makkah Province. The plan which includes the upgrading of health services, education, electricity, water, sewage, roads and transportation, aim to make Makkah an inspiring model for the whole world".

Saudi Gazette reported: " Expansion of the Grand Mosque and its surrounding area is part of the 10 year modernization plan announced by Prince Khaled Al Faisal, Emir of Makkah. Over the next five years, the central area in Makkah will be attracting modernization projects at a cost of SR100billion....."

For modernity, space and comfort, people have to endure. Almost all the houses, hotels, shops and bazaars surrounding al Haram on its western and northern side have been pulled down and levelled. The row of barber shops and the bazaar at Ghazah Street have disappeared. The Sofitel hotel nearby awaited demolishing. At the time of writing it too has been reduced to dust.

This time around we were unable to be accomodated at a location favorable and convenient to the 'jumaah'. Both hotels Firdous Al Marwah near Bab Al Marwah (Gate Marwah) and Firdous Al Umrah opposite Bab Al Umrah (Gate Umrah) which had been our favored hotels have disappeared, annihilated. So too many more buildings: bazaar, hotels, restaurants levelled and only barren hills or flat land standing on their plots.

Beginning 1992 when I made my first visit to Makkah and the next year for the Haj, we have been fortunate to make other return visits, almost biennially.It has always been with a small family group averaging 15 to 24 pax. Previous experiences with the traveling and hospitality sector allowed us to get the best from the travel agency and not adding other frienges to the cost. The senior group that accompany us would feel comfortable with such arrangement. We are part of the group and their satisfactions have always been our joy as well.

It is not too late to realise that we have been very fortunate to have travelled comfortably and especially so in June 2004. Our visit in 2006 failed to record images of Makkah especially because I lost a camera alongsides photographs of Makkah, Madinah and Dubai. Searching back we found photos of Makkah, invaluable since they captured most part of the city which has now disappeared. These were taken during the 2004 trip when we stayed at Firdous Al Umrah, and especially of buildings and scenes around the area. Now how fortunate can you be to have scenes of that area in tact, recording activities and movements that have once occured and never to be repeated unless in a new scenery once the ultra modern Makkah comes into existence again.

Our latest visit this year, besides performing all the rites of umrah and fulfilling the daily prayers at Al Haram and the Prophet Mosque in Madinah also allowed us to be witness to the ever changing scenario especially at Makkah. The exceptional photo of the city which I captured on top of a hill near the city will remain a true keepsake and hopefully a historical landmark just as the other photos as shown here.

I have always believed that yourself can also be a partner in the happenings of the century, as long as you realise that the momentums that take place have significance of their own while shifting around characters and scenarios specific to the time. Looking back you may be surprised to know at some moment in time you were near important and famous person or at strategic places. Only you failed to highten and capitalized the opportunity.

You would be grateful too if you are upgraded and we were stretching with comfort on the way to Jeddah.

On the road into Makkah from Jeddah

You won't be able to see this building with its characteristic windows nor the shoe display anymore. The building and other sites nearby have been demolished to make way for a modern Makkah

Two years ago you could see such sights that characterised the old feature of Arabic homes and windows that keep the heat away while filtering the dust.

Seen at another part of Makkah but close to Al Haram. This western section of Al Haram too has been levelled for the new city.

Makkah Hilton and the white marble floor opposite in front of Al Haram photographed from the window at Firdous al Umrah where we stayed in 2004 and 2006.

From our room could be seen Al Tawhid Hotel, the clock tower and the busy road astride Al Haram

The scene just after Friday prayer at Al Haram with taxis waiting for passengers especially for Jeddah. Expect to see a different scene here when the Makkah project is completed

The long narrow pathway leading to the marble courtyard near Makkah Hilton. Such pathway are plenty and characterised the city.Now hard to find.

Pigeons and cleaning workers in yellow at the northern part of Al Haram. On the right side in the background can be seen the alley and the shopping archade that led to the Mosque.

The marble floor as part of the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah

Our family group in the foyer of a hotel at Madinah. Should you wish to join our group in the coming visit do give a call.

A most recent recent photo of Makkah City with Al Haram in view and thenew Zam Zam tower by its side. Notice the lone building ( Sofitel Hotel) in the right corner. That too has been pulled down recently.

Construction work on going throughout the day and night

On departing for home, if time permit we called at this beautiful floating mosque by the Red Sea. Enough time to have lunch by the sea.

