Saturday, January 05, 2008


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!

This is a book that every blogger should possess as it reminds us of the camaraderie present in the blogosphere.

Ayat-Ayat Cinta-
(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.

Besides being heavy with 'dakwah' message, this novel is beautiful as it is entwined with many interesting twists and turns. Set in Cairo, it brings us the extreme hot and arid climate of Egypt which at one point, along with Fahri's severe tight schedule had brought on a heatstroke upon him that finally culminated into meningitis which had reduced him into a semi-conscious state. The writer had cleverly seized this moment by narrating how Fahri, being a Quran hafiz, had,even in a comatose state, managed to still recite the sublime verses without mistakes.

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.


pycnogenol said...

So, how many books do you read a year and what was the best book you read in 2007?

Pycno kenal Awang Goneng tu, tapi tak pasti samada dia ingat lagi tak saya ni. Tapi kalau jumpa dia, Pycno tak segan lah nak minta dia autograph-kan buku GUiT tu. He's still in London, kan?

P/S Kena cepat-cepat beli dan baca GUit dan Ayat-Ayat Cinta yang jiwang giler tu... ;)

dith said...


Let me see, one..two..five..actually I've lost least 10 I think.One of the best is Another Day In The Frontal Lobe by Kitrina Firlik ,almost a self biography of a female neurosurgeon: it helps to nurse my personal regret of not specializing further.

GUiT is also one of my good read as it brings me back 40 years ago to a town that is fairly familiar to me now.I like his style of writing, funny and enlightening, with lots of interesting historical landmarks. I like the way he described his father and mom, shows that they have brought him up well.

AYat2 Cinta is another favorite. Eventhough the style of writing and language is mediocre (probably due to poor translation), I find the story-line and message, very strong and thought provoking,a rare find nowadays.

I love John Grisham's books and almost finishing his recent The Innocent Man (yes I have this very very bad habit of reading many books at one time!) but I find it rather disappointing. Perhaps Grisham is losing his touch on such books.

Nowadays I try to read more books on Islamic Study. My latest buy was A to Z guide to A-Hadtih by Mokhtar Stork.And KKL has given me several abridged books by contemporary Sheikhs like Hamzah Yusof on old Kitabs.

Yes AG is in London but currently still in KL, promoting his book. In fact KKL met Kak Teh by chance recently :P

So Pycno, go get the books and tell me the outcome. Bea, too!

*drroza dok fikir berapa la commission dapat dari promotion buku2 ni, :))*

mad redo1 said...

Truthfully, I am envious of you who is able to spend the time reading all those books. Given the chance I could jump and be one with the characters portrayed by those excellent writers. Unfortunately (there always seem to be one, right?) it seems that I have given other things more priority though I would love the chance to get lost once in a while in those lands of words.

By the way, has Mayo Jr been granted his indoor privilege again?

easylady said...

hehehe ada juga terlintas di hati,macamana boleh tergerak hati kak roza ambil buku pasal cinta? Nengokkan gambarnyatu err I would probably leave it on the shelf. Boleh pinjam tak buku tu?

Has said...

Roza, kat mana boleh beli buku ayat-ayat cinta tu?

OOD said...

i am very choosy when it comes to melayu books, simply because it is so hard to get good ones now. All chenta chenta remaja-ey and soppy onni. I like the veterans more.

You like the book, i am not so impressed. Hehe... you like books, PERIOD.

But iKelah too? Made him cry too?

I definitelty will go look for the book. Cant be all that bad, if there's a maria in it, can it?

dith said...

mad redo- I read in between my patients and I seldom read at home coz like you I have other priorities, :)) Mayo jr is totally banned from indoors, Libas has given him the Kurap!!

Easy- Again I reiterate that the books is not about CINTA jiwang! Pinjam boleh, np, mai sini la!It's a great book easy, pergi beli and tell me!

Has- any major bookshop ada. Pop*l*ar pon ada

Ood- Mariah..oops Oody dear, get the book, ignore the language but indulge in its contents. Ikelah managed to read in between the lines and also decipher the writer's intent as well. He loves the book more than I do! hehe. After all, any book which has MARIAH as one of the character must be interesting, kan???hehe

ifos said...

