samedi, juin 21, 2014


The Academy Award winner Oscar Hammerstein II seems as far away from the pantun as can be. The musical theatre genius from a bygone era co-wrote 850 songs, and Hammerstein was the lyricist and playwright in his partnerships; his collaborators wrote the music. His most famous collaboration, by far, was with Richard Rodgers, which included one of my favourite movies when I was a child - The Sound of Music.

There is a very enduring song Hammerstein wrote called I am Going To Like It Here, sung very charmingly by Lea Salonga in the accompanying YouTube video.

Oscar Hammerstein's song is an example of a form of poetry made popular in France called the pantoum, which is of course the form inspired by our 15th century pantun berkait, and popularised in 19th century France by none other than Victor Hugo.


I'm going to like it here.
There is something about the place,
An encouraging atmosphere,
Like a smile on a friendly face.

There is something about the place,
So caressing and warm it is.
Like a smile on a friendly face,
Like a port in a storm it is.

So caressing and warm it is.
All the people are so sincere.
Like a port in a storm it is.
I am going to like here.

All the people are so sincere.
There's especially one I like.
I am going to like here.
It's the father's first son I like.

There's especially one I like.
There is something about his face.
It's the father's first son I like.
He's the reason I love the place.

There is something about his face.
I would follow him anywhere.
If he goes to another place,
I am going to like it there.

Oscar Hammerstein II
New York

samedi, juin 07, 2014


NAGA spans three realms from the ancient world -- Middle Kingdom during the Tang Dynasty, Nagara and Bhumi Semenanjung Melayu. It is the story of three adventurers, Sri Gemom, Srikandi and Kemboja and how fate set their worlds on a collision course that shook the very foundations of an ancient civilisation. More than that, against the background of sorcery and magic, the tragic tale of survival and loyalty shines through.

To learn more or order the book:

lundi, mai 12, 2014

vendredi, mai 09, 2014

Legacy of The Malay Manuscript

The knowledge and wisdom preserved in the ancient Malay manuscripts are astounding, and the manuscripts themselves are priceless works of art, writes ninotaziz

The Malay Manuscripts are hand-written records from the 16th Century, or even earlier, produced by the royal scribes of the Malay Sultanates. These were works of exquisite beauty and are priceless. Among the most famous works are the Sulalatus Sulatin and Hikayat Hang Tuah, both recognised by Unesco today as Masterpieces of the World and are kept as a heritage legacy of Malaysia.

Read more in the NST:  Legacy of the Malay manuscripts 

ninotaziz, author, poet and story-teller believes that legends are the memories of our ancient civilisations.

Hang Tuah: The Man and The Myth

Once a revered hero, today Hang Tuah's legacy is marred by controversy, writes ninotaziz

WHAT do you think of Hang Tuah? Did he exist?
There have been many conjecture and analysis, claims and suppositions made about the existence of legendary hero, Hang Tuah. On TV, Facebook and on the streets of Malacca, many ask the same question.
More importantly, what is the relevance of Hang Tuah for us today?
There was a time when Hang Tuah was as real in our mind as the greatest heroes of the world. And foremost for us, he was a Malaysian hero. Until recently, he was all but erased from our subconscious. At best, the man was embroiled in a quagmire of controversy. From his strict loyalty to the Sultan to the background of his ancestry, all these become subject of debate, contention and sadly at times, derision. It is an inexplicable phenomenon that when many cultures revere their legends and heroes, many in Malaysia decide to abandon theirs. Why this is so proves to be as interesting as the question of Hang Tuah’s existence, if not more so.

Read more: HERITAGE: Hang Tuah: The Man and The Myth 

ninotaziz, author, poet and story-teller believes that legends are the memories of our ancient civilisations.

Love Stories from the Chinese Opera

The ancient theatre tradition of the Chinese Opera has always captivated ninotaziz

MALAYSIA has a strong tradition of dance and drama theatre, which has existed for hundreds of years. The Makyong, wayang kulit and the Bangsawan were among the arts sustained through many generations. It is no wonder then that the Chinese Opera fits in so well in our gamut of artistic heritage. In fact, like all good theatre, if one looks closely, we would be able to see that what makes excellent Chinese Opera is much the same as what would make a truly memorable Makyong performance.

Read more: Love stories from Chinese Opera in the Sunday Life & Times - New Straits Times 

ninotaziz, author, poet and story-teller believes that legends are the memories of our ancient civilisations.

