samedi, février 22, 2020


poetry left me at the door
it felt final, i was not quite sure
she was truly not
coming back 

I was caught in life’s net
of such important things, you bet
that mattered not, actually
I was one to fret
when to step back

into the life I have chosen
I pay tribute to this passion
over words, over stories
yearning to return
word woven

poems to embrace
Is the true life of grace
I crawl over pages
finding my way 
finding my grace

poetry, my life

by ninot aziz

Copyright (c) 2020 ninotaziz

Note: Finding inspiration from 7th century poet Li Bai, Tang Dynasty

dimanche, septembre 22, 2019




It took a while for me to recover from a sense of deep loss. May shall forever be a month of sorrow for me henceforth. Many years ago, Dad left us in May as well. Al-Fatihah.

Earlier in the month, we lost Pakcik Hassan of Al-Manar. May Allah SWT keep Arwah Pakcik among the most blessed, for here was a man who gave of himself and more. He helped countless children to be all they can be by giving tuition in Math and English in particular, far away from the madding crowd in Terengganu.

Arwah took to blogging in a very unique way. He attracted all different bloggers who also began to know each other - a thriving community met and chatted at his site Al-Manar. He was like a beacon - shining a light to all of us and in particular, I embraced this light of goodness.

Pakcik Hassan's first ever message to me in 2010 read:

You are the first to have so many blogs running simultaneously. I have not come across another. It is a pleasure to go through a piece of writing that runs smoothly, simple and as-a-matter-of-fact and unpretentious. I am glad to have stumbled here by chance.

Pakcik had 'stumbled' upon my family journal, a blog I wrote for myself. To remember the days that mattered the most. Later on he visited my poetry blogs and other serious writing, but he was most candid here on my personal blog. At the time I was a lone writer, and I felt no one would ever read my stories or poems. But I wrote - year after year.

Pakcik encouraged me not to give up writing - ever.

It was as if he willed me to write and find myself - the writer that I was supposed to be.

It was a joy to visit Pakcik and Makcik, to walk in his garden that he loved because he loved makcik so much, to walk along the beach after subuh, to write a poem of the sea that sounded like  'tigers that roared in the night' which is now part of my novel NAGA. Terengganu also became the background to my novel NIK and the Secrets of the Sunset Ship, inspired by that beautiful Terengganu holiday.

How I miss his witty remark that would not fail to lift my spirit. Sleep well dearest Pakcik. Al-Fatihah to you who deserves thousands of Fatihah and thank yous from all of us whose lives you have touched.


Fifteen days after the news of Arwah's passing, I was shocked to receive news of the passing of my closest friend and patriot, En Malek Rahim who since 2006 illustrated all my books. I first saw En Malek's illustrations of traditional dancers and warriors at the Butterfly Park gift shop and contacted him. We began work almost immediately on Hikayat - it took 6 years before Hikayat was published. This was followed by Srikandi, then Naga, Nik and Siti.

I would list the artwork required for each book, and En Malek would begin work. We would discuss each illustration in detail and work like this exchanging ideas back and forth until we are both satisfied.

He was so patient and dedicated. In 2013 we did a storytelling session together at KDU and kids drew princesses and nagas and sang kancil in the style we have painstakingly developed over the years.

In May, we had just begun work on Kirana, my latest novel. I looked forward to our discussions at the end of the day, the creative discourse, the sudden inspiration, the starting over when we were unhappy with what we have. En Malek  supported my work and believed in me. He was always pushing me forward to take my place as writer. Reticent with media, I was determined En Malek's work for me would be recognized.

And now, the gentle, kind and beautiful soul has left us. He is in a better place I am sure.


May is the sorrowful month
When fallen heroes say farewell
I am left, bereft

To carry on

Written in May, 2016


samedi, janvier 16, 2016


Performance by Irani, Ilena and Ikesha
in the Dance Drama Production by Tunas Tari.


Life's simple pleasures.

The Calistro Book Prize 2014 & 2015

NIK and The Secrets of The Sunset Ship
KIRANA - Dreams After The Rose
by ninotaziz

samedi, novembre 14, 2015

The Patriots - A Late Night interview

I enjoy my occasional get togethers with The Patriots gang, an NGO deeply rooted in Nusantara independent research. President Jamalee Bashah heads the group that forms one of the top ten FB groups, Helmi Effendy is its main writer, Nur Hussein, a seasoned documentary producer.

I am the official Hikayat storyteller at TP, constantly promoting our legends as a source of keeping us rooted, a heritage to be shared and kept alive - in words, in theatre, in dance.

In our lives.

Deepavali article in NST Life & Times PLUSH

NIK and The Secrets of The Sunset Ship

Finally,  NIK and The Secrets of The Sunset Ship is out in the bookstores.

