On Trengganuspeak and the Spirit of Trengganu

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Three Weeks to Now

My last book-signing appearance,
Sunday 8th May, at Borders, the Gardens.
Three weeks have gone and I'm back here, at base, and it has been very exhilarating and very tiring too. And I'd like to thank all you people who braved the traffic, impossible parking arrangements and impetuous cab drivers and impossible horrendous shopping malls to be at the book-signings. Thank you MPH and thank you Borders who hosted the last book-signing at their Gardens outlet, and they brought in some delicious East Coast kuih from Wau Penyu!

Needless to say the experience has been something special for me to meet all you good people who have been kind, generous and a great change from all that shortbread that I have been nibbling while sitting before the flickering screen of an old steam-powered PC. Good-hearted people are less damaging to the waistline and more nutritious for the soul. I love you all.

I met some heart-breaking people too in my travels but I shall not write about them here. They shall be consigned to a place less merry. They shall be Elsewhere.

When a man in Dungun, or in Marang or in Besut says “Aku nök gi Teganung sekejak,” where is he gallivanting to? How could that be when he or she is already in Trengganu? Well, the place they are going to and the direction their SatNavs are set for is Kuala Trengganu. I hope that answers a question I have been asked: why do you give your book the title A Map of Trengganu when all it speaks about is Kuala Trengganu?

That's the simple answer. The more difficult one needs some reading because, in the Introduction to AMoT I did express the hope that Growing Up in Trengganu and this present one will together shape a map of Trengganu. So the two books are complementary.

So my thanks to all of you too numerous to mention, but I must mention two persons I am deeply indebted to: Raja Ahmad of RA Fine Arts who very kindly provided the venue for our Celebration of AMoT on Sunday 1st May and to Fazli Ibrahim who organised the do. It was a wonderful day for me and I hope you enjoyed it too.

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Thursday, May 05, 2011

Thank you My Dear Friends...

...And good reading people.

News just in shows that A Map of Trengganu is Number 2 on MPH's non-fiction list (Number 1 is Tun Mahathir's recently published memoirs, A Doctor in the House); and Growing Up in Trengganu is at Number 12.

From what I've heard from APD, our distributors, Monsoon Books in Singapore no longer holds stocks of GUiT, meaning another print order, the 4th, will have to be done very soon as it is also becoming rare in the shops.

Last week I ordered 90 extra copies of AMoT for the Celebration at RA Fine Arts: The Gallery. APD telephoned me to ask if they could have them back as they are also running low of AMoT and Singapore has none left in their warehouse.

I am very, very grateful to you people out there, my friends all.

Monday, May 02, 2011

A Map of My Travels

We had a lovely time, then the band played on.

Dato Andre Goh, accompanied by Dewangga Sakti,
singing my favourite Tudung Periuk.
The celebration that we had for A Map of Trengganu was a raving, raging success. Thanks to everyone who helped: Fazli, Kak Teh, Ishak Nengah, the Dewangga Sakti group and everyone at RA Fine Arts: The Gallery that agreed to work on May Day. And a big thank you especially for Raja Ahmad for lending us the venue.
The Old BBC Duo.
I thought I had strayed into someone else’s party, there were so many great people. Dato’ Jimmy Choo was there and Dato’ Andre Goh who sang my favourite Tudung Periuk. And then Trengganu’s favourite Adnang Osmang sang his ditty and Dodi delivered a most amazing rendition of the Syair Awang Goneng, accompanied by the Dewangga Sakti people. It took me by surprise, and I just stood there in the background, speechless. Somewhere among the crowd was Dato Raja Baharin, the man who designed the splendid floating mosque in Kuala Terengganu, and Tengku Ismail Su, the Duke of Trengganu songket was there too.

The Amazing Dodi reciting the Syaer Awang Goneng.
What was conceived as a little celebration with family and friends became a roaring success. I saw so many old friends in the crowd, so many former colleagues in the New Straits Times, many friends that I had made from the blogs, and many-many more people I wish I had known and met, and they were all there: Dato' Rejal Arbee, Dr Lee Soo Kim, Leung Thong Ping, Dr Sean Foley, Sharon Bakar, Adnan Osman, Pokku...just in one corner.

Pak Daud, the man I mentioned in AMoT, p. 197, was there too. He made this special trip with his wife from Kuala Terengganu. Thank you, thank you. You were celebrities too, like Jimmy Choo.
Faces in the Crowd.
A big thank you too to my sister Wan Asma who baked all the Trengganu cakes: jala mas, ropa, akok, Trengganu curry puffs, and she had time still after that to fry some mee.

Many more were lost in their travels. This Solaris Dutamas place proved to be such a needle in a haystack of modern high rise towers that some just gave up and went home. Others were taken to another Solaris, just a stone’s throw away. A very old friend I’d not seen for many, many years – since our student days in London in fact, came on a wheel chair pushed by his son. They were seen wandering in an adjoining building, and then, somehow, arrived at the right building. Only to be driven back by the lack of amenities for disabled people in this ultra modern development. He just bade me farewell at ground floor level, promising to make contact another day.
Reading at MPH Mid Valley

The previous day I did a book signing at MPH bookstore in Mid Valley. I was overwhelmed by so many wonderful people there too.

My final appearance here (promise)will be at Borders at the Gardens, 8th May, 3 -5 pm. Borders tell me they are making this a Terengganu afternoon, with Terengganu cakes and A Map of Trengganu. Hope to see you there.

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