Saturday, 28 April 2012

One book is ready

I'm happy to inform everyone that one book is ready today. I saw the galley from Xlibris earlier today. The front cover has an ancient feel and the back cover has 43 faces of the early Malay doctors. The galley has 388 pages. Pending ISBN from the Library of Congress (doesn't state Australia or USA). The other ISBNs are available. This book should be out in the market soon. The title is Research on the Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore. Here are some early details I have:

Author: Faridah Abdul Rashid

Total no. of pages: 388
Description of contents: 
This book tells how research was done for The Early Malay DoctorsA detailed account of the meaning of the word ‘Malay’ is given, in due recognition of the high status accorded to Malay Civilisation in the Malay annals and Chinese chronicles. The lives of the early Malay doctors were traced over nine years in modern Malaysia and Singapore. The techniques deployed to trace them are also masterfully explained. The sources of the doctors’ biographies are aptly described, which include interviews, narratives, family accounts, newspapers, publications, and contacting their former institutions, friends and associations. Apart from a brief one-page biography for each doctor, there are thirty appendices that contain tabulated information about these doctors, information about the early schools, medical institutions and hospitals at the time. A glossary and a list of index appear at the end. This book is a good resource for researching about how to research on The Early Malay Doctors. It indirectly teaches strategies and techniques which researchers may otherwise overlook.

Copyright (C) 2012 Faridah Abdul Rashid

Library of Congress Control Number: PENDING
Hardcover: 978-1-4691-7244-6
Softcover: 978-1-4691-7243-9
EBook:     978-1-4691-7245-3

To order additional copies of this book, contact:
Xlibris Corporation

To request a complimentary paperback review copy, contact the publisher at 1-800-618-969. To purchase copies of the book for resale, please fax Xlibris at (02) 8282-5055 or call 1-800-618-969.  Xlibris books can be purchased at Xlibris bookstore. For more information, contact Xlibris at 1-800-618-969 or on the web at

PS: Manuscript for the second book was submitted last night, 27 April 2012. The submitted title is Biography of the Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore. No. of pages submitted 599.
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Manuscript Submitted to Xlibris

27 April 2012

I have submitted my full manuscript to Xlibris for checking content and for copy-editing.
I submitted 214.1MB of files to ****
I sent big files & zip files (max 300MB)
Now I wait for Xlibris to reply.

These are the files I uploaded to sendspace server (
  1. 501451 Manuscript FAR 27April2012, 2.312MB (DOC)
  2. Copy of 501451 with images-signed 43.018MB (PDF)
  3. 501451 Summary (17KB)
  4. 501451 Author biography 27April2012 (27KB)
  5. 501451 Inside images - files 1-43 (421 images, 42MB)
  6. 501451 Frontispiece
  7. 501451 Alternative frontispiece
  8. 501451 3 Maps
  9. 501451 Bookmark 27April2012
  10. 501451 Book cover
Submitted title: Biography of the Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore
Manuscript is approx. 600 pages.
Content checking takes 1-2 weeks.
Copy-editing takes 2-6 months.
Printing: target after Aidilfitri, by October 2012 (insyaAllah) - will update 

Marketing matters:
Book Fair PWTC 2012 - tak sempat

Please check at Amazon. At Amazon, the price is in US Dollars.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Recovered Work

Microsoft Word (the program) is what I use for  writing. It has a defect (built-in) that gives writers a scare. This is an account of what happened, what I did to recover my work and the status of writing.

26 April 2012 (After Asar, 6 pm)
As I was typing, a MS Word error message appeared suddenly on the screen. It says "Microsoft has stopped working". Then it shuts down - all the open MS Word windows closed. Up comes another query window asking for my next move.  I answered to the effect of 'do an Autorecovery and use a Normal template". Hope was all I had. 

26 April 2012 (After Maghrib, 8.29 pm)
I checked to see if I still had anything recovered. There were 3 MS Word documents in the working file:-
1) Manuscript 2.11MB
2) Copy Manuscript with images 102MB; it stalled at page 410 of 600.
3) Biography of one the early Malay doctors (Dr Mohamed Noor bin Marahakim).

There were 3 documents that needed to be saved from the above Autorecovery process.  So I saved the 3 opened documents and went on with typing as usual. When I saved, it displays "Word is saving Copy Manuscript with images" in the bottom menu bar.

26 April 2012 (After Isya', 11.48 pm)
After some amount of typing, the same thing happened - "Microsoft has stopped working". All the MS Word documents closed and disappeared. The same query window asked what I wanted to do next: "Will automatically save it to normal doc. template. Do you want to save it?" I clicked Yes and saved all the opened documents. It displays "Saving AutoRecovery file Copy Manuscript with images". Other times it says "Word is Saving Copy Manuscript with images".
I continued typing till I had transferred all images into the text-only manuscript. This is a big document and needs a lot of RAM. I had installed sufficient RAM when I bought my laptop. To make things easy, I closed all the other programs and documents and only the big manuscript was on my screen.  

27 April 2012 (After midnight, 1.15 am)
I printed a PDF of the 598 pages (222,609 words) = 42MB (minus front Cover, Content, Index, and back Cover). I checked everything else was in order and then went to sleep at 2.30 am.

27 April 2012 (After breakfast, 10.22 am)
I haven't checked to see what happened to my full manuscript (DOC and PDF).
I will need to check all the sub-titles for all the 43 biographies and also the footnotes (that they all use Times Roman font 10 pt; some are still Trebuchet 10pt). I also need to remove sensitive info. Lastly, I need to re-do the Preface. Then I can submit to Xlibris for copy-editing (proof-reading), etc.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Lost Work?

At about 6 pm today, while I was working on my draft at USM, I lost my 600 pages of text and pictures which I wanted to submit today for printing. 

What happened was the MS Word that I was using could not cope. I think I must have busted the program altogether. 

I will take a look again tonight and see what I can recover of that 600 pages.

I will then write to Microsoft and see what they can do about their program.

Pray that things will be ok.