Modern facade of hotel buildings replacating the wooden window screens

Is this what Al Haram and its vicinity will look like when the modernization project is completed?. Hopefully with Allah's will we will have the opportunity to return to Al Haram and Masjid Nabi in Madinah.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


It has been more than a half century and these silver pieces remained a stark reminder of my athletic days and moments when time as youth were spent in the best possible way, in the open spaces and on green fields.Now attractions take to other focuses.

Being an athlete in my younger days, I would be on the mark and set to sprint off the starting block the very moment I hear the first burst of the gun. I would be dashing, competing with the rest to breast the tape at the end of the track. The Olympic 100 and 200 meter dash at the recent Beijing Game was certainly a sight to behold though its lightening speed was a far cry of our earlier ability.

Here, only a click is needed to bring on the requested blog page emblazon the LCD screen with its particular design. Now bloggers have come forth with personal blogs that epitomize creativity and inspiration. Blogs now feature photo, video, music, slide show and strings of other attachments at the behest of the designer or blogger himself. It is free too.

The snail phase posting taken over by email is almost a thing of the past with the added spread of blog with all its colorful hues. Accessed by friends and randomly clicked by others, blog messages, write up or news get international coverage. Popular and known blogs get outstanding callers. One particularly begun by the former Prime Minister of Malaysia named ‘Che’ hit nine million visitors in less than six months of its inception. You may be a newscaster, a journalist or a writer with several publications to boast off, would you get comments or feed backs from your readers the very next moment the prints appear? Outstandingly, the comments may come from any corner of the world and not necessarily from your own territory. Yes bloggers have the luxury of interacting and this is the special asset of the new media.

Now if ‘pen-pals’ correspondence was a hit in the 1950’s, inducing people to link with one another between countries and continents, blogs now open the flood gates to interaction between people with common inkling and interest and all with the luxury of speed. I would like to guess that bloggers toil happily throughout the hours meeting their personal dateline to get their stories into space as most are already bitten by the bugs. It bugs me if I fail to get a good story or episode in necessarily once a week or more regularly. The itchy fingers do wish to see themselves drumming on the keyboard. Many a prolific writer has been born since blog come about. Portable laptops and accessible Internet connections where ever you may be have added greater pull to blogging. Photography too is given a big boost since most blog pages come accompanied with fine photos.

One exacting advantage, I discover is the ability to link with your own kin or family. A family that blog, will find a source of new energy and depth. Much as some issues remained personal and are never divulged, they tend to surface somehow in individual’s blog. A son or daughter may not want to tell many things about their ups and down to their parents but trusting their colleagues their adventures and escapades may appear in their choice blogs. How could they guess that their dad or mum may be surfing too? I am now able to peep into my daughter and son in law’s blogs as well as other close relatives. This has somehow brought about a closer interaction and understanding. I am able to understand more of their likes and directions. I have come to know more of their friends and surfers who visit their pages and directly or indirectly get connected to them too. The family has suddenly become larger, closer yet more intimate and bubbling with excitement.

Blogs and bloggers do not necessarily confine themselves to political commentaries, stirring disturbances and rupturing peace. If they are, they are part of many others that continue to paint a wonderful world with all issues and adventures helping to connect people, linking them closer and for all purposes spreading greater intelligence and harmony.

Lets us continue to give the best to this media with all its attractions. My early morning escapade without qualms could take me in matter of seconds to Toronto ( http//, London (, Istanbul (http://refcobass1.,Ampang(,/ Putrajaya (,
TanahMerah( BanggolDerdap(, Ceruk Tok Kun and Timbuktu etc knocking on doors of friendly homes whose occupants have wisely left their doors open irrespective of time. I may or may not meet them, but I am sure they would know that I have called had I left a short note. Invariably they will reciprocate and say hello. Now how friendlier and closer can you get?

Blogging is said to have therapeutic benefits, improving memory and sleep while also speeding healing after surgery. I cannot vouch for the rest of the claim but I tend to believe its relation with sleep. After accomplishing a good write up, toiling for good story and burning the candles late into the night, sleep could come quite easily. Seniors especially with time at their hands will find blogging resourceful

Will be happy to know how this portion has caste its spell on you.
We were at this 'kopitiam' for lunch today and surprise oh surprise to see the old nostalgia still alive and kicking in our town. See the furniture and especially the side table that provide privacy to the guests. The photos on the wall too characterised the time. The large TV screen however gives the period away. The containers at the counter offer various sweets for your choice.