In the Sunday Times: The Psyche of The Malay Hikayat

It is a national treasure that needs to be cherished and returned to prominence, writes ninotaziz

Inilah warta orang dahulukala
Cerita dibawa air yang hilir
Angin yang lalu
Dan burung yang terbang...

*Once, an ancient story was whispered... upon even more ancient winds...Hikayat Malim Deman
FROM time immemorial, our people have travelled into the unknown in search of knowledge. To be the universal man, one must face hardship and travel the world.
How do we know this? Such journeys are, almost always, the basis of all Malay Hikayat. It is evident in our culture, the literature, the taboos and our legends and folklore, a constant assimilation and acceptance of foreign cultures unlike anywhere else in the world.

Read more: HERITAGE: Psyche of the Malay Hikayat in the Sunday Life & Times - New Straits Times 

ninotaziz, author, poet and story-teller believes that legends are the memories of our ancient civilisations.

mercredi, décembre 04, 2013

Calistro Prize Short List 2013

The Calistro Prize is an annual award that aims to encourage 
and celebrate the creation of Malaysian stories by Malaysians for Malaysian children and teenagers.

The objectives of the Calistro prize are as follows:

To promote the creation of Malaysian stories for children and teenagers
To reward excellence of Malaysian content in fiction for children and teenagers.
To support Malaysians writing for children and teenagers.

The prize is sponsored by Calistro Consultants Ltd, a small management consultancy specialising in strategy in over 40 countries (including Malaysia) for both the public and private sectors. Calistro is committed to education and the arts, central to which are skills in language and the visual arts.

On 1st December 2013, the Calistro Prize Secretariat announced the Short List

Crescendo by Chris Lin
Gameworld by Su Ann Lee
The Last Wills and Testaments Of Melody Law – A High School Journal by Michele Chia
Anya’s Angsana by Bathmaloshanee Muniandy
Siti, The Queen Regnant by Ninot Aziz

I am thrilled and humbled that my third novel,
Siti, The Queen Regnant
has made it to the Short List.

dimanche, novembre 17, 2013


The months pass by so quickly. Last month in October, the excitement of the inaugural PNM awards buzzed everywhere among Malaysian writers and readers.
The family makes everything worthwhile.

With Nisah Harun who makes the journey as a writer a shared path

With our kind and renowned host, Sayed Munawar

I was fortunate that Hikayat - From The Ancient Kingdom was  nominated for two categories, more importantly, it was the only English  publication to be included in the highly coveted People's Choice top five finalists. Hikayat was 1st Runner-up in the Adult Fiction category, losing out to my own English teacher's novel, Magic Eyes!

It was a lovely event, held in the Angkasapuri Perdana Auditorium. Hubby and daughters were there, and my darling Mrs Khaw Choon Ean who continues to encourage me until today (that's a good 30 odd years of nurturing!) Good friend and award winning writer, Pn Nisah Harun had two books nominated. Celebrated writer, Puan Mahaya, whose compelling book Kuasa Kata was also nominated was such a lovely lady to meet.

It was a lovely evening, and treasured honour.

vendredi, septembre 20, 2013


HIKAYAT - From The Ancient Malay Kingdoms was shortlisted for the PNM-RTM Book Awards. Voting begins tomorrow and will close on 28th September 2013.

Here is a video on HIKAYAT with a wonderful introduction by Resensi host, Sayed Munawar.

I am thrilled and humbled that HIKAYAT was shortlisted for this nationwide award.
TOP 10 List so far: 1 Contengan Jalanan / Hlovate 2 I love you, stupid! / Melur Jelita 3 Hikayat : From The Ancient Malay Kingdoms / retold by ninotaziz 4 Cinta high class & cintaku kerana agamamu / Fatimah Syarha, Farhan Hadi 5 Cucur bawang & kopi 'o' / Hasrudi Jawawi 6 Hingga hujung waktu / Saidee Nor Azam 7 My precious Iris / Melur Jelita 8 Kembara sastera Nisah Haron : United Kingdom dan Dublin / Nisah Haron 9 Berjuta warna pelangi / Iris Ixora 10 Kuasa kata : dari lisan mengalir ke lautan aksara / sebuah memoir Mahaya Mohd. Yassin Title : Hikayat - From The Ancient Malay Kingdoms ISBN : 978-967-61-2540-8 Penulis - ninotaziz

Please do continue to vote and share daily
Thank you all for your support.

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