Happy Birthday

Today, 26 April 2012, is the birthday of 2 of our contributors. One is my eldest daughter, Nuraishah Bazilah bt Affandi. The other is a great contributor from Singapore, Dr Mohamed Tahir bin Ahmad Ibrahim. Let me elaborate on each contributor.


She was born at Hospital USM (HUSM) in Kelantan, where I work. I prepared myself and the needed operation utensils for my own surgery. You can imagine trying to do this at 8-9 months pregnancy. And the best thing was, HUSM lifts were improperly installed and we had lots of problems with the lifts initially. What happened was I was in one of the faulty lifts at the 8th floor and there was power failure while I was still in the lift. What happened? I went down with the lift and when I was conscious I had landed. But what went wrong was the baby inside me gave me problems and I started to bleed. Upon check-up I had 2 choices - to evacuate the womb or let things settle down. I went in for emergency surgery - one of the ugliest and most painful surgery that was never done in HUSM. I cried as I had no choice, either I live or the baby lives, or the baby dies or we both die. Because it was a life and death thing, I decided to give surgery a try and made my last prayer that I would never see the world again and let my baby live. An emergency surgery had to be called and my anaesthetist was still swimming at Club Med in Cherating. He had to fly back. My surgeon was an Indian lady whose last surgical procedure was 8 years before 1984. Her co-surgeon on the team was a young Malay doctor, possibly 2 years my senior. I sort of knew who else were on the team and the workers who would be supervising me throughout. They cut me up on a Thursday at 3.30 pm after everyone went home for the weekend. The hospital was quiet the day I was cut open. I don't recall what time I came through but people around me said when I was sub-conscious, I was reading Surah Al-Ikhlas, over and over, and when they told me to stop, I didn't stop. When I was conscious I was still reading Surah Al-Ikhlas. So my eldest daughter was born in this manner. She came in at less than 3 kg. She had bright yellow hair (blonde) which got everyone shocked! When I saw my baby for the first time, she was still sleeping and I too wondered why she had yellow hair. The nurses started coming personally and started asking me whether I had an affair with a Mat Salleh! Can you imagine that?! I said there are no Mat Salleh in Kelantan and that I didn't sleep around at the beaches. For a long time I couldn't find an answer for why my little baby was a blonde. I thought very hard and suddenly I remembered seeing many of my ascendants as blondes. So, my little baby girl carried the blonde gene in her. I decided to trim away her yellow hair because people started talking. I never told people around me that some of my ancestors were Orang Putih and that they were blonde and with blue & green eyes. That's because it is very very very rare to find a Malay with yellow hair and coloured eyes other than black or brown. After many years of hopes and also fear, my daughter became a Chinese girl with slant eyes. She became so Chinese that an Australian bus driver thought I was a nun looking after some Chinese orphans! Of course I just smiled. What is special about my eldest daughter?  She likes stars and the blue sky. She took up Aerospace Engineering and is now completing her MSc. I am supposed to do proof-reading for her this Monday. She had followed my research on The Early Malay Doctors since 2002 when she was 18. She is 28 today. She has helped me to find evidence of the first Malay doctor, Dr Latifah Bee Ghows. She sent me a newspaper clipping of Dr Latifah Bee Ghows. She also helped take photos of Tan Sri Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin when I interviewed him on 11 May 2007 at his home in PJ. I think at that time she was new to the digital camera or my camera was difficult for her to operate. So the photos did not come out ok except for 2 pieces which I can use for my book. I have not called her yet nor emailed her. I did not have time last year too. "Happy 28th Birthday"!


I am very lucky to have him as a contributor for this research. I found his father (Tan Sri Prof Dr Ahmad Ibrahim) in Geni, then I found a sister who was a graduate of USM in Pharmacy. She referred me to her eldest brother who responded towards the end of January 2011. I had actually closed the research on The Early Malay Doctors as I had thought I had completed the needed research and the next step was to submit my manuscript. However, he responded with information for 2 early Malay doctors in Singapore - Dr Mohamed Ibrahim bin Shaik Ismail and Dr HS Moonshi. I had to decide whether to postpone manuscript submission and work on the additional  2 doctors, or forget them this time around and continue with my plans for manuscript submission. I wrote to USM Publishers that I had contact for 2 additional doctors and would like to continue research and writing, which I did from Jan 2011 to Jan 2012. Towards the end of 2011, I obtained further information about 2 other doctors - Dr Abdul Aziz Omar and Dr Abbas bin Haji Alias. As I had 4 doctors to work on, I hardly had time to do anything else but research and writing on the 4 doctors. Despite his age catching up, Dr Mohamed Tahir helped a great deal as he had met both the Singaporean doctors and that was a big help for this research. The details were very hard to obtain but we finally got all that was needed for the 2 biographies of the 2 Singaporean doctors. Though busy with clinic practice, he helped me and read the draft biographies for the 2 doctors and searched for more evidences and photos. He met and interviewed a lot of people on my behalf, in order to get the info needed for the 2 chapters. He also took photos of the old College of Medicine building and the Tan Tock Seng Hospital when he had time despite his hectic schedule. So he put in a lot of effort for this research and wrote articles for the blog - Singapore Hospitals. I am very grateful that he did all that he did for this research. TQ. "Happy 68th Birthday"!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Obituary: Aris bin Abdul Aziz

 Surah Al Fatihah


This sad news is from Prof. Baharuddin Aris about his father's demise, which I received today, and which made me cry:

"My dad, Aris bin Haji Abdul Aziz (nephew to Dr Hamzah), is among the contributors to Professor Faridah's book. He recently passed away in Johor Bahru on March 8, 2012." 

[from: Prof. Baharuddin Aris,Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 12:38 PM] 

Allahyarham Encik Aris bin Haji Abdul Aziz (1934-2012)


Aris was born in 1934 in Johor, the fifth of six siblings. His parents were Haji Abdul Aziz and Hajjah Hasnah bt Orang Kaya Md Yassin. Aris was a direct descendant of Orang Kaya Ringgit from his mother. Aris was the nephew of Dr Hamzah bin Md Taib (1900-1955), an early Malay doctor.

