Friday, June 10, 2011


Ahmet Rasim, Türkiye edebiyatında neredeyse her konuda kalem oynatmış üretken yazarlardan. Elimizdeki kitap da, Ahmet Rasim’in 1913 yılında bir gazete için kaleme aldığı Ramazan yazılarından oluşuyor. Buradaki yazılar, Osmanlı’nın çöküş devrinde kaleme alındığı için, bol bol vatan-millet vurgusu yapıyor. Ahmet Rasim, Balkan Savaşları’nda yenilmiş Osmanlı’nın “eski güzel günlerini” özlemle anarak, sık sık Macar ovalarında at koşturan, Tuna’yı her yıl geçen Türkleri methediyor. Fakat yazılar, bundan ziyade, eski Ramazanların nasıl yaşandığıyla ilgili ayrıntılar barındırmalarıyla dikkat çekecek nitelikte. Zira kitapta, Ramazan’ın iftar sofraları, sohbetleri ve gece eğlenceleri; tiryakileri ve oruç bozanları; hatta ağızlık ve fes gibi, Ramazan ayına özgü kıyafetler ve aksesuarlara kadar birçok konu anlatılıyor.
Ahmet Rasim, hazırlayan: Muzaffer Gökman, Kapı Yayınları, deneme,
244 sayfa

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Excerpts from Risale-i Nur

Excerpts from Bediuzzaman Said Nursi’s Risale-i Nur

"He who created the eye of the mosquito is the one who created the sun. The one who ordered the stomach of a flea is also the one who ordered the solar system." Letters/Seeds Of Reality, p.542.

"Do not suppose yourself to be free and independent. For if you look at this guest-house of the world with the eye of wisdom, you will see that nothing at all is without order and without purpose. How can you remain outside the order and be without purpose?" The Words/Fourteenth Word , Conclusion, p.184.

“Every village must have its headman; every needle must have its manufacturer and craftsman. And, as you know, every letter must be written by someone. How, then, can it be that so extremely well-ordered a kingdom should have no ruler?" The Words/Tenth Word , p.60.

"Yes, we look and see that all the atoms in blood are so orderly and perform so many duties that they are not inferior to the stars. All the red and white corpuscles in blood work with such a degree of consciousness in protecting and feeding the body that they are more efficient than the best commissaries or bodyguards. All the cells of the body manifest such orderly processes and incomings and outgoings that their administration is more perfect than the best-run body or palace. All plants and animals bear such a seal on their faces and such machines in their chests that only one who created all of them could situate those seals and machines in their places. And all the species of living beings have spread over the face of the earth in such orderly fashion and have intermingled with the other species having mutual relations with them, that one who could not simultaneously create, administer, regulate, and raise all those species, and not place that veil on the face of the earth, and not weave that most ornate, artistic, living tapestry with its warp and weft of the four hundred thousand plant and animal species - one that could not do all these could not create and administer a single species. If analogies are made with these for other things, it will be understood that in respect of creation and bringing into existence, the universe is a whole that may not be split up into parts, and in respect of dominicality and management is a universal whose division is impossible." The Rays/The Second Ray, Second Station, p.35.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


GoGo Monster, vol. 1, written and illustrated by Taiyo Matsumoto was recently nominated for a book prize somewhere.

The story centers on Yuki Tachibana, a 9-year old bullied introverted student with long unkempt hair who scrawls strange drawings all over desks. That is his real world, but he also lives in another world: a darker world populated by supernatural monsters both large and small fighting for supremacy in a world of chaos.

One reviewer wrote that GoGo Monster is innovative, mesmerizing and memorable...will suck you in and won't let you up for air until the very last page.


Am now reading a dialogue between Linus Pauling and Daisaku Ikeda in A Lifelong Quest for Peace, the English translation published in 2009 by I.B. Tauris, London.

Linus Pauling is the only person ever to have been awarded two unshared Nobel Prizes, one for Chemistry in 1954 and one for Peace in 1962. According to Ikeda, he is considered as one of the greatest scientists and deserves to stand with Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Curie and Einstein.

Apart from advocating Vitamin C, he has consistently promoted opposition to the use of military force. Daisaku Ikeda was the third president of the Soka Gakkai, a lay Buddhist organization whose goal was to promote Nichiren Sho-shu, or "true" Nichiren Buddhism, worldwide. His peace dialogues has earned him hundreds of academic awards in addition to the UN Peace Award in 1983.

Based on the blurb, this book which is “richly anecdotal and warmly engaging....ranges over...critical themes as ethics and technology, the appropriate use of which science should be put, the nature of morality and the human quest for progress, justice and equality...”

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


George Orwell pernah berkata bahawa "autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful" manakala menurut Quentin Crisp, “an autobiography is an obituary in serial form with the last installment missing.”

Walau apa pun perkara negatif yang dikatakan tentang autobiografi, hakikatnya kini ia dikelompokkan sebagai bahan sumber sejarah yang sangat penting. Ini kerana terdapat banyak maklumat penting yang dapat memberi pemahaman baru daripada apa yang terkandung di dalamnya.

Sifat autobiografi yang berbentuk pendedahan dapat memaparkan sesuatu yang jauh lebih mendalam daripada laporan jurnalistik. Yang lebih penting, autobiografi dapat meneroka minda dan jiwa penulis. Dengan demikian karya-karya riwayat hidup yang ditulis dengan baik dapat memberi suatu perspektif sejarah yang segar dan dapat menghasilkan suara-suara kesusasteraan selain memberi sumbangan ke arah kesedaran budaya.

Demikianlah yang diharapkan bagi buku Seribu Satu Kenangan: Autobiografi 10 Sasterawan Utara yang disunting oleh Dr Pisol Maidin. Buku ini merupakan antologi sumbangan individu dalam bentuk pelukisan riwayat hidup yang ringkas oleh lapan orang penulis Kedah dan dua orang penulis Perlis. Penulis-penulis tersebut merupakan karyawan genre fiksyen yang tidak asing lagi dalam dunia sastera Malaysia. Walaupun terkenal, kisah hidup dan pandangan peribadi mereka tidak banyak diketahui kerana kurangnya penulisan tentang diri sendiri penulis-penulis tersebut. Dengan demikian, buku ini tentulah dapat mengisi ruang-ruang kosong yang dimaksudkan.

Empat daripada penulis dalam antologi ini dilahirkan pada tahun 1930-an manakala empat lagi lahir sama ada pada tahun 1940 atau 1941. Tulisan-tulisan mereka ternyata mengimbau sejarah dan peristiwa lebih setengah abad dahulu. Dengan demikian buku ini tentulah mempunyai nilai sebagai sumber sejarah sosial.

Dr Pisol Maidin bukan sahaja telah merangka dan menyusun dengan kemas tetapi juga telah menelitinya dengan baik sehingga berjaya menghasilkan antologi ini yang penting untuk dijadikan sumber ilham dan panduan khususnya bagi penulis-penulis muda. Bagi para pengkaji, karya ini bukan sahaja boleh dijadikan rujukan penting tentang latar belakang penulis tetapi juga tentang peristiwa, suasana dan persekitaran yang wujud semasa kehidupan penulis tersebut.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I have just finished evaluating a manuscript which was given to me by a “literary agent” friend, Mohd Halimi Abdul Hamid, less than a month ago. The manuscript immediately captured my attention not only because it reads like a memoir which is one of my favourite genre but also because I know the writer and I had once travelled with him in 2001 to a war-zone Kashmir for a humanitarian mission.

And in February 2003, he was detained by the Malaysian police under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for allegedly being involved in a global terrorist network. That shocked many people who knew him personally including me who sees him as very humble, kind, gentle and honest. But as a retired lieutenant-colonel who had earlier served with the UN peacekeepers in Bosnia, he is smart and has a strong physical and moral courage.

There was never any slightest indication that he was a criminal or had any link with terrorist groups. Yet, he had been named by the Security Council Committee [established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) concerning Al-Qaida and the Taliban and Associated Individuals and Entities] as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorists” along with others such as Nordin Mohd Top, Wan Min Wan Mat, Mukhlis Yunos, Zaini Zakaria, Fathur Rohman Al-Ghozi, Agus Dwikarna, Huda bin Abdul Haq, and Azahari Husin.

It is unbelievable that he could have been “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of Jemaah Islamiyah” as written in the charge sheet.

This manuscript is his personal account, a memoir remembering the tragedies of his more that three years ISA detention, the chilling and heartbreaking experience in the war-torn Bosnia, and his involvement in voluntarily organisations. It is a fascinating narrative as well as timely and important.

However, it has an obvious weakness that it is not so much a memoir as a commentary or a monologue. It would have had a much more impact had the writer made the narrative of what happened his primary focus and integrate his commentary and monologue into the story.

Since it is still a draft, I hope to see the improvement and to be able to recommend to others when it comes out of the press.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


What are the reading preferences of Malaysian readers for non-fiction?

Our preliminary findings from about 500 respondents indicate that general interest titles are the most preferred, followed by religious, sciences, business and politics.

Based on age groups, political titles are likely to be read more by mature adults and historical titles are preferred by youth (13-17 yrs old: 15%) and younger adults (18-25 yrs old: 7.3%). Religious books are more likely to be read by people at the ages of 41-55 and 18-25.