Grand prize winner of the Calistro Prize, NIK is my offering to introduce Asian legends connected to the sea to Young readers from 11 to 18 years of age.

The response has been great!

MyWriters BOOK FEST 2015 Closing Ceremony

Malaysian Writers at Book Fest 2015!

Setting up with the girls!

NST Posse Retreat @ 8Acres

My lovely Posse gang

A weekend of understanding the rudiments of journalistic writing with Empress Intan and the gang!

Book Fest at Seksan Gallery

Lovely Reading session at Seksan Gallery.

Met Tina and Uthaya Sankar for the first time.

Thank you Malaysian Writers for creating the platform for writers to meet and interact.

(Ilena and Ikesha had a wonderful time with their new friend too)


Talking about legends and the Say Something Nice Campaign 2015 with Aizuddin of ZUBEDY

vendredi, août 14, 2015


In this two part article, ninotaziz attempts to explain the fascination the francophone world had with the Malay pantun and its bid to popularize it. Despite approval from the most renowned and respected poets in the literary world, the form sadly failed to take the world by storm. Yet in its beauty, nuggets of the Malay thought and culture survived 500 years of subtle resilience and quiet grace.

Part I
Jikalau tidak karna bintang
Masakan bulan terbit tinggi
Jikalau tidak karna abang
Masakan datang adek ke-mari

If not for the stars above
Why would the moon venture high
If not for you, my only love
Why would I venture nigh…

Read on here...

samedi, mai 16, 2015

Bidasari And The Goldfish Part I

one day, the skies
         darkened in the
           middle of day
A beastly garuda                 

Once upon a time
The ancient birds whispered upon
even more ancientwinds
and the legends went round the world

There was a king who ruled a peaceful land. He was the Raja Besar and lived in a beautiful palace made of chengal and belian wood that would last a thousand years if not for the attack of the Garuda.

The king and queen were lucky to escape by night into the very forest surrounding their city. They took the path by the great river. The queen was in the family way, and was due to give birth at any moment. Tired and anguished, they had to stop often. Finally the sultan spotted a rock under a shady tree by the river. Here the queen gave birth to a most beautiful princess, who cried out lustily in the silent jungle.

            Quite unexpectedly, a beautiful goldfish appeared in the river. It was so tame, the sultan picked it up out of the water. Immediately, the baby stopped crying. Surprised, the sultan dropped the fish into the river, and the princess cried out again, reaching for her mother’s milk. It occurred to the sultan that the fish was a charm for his daughter so he gently scooped up the goldfish and placed it in a golden bowl he had with him.

            The queen gently bathed the princess and dressed her in finery. The royal couple knew that they could not take their firstborn with them for they did not know what lay ahead of them.  With a heavy heart, the queen nursed the baby and then they placed her on a float, with the golden bowl next to her. The sultan pushed the float downstream while the queen looked on, tears streaming down her tired face.

The river rippled along, rocking the baby gently. The birds in the sky followed it, chirping a sweet lullaby until the float reached the borders of the kingdom, and arrived at a fork in the river. After bobbing this way and that, the float took the fork on the right and soon arrived at the jetty by the riverbank that led to a rich merchant’s house. The maidens who were at the jetty saw the pretty float and pulled it closer. What a surprise to see the beautiful baby girl. Uncertain what to do, they took the baby and the golden bowl to their mistress.

The merchant’s wife immediately realized that the baby was of royal bearing. She also came to understand that the girl was unusual because her life was bonded to the fish: if the fish was out of the water, the baby stopped breathing. The merchant and his wife decided to adopt the girl and they called her Bidasari. Bidasari grew up to be a fine young lady. And life in Indraputra was never the same again after she turned sixteen.

She was the prettiest maiden in the land.

Copyright 2015 © Zalina Abdul Aziz @ ninotaziz
All Rights Reserved

mercredi, mai 06, 2015

Tea, my dear?

Sure it is strange, writing for the sake of writing. 

Today, in between the million things that we feel are so important to accomplish, I thought about this post of mine, for Kak Teh. I knew I wanted it to happen today. Night was better. After the babes have fallen asleep. And Rudy would be taking his time in the garden to make one cigarette last. Or two. 

I decided to skip lunch at work today. I mean, that lunch with colleagues while discussing this deadline. That client. Next week's press release. I took my shopping bag and walked to the grocers. 

I bought a box of Kellogg's Frosties. Bananas. Grapes and milk.

And a box of passionfruit tea.

I haven't done that in a long time. Not during lunchtime that was not really lunch.

Finally I realized. It hit me what blogging was - for me. For years I blogged without an audience. I jotted down snippets of my family's life. My life. When our hearts were broken. When we laughed at ordinary. When we were upset with the world. When we reminisce.

It was really for me.

The chance to write about what matters. To do what matters. For me.

Thank you Kak Teh for reminding me.

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