Aris with his parents as featured in Jendela Selatan Bil. 7, Disember 2003.

As a teenager (at age 15-16) in the 1950s, Aris had met Dr Hamzah as Aris’ father was close to Dr Hamzah. Aris was a bright student who completed his Cambridge exams at age 14 years. He was the youngest at his school. His intelligence attracted Dr Hamzah who wanted to adopt him, as he had four daughters then but no sons yet.

En Aris worked as an officer in the Johor State Government. He retired early in 1984 at the age of 50.

Aris as a young government officer in Johor.


His father, Haji Abdul Aziz bin Haji Md Taib married Hajjah Hasnah bt Orang Kaya Md Yassin bin Orang Kaya Md Salleh bin Orang Kaya Ringgit. Haji Abdul Aziz was the Penguasa Kastam Johor while Hajjah Hasnah was a Bugis homemaker.

His siblings were: Haji Junid (deceased), Hajjah Mariam (deceased), Md Yassin, Hajjah Maimunah, (Aris) and Hajjah Halimah. 

Grandfather, father and sons - 3 generations of Aris' family

En Aris married Maznah bt Muhammad, who also worked with the Johor State Government. She too retired the same year at the age of 48. His wife had passed away in 1999 at the age of 63 (1936-1999). 

With his beloved wife (both deceased)

En Aris' two sons are Prof. Dr Haji Baharuddin and Ir Izaddin.

Prof. Baharuddin is a Professor of Multimedia and Internet-based Learning at UTM Skudai in Johor. On 15 May 2001, he became the First Malaysian to be listed in the Who’s Who In Instructional Technology on the World Wide Web, verified by the Malaysia Book of Records.

Ir. Izaddin is a consultant engineer with a Swiss multinational based in Switzerland.


En Aris (then 74 years in 2009) had lived in his four-bedroom bungalow near Yayasan Pelajar Johor (YPJ) in Larkin Jaya, Johor Bahru.

To get to his house, take the North-South Highway to Kempas Baru and turn off into Jalan Langkasuka, the house is before the traffic lights.


En Aris passed away on 8 March 2012, aged 77. His death was informed by his son, Prof. Baharuddin Aris on 25 April 2012.


En Aris was very helpful to this research. He was contacted through his son, Prof. Baharuddin.

Dr Hamzah’s roots were informed by Encik Aris bin Abdul Aziz on 5-8 January 2008. He gave a detailed account of Dr Hamzah's life.

Among other things, Encik Aris explained many things in Johor history. He explained about Malay marriages and the meaning of salin tikar. He also explained the meaning of the term anak Muar. He emphasized the greatness of the Malay people especially those from Muar whom he knew, their families, links and roots.

He contributed in writing and drawing up the various family trees and added so much detail. He supplied the very important bulletin, Jendela Selatan, which was otherwise difficult to obtain. He supplied many photos for the author to keep.

It was very easy to write Dr Hamzah's biography after Encik Aris had explained all the details.

He also checked the several drafts of Dr Hamzah's biography and would immediately call the author if he noticed any inconsistency, error or something was wrongly worded. He carefully checked all the details in Dr Hamzah's biography till he was happy with it. He was happy in the end and thanked the author for writing about his favourite uncle.

We will certainly miss him as he was a great contributor to this research since 2008.

We convey our condolences/ucapan takziah to his sons and give him the reward for reading Al-Fatihah. Please read Al-Fatihah for him. May he attain Husnul Khatimah and may his soul be placed among the soleheens and all the great people in Islam, insyaAllah.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rojiuun.
We belong to Allah SWT and to Him we shall return.

Prof Faridah
3.09 p.m.
25 April 2012
USM in Kelantan

Masjid Sultan in Singapore

The Sultan Mosque is a good historical landmark and is also convenient for checking data on the early Malay doctors.

The new Masjid Sultan was built in 1928, after the Straits Settlement and Federated Malay States Government Medical School was started by the British in Singapore in 1905. 

Some of the early Malay doctors who studied medicine in Singapore between 1905 and 1928 could have come to pray in the old mosque. The dental school was not started before 1928, so no dental students should be in the name list. Old photos of the early Malay doctors before 1928 should show the old mosque (low building with 3-tiered roof) and not the recent mosque with domes, minarets and arched doorways.

Photos around 1928 when the new mosque was ready should show a brand new mosque and without trees. The trees could have come in much later.

The doctors who were studying in the late 1920s (around the time the new mosque was being built) could have also seen the new mosque being built, unless they went for Friday prayers elsewhere.

What I do have on record from the Research on the Early Malay Doctors for this date, 1905-1928?

I have 8-9 early Malay doctors who were in Singapore before 1928. They would have prayed in the former Masjid Sultan. It would be great to find photos of them at the old mosque, if any.
  1. Dr Abdul Latiff bin Abdul Razak 1910/1911
  2. Dr Samsudin Kassim 1912
  3. Dr Ali Othman Merican (he was in Singapore briefly and left for Hong Kong)
  4. Dr Pandak Ahmad bin Alang Sidin 1916
  5. Dr Mohamed Ibrahim bin Shaik Ismail 1916
  6. Dr HS Moonshi 1916
  7. Dr Ismail M Ghows 1917
  8. Dr Kamil M Ariff 1917
  9. Dr SM Baboo 1917

It is quite difficult to tell apart the old mosque from a low building which could be part of a Malay palace. Most Malay palaces are single-storey and low-lying, except Istana Kg Gelam. A photo of Dr AO Merican in Malay attire (baju Melayu with kain sampin and tanjak) in front of a low-looking building could be the old mosque (Masjid Sultan) or could be part of an old  palace (Istana Sultan Kelantan). It is hard to tell.

I have only 3 names of doctors who could have seen the newly built Masjid Sultan. It would be great to find photos of them at the newly built mosque, if any.
  1. Dr Abdul Samat bin Pagak 1928
  2. Dr Nizamuddin bin Ahmad 1929
  3. Dr Che Lah bin Md Joonos 1930

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Sultan Hussein Mua'zzam Shah ibni Mahmud Shah Alam

I was trying to find the full name of Sultan Hussein when I stumbled upon him in Wikipedia. The story in Wikipedia is very sad indeed. The story in Facebook is also very sad.

Sultan Mahmud Shah III (d.1812)

The Sultan of Johor-Riau, Sultan Mahmud Shah III died in 1812 after reigning for more than fifty years, naming no formal heir to the throne. He left behind two sons with two different women, both of whom were of Buginese extraction. As the older son, Tengku Hussein stood the better chance of succeeding his father in favour of his younger half-brother, Tengku Abdul Rahman by primogeniture. Tengku Hussein, however, was away in Pahang at the time of his father's demise.

Sultan Hussein Mua'zzam Shah ibni Mahmud Shah Alam (b.1776 – d.5 September 1835)

(a) Sultan Hussein in Singapore

He was the 18th ruler of Johor. He was best remembered for his role as a signatory for two treaties with the British which culminated in the founding of modern Singapore; during which he was given recognition as the Sultan of Johor and Singapore in 1819 and the Sultan of Johor in 1824. However, Sultan Hussein's status as the Sultan was no more than a puppet monarch, at least during the first few years of his reign. Towards his last years of his term and during the first half of his son's reign as the Sultan of Johor, limited recognition was given by a few nobles and the British were accorded mainly with the purpose of their own economic and political gains. 

Biodata of Sultan Hussein

Tengku Hussein's father was Sultan Mahmud Shah. His mother was Cik Makoh. 

This name, Cik Makoh, sounds very much Kelantanese and it could refer to a lady from Makkah, ie, of Arabic descent. Cik is the Kelantanese word for mother. Mak Cik means aunt or lesser mother/younger mother/smaller mother. But it says Buginese/Bugis. Could it be Bugis Arab?

At the time, the throne was in Lingga, not in Malacca. So Tengku Hussien had to sail back to Lingga when the monsoon winds were right. Of course the succession dispute occurred. The primary consort (Engku Putri Hamidah) wanted Tengku Hussein to succeed his father. The Temenggong and the Malay nobles supported Tengku Hussein. Raffles then came into the picture.

(i) Sir Stamford Raffles 1818

In 1818, Sir Stamford Raffles was appointed as the governor of Bencoolen (Bengkulu) on western Sumatra. 

Raffles was convinced that the British needed to establish a new base in Southeast Asia in order to compete with the Dutch. Why did the British compete with the Dutch? Many in the British East India Company opposed such idea but Raffles managed to convince Lord Hastings of the Company, then Governor General of British India, to side with him. With the governor general's consent, he and his expedition set out to search for a new base. Where did Raffles go to?

Raffles' expedition arrived in Singapore on 29 January 1819. He discovered a small Malay settlement at the mouth of Singapore River headed by a Temenggung (governor) of Johor. Singapore River is still there today?

Though the island was nominally ruled by the sultanate (but was far away in Lingga), the political situation there was extremely murky. The incumbent Sultan, Tengku Abdul Rahman, was under the influence of the Dutch and the Bugis and would therefore never agree to a British base in Singapore. This means that Singapore was a Malay island and belonged to Indonesia. No wonder there are a lot of Indonesians in Singapore, even today. Singapore does not belong to Malaya or Malaysia. It is Indonesian. It also has an ancient Indonesian name - Temasek or Tumasik (referring to the swamp around Singapore River mouth).

Upon learning of these Johor political tensions, Raffles made a deal with Hussein Shah. Their agreement stated that the British would acknowledge Hussein Shah as the legitimate ruler of Johor, and thus Tengku Hussein and the Temenggung would receive a yearly stipend from the British. In return, Tengku Hussein would allow Raffles to establish a trading post in Singapore. This treaty was ratified on 6 February 1819. In Facebook it says 3 generations (Hussein, Ali and another) all get a stipend paid by Singapore. But why did Raffles take the entire island and only left Istana Kg Gelam and Masjid Sultan for the Malays today? What allowed Raffles to take the entire island when here it says he wanted to establish a trading post - which could mean just a building. How and why did Raffles take the entire island? Was this a legal move? I don't think so. Did Raffles cheat the Malays? Yes, I think so.

(ii) The Johor Throne 1822

Sultan Abdul Rahman
The British successfully sidelined Dutch political influence by proclaiming Sultan Hussein as the Sultan of Johor and Singapore to acquire legal recognition in their sphere of influence in Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia. The legitimacy of Sultan Hussein's proclamation as the Sultan of Johor and Singapore, was by all accounts not recognised by the Malay rulers and his title only served as a nominal title. I think the British used Tengku Hussein's position to get Singapore and further access to the Straits Settlements. Temenggong Abdul Rahman's position, on the other hand, was strengthened as the signing of the treaties detached him the influence of Raja Ja'afar. The Dutch took the bold initiative of taking the royal regalia from Engku Putri Hamidah by force after hearing of rumours of Sultan Hussein requesting British aid to get hold of the regalia. I think here again, we see illegal use of force by the Dutch who mistreated the queen/primary consort. In November 1822, Sultan Abdul Rahman was installed as the Sultan of Lingga, complete with the royal regalia. In the later part of his reign, growing British influence pressurised some Malay nobles, particularly Bendahara Ali to grant recognition to Sultan Hussein's legitimacy. Sultan Abdul Rahman, who had devoted himself to religion, became contented with his political sphere of influence in Lingga, where his family continued to maintain his household under the administrative direction of Raja Ja'afar who ruled under the auspices of the Dutch. However, unresolved legal ambiguity in the legitimacy various local affairs, such as the status of Johor and Pahang, which was the de jure property of the Dutch-aligned Sultan Abdul Rahman and his successors, yet the 1824 treaty would not allow Sultan Abdul Rahman to exert political authority over Johor and Pahang. In the light of these circumstances, the Temenggong and Bendahara increasingly exerted their independent authority. Also, largely as a result of the strong British influence in the Malay Peninsula, the continuously changing political dynamics gradually relegated these legitimacy disputes. (In 1857, the Sultan of Lingga, Sultan Mahmud Muzaffar Shah, who was also de jure head of the royal house of Johor, Pahang and Lingga, made a vociferous claim to his legitimacy of as the rightful ruler of these states and briefly sparked off a civil war in Pahang.)

