lundi, décembre 31, 2012

News on Onangkiu

    Dear Zalina,

Congratulations! The Calistro Prize is pleased to announced that you have won the Runner Up prize for your entry, 'Onangkiu: The Warrior Princess of Gellanggui'. 

Best Wishes,
SCBWI Malaysia
Secretariat to The Calistro Prize

Happy New Year, everyone!

mercredi, décembre 26, 2012

Ikesha's Illustrated Book Of Pi

Ikesha was very taken up by the movie Life Of Pi. Being six years old, she could not read the novel so I agreed to write a simpler Life Of Pi for her to read if she would draw the story.

So here it is, 
Ikesha's Illustrated Book Of Pi
Original Story by Yann Martel
Illustrations by Ikesha

My Name

Pondicherry, India

Moving to Canada

The Storm

Pi escapes

Pi's crew

Richard Parker


The Moon


Goodbye Richard Parker


Between Mac, iPhone and JPG, I could not rotate those two illustrations so I left it until I can do something about it later. Blame it on blogger fatigue.

mardi, décembre 18, 2012

Tragedy and the healing power of the words of Sting

These days, when I hug my children at night I know I hold them tighter, longer and with a depth of feeling that is so profound, I almost cry. I thought I was a poet, a writer - one who could wield and arrange words to reflect what I feel adequately at least.  I could make people feel compassion and nostalgia. Love and hatred. Equally.
But I could not. Not this week.
Neither could Obama.
For words failed us this week to comprehend the tragedy and horror that beheld a small town half a world away. How the lives of little angels were cruelly cut short this week.
Children of America. Children of Gaza.
Children of Myanmar. Children of the world wherever you are
who die of man created violence.
Words failed me.
So I turned to Sting.
And nothing brought this closer to heart and reminded me  how fragile we really are as this simple short song did.
If blood will flow when flesh and steel are one
Drying in the colour of the evening sun
Tomorrow's rain will wash the stains away
But something in our minds will always stay
Perhaps this final act was meant
To clinch a lifetime's argument
That nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could
For all those born beneath an angry star
Lest we forget how fragile we are

On and on the rain will fall
Like tears from a star like tears from a star
On and on the rain will say
How fragile we are how fragile we are

Lloras tu
y lloro yo
y el cielo también
y el cielo también
Lloras tú
y lloro yo
que fragilidad
que fragilidad...
Guns and wars really have no place in our civilian society, do they?
There is no historical precedent
To put the words in the mouth of the President
There's no such thing as a winnable war
It's a lie we don't believe anymore

We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us, me, and you
Is if 'we all' love 'our' children too
We try to make sense. But it will never make sense. Deep in our hearts, we do not stop crying.
Would I cry for you

Under the Arctic fire
Over the seas of silence
Hauling on frozen ropes
For all my days remaining
But would north be true?

All colours bleed to red
Asleep on the ocean's bed
Drifting on empty seas
For all my days remaining

But would north be true?
Why should I?
Why should I cry for you?
To try and understand the evil in the world, I try to remember that everyone had a family, a childhood, a love lost and maybe never found. There is a story. A tragedy that begets tragedy.
He deals the cards as a meditation
And those he plays never suspect

He may play the jack of diamonds
He may lay the queen of spades
He may conceal a king in his hand
While the memory of it fades

I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art

But that's not the shape of my heart
That's not the shape, the shape of my heart
The siege guns had been pounding all through the night

And if I built this fortress around your heart
Encircled you in trenches and barbed wire
Then let me build a bridge
For I cannot fill the chasm
And let me set the battlements on fire
Finally, when I can't take all this sadness and need to think of love again, I turn to Sting's 
Though all my kingdoms turn to sand
And fall into the sea
I'm mad about you I'm mad about you

And from the dark secluded valleys
I heard the ancient sighs of sadness
But every step I thought of you

Every footstep only you
And every star a grain of sand
The leavings of a dried up ocean

Tell me, how much longer? How much longer?
Until you love with that kind of ache and longing, perhaps you have not loved enough?
And yet,  while half the world panics and the other half wonders about destruction on 21.12.12 - what is the new wave to hit Mankind? Sting sang of the seventh wave, bringing real hope in his words.
Every ripple on the ocean
Every leaf on every tree
Every sand dune in the desert
Every power we never see
There is a deeper wave than this
Swelling in the world
There is a deeper wave than this
Listen to me girl

Feel it rising in the cities
Feel it sweeping over land
Over borders, over frontiers
Nothing will its power withstand
There is no deeper wave than this
Rising in the world
There is no deeper wave than this
Listen to me girl

All the bloodshed, all the anger
All the weapons, all the greed
All the armies, all the missiles
All the symbols of our fear