Saw a movie recently picturing this model and knew nothing about it till the children told us how fantastic it is. So we had a touch of the steering wheel at a friend's showroom and mesmerized by its cost. You could possibly get two fine bungalows for the price of one Hummer.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


YOU ARE ONE IF YOU ARE A MAN; literally in all senses of course.

Happy days during Aidilfitri this year, make me want to look back at this glorifying episode of man’s control over things. It has been a man’s world with him at the helm in most activities. Be it at home, office, politic, government, apex of leadership and religious positions. Once in a while, she comes into the picture: a Bank Negara Governor, a Vice Chancellor, an Ambassador, a Fighter Pilot, State Chief Police Officer, a scientist that decided to drop onto the North Pole and even a Prime Minister (as in Britain and Pakistan); executive and high challenging posts held and trusted upon the fairer sex. Still it never becomes a matriarchal world. His domineering exclusiveness prevails.

Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a ‘pater familias’ over an extended family. ‘Patriarch’ is derived from a Greek word; a composition of ‘pater’ meaning father and ‘archon’ meaning leader, chief. ruler. king etc.

That system of such rule of families by male is called patriarchy. Patriarchy not only explains how our society functions but how it controls women. It is a topic which can arouse all furies given the right leverage but this is not the platform.

Some of the older movies of Hollywood, the likes of “The Godfather”, “Sopranos”, and “Al Capone” hit us with the sinister and gangster of the New York and Chicago mobs and their Italian connections. Not to mention the lead role of the patriarch feared and untouched by many as acted in the movies by leading actors as Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Edward G Robinson and Rod Steigner. We seemed to be taken aback by these famous roles, as they had what most people wanted: fame, dressy clothing, smooth talking and commanding authority. Therefore it was no surprise that fashion and adoptive styles throughout the world took to the tough stance of the 1920’s. Supposedly big business in the metropolitan areas of New York, Chicago etc in the roaring forties and earlier functioned in that order or otherwise it was ‘kaput’ for everyone.

Ours is to observe the common highlights where traditions continue in all its fairness, helping to bind families closer. The patriarch I meant to refer here is actually us: the male who can call himself a dad, a papa or a father. Certainly the hierarchy intensifies when he is the head of a larger family and senior in age naturally. A grand father alive and much adored by the children and grand-children typifies the role of a patriarch. Though his role departs strongly from the rough and energetic model that we saw above, his off-springs see a more distinguished person, rich in experience, condescending in all matters and loving and trustful. They failed to see even a minute tough-guy mannerism. They appreciate more when the ‘duit raya’ or ‘ang pau’ becomes a contributing factor at the ‘Aidilftri’ or Chinese New Year celebration thrown by the ‘famous’ patriarch whom they meet only once a year and who himself is honored and happy that the off springs are around.

To be recognized and known as a patriarch comes with experience and guidance. Yet no one has undergone a training scheme just as much as no one trained you to become a father. You become one in virtue of your marriage and later beget a child or more. You picked up bit by bit some of the rudiments, maybe having to sieve through the good, the better and the best. Years go by and you become wiser while enlarging the family circle. Then suddenly you are where you are now a grand dad with your spouse and the breed plus the younger children which take an honorific ‘grand’ as a qualification to their status. You get to be called ‘Pa Long / Pa Chak’ and later upgraded to ‘Tok Long /Tok Chak’ qualifying your status in the family hierarchy.

This Aidilfitri celebration put me through a role liking as a patriarch. This accompanying picture captures the intensity and concentration given to the headman of the family at any given moment. Being the most senior, with my own family and enjoined by several brothers and sisters-in-laws added with their spouses and children, all naturally listened to whatever advice I put across: specifically when it comes to planning strategies at organizing a wedding ceremony and reception; more so when the D-Day is scheduled in the next forty-eight hours. It has to be task oriented, problem solving and group dynamic at its best. All members of the family were called to help because it involved the family and the expectancy of two thousand guests at the least. This was a marriage planner helping the family.

"Now listen carefully. We have an assignment tomorrow to be executed.Everyone must make sure that it is done according to plan, No excuse, no 'buts' ". Tok Wan the patriarch talks.