(iii) Anglo-Dutch Treaty 1824

With the Temenggung's help, Raffles managed to smuggle Hussein Shah, then living in exile on one of the Riau Islands, back into Singapore. Riau is mid way between Singapore and Lingga. Riau is closer to Singapore in the north. Lingga is closer to Java in the south.

The Dutch were extremely displeased with Raffles' action. Tensions between the Dutch and British over Singapore persisted until 1824, until they signed the Anglo-Dutch Treaty. Under the terms of that treaty, the Dutch officially withdrew their opposition to the British presence in Singapore. The treaty has the effect of carving the Johor Empire into two spheres of influence; modern Johor under the British and the new Sultanate of Riau under the Dutch. The treaty was concluded in London, between the British and the Dutch, effectively break up of the Johor-Riau Empire into two. I think this was the biggest mistake and followed the British 'divide and rule policy'. What are the terms of this treaty? Does it say that Raffles can get the entire island?

(iv) Istana Kampung Gelam 1820s

Sultan Husein Shah lived at Istana Kampong Gelam, Singapore. The palace is still there.


Sultan Gate (pintu pagar depan istana Kg Gelam). From Google Map.
Side gate of Istana Kg Gelam (faces Masjid Sultan). Photo my me.
Plaque of Istana Kg Gelam, at its side gate. Photo by me.
View of Istana Kg Gelam inside its grounds, from the perahu pinisiq replica on display.
Photo by me.
Close-up of Istana Kg Gelam. Photo by me.
(Internet photos)

For pictures of people who lived in the Istana Kg Gelam, readers can refer to Tengku Syawal Tengku Aziz in Facebook.

(v) Sultan Mosque/Masjid Sultan

SULTAN MOSQUE (Masjid Sultan Hussein Mu'azzam Shah), SINGAPORE
(Below; Photos by me)

The Sultan Mosque was built twice. The original mosque with 3-tiered roof was constructed in 1824 (at the time of Raffles). The current one with a dome and minarets was constructed in 1928. Photos of construction of the present mosque are in Tengku Syawal Tengku Aziz's Facebook album.

Masjid Sultan Hussein Mua'zzam Shah. This mosque was used from 1824 till it was demolished in 1928.
This text mentions AMLA. AMLA was drawn up by the son of an early Malay doctor. The son was a lawyer, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim (later Tan Sri). His father was Dr Mohamed Ibrahim (1892-1962), who practised in Singapore and Malaya (Malacca and Kajang).

(b) Sultan Hussein in Johor-Malacca 1834

(i) Rights to Johor Throne

Sultan Hussein on his part, did not pursue any active claim to his sovereignty rights over Johor, even after Temenggong Abdul Rahman died in 1825, and his successor, Temenggong Ibrahim was still a youth at the time of Temenggong Abdul Rahman's passing.

(ii) Move to Malacca 1834

Sultan Hussein spent much of his time at his Singapore residence in Istana Kampong Glam until 1834, when he moved to Malacca.

(iii) Death of Sultan Hussein 1835

Reports cited that Sultan Hussein was a dispirited man, apparently with the lack of power and authority that he should be accorded as the Sultan. Sultan Hussein later died in September 1835, and was buried in Tranquera Mosque at the wishes of his Sultanah and Abdul Kadir, a Tamil-Muslim Imam. He is buried behind the mosque.

(iv) Masjid Tengkera

(Internet photos)


Now, this becomes highly interesting for me because Tan Sri Abdul Majid bin Ismail and I share the same story from this point onward. I must have written about it in my family blog at 262 Banda Hilir.

The story Tan Sri Abdul Majid and I share is that we are descended from the same Chinese people who married to the Malacca Sultan. The Chinese strand comes from Tranquerah. My dad also said my great grandmother came from Tranquerah, a Chinese dominated area. Of course they are many loopholes and gaps and it is hard to believe that this is so. Tan Sri Abdul Majid says it is true, that he and I are descended from the royal Chinese people. Does that mean I am partly a Ming royalty? Is that why I had to live in a Chinese-looking house in Banda Hilir when all Malays live in rumah Melayu? Is that why the Malays I have met were scared to talk to me? I don't even carry myself as a Ming nor a royalty, so how can I be linked to the Malay sultans? I don't know. I will wait for more news about my background. That is only half the story about my royal lineage; the other part of my lineage is royal Bavarian. Would you believe that? I think the world is crazy. Tan Sri Abdul Majid said he and I should write a story together about our royal Chinese heritage. My late mum said I must write about my life. I find it strange. Now would you believe it that the world came together in Malacca? All I can say is Wunderbar!

Now I see the link. Some of the papers I saw at our Banda Hilir house could have been the papers signed between the British, Dutch and the Malays at various times. They could also be correspondences. The black wooden chest that contained all those papers have gone missing and the house was demolished. Why? Erase evidence? Who took all the evidences from our house?

North Bay, Penang

After I watched the Blue Lagoon (US hit movie) many years ago, I started looking at the Malaysian coastlines to see what we have. I have lived by the sea after I was born and have always lived close to the sea. Even when I went to study overseas, I chose universities or campuses which were close to the sea or where I could easily go to the sea. Why the sea? I don't know. I guess maybe because all humans were made in aqueous medium (water), therefore tendency is humans will want to seek abodes near a body of water. For me, that's seawater or close to the sea. I cannot live too far inland as I'm not used to it. I need to be by the sea.