There is a deeper wave than this
Rising in the world
There is a deeper wave than this
Listen to me girl

Songs and lyrics by Sting. The man is a genius.


dimanche, décembre 16, 2012

Projects for Little Fingers

The girls and I are always planning some activity of the other. It is a ruse to keep them busy and focused on a project. However, at the back of my mind I am always devising ways to keep my kids creative and innovative while having fun - and some sense of accomplishment.
Last weekend, after a friend had asked what to do with old exercise books from school, I remembered I used make Iman and Inas notebooks. I tore out the used pages, stapled the books together cover to cover and wrapped them in wrapping paper. About five of them did nicely.
Using a cardboard for the cover ensured that it lasted and gave a solid finish to the notebook.
Here is Ikesha's notebook.

We have a lot of old drawing blocks as well. So I taught Ikesha to wrap the drawing block covers with the matching wrapping paper. I made two corner pockets to hold her drawing paper. Ikesha now has a drawing board to match her notebook.

Here are the girls' supplies of colour pencils, scissors, staplers and cellophene tape. 

We saw Life Of Pi over the weekend. Ikesha loves Richard Parker and pretends to read my book Life Of Pi.
This morning, before I left for work, Ikesha asked for a smaller (simplified, I guess)  Life Of Pi book. So  I told her our next project would be to make a Life Of Pi book she can read to herself. I will do the words based on the story using words Ikesha can manage - and Ikesha will do the illustrations.
We will keep you updated.

samedi, décembre 08, 2012

Through thick and thin

My Seri Puteri alumni closest to my heart.

In school, we lived together for five years, longer with Aimy (standing-l) and Famie (sitting 3rd from r). We know each other pretty well and love catching up as plainly seen here. This was the lunch I missed last Friday, having appointments a good part of the day.

We meet quite regularly - and each and every time have a wonderful get away stretching the lunch hour way past the norm.

A friendship of 35 years or so - a treasure indeed !

vendredi, novembre 16, 2012

Gaza in my dreams

I dream afloat
a flower parade in the sun
 Gaza on the horizon

Ishmael, Layla and Iqab
Play hand in hand
Gaza on my mind

Olive trees everywhere
Muslims, Jews and Christians
Worship in peace

Gaza in my dreams

by ninotaziz. all rights reserved

samedi, novembre 10, 2012

Little Girls Grow Up Too Soon

Ilena ending Year 2 ahead of the class

Irani graduates from Year 6 
Officially a teenager !

 Ikesha at her Linus test
My baby no longer?

 With Monster Ghouls

 Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

mercredi, octobre 31, 2012

Keep safe, friends far away

The rain fell on the pebbles, fallen leaves and umbrellas bobbing above a sea of people. Washed away sorrow, tears and the harshness of the city . Bickering stopped and all turned to lending a hand. The rain and wind picked up strength and we stayed hidden away, enveloped in warmth of the fire.

Autumn brings the storm
I reach out to you, neighbor
Keep safe, my friends

Behind the window pane, two lovers stayed under the covers, to keep the hurricane away. Children huddled together read books while the wind displayed its mighty strength, trying to pry open any weak entry. The old and sick braced themselves - medication, heat, food. Stay indoors.

Frail and yet, humans
Will prevail in the face of
Adversity -

Goodnight my friends. I wish you well. Hold a hand, hug a friend, have your cellphones fully charged. Keep your loved ones safe and sound, the door closed, the windows barred. Listen to a song, say a prayer. Stay indoors, stay safe.

Hallways give shelter
Toddlers in closet room tents
The cat on the ledge

As we listen in to the news, Sandy arrived - crashing at 86 miles per hour. Eerily the carousel at Battery Park stayed lit, surrounded by rising waters. The New York I knew and loved is devastated, deluged in sea water. Newsmen, ambulances rushed. Fires engulfed homes. Snow fell in October. Announcements made - stay put til morning. Stay safe. Stay brave. 

The news strike fear
Toronto to Quebec City
My old haunts, Canada

I am shocked. My favorite cities in Canada - Toronto, Peterborough, Quebec City - so many memories and fondest moments. Friends I remember well. I did not realize this would be closer to heart than I thought. I am keeping vigil and hope to hear from you soon - Verlia Stephens. Chris McInnis. Larry Coplen. Marc Beauvais. Darren Schmidt. Keep safe.

lundi, octobre 29, 2012

A teacher like no other

With Mrs Khaw Choon Ean

I remember the first moment I noticed Mrs Khaw Choon Ean. It was on our school field, we were all doing calisthenics. She must have noticed me too because she singled me out together with about 20 girls to form her first gymnastics team. A few days later, Mrs Khaw also became my English teacher throughout my secondary school days in Seri Puteri.