They listened rapt at the briefings for their assignments

It was a moment to tell all, adults and children that marriage and its ceremonies do not come easily. A couple falls in love as a start. Then the rigmarole begins for the bride and bridegroom sides, with varied stages. Most people only see the final stage when the wedding is solemnized, wedding receptions laid out and the happy occasion takes place with all the grandeur whether held in a five- star hotel or the backyard of a kampong house. My audience of young parents with their siblings who have not yet ventured into this adventure before listened with rapt silence, accepting that their big brother or the patriarch must know all since he has had several acts in the game. It was a golden session because we had a complete check-list of what to do and who is responsible. The whole ceremony from start to finish comes into focus and it should be a breeze if all goes well. The weather, tents, sitting arrangement, food catering, parking, welcoming, main table arrangement, wedding ceremonies etc. were on the platter. It was a start for many and by next year one or two of them would be ready to handle their own when their very own ‘apple of the eye’ gets onto the ‘pelamin’ or wedding dais.

The head or patriarch has a continuing duty to his family, from the very moment he relinquished his bachelorhood and accepted a new role by marriage. He has a duty toward his wife, later his children and all those that are linked to him. Customs, traditions, beliefs etc have to be learned and adopted. How, when and where he acquires them depends on his own prowess and intelligence: the faster the better. Manners make a man is one proverb that defines the very need of it all. Professing Islam he has a definite obligation. He has to show dutifulness to his parents including showing appropriate kindness to them, invoking Allah’s blessings for them, paying attention to their advices and craving after their guidance to the right path. He must also remember that when a man dies, his acts also come to an end with the exception of three: “A recurring charity, knowledge from which people get benefited and a pious son who prays for him”.

The patriarch, whatever and whoever he is must realize that he is responsible to his parents as much as his children and they likewise have a role to play towards him. First and foremost he is the man of the house. He is the father who leads by examples. If he expects kind thoughts and blessings then he has to propagate such expectations himself among his family.

As a man, a husband, a father and a patriarch in all its definition, we do really need exposure, contact and much learning experience. Not everyone has that fortune, depending on his standing, work experience, companionship, home environment and most of all his relationship with his parents. Our education which early on puts children away from homes into hostels or residential schools takes away that natural and genuine contact. Then it becomes a life-long learning having to know what you miss at home.

The blessing of
Syawal also identifies that the patriarch alone cannot accomplish all. She, the wife, the mother and the matriarch help to compliment as well as contribute to the total happiness and joy shared. It is the father and mother; mum and dad, Mak Long or Pak Long, Tok Wan and Nek that get things done together. They prepared the home for the children to come home to. The clogged highway and the sold-out tickets for all transportation justified the blessed home coming. ‘Ketupat’, ‘rendang’, ‘makmur’ and all varied kinds of cookies and the special dishes for lunch or dinner with the touch of ‘mum’ golden fingers do get praises heaped upon: surely not on the man of the house. The mother or the matriarch gets the honor. It is the woman that gives all whether in sickness or in health. Drop by any hospital the nurses that care for you do not wear trousers but skirts or dresses befiting the fairer sex. At home, the men may push the lawnmower, clean the car or water the plants but the more import resources at living and being alive are within the domain of the women.

Much as the women folks in
Negeri Sembilan or the Minangkabau’s in Sumatra honor their matriarchal lineage or the Italians of Naples or the Arabs of Saudi Arabia boast of their patriarchal connection and the world continues to placate its manly strength, you and I know that neither can exist without the other and it is their combined strength that keeps this world moving and spinning.

Wait for the coming
Aidilfitri and see whether you are comfortable at home as a patriarch serving the family and all the kin and assuring happiness all round.

The young kompang group that beat welcome.
The elder patriarch of the family
greeted with the customary 'salam'.

Children merriment chose neither place or time and a guest is welcomed thanks to discretion and thoughtfulness

The ladies troupe contributing their service at the function taking over the 'marhaban' normally the man's realm

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Projects, planning, buildings are part of our soul. We have been at this venture for the past fifteen years as a consultative entity, securing works especially from the federal ministries and state governments. Depending on the size and allocation of the fund, a project may spread over a period of months to several years for completion.

