At long last, with a sigh of relief
I can say that I have just put the finishing touches to my next book, A Map of Trengganu
(AMoT), and it is now at the printers to be printed, covered, bound and dressed up for somewhere to go: the Kuala Lumpur Bookfair 23rd April - 1st May.
Already I'm all nervous and draped in cold sweat thinking how it will fare when exposed to the sunlight of this mad, wide world. But it will be another one for my slim shelf of modest scribblings anyway, and good luck to the publisher and distributor with the two-thousand or so copies lying idle in their warehouse. I have already said to myself and those who have asked that AMoT shall be my last book about Trengganu.
AMoT will be different from GUiT in some small ways. It will have more original writing than GUiT which came to this world as a garden of Kecek-Kecek gleaned from the years. I have written many long pieces and re-written many of those that were picked from here to put between AMoT's covers. And our wonderful designer Sinead in Ireland has done a beautiful cover for AMoT that I am sure will delight all you bookshop browsers who delight in looking at a book in a bookshop and replacing it onto the shelf once you've read page 99 while the impoverished author struggles to keep warm at home on a diet of stale bread and cold water. (Who was it who recommended testing a book this way anyway?)
I hope some of you will buy the book even if it isn't big enough to stop your door. I hope too that all those people who did me the honour with GUiT will do the same come April. Meantime, here's a snippet from a page of A Map of Trengganu
, not page 99, but another:
Unhinged By ThoughtA message in the head transferred to paper
; he’d insert it into the crack in the lamp post, sometimes he’d pin it to the lumber. Thoughts from his troubled past, written in Jawi, always in Jawi, the Arabic script adapted for Malay sounds, pencilled in the adept hand of an experienced scribe onto scraps of white school exercise-book paper and left there to flap in the gust of passing vehicles.
No one took any notice of Haji Chik’s notes, the rants of this dishevelled man, hair uncombed, greying at the temples and wisps of curls, his batik sarung pulled knee-high, reeking with the dirt and dust of Tanjong. Distant thoughts, the angst of now, put into the squiggles of a lead pencil in disgruntled bits fallen on rocks of despair. In daytime he produced his handiwork, impervious to the people who’d pay him no mind anyhow, he’d walk into Pök Löh’s café to give a vigorous stir in his teacup as he soliloquised.
There were signs in Kuala Trengganu and writings on the wall, some painted large in the hands of Che Omar, a gangly shadow of what he once had been, with never a shirt on his back, his sinewy legs protruding from dark khaki shorts, never weary from daily travel, always a bucket in hand and a paint brush. He walked with purpose, never fast, his bucket of whitewash connected to his head, expressing thoughts that he’d paintbrush onto the walls of Trengganu. Lofty Omarian thoughts gleaming on Trengganu walls in whitewash, some outside the old building that later became a Catholic church where he and his companion lived.
Labels: A Map of Trengganu, AMoT, GUIT