These are the places I have lived which were close to the sea or were by the sea:
  1. Banda Hilir house, Malacca - 5 minutes walk to the sea. I had access to the sea for 5 full years from age zero to 5 years old.
  2. Alor Star, Kedah - we lived inland and quite far from the sea, so we drove to Penang (island) on weekends, used the ferry service and had full access to the sea for 2 days every weekend. In Penang, I swam either at the beach or Penang Chinese Swimming Club at Tanjong Bungah (I was the only non Chinese).
  3. Gaya College, Jesselton, Sabah (Borneo) - we lived in the highlands facing Mt Kinabalu, but we went to the beach for swimming/wharf for fishing/river for fishing every weekend.
  4. Maktab Perguruan Perempuan Melayu, Pengkalan Chepa, Kelantan - this place was by the airport and close to the sea, near where the Japanese landed in Malaya on 7-8 December 1941. The house we lived in was haunted after the Japanese left and the British took over, and later left. When we moved in our house had a lot of beer/whiskey/wine bottles in the backroom/servants quarters. We went to 2 beaches - Sabak and Pantai Cahaya Bulan. I don't recall going to the beaches in Bachok and Tumpat.
  5. Maktab Perguruan Perempuan Melayu, Durian Daun, Malacca - this was a bit far from the sea. We went to Tanjung Bidara and also to Port Dickson for swims to see the corals.
  6. California (northern and southern) - I lived inland but went to Bidwell Park, Chico (northern California) where there was a creek from ancient volcanic eruptions of the Sierra mountain range in the area. On another occasion in winter I went to watch the gray whales off San Bernadino. I also went to drive a boat on a dam and had an accident but I didn't drown ( I had a life jacket on). I also swam at the university with my labmates at lunch time but since there were so many peering eyes, I decided to quit swimming on campus.
  7. Minden Heights, Penang - I lived beside the university and walked to work for exercise. I swam at the USM small pool and also at the big Olympic swimming pool on weekdays. I went to Tanjung Bungah for swims/floats and laksa Penang. I stopped swimming altogether after I had my first child/after surgery. Never went back to swimming. I only knew freestyle and nothing else, not butterfly, etc.
  8. Bedford Park, outskirt of Adelaide, South Australia - on weekends we drove our small car to the beach at Glenelg and also went to the zoo by the river, and took the train to Outer Harbour.
  9. Crawley, Nedlands, between Perth and Fremantle, Western Australia - we lived in the students' flats at the periphery of the University of Western Australia, where I completed my PhD. This is a lovely place to be and to study. It is near the Swan River which is an inland freshwater lake, and also near Fremantle, which is a seaport and faces the vast Indian Ocean. The Fremantle Markets is the place to be for the family.

Penang has many swimming sites but today, with many hotels and residential homes built by the beaches, the immediate sea is filthy and unclean for swimming. I remember my kids went for a swim and returned with itchy blisters, rashes, etc. They never went back to swimming on Penang beaches.

I particularly like North Bay in Penang. North Bay is depicted in many old books about Penang. North Bay is quite picturesque. Here are some photos of North Bay:

Painting of North Bay. Photo from Penang Museum.
North Bay viewed from the 7th floor, Hotel Flamingo by the Beach, Penang. Photo by me.
Children playing on the sand at North Bay, Penang. Photo by me.

Suffolk House

I was in the Penang Museum on 15 & 16 April 2012, in one of the colonial display rooms when I noticed many picture frames depicted Suffolk House. I was wondering why would Penang Museum want to display a British home. I read the captions and it says Suffolk House belonged to Francis Light - it was his residence. I found it strange that a British man would want to live in style in Penang where everybody lives in simple wooden homes. So I dug deeper on Suffolk House. Suffolk House was also connected to my alma mater, the MBS at Jalan Air Hitam. I knew from my childhood days that Penang had a lot of estates owned by the British, one in particular was Brown Garden which is adjacent to Minden Heights.

This is Suffolk House in Wikipedia:

The text in Wikipedia says Francis Light lived in a timber house with thatched roof, not the brick Suffolk House (below) which was built later over the original house that Light had lived in. Light was the first governor of Penang (1786-94). He was governor till he died in 1794. No cause of death is mentioned in the text but I think he died young from malaria (just like Alexander the Great and Stamford Raffles).

The other structure comparable at that time was the original Masjid Kapitan Keling which was also a thatched structure, and was later built over in brick in early 1800s, and renovated many times till its present-day state.

The second Suffolk House from Wikipedia. This building was associated with Light but Light never lived in this brick mansion.
Here are 2 paintings of Suffolk House from my visit to Penang Museum on 15-16 April 2012.

The Penang Museum text mentioned Governor W. E. Phillips and Light's son-in-law, Captain James Welsh. James Welsh visited Suffolk House and described it in 1818. In 1818, two structures would be outstanding in Penang - Suffolk House and Kapitan Keling Mosque. It will be worthwhile to study the structures at both sites and find similarities.

Ayer Hitam, Air Hitam or Ayer Itam refers to the blackish and smelly water that flows nearby, Sungai Air Itam. When I was growing up and often visited Penang on weekends (1964-67), it was smelly. According to my grandfather who was a former Penang Health Inspector, after he retired, the river became foul-smelling. He said when he was in charge, the river was clear and not foul-smelling. I gather after he retired, people just started throwing stuff into this river and it became foul-smelling. One of the TV documentaries featured it as a dead river - fish could not survive in the black foul-smelling river.

Anglo-Chinese School, Penang vs Methodist Boys' School, Penang

An early Malay doctor, Dr Che Lah bin Md Joonos had attended the Anglo-Chinese School in Penang (ACSP). I had problems trying to locate the ACSP and to get a photograph of the school (as I did for the other old schools mentioned in my books on The Early Malay Doctors).

From a photograph shown to me by his step-daughter, what I saw was a Scout Troop group photo taken under a big tree and with some run down zinc/tin building or an old shed in the background. I don't know if Penang has any sheds today. I thought the place must have been at the edge of a big field or something. Where are the big fields in Penang today? Which schools have big fields in Penang today? I was lost as to where to locate the ACSP.