Mak, pos la sini. hehe.

Mills & Boons- teringat cite Ikelah dulu2... haha...

maklang said...

Pernah nampak the book on the shelves tapi malas nak beli dah...It take such along time for me to finish one book, tapi kena start balik ni...

Insyaallah akan carik buku ni..Sedap nampaknya sebab Ikelah pun boleh nangis!

Queen Of The House said...

DITH, I too would hesitate to pick up the 2nd book, takut kena accused of being jiwang! But your review has me interested. It'll do me lots of good to read something other than the chick-lit easy reading stuff that I'm just barely capable of doing right now.

OOD said...

Yamtuan kata buku tu sold out kat shah alam.
sama ada dia (1) tipu, malas/malu nak cari atau (2) buku tu memang best, memang sold out.

Oh lupa nak add, buku GUIT tu meang ngamho, it is so sincerely written. i have never been to Trengganu. But the book makes me feel like i know Trengganu and the Trengganu that i know is one of beauty.

ikelah said...

The conclusion in the second book read by aisya when maria closed her eyes after reciting the syahadah smiling:

[89:27] (To the righteous soul will be said:) "O (thou) soul, in (complete) rest and satisfaction!

[89:28] "Come back thou to thy Lord,- well pleased (thyself), and well-pleasing unto Him!

[89:29] "Enter thou, then, among My devotees!

[89:30] "Yea, enter thou My Heaven!

Tafsir Yusof Ali

mad redo1 said...

HAPPY NEW YEAR 1429, doc!

OOD said...

Went to MPH Subang Parade - sold out.

And called up other MPHs. As at yesterday's morning, MPH Bandar Utama has 1 copy, MPH Sunway has 3 copies left ONNI. MPH Midvalley has 8.


And i still dont have my copy. Went to Popular of Sec.14, couldnt find the book but ended up spending close to RM300 - they have a moving out clearance sale. Hehe...

There is even this one book by another author yang mengupas Ayat Ayat Cinta. Hehe.. something like what Ikelah did up there.

dith said...

Ifos- bought a copy for you

Maklang- cuba lah baca and tell me

QOTH- and you too!

Ood- tsk tsk Yamtuan ni..:p. Laa Ood tak pernah ke Trengganu? You must put Trengganu in your list of cuti2 Malaysia

ikelah- ditto

mad redo1- same to you!

Ood- Waah...sold out eh? But do tell me how you find it if you have read it...

ikelah said...

just finished "ketika cinta bertasbih" from the same author. nilai sastra dan bahasanya lebih tinggi dan lebih matang.

"Ilmu yng paling baik adalh yng disertai khasyyhh."

Ia itu rasa takut kepada Allah yang disertai mengagungkan Allah.

Sebahagian dari tulisan dalam buku tersebut. :)

hiyoshi said...

Will you be going to watch the movie when it comes out? Perhaps for another round of overworked lacrimal glands?

OOD said...

Dr House!
Yamtuan bought me a hard-cover version, even downloaded the soundtrack song, hehe..

Finished reading the book in a matter of a few hours je - so easy is the language.

okay, the narration i find effective. When i read about the heat of summer there, my ubun-ubun hurt too.
And i cried reading the last few pages, not because i mourned her death but because i wonder whether i am worthy even of the smell of jannah. I wonder if i have the key and if the doors would slam shut on me.

His book is brimming with advise and ilmu, yet it is not preachy. He makes it seem like he was just telling a story, everything else is coincidence. In actual, i wonder whether he set out share knowledge and educate and dakwah, it is the story that is the coincidence.


ikelah should write a book too.

has said...


Ha ha ha. I went to Kinnokuniya bookshop KLCC during weekend. Suruh la budak jaga kedai tu carikan, dia bawa I dan hubby ke rak BUKU-BUKU CINTA REMAJA. Ni yang nak gelak nih.

Selamba jer, "Terima kasih dik. Buku ni untuk hadiah hari jadi anak buah!"

Then kena explain ke hubby pula. Dahi dia berkerut, dia ingat aku ni dah buang tabiat. Phew,,,dia kata ingat kena gi cari Mill&Boons pulak, kah, kah, kah.

However tak baca lagi, sampul pun tak buka lagi sebab dapat dua buku lain yang lebih menarik. At least from the comments up there I know it is not a waste of effort.

dith said...

Yoshi- Any overworked lacrimal glands that is due to 'muhassabah diri' is worth the cry!

Ood- I thank you because amongst all I think you have taken my latest entry very seriously. Why, Yamtuan has even taken pains to get you a hard cover copy when the paperbacks were sold out! And downloaded lagu sumore! Yamtuan, you should be lauded and given this year's suami mithali title! I am glad you did cry reading it. Almost thought that ikelah and I are just being jiwang or what, hehe

Has- DH must have thought that it was one of the very delayed side effects of chemo huh? i.e. cravings for jiwang books,:)) Anyway, may the book enlighten you as much as it has for dear Ood

Kak Teh said...

Dith, thanks for a wonderful write-up. Apologies for not being able to reply your comment in my blog..susah nak dapat computer as well as internet. Inipun tumpang saja...we will be at MPH midvalley on 20th booksigning at 3-4pm. datang lah.

dith said...

Kak Teh,

I so, so want to see you both this Sunday but alas, hubby is on night shift this whole week!

But God willing, maybe with any changes, I might still have the chance to see you after all! I am sure you will have a blast with many bloggers flocking!

Take care!

kenakelayan said...

:D Internet access, finally!

The same day I bumped into Kak Teh at KLCC, Pang5 raved about Ayat-Ayat Cinta and convinced me to get one. I had the same experience as Kak Has, having to face the embarrassment of asking the salesgirl for a book from the Soppy Love Tales shelf (couldn't find it in the Literature section). I sternly lectured her that it shouldn't be on this shelf as 'see, here is a picture of Sasterawan Negara A Samad Said endorsing this book!' Finished it in 1 day, alongside GUiT. Hehehehe. I have now successfully 'borrowed' 'Ketika Cinta Bertasbih' from Pang5 when he visited us yesterday. I have barely begun it but this book takes place in ALexandria instead of Cairo. Coincidentally, (or not!) one of the luminaries this book mentions is Ibn Atha'illah al-Iskandari, 'the Alexandrian', one of whose books I have been trying to read for almost a year now.

Yep the final scene in AAC is the best. Dr Su once quoted the same verses in a previous blog entry. My hubby, OK, however remains skeptical of the book and its unfortunate cover (maybe BECAUSE of the cover). Sigh. Unlike DITH, I found the simple language beautiful; no usage of bombastic sounding words that sound too eager to impress. Less is more; in the case of this book and its content matter; infinitely more. ;) Would love to talk about what we all read between the lines.

Hehehe. Today Doc Zurin asked when are you guys coming down to KL. I said iKelah's brothers are visiting us, upon which he answered: 'yang pandai photography tu ke?' I said 'er, semua pun pandai photography!' Hehehe.

Would love to go to Mid Valley, but sigh. Don't think I can make it this time though. Not least because I will either a) get lost trying to get there or b) get lost in the parking lots!

dith said...

Musykil betul kawe. Sejak bila si Pang5 ni minat buku genre ni. Selalu dia duk kepit Tom Clancy, Jeffry Archer, Tami Hoag...tetibe ...hehe..musykil 10x

On hindsight I think the simple language is better compared to Ketika Cinta Bertasbih. And KCB was not set in ALexandria..still in Cairo..1st chapter dia ada tugas di Alexandria.

I managed to avoid the very same embarrassment of locating the book by using the touch screen directory in Kino.

Tell Zurin, we'll be seeing him insyallah 9th Feb. Why dont we do a twosome appointment eh, the four of us barging into his room? hehe

Btw, I miss you! Love: K Long

Has said...

Kenekelayan, memang tak patut kan.

I ni tengah dok baca, mula-mula biasa2 tapi bila dah masuk bab 15, mula nak keluar hingus. I remember someone mentioned someone in the book died, ni dok suspense nih. Nasib baik tak ingat siapa or was not mentioned who.

Bila baca, terasa macam author to dah baca buku si Provost on how to write.

Wah Kak Teh bukang main lagi; sayang tak jumpa masa I dok ronda kedai buku last weekend.

Has said...


Saya dah khatam. Terima kasih kerana mengwarwarkan buku tersebut. Masih ada pengjaran, setidak pun macam refresher course untuk orang tua-tua, he he.

Ku menangis berhingus; kerana emosi cinta yang ku sentiasa hidupkan menguasai diri.

P5 said...

salams everyone.

this book was recommended to me by a Professor of Mechanical Engineering. it was recommended to him by another friend of his. anyway, when i visited him last december, i asked if the book is any good. he replied, the first malay book he ever finished reading. knowing him, that's a very significant praise.

so i borrowed the book, brought it back to kl and finished reading it the same day kkl finished reading her copy - on my recommendation as well.

dith is right in pointing out that my regular reading has been tom clancy and jeffrey archer, among many other military/conspiracy/spy thriller authors. and oh, jk rowling harry potter too. the fact of the matter, i READ whatever i can land my hands on but i usually BUY selected authors work.

i do find habiburrahman el shirazy's work enjoyable to read, as well as providing answers to some issues, without the use of a preacher's language. its description - novel pembangunan jiwa - could not be further from the truth.

i just finished "pudarnya pesona cleopatra" which contained two short stories. its the author's earlier work. the book is now with kkl, just passed it to her today. i guess you'll soon read her comments in a day or two.

i am re-starting my reading of "ketika cinta bertasbih". picked it back from kkl earlier this afternoon.

so, to those of you out there, el shirazy's writing is not a lovey dovey sissy soppy piece of work. AAC got a good review from a samad said. and believe me, its probably the only "love novel" i would recommend my daughter to read when she's old enough.

ain't that right, dith?

p/s: bought my copy at popular book store, with a 10% mmebers discount.

dith said...

P5- Like you, I had discovered its goodness in an unlikely manner. I accidentally read from this guy's blog, that he had read the book and he found it amongst the best malay book he had ever read and that HE CRIED reading it! Wow, I thought, if a guy could cry reading it, it must be good! That's how it began and the rest is history!

Anonymous said...


I am waiting for my DH to cry, but he is taking his time, reading while sitting on the toilet bowl. I guess each sit completes one chapter. So slooww...and I have to bear his intepretation of the author, yes about the author still and not on the story yet......dalam hati I ada juga orang yang boleh baca macam ni...tapi gaknya masuk bab 14 or 15 sure dia fast foward outside the toilet kot.

dith said...


Yes, DH sounds so much like Azmi who reads in between the line...hehhe..pening kepala dengar lecture dia hari 2

Has said...


senyum mengerti, tapi tak habis lagi ke lecture dia?

dith said...


Doubt it will ever end. Sekarang dia dah masuk buku Ketika Cinta Bertasbih and got some more!

kenakelayan said...

Hehehehe. You are right KCB goes back to Cairo after the little interlude in Alexandria. Now having finished this book I can't wait to read Part 2. Bila nak keluar ye?

I really like the way he describes student life overseas with its many ups and downs. Unlike Malay dramas which portray unrealistic scenes of overseas students: jalan2, makan2 and cinta. Mana studynya? Mana baca buku librarynya? Mana counting the penniesnya? Mana interaction with the local people where you live? Nampak macam our overseas students waste their time doing frivolous things aje. Walhal the reality is starkly different.

I already finishla Pudarnya Pesona Cleopatra. Nice stuff. The 1st story should be read by prospective brides and grooms so they will have an idea on some of the realities of marriage. 2nd story I liked too.

Watching a surgeon pulling stitches is FUN!!!! Alhamdulillah hari ni d/c!!

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