There are many questions, queries and people want to know what is happening. You can ask them here and I will try to answer them here or personally.

What is TEMD?
TEMD = The Early Malay Doctors
The Early Malay Doctors is a series of books.

How many books are there?
So far, to date, only 2 titles:
(i) Research on The Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore - FAR/Xlibris
(ii) Biography of The Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore - FAR/Xlibris

(i) Research on The Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore - FAR/Xlibris
(ii) Biography of The Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore - FAR/Xlibris

Are there other books planned on the topic?
Yes. Proposed coffee-table book:
(iii) Glimpses of The Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore - FAR/?

Proposed pocket guidebook:
(iv) Students' Pocket Guidebook on The Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore - FAR/?

How did I perform this research?
I have managed to prepare another small book to accompany the big main book. I have named the small book, "Research on The Early Malay Doctors" (R-TEMD). This small book contains all the details of how I went about to do the research on The Early Malay Doctors and obtained the 43 biographies to write the main book.

The small published 6x9" book is 392 pages.
The big main book was 964 pages when I submitted my A4 manuscript; the published 6x9" book is 982 pages.

What have I learned from all this work?
All I can say is it takes perseverance, determination, strong sense to succeed, a great deal of letter-writing skills in 2 languages (Malay & English), honesty and a lot of trust, to get this research done over 9 years, and to completion, of course, with unavoidable weaknesses here and there (which is human). I did work like a robot at times to get the research and writing done for the 43 doctors/dentists/homeopathy practitioners. I slept very little, I think I only got 2-4 hours sleep in the wee hours of the morning. Otherwise I was calling, interviewing, typing, researching, and teaching at the university and doing house chores, including cooking. It felt terrible and impossible when doing the work for the books, but it felt great once the first book was published and the second was being edited.

The first book was published on 17 July 2012.
The second book was published on 21 November 2012.

What do I hope to get from this?
Happiness. Just the joy of writing about the people from the past, the challenge and triumph. I have many new friends now compared to 9 years ago. My harddisk says I have 175 new friends! Many of my new friends are helpful, with the family information, anecdotes, photographs, and knowledge about what went on then (1900-1957). Many were elderly and their comments and suggestions were headed.

When did I start writing about this topic?
I was told to write when I was a teenager, to fill my free time. But of course I didn't take it seriously and never wrote anything. I was always reminded to write but never got down to actual serious writing. I started trying my best to write in November 2002. I still prefer blogging as to writing. With blogging I can erase and re-write as more information are revealed. I cannot erase and re-write for books once they are published. Updating for my blog is easier but impossible for the published books.

Who are my coaches for writing on this topic?
None. I am my own coach. There is the online Author Learning Centre (ALC) which I subscribed to but after I completed  writing and editing my first book. I didn't need it for my second book. But the ALC is a good place to learn how to write, and very good for fiction writers. I am not writing fiction. Both my books were tracked in the ALC and other writers could join my circle and write comments and give suggestions. Usually, the more experienced writers help out by giving tips and I sometimes listened to their video clips in the ALC.

Who are the strong people behind this writing?
My husband and my late mum (deceased 2004). My husband knows Malay History and Literature. My mum knew British History and World History (war history per se). So they were the two big leads initially. But I had to read up on my own to understand history before I could write. I had also visited Dr Roger R Sellman, a British historian, in August/October 1980 when I traveled to the UK for holiday. We discussed about what I should be when I grow up, and what I must put my writing skills to. I sort of listened to him and now I'm writing on history while I'm still lecturing on Biochemistry/Chemical Pathology and researching on Telehealth applications.

Whom have I consulted for writing on this topic?
Many doctors, their families, descendants and relatives. I also consulted officers who knew some of the doctors. Many were elderly retired men.

Did I meet any of the early Malay doctors?
Yes, I met 2 of them in the flesh - Tan Sri Dr Abdul Majid bin Ismail and Tan Sri Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin bin Raja Shahbuddin (deceased December 2008).

Whom did I meet or interview?
I met and interviewed 2 early Malay doctors - Tan Sri Dr Abdul Majid @ Coco and Tan Sri Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin in May 2007.