ACSP Scout Troop. Che Lah bin Md Joonos at right. Who is at left? Photo from his own album.
ACSP Scout Troop. Che Lah bin Md Joonos in dark uniform (without hat) sitting next to a scout with hat. Photo from his own album. Re-photographed on 20 January 2009.

One day as I was working on documents at a USM workshop in Penang, I sat next to Assoc. Prof. Dr Wan Fauzy bin Wan Ismail. He is the head of PTPTM (Pusat Teknologi dan Pengajaran Teknologi dan Multimedia). I said to Wan Fauzy that I couldn't locate ASCP for my book. He quickly searched on his iPad and told me the MBS was the ACSP. I was totally shocked!

Assoc. Prof. Wan Fauzy bin Wan Ismail (at right), PTPTM, USM Penang. The lady is Dr Ong from School of Education, USM (she's hails from Taiping and knows everything about Taiping). Photographed at the USM workshop, Hotel Flamingo by the Beach, Tanjong Bungah, Penang, 13-15 April 2012. Photo by me.
Why was I shocked? I was shocked because I never thought the ACSP would become the MBS. It never occurred to me. My grandftather went to ACSP and I went to MBS, at different times, almost 57 years apart! We both went to the same school! What a coincidence. I was happy with the new info from Wan Fauzy but at the same time amazed and fazed.

Why was I amazed? I was amazed because when I attended MBS in early 1976 (Form 6), I was living with my mother and sibings next to my grandfather's house in Minden Heights. He didn't say anything about the MBS nor ACSP. He didn't mention anything at all. I find it quite strange that my grandfather never said anything about his alma mater - ACSP, which became my school, MBS.

Anyway I had taken a few shots of the MBS before Wan Fauzy informed me of the MBS and ASCP connection. I had taken photos for another book I wish to write.

Here's the history of the ACSP and MBS from Wikipedia:'_School_(Penang) 
The Methodist Boys' School, Penang, known as the Anglo-Chinese School, Penang (ACSP) at its inception, had a humble beginning at a little shop house in Carnavon Street. Its founder, Rev. B. H. Balderstone, a native of Prince Edward Island, came to Penang (then a British Straits Settlement) after nearly two years in Singapore to start on a mission work. Rev. Balderstone opened the school doors on May 28, 1891. Rev. Balderstone was joined by Rev. D. D. Moore, also a Canadian, a few months later to teach in the school. The Moores established the Methodist Girls' School in 1892. Due to failing eyesight, Rev. Balderstone was forced to resign on April 10, 1893. The Moores left two years later. 
Rev. G. F. Pykett arrived in 1892 to replace Rev. Balderstone. Pykett was born on December 20, 1864 in Lincolnshire, England. His absolute dedication to the school deservedly earned him the title of founding father of ACSP. He was with ACSP for most of the years from 1892 to 1932. 
The school had 173 pupils and was housed in three shophouses in Carnavon St. when Pykett came to take over. As a teacher, Rev. Pykett took great interest in his pupils. Despite having to supervise the whole school, he also taught in the Cambridge classes daily. Under Rev. Pykett's direction, the school grew. A site at Maxwell Road, now the location of Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak (KOMTAR), was purchased in 1895. Two years later, 456 pupils were moved into the new premises, which then became the headquarters of ACSP. The first Junior Cambridge Class (today's equivalent of Form Four) was established during the Pykett era. MBS earned a good reputation among the merchants and Chinese community. The school-leavers were highly praised by prospective employers. 
In 1906, a School Union was organized to promote closer relationships among ex-pupils and teachers, and to render mutual help in various ways. A Cadet Corps was established in the same year, and for many years the pride of ACSP until 1931 when it was abolished by Pykett in line with the mission of peace and harmony. In 1907 the Boarding School was instituted and grew under the management of Mrs Pykett. At about the same time, the Normal Class was started for promising students who had completed their Cambridge Senior Class (equivalent to today's Form Five). They were to be trained as teachers and eventually sat for the Normal examinations conducted by the Government. The Normal class became an important source of teachers to ACSP in the years to come. The first school magazine, The Scholar's Own was published in 1909. Publication ceased in 1911 when editors Mr Ung Ban Hoe and Mr Goh Huan Ho left for further studies. Publication resumed in 1924. The first Scout Troop was organized 1910 but was only registered in 1916, making it the oldest scout troop in Penang. Due to increasing number of students, ten shophouses along Penang Road were bought and used as classrooms. By 1920, the school building was so congested that it was necessary to obtain another place for pupils. The building at 422 Chulia Street was rented and about 600 of the Primary and Middle School students were housed there. Rev. Pykett left for England in 1932 but died in September that same year. His demise was mourned by all. Rev. Pykett was considered a leading power in the Methodist mission as were his contemporaries. He was recognised as one of the forerunners of education in Malaya. In tribute to his good work, the MBS rightly honours him as the man who "came to blaze the trail." 
Rev. Peach assumed the principalship of ACSP and divided the school into three units: Primary at Chulia St., Middle at a very fine and spacious rented home at 193 Hutton Lane and Higher at Maxwell Road. Rev. Peach purchased the Suffolk House for $20,000 in 1929. The playing field was given by Mr Lim Cheng Teik in memory of his wife, and was named the Mdm Khoo Guat Lee Playground. A sum amounting to $140,000 was needed to build a new building at the Suffolk House grounds. However, the Government was only willing to pay $70,000 and the remainder to be borne by the school. Unfortunately, the Great Depression of the 1930s put the project on hold. The committee finally managed to raise $6000 and the amount was used to renovate the Suffolk House. The final cost was $10,000, of which $4000 was advance by the Methodist Mission. 
There was a reshuffle in the school organization in 1931. Classes from Standard Six (present Form Two) upwards were transferred from the building in Maxwell Road to the Suffolk House. The building on Maxwell Road in turn was occupied by the Middle School. Dr L. Proebstel was a supervisor during Pykett's administration before assuming the principal's post in 1934. His second term of office (1936-1938) saw the beginning of the fund which eventually materialised as the Pykett Building. 
Rev. Fred David reorganized the ACSP in 1945. Bishop Edwin Ferdinand Lee moved Primary School (Standards 1-6) to the Suffolk House while the Secondary section stayed at Westlands Road with the intention of providing the upper forms with more adequate facilities. A new laboratory, named after Rev. Pykett was built in response to the new demand made by the Government that all secondary schools teach science. In 1949, Dr Ho Seng Ong became the first Asian principal of ACSP. The following year witnessed the beginning of the Post School Certificate (present Form Six). In 1961, Form Six became co-educational. However, only Arts subjects were taught in those days. The system was to prepare students for University of Malaya Entrance Examination and further education overseas. In 1951, the teaching of Malay language was introduced and was subsequently made a compulsory subject. Chinese and Tamil were introduced and offered in the School Certificate Examination. The Dental Clinic began to function in 1953 at Suffolk House with part of the equipment donated by the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund. 
The Suffolk House was rapidly deteriorating and a new building was necessary to provide more accommodations and better teaching facilities. The Department of Education gave a grant of $50 000 towards a new building at 250, Ayer Itam Road (present location). Dr H. H. Peterson, the principal launched a fundraising campaign to raise funds and received overwhelming response. In the same year (Oct 1954), building operations began. In May 1955, the first block of 12 classrooms was completed. In June 1955, the Right Honourable Mr Malcolm MacDonald, Commissioner General of Southeast Asia declared open the first new block. The second phase of the building project, consisting of 14 classrooms, an administrative block, five laboratories, an art and craft room and a library was completed in 1956, and was declared open on December 15 the same year by Dr N. K. Menon. The top floor of the new administrative block houses the Shaw Hall. The sum of $50 000 was presented to the school by Messrs. Shaw Brothers Ltd. to meet the cost of the assembly hall. With the completion of the new building, the entire secondary school was moved to Air Itam and the primary school to Pykett Avenue, thus becoming two separate schools. The secondary school was renamed the Methodist Boys' School and the primary school Pykett Methodist School in 1957. In 1963, a fundraiser was started to acquire the money necessary to build the library and theaterette. Events such as a stage performance, combined with Methodist Girls' School, and two fun fairs in 1963 and 1966 were held to raise funds. The Ministry of Education gave $25 000 and the Lee Foundation presented $50 000 in memory of Tan Sri Lee Kong Chian's father. The new block was named Bangunan Lee Kuo Chuan and comprises an air-conditioned theatre, the general library, and the art-and-craft room. The Minister of Education, Mohammad Khir Johari declared it open in 1967. In 1964, the MBS 2nd.& 20th. George Town South Troop Scout Den had also been completed due to the efforts of the scouts in raising funds. 
For a long time Suffolk House was used as a canteen. However, in 1975, the House was declared unsafe and was vacated. The school then planned a two-storey block, comprising a canteen on the ground floor and a gymnasium on the upper floor. However, fundraising projects enabled the construction of only the canteen to be successfully completed in 1973. Link to Suffolk House