Just to digress from the normal write-ups in this blog I thought maybe it is a change to move to a new scenery commensurate with the changing political scenario in the country. There is a breathe of cooling air suddenly pervading the country after 9th October, even managing to cast aside the catastrophic downfall of indexes throughout the world as much as daring to define action against anybody harboring ills against the country.We love our country and fervently look forward to the 2020 developed status, as structured.

We are a part of that entity that play a minuscule role in its development and we wish to continue just like many others towards its enhancement and growth. Nonetheless it is fair to say that our enthusiasm is dampen by the world's economic standing for the moment. Yet there are sun shines and continuing obsessions as we go about our projects. A small domestic renovation job at Bungsar recently saw the completion of a double storey terraced house taking a totally new face. An early 1960's single storey terraced house near the often familiar Jalan Maaroff enclave turned out to be a new home for the owner. Currently up in the north, in Perlis inside the verdant teak forest reserve of FRIM close to the Thailand border, we are working at building a camping site with all its fringes including a treetop walkway. This touristic enclave would be an added attraction to that part of Perlis with its lake and lime stones outcrops dotting the countryside.

There are many other on-going projects throughout the country all enduring for a more beautiful Malaysia and promoting the cliche " Malaysia truly Asia". One dearest to us is hopefully to see an old house taking shape again soon at a new site. We have acquired the abandoned house as you see in the picture, dismantled it piece by piece and ready to set it up again. This will be our personal exercise and hopefully it may encourage us to venture into a new restoration exercise - discovering old home and saving for posterity. At Anak Arshad Architect we enjoy contributing towards a more sustaining community.

At FRIM (Forest Research Institute Malaysia) Mata Ayer Perlis, a small clearing amongst the teak forest reserve will house a campsite with all its facilities including a canopy walkway above the treetops.

A single- storey terraced house of the early 1960's was replaced with a double- storey terraced house with landscaping and interior deco resplendant to the owners's choice.

We bought this old house with its woodworks in good condition, got it dismantled piece by piece and transported to a new site. Soon it will stand again. Check soon to see its new appearance.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


The million dollar question comes to the fore. How much have you invested in reading? Have you a regular pattern of purchasing books? What constitutes your library? Would you have a treasure trove benefiting your family? Could you present a catalogue of your collections?

The books at home do beautifully make up the living space. Arranged as there are in the bookcases or on the racks they satisfy the hunger for reading while declaring that you are that close to knowledge where you want them to be. Naturally the dictionaries of various sizes and editions plus collections of idiom and metaphor references come handy when required. An atlas would be an added advantage as it would become a necessary reference point. At times we may want to know where ‘Sipilok’ or ‘Janda Baik’ is situated. The curious may want to know where the MISC ship ‘Melati V’ is being held ransom in the Gulf of Aden. Such curiosity needed answers fast. Curiosity kills a cat they say. Nothing wrong being one, or at least having that characteristic since it satisfies the urge to know. Dull and mundane: otherwise.

A must in a Muslim home would be a copy at least of the Holy Koran plus several copies of Surah Yassin. These would be conspicuously positioned in an honored position while easily accessed by members of the family. Other copies or titles of Islamic books would depend on the interest or inclination of the family members. To date literature of the ‘Haj’ and ‘Umrah’ would find themselves as companions to many households. Not surprising since many choose to visit the Holy cities Mekkah and Medinah when possible. Many new books on theology and biographies of Muslim personalities have greatly added to the collection.

Inevitably and not necessarily so, older homes would have greater collections of books as time would have determined the numerical. Where would you put yourself in harboring a love for books and as such proud with what you have built up as your treasures? Or are you that extraordinary person, youngish but with already a trove of treasures of your own?

The government RM1000.00 tax deduction per annum for books purchased and with receipts is a call for wage earners to frequent the book shops and indulge in a worthy and gainful pursuit: become more knowledgeable and at the same time acquaint the younger in the family to the world of printed matters. MPH and Popular are two main players in the book industry now with their bookshops in almost all big towns in the country. It is heartening to see throngs of customers at their shops and more so indulging in quiet reading over pages of new arrivals and books of their choice with consent from the shop owners of course. Much as many would like to cart a book home, the high cost halts such desire. These bookstores have taken the roles of libraries with the added convenience of being accessible, opened at convenient hours and free sittings. Whenever I am in Kuala Lumpur and at the big shopping malls, it would be hard to escape from being pulled to one or both establishments. More often than not at least a book would accompany me home and become a companion for the days following.