Why did I meet Coco?
Everyone I asked, asked me to meet and ask him. So, I called and made an appointment to see him. He was a great help.

Who is Coco?
He's a retired orthopedic surgeon and our 2nd Director-General of Health.

Who wrote the Foreword?
For the big main book, Biography of The Early Malay Doctors - Coco. I personally went down to see him and asked if he would write. He agreed. For the small book, Research on The Early Malay Doctors - I did.

Did I interview Tun Dr Mahathir?
No. I didn't have the opportunity to meet or interview him. At the time when I was about to fix an appointment, he was admitted to IJN. I didn't want to disturb him. Let him rest. I met him at the Majlis Profesor Negara but that was all protocol and I couldn't pull him aside to interview him. It was terrible missing that opportunity to interview him myself.

Did I interview Tun Siti Hasmah?
No. I didn't have the opportunity. At the time, her PA said she had just come through eye surgery and needed to recuperate. Let her rest. But she wrote to me through her PA. And she wrote a very nice note to thank me too. Feels good.

Is this my project?
It is only mine because it says my name. It is a research project and involved many people at various times over 9 years. But I made the books for everyone to read so we have something about our history.

What will I do after this?
Depends. I'm very old now. So I have to be selective and think about my health too. Maybe I will write on another challenging topic. 

Has anyone contacted me yet for other projects?
Yes/No. Muzium Kelantan asked if I could write on The History of Medicine in Kelantan. I didn't say yes or no because it is too challenging. I know what it takes but whether my own health can take the burden of the work is my worry.

Has anyone called to interview me?
Yes, but I can't remember the name of the magazine off-hand. I have refused as I cannot travel out just to do an interview; it would be a waste of time, I think. But I would be happy if the interview is in Kota Bharu. That way I can go to teach in the morning and go for an interview in the afternoon, unless I have classes to teach in the afternoon. I want to be at home every night to prepare dinner and serve my family.

What else do I do for life?
I read and cook, look after my plants and cats. My cat Snowy died towards the end of last year (Nov-Dec 2011), so this year (2012) is a bit lonely without Snowy.

Why do I write?
Writing is the cheapest hobby and a good hobby. It keeps the brain active and blood goes through the brain when one is thinking. That way the brain ages slower. If I don't write, then I don't have to think, and very little blood goes to the brain, and there is a higher tendency for the brain to deteriorate (atrophy) faster. Then senility sets in and the most unfortunate thing is to have Alzheimer's Disease (AD) early in life.

Where do I write?
I write in my diary and blogs when I have time. I have never stopped writing about life since I was 17.

Why do I blog?
Blog is like a diary, and online blogs (weblogs) have automated date stamping (no need to write the day-date-time).

What do I write about?
I write about everything that I don't understand. If I don't understand something, then I take it as a challenge, and I research on it, till I think I know almost 90% about what I did not know initially. The same with The Early Malay Doctors. I did not know who they were/are. So my search question was 'Who were the early Malay doctors?' It took me 9 years to answer that question, and I wrote 2 manuscripts just to answer that question.

Is it silly to waste time writing?
No. It is sillier not to do anything when one has 10 fingers on 2 hands, a good brain, 2+2 eyes and a skeleton that can make you sit for hours on end to write. When you become a vegetable, then you have a lot of regret for not writing when you were healthy.

What's the point of writing about history?
When I sat in my classes and learned history, I never understood the history lessons that were taught. The history that I was taught had nothing to do with me and I could not connect with what was taught in class - there was no connection to our past and I didn't know why we had to learn history and MEMORISE every event by date and with so much details. Learning history with connections to the present is more relevant to students nowadays. It means that we cannot teach history without its connections to the present. It is very unkind to teach history out of context and test the students who grope to find bearings in trying to learn history. History has to be made meaningful. We have a lot of gadgets today to make history a wonderful subject to teach to students.

Why write about history?
When I went to California to study at university undergraduate level, the US universities made it a rule that all students, even foreign students, must obtain a PASS in 2 subjects, US Political Science and US History, before the US institutions will let them graduate. It means if I didn't study and pass US Political Science and US History, I would never get my bachelor's degree. Because it was a flat rule (everybody must follow), I had no choice but to study US Political Science and also US History, and I HAD TO PASS them so I could graduate. I dreaded the thought of it at first but I began to read the books and it was fun because the US elections were on and I learned US history from US TV too. US elections were held towards the end of the year, in the fall season, some time around Halloween, Thanksgiving and close to Christmas. The timing was good and that accelerated learning about US politics and history. I would sit by the fireplace and read my books while the cold winds were blowing outside, and later snow fell on the mountains in Paradise Valley, a ski area. And that was a beginning into my writings, and which eventually led on my writing on The Early Malay Doctors. Otherwise I was writing on culture, cuisine, apparel, life, etc.

What is the role of reflection in this writing?
History is about reflection about the past. I remember writing on chrysanthemum tea for my first English essay in first year English at my first US university. It made my professor proud and I had to read it in class, I think I must have read it twice, and then he asked me a lot of questions, and I answered them. But he had thought I was a unique child (my name Faridah says it all anyway) and thought it was good I was in his class or my so-called 'talent writing' would go unnoticed. I was also picked up from my English entrance exam because I obtained a good pass (I think some students failed). He was probably a migrant from Europe. He looked like Gapetto who made Pinnochio. His eye brows were thick and white and his moustache didn't look American. His glasses were half-way down his nose bridge. His English accent was European and certainly not American. He was a fine gentleman. But I started writing at home, before I went to California. I didn't write at school because school compositions were rigid and they didn't let creativity be at its best. I wrote at home and my mother would check my writing. Of course it was disheartening to learn English from her (this one wrong, that one also wrong, everything was wrong, bla bla bla) but I had nothing else better to do at home to fill up my time.

What is the difference between the two books?
The small book is about research and the title says "Research on the Early Malay Doctors...". This book explains the research activities behind the scene for 9 years. It tells of where I went, whom I talked to, whom I met, what I did and where I obtained all the information to write the big main book (the second book). The big main book is the second book and contains biographies of the early Malay doctors. In this book, each biography is more detailed, and some are many pages long. Long or short, that depends on what I had received from the families and also based on my research.

What was omitted from the books?
A book is a limited medium for print publishing. Normally, a standard book is approximately 250 pages. This means 250 pages of important new knowledge. For me, 250 pages is highly limited. I tried writing for 250 pages and I wasn't happy. So I wrote the first book at 392 pages (final count when published). Tun Dr Mahathir's book A Doctor in the House is 800 pages when it was published. I tried to reduce my second book to around that # but that meant omitting a lot of useful info. When I included the needed info, the final count became 982 pages in my published book. I only omitted a lot of family information from each biography, which I think the families themselves can include in future when they write individual biographies later if they choose to.

What are the prices of the 2 books?
You can check the international published prices at Xlibris, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. There are other booksellers too. Just type the title of each book and search for booksellers. Everyone can buy and sell the book at their own price. I have not put a specific price on any of my books because I want everyone to fix the price freely. I can print a fixed price on each book but I don't want to. I want people to feel free to buy and sell as they wish. I don't want to be dictating book prices. It will be unfair to poor customers who have only a few coins in their hands and yet want to buy my books. That's why I have not put any pricing.

How can I get the book autographed?
You can buy the book and come and see me and I can autograph the book for you.

How can I get a free book?
That's like asking can I get a free hotel room. You can try and write to the publisher (Xlibris) and explain to them why you wish to obtain a free copy.

Where can I get a cheap copy?
Amazon sells used book and you can try there.

Is the book available locally? Is the book available at MPH?
We are in the process.

Where can I get a copy in future?
My books are hosted at Amazon and at Barnes & Noble for 1 year only. After that, they can be obtained from only Xlibris. Please be reminded that the publisher's price is always the dearest. So it is better to buy the book online now rather than wait and buy it later. The book is printed on demand, which means if you need the book after one year of it being published, Xlibris will print it just for you. Of course the price is high for on demand printing. It will be at Xlibris till the copyright expires, then you will see it move to public domain, which means you can download the book FOC. Since this is a US-registered book, the copyright will last 50 years after my death.

Prof Faridah
21-23 Feb 2012
5 December 2012