Here are some photos of the MBS at 250 Jalan Air Hitam from my collection. The early photos were taken on 25 June 2007 and the latter ones on 22 October 2011.

MBS 25 June 2007

MBS 22 October 2011

Sunday, 22 April 2012

A Guide to Tasawwuf and Sufism

There is a branch of knowledge called tasawwuf which is a part of wisdom. Many of the early Malay doctors were students of tasawwuf or sufism. They were wise, their lives were disciplined, and they took a positive approach to life and as practising doctors.

The two Singaporean early Malay doctors were people of tasawwuf and were very involved with such activities. Until today, their descendants are also students of a tariqat.

There are many tariqats but the active ones I have heard about are the Nashqbandi and Tijaniyah. I can't tell which is which.

Here is a video I just found on Tawakal. It is quite clear.

Shaykh Umar Vadillo - The Journey of Tawakal:

This one is a story about being pious and repentance. The text is simple.

Selawat Faatih / Selawat Fatih / Selawat Al-Faatih
Here is Selawat Fatih from a book that belongs to my husband who's from the pondok in Batu Uban, Pasir Mas, Kelantan. I don't know if the publisher is still around today or where to locate it. I would like to get a brand new copy if possible. I browsed the old copy and found many other very good doa in the book. I'm reproducing it here because I can't find a good image of Selawat Fatih elsewhere. The language is Indonesian.

This is a good introduction to Islam for people who don't know Islam and people who need a refresher. It is well-written and is a simple text. Read the entire document and not half way. It will make you think about your life and where you're heading. It makes more sense about the life we have today and will have after today. It is written for thinkers or people who like to reflect on life. Most people, not counting race or creed, will come around and start asking questions about their lives - where they came from , who are their parents & grandparents, what happened in the past, who's who, where do we go from here, what can we hope for, are we alone, etc. It is best read when you are alone at night or in the wee hours of the morning when everyone is sleeping, a quiet time, where you can practically hear your own heartbeat. That's when to reflect and read this passage. Don't read it when you're hurrying. It will make no sense to you when your life is just hurry, hurry, hurry! Read it again every 5 years and you will stand to gain the deeper message in the passage. Remember, Islam was never made for a useless purpose. It is for to enrich the human experience. The concepts are very important. People criticise Islam because they don't understand the full breath and depth of the concepts mentioned in the passage. So it is best to just ignore the critics and get to the core of Islamic knowledge. Give them the link below so they can learn something about Islam. Read the article below too so you become a thinker, and a thinker in Islam is a Sufi - a source of knowledge, not just simple knowledge but knowledge of knowledge (which is wisdom, truth from truth, haqqi bil haqq). The word philosophy comes from the Arabic word falsafah, whose root word is sufi or safah, and similar. Arabic does not have a letter 'p' so falsafah becomes philosophy in another language; Persian has a lot of 'p' words; Sanskrit has a lot of 'b' and 'w' words. Arabic has a lot of 'th' and 'gh' words. So, that's how to tell the words and source languages apart. Anyway, read the passage below.

Islam - Its concepts and meanings: