Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Tunggu Sekejap

We had a heartwarming book launch! There were laughter, joy, and tears. Relationships renewed, new friendships forged. May the spirit of Kampong Gelam lives in all of us. 

*Thank you to the most wonderful team!

+photos will be posted on our FB page and videos on our YouTube channel soon

This video was played during the book launch on 20 July 2019 (Saturday) at the Malay Heritage Centre. Artistic director and Director of book launch event: Sabri Buang Singer: Noh Salleh of 'Hujan Band' Song: 'Tunggu Sekejap' sung by P Ramlee in the film 'Sarjan Hassan'

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Leluhur: Singapore's Kampong Gelam

Original language: Javanese
Meaning: Nenek moyang or Ancestors
Finally. What a journey this has been! Hey, those little rocks in your shoes are part of the trek through the Portse Tenga of Life.
This is the story of Kampong Gelam, Singapore’s heritage district. Kampong Gelam, a cosmopolitan village named after the Gelam (Kayu putih or Melaleuca cajuputi) tree which once grew in abundance in the area. Once the centre of trade and commerce connecting Singapore to the rest of the Malay Archipelago, Kampong Gelam served as a religious, intellectual and social hub for the Malays in Singapore. It also functioned as a Pilgrim Hub for would-be pilgrims bound for Saudi Arabia.

In 1989, the Singapore government gazetted Kampong Gelam and accorded it the status of a conservation area. A popular tourist attraction as it may be, Kampong Gelam’s rich history and heritage nevertheless extend well beyond the descriptions found in glossy tourism publicity blitz. More importantly, at the heart of it all, Kampong Gelam was home to modern Singapore’s pioneers, entrepreneurs, craftsmen and residents including the author, Hidayah, who was born in Gedung Kuning (Yellow Mansion). 

To embrace the authentic spirit of Kampong Gelam, you are invited to embark on a journey to Leluhur, returning to the land of our Ancestors.
*my 13th book since 2010, alhamdulillah (praises to God)

Friday, January 25, 2019

Off the Grid

I'm going off the grid (and social media) for a bit.
Need to breathe the fresh air, rejuvenate and be healthy.
See you later world.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Kampong Glam Day Out

I met Madam Haliza by chance. Her niece was my school friend and one Sunday morning while we were having breakfast at KFC (damn those porridge!), Madam Haliza and her husband passed by us. I later found out that Saleha Mohd Shah (her pen name being Haliza Mohd Som) was the Editor of Fesyen (the first Malay women’s magazine) published by Al-Ahmadiah Press situated in Kampong Gelam. The magazine, written in Jawi, was the first magazine for Malay women with a monthly distribution of 100,000 copies in the Southeast Asian region. 

A social activist, Madam Haliza had organised a strike at the tender age of 15 when she was studying at Sekolah Perempuan Melayu Scotts Road or Scotts Road Malay Girls’ School. Her ambition had always been to be a teacher. However, the government had then decided not to continue taking in trainee teachers who had completed their schooling. In protest against that decision, Haliza led a strike whereby she and her friends refused to sit for the final examinations in 1950. 

I featured Madam Haliza in my 'Leluhur: Singapore's Kampong Gelam' book. This conversation session (during 'Kampong Glam Day Out' organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority or URA) is meant to be a post-book launch event. However, it is now a pre-launch event due to the circumstances that are not within our control. 
Someone asked me if what I am doing (writing and publishing books) is worth all the heartache, pain and 'I'm broke most times' state. I said, I regard my effort as a form of ibadah (service). To seek and spread knowledge is a noble thing. After all, the first word of the Qur’an revealed to the Prophet was Iqra--Read.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Siti Wan Kembang and the Deer

We had an inclusive Storytelling and Dramatisation Event for blind and deaf kids from Lighthouse School, AWWA School, APSN Chaoyang School, MIJ Special Education Hub, kids from Zhangde Primary School and members of the public. 

About the book: With special font, Braille and tactile pictures, this innovative One-for-All book--about a little princess doing good despite being a young orphan--caters to the needs of children with different abilities. 

Guest-of-Honour: President Halimah Yacob 

*Siti Wan Kembang is a tale from Kelantan, Malaysia 

**See photos here 

***See video here

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Panglima Hitam : Black Knights

Since I'm still in my PASKAL craze, I will comment on its amazingly deep and metaphorical OST 'Cabang Tiga' (Three Branches). See video in 'Oh my Paskal!' post. 
The lines that stood out (for me) is the part in red (see also photo above). It means 'Many people boast to show their might but they are like the dog barking at the deer. The deer is calm and humble. Even Parameswara (the first King of Melaka) knew that the dog's fate was at the hand of the deer.'
History lesson: Parameswara went hunting and rested under a shady tree. His hunting dog started barking and chased a deer. The deer which didn't make any noise gave a strong kick till the dog fell into the river.  Parameswara believed that the area he was hunting was blessed and set up a settlement there. He named the state 'Melaka' in conjunction with the tree he had leaned on.


*Di udara bawah air 
Dalam hutan
Panglima hitam kita
Sedia berkorban

Hanya turut perintah

Agong dan Tuhan
Demi kita punya

Kita sentiasa terbaik

Kita sentiasa terbaik
Kita sentiasa terbaik*

Dengan Naga
Bukan Helang
Mahu lawan
Angan-angan nak
Menerawang langit

Hajat yang menggunung
Mahu sapu awan
Yang hujung kaki
Pelangi pun tercalit

Tak betul bila cebol
Cuba capai bulan
Basahnya banyak
Padahal sedikit hujan

Angin kencang kuat
Burung gegar sayap
Bertongkatkan Paruh 
kalau Kepak ranap

[Repeat *]

Tahan nafas cuba lawan
Masuk air
Jangan hangus tak berapi
Karam tak berair

Ada cuba tegakkan
Benang yang basah
Sampan ada tapi
Nak gak berenang kenapa

Makan kalau lapar
Minum kalau haus
Nak lawan ombak
Harus sanggup lawan arus

Kalau laut cukup garam
Kapal tak karam
Jangan kecoh air
Beriak tanda tak dalam

[Repeat *]

Ramai cakap besar
Mahu tunjuk gagah
Tapi macam anjing
Yang menyalak kat pelanduk

Ternampak tenang saja
Tak perlu bermegah
Pohon melaka tahu telur anjing
Di hujung tanduk

[Repeat *]

Saturday, November 03, 2018


'Leluhur: Singapore's Kampong Gelam' book launch scheduled on 3 November 2018 is postponed due to circumstances not within our control.
As per Rousseau, let's exercise patience as its fruit is sweet.