I have built a habit of purchasing at least a book on the occasion of my birthday, when on a holiday or for any odd reason. A note on the inside cover of the book would invariably indicate the day and date plus a brief description of the occasion. Over the years, these brief notes would bring back memories or recollections otherwise forgotten or obligated from memories. Imagine realizing where I was in August 1956, because a brief note in a book has taken the role of a diary. August of yesteryear would remind me of the occasions, even happenings while reflecting on the choice of the books that I purchased and its price. It helped to compare of prices then and now.

A home library with pre-war editions of works and writers would make the collection an envious treat to many book lovers. Much as reading has been a source of joy, the contentment of possessing some publications deemed out – of - print is an added bliss. See if you are in the same league. No doubt public libraries may have them on the shelves. It is no secret that many would scout into second hand bookshops and invariably picked out classics and collectibles.

Now let me list out some of the prints that make up my collections and obviously become reference points from time to time while at the same time helped to remind me of circumstances that took place at or around the time. Even at this review it reminded me yet again of events close to my heart and not to mention the content of the books themselves.

1. Spirit of the Wood ( The Art of Malay Woodcarving)
- By Farish A Noor and Eddin Khoo
- Periplus Edition (HK) Ltd 2003
Note (Purchased on 17/04/2006 and at a time when the news of the cancellation of the ‘crooked’ bridge hit the headline.)

2. Dr Mahathir’s Selected Letters to World Leaders
- By Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
- Marshall Cavendish ( Malaysia) Sdn Bhd Feb 2008
Note ( MPH Subang Parade 20 Feb 2008; just fresh being the second edition as the first printed Dec 2007 were sold out; meantime was in KL for the PAM Commonwealth Seminar at Marriot 19-21 Feb 2008)

3. Growing Up in Trengganu
- By Awang Goneng
- Monsoon Books Pte Ltd Singapore 2007
Note (MPH Putrajaya 3 Jan 2008, we were earlier at Kota Kinabalu and searched for the book but failed to get one there. The book received good coverage in the newspaper and was a selling factor)

4. The History of Sumatra
- William Marsden
- Oxford University Press Kuala Lumpur 1966
Note (A classic book being an Oxford in Asia Historical Reprints, purchased in 1975)

5. Ensiklopedia KERIS
- Bambang Harsrinuksmo
- Gramedia 2004
Note (Purchased at Gramedia Palembang Indonesia while on a visit to the city 2-5 May 2007 together with 13 family members. It was a visit to the Sri Vijaya Kingdom of the 15th century)

6. Malaya 500 Early Postcard
- Cheah Jin Seng
- Editions Didier Millet Singapore 2008
- Note ( Purchased several books including Chambers 21st Century Dictionary – Chambers Edinburgh 2006 at MPH KL with a special discount for the week)

7. Jelebak Jelebu ( Coret-Coret Anak Kampong)
- Rais Yatim PhD
- DTP Enterprise Sdn Bhd Kuala Lumpur 2004
- Note ( Purchased 27/6/2005 – it was only last week that I went for an ECG Test at Kulim General Hospital and two days ago one UMNO Vice President clamped with 2 terms suspension for money politic)

8. Biography of Prophet Muhammad
- Imam Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab at Tamimi
- Darussalam, London 2003
- Note ( Purchased at KLIA – 28/5/2006 upon leaving for Umrah with stopover at Dubai before arriving Jeddah and leading a group of 24 family members)

9. Reflections of Pre Independence Malaya
- Mohamed Abid
- Pelanduk Publications Subang Jaya Selangor
- Note (Purchased 15 /6/2003 – on a day we paid a visit to ailing Tan Sri Othman Yeop Abdullah, a close friend and former Vice Chancellor of UUM at his home. He was in happy mood, alert and showing interest in life’s happening and expressing to perform umrah) alas he passed away later.
- The book was launched by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad a few days earlier with a fervent hope that no Malaysians will for any reason give up this land to anybody …

10. Complete Idiot’s Guide – The Internet
- By Peter Kent
- QUE Indianapolis USA
- Note ( Purchased 8/10/2002 while in Malacca – today there was a warning of exceptional high tide on the western coast of Malaysia due to the position of moon, sun and earth. Shipping, fishermen and those staying along the coast has been warned), also justified my earlier interest in knowing about Internet.