For five years, I went through school with two things being the most important part of my teen years. Gymnastics competitions and poetry writing.

Today, Mrs Khaw is an accomplished author and life coach, applying the theory of constraints in developing thinking skills. Ilena, always quick to grasp ideas, enjoyed her short session at Popular, Ikano. I can see how her talks continue to inspire kids to fulfill their fullest potentials.

Thank you Mrs Khaw.

dimanche, septembre 16, 2012

A Malaysia Day Dinner Like No Other

Dr Bala (middle) the gracious host

Dr Bala of Planet Of The Monyets had a simple idea. And as usual, the simplest of ideas often contribute to the greatest of feats. In this era of mudslinging and politicking, he decided it was  time to #Say Something Nice and remove ourselves from politics. He did this by saying something nice about ALL Malaysians. Heroes from mountaineers to conservationists - not to be confused with conversationalists, sportsmen and women, NGO warriors, movie directors, cartoonist - no guesses for this one, writers, taxi drivers (I personally love taxi drivers esp my ever exceptional S W Taxi)

And of course Dato David Arumugam
of Alleycats

"We sing using OXFORD Bahasa Malaysia. I visualise a lone lady in the middle of the sawah padi, and my feelings come pouring out in the song so that you feel it too."

Manai (Ahmad Fakri in blue), is one of the two Malaysians who have conquered the SEVEN SUMMITS all over the world. This is incredible. Manai's journey so far (he is only 31) is an inspiring story of overcoming your personal limits. Now I know to get to the base camp of the Everest alone is a 10 day trek. To reach the summit takes another 45 days, after getting through Camp 1 to Camp 4. As you progress from camp to camp, you see the mountaineers who did not make it ie in body bags and the success of the day is measured in the rate of mortality.
Shamir and Shamsul
Co-founders of Yakin Malaysia
For the full series of 17 Cool and Commited Malaysians,
please visit the Monyet King's Planet Of The Monyets
Thank you Monyet King for a cosy and intimate dinner that defines the Malaysian hospitality at best. We got to know each other, chit chat, laugh and cheer 'TerimakaSAYYY' with David Arumugam.
It was great company and a marvelous nostalgic Malaysia Day dinner.


samedi, septembre 08, 2012

17 Cool and Commited Malaysians

Blogger Monyet King has dedicated the seventeen days between 31st August to 16th September to a series on nation building. I thank him for including my work on Malaysian Hikayat in the list. I am humbled and honoured.


 Saturday, September 8, 2012

Cool and Committed Malaysians # 9 - ninotaziz

The Merdeka Cool and Committed Malaysians stories continue with ninotaziz, writer and an extraordinary storyteller – who is determined to use our legends towards creating a sense of pride in our people and to put our Hikayat on the world stage.
Ninot’s real name is Zalina Abdul Aziz. She was born in Tasmania, Australia, raised in the village of Chenor, Malaysia, educated in Canada and now lives in KL. She is the author of From the Written Stone (2006), Srikandi (2011), HIKAYAT – From The Ancient Malay Kingdoms (2012) and NAGA – A Legend of Tasik Chini (2012). Her current book projects include Kembara Sastera Manuskrip dan Pantun Melayu, Ratu Nusantara, 366 Legends of Asia and From the Wayang Kulit. Ninot is also currently working on her second novel entitled Onangkiu - From Gelanggui to Bija Nagara.

Ninot at her office with SriKandi which was published in 2011

For the rest of the article, visit here.

17 Cool and Committed Malaysians series

The 17 Cool and Committed Malaysians series is produced by Planet of the Monyets in conjunction with our Hari Merdeka and Hari Malaysia 2012. 17 Malaysians (or group of Malaysians) who have served or are serving our country or made it proud because of their accomplishments will be featured. 1 story every day, for 17 days. 31 August till 16 September. They may not be big names. But they are men and women who serve Malaysia well – through their commitment to work, charity, sports and arts. They are role models for the rest of us. Malaysia needs heroes, hope and good news. This is the monyets’ way of spreading cheer, giving hope and creating a more positive Malaysia. Read more here.

mercredi, août 29, 2012

HIKAYAT on BERNAMARadio24 (FM93.9)

ninotaziz with Gerard
on Radio24

I was nervous and had a cold. After a short interview on Bernama Today last week, I was invited once again to have a longer session on radio in conjunction with Merdeka.

I must thank Gerard, the host who made it appear easy-going, producer Jun Sern who prepped me just before the show, and Shawn who made me feel so welcome. I must say Radio is so much fun, while the TV appearance was quite scary. Nevertheless, as both interