GUiT (Growing Up in Trengganu)-
Currently in the middle of perusing a quaint book written by a blogger who is basking in restored fame, launching and signing copies of his books in auspicious venues around Malaysia. Awang Goneng, a pen name which denotes a mischievous local boy, is Kak Teh's significant other and GUiT is actually a compilation of his blog entries, poignant tales of his childhood years in Kuala Trengganu (note the spelling), ladened with words of Trengganuspeak and piquant descriptions/narrations of things and events.
In essence, Kak Teh's Choc a Blog gets more readers, simply because her stories touch all walks of life. AG's Kecek-kecek is so much into Trengganu of the 60s which invokes memories of yesteryears that usually attract only those familiar with the place of discourse, thus leaving many unable to appreciate his style of writing. However, once compiled into a book, it transforms into a whole new phenomena and the reading gets easier, less tedious and more inviting. On and off, I would read his entries but never once did I attempt to comment as Trengganu in the 60s is so foreign to me and do I regret it now for not doing so, as he had specially written a chapter, acknowledging the list of bloggers who frequent his site. Imagine the honor of having your name etched in the book as well!
I especially love the way he had fondly depicted his relationship with his dad and mom and subtle insinuations of how they had raised him and his siblings well, deep with Islamic values. I, too, revel on his utter nonchalant style of describing various characters and uncanny practices only unique to Kuala Trengganu. Endless characters like Pok Mat Dok Dek, Pok Loh Tuk, Mek Jarroh etc. color the book with immense joy. He finds great pleasure in enticing our gastronomical lusts by relating the various kuih of Trengganu, accessorized with the details on how it was made including the necessary ingredients: the akok, beleda, beluda, buoh guling etc. His explicit details and descriptions of these local delicacies literally export you to the yesteryears and you could almost smell the warm aroma of the freshly baked kuihs inside your nostril!
This book has made me view Kuala Trengganu in a much different manner. The next time I'm there, I'd be looking for the many things written in it. Makam Tok Pelam at the Penyu round-about is top on my list. Kedai buku Abdullah Al Yunani where the book launch was done is another spot of interest. I'd probably hike uphill Bukit Putri which once housed the 'genta' and imagine its boisterous chimes during iftar. This time, I'd be roaming Pasar Payang searching for beleda and beluda (which I suspect is no longer available).
If only I could write similar accounts of my childhood Johor Bharu but alas, I have very poor remote memory. My recollection of it is very scanty filled with loop-holes and hazy details. I'd probably end up fabricating everything and having every kin and kith coming down upon me correcting my errors!
(finished reading and planning to reread)
A book written by an Indonesian writer with the sole purpose of giving 'dakwah' via a novel. This is apparently a translated version into Bahasa Melayu, although the thick Indonesian accent is still palpable in every page. Written in simple flow language, Ayat-Ayat Cinta is not to be mistaken as another Mills and Boons or Barbara Cartland. No doubt, it's main story revolves around the protagonist, Fahri and an alleged love triangle but the bulk concentrates on his strong Islamic character, telling the readers how despite his packed schedule as a master's student, writing thesis and translating books to finance his education, he would still perform supererogatory deeds like tahajjud, execute social obligations like paying dues to his Coptic Christian neighbors and the general society.
The novel gets exciting when Fahri decides to find a wife with the help of his 'talaaqi' Sheikh. This is where all the twists began. From then on, we are taken into a swift whirl of events. When his intentions of marriage was made known, out came the box of pandora. Unbeknown to his naive mind, his strong charismatic self has attracted several ladies who admired his true Islamic knowledge and his tireless practice of Islamic virtues.
He married Aisha, leaving the Coptic Christian, Maria, secretly pining for his love till she fell sick, Nurul, the Indonesian undergrad who failed to confess her love for him earlier, asking him take her as his second bride (he refused) and Noura,the unfortunate soul, who back-stabbed him and wrongly accused him of raping her.
Accused of rape, the Cairo court had sentenced him to harsh imprisonment along with several professors, commited muslim traditionalists etc. who were all incarcerated for political reasons. The climax is how a sick and unconscious Maria became the sole witness who helped clear his name. Read to find out how and why he married the unconscious Maria at the hospital bed with Aisha's consent!
In a nutshell this book tells about the life journey of a knowledgable soul who held strong to and practiced the teachings of Islam when facing the tests in life. In those tests he was confronted with women who loved him, sudden wealth and later with prominent figures in prison. Despite the grueling tribulations in his life, he realizes that he was still better off than many unfortunate souls.
Essentially, the writer is relating about a person's unique path on earth, about love and that the greatest love is our love for our Creator and His most beloved prophet , Muhammad s.a.w. Lastly, he is trying to remind us that the keys to the doors of Jannah are the two verses of syahadah without which, no matter how noble you are, your entrance to Jannah is not permissible.
*When I told iKelah of this book, he appeared very sceptical. On my insistent, he started reading it albeit doubtful. Needless to say, he has now turned 360 degrees and apparently has understood the book more than me and still giving me short lectures on its contents! Talk about total conversion, eh?
*Prepare to cry when reading this touching story: iKelah and I did! huhu!
*When I asked Aliah to read it, she too was and still is sceptical. She accused me of being jiwang. I guess the title of the book can be a put off for some as it can give a negative connotation. I hope Aliah will some day consider reading it despite the jiwang title!
*They have made a movie out of the book and it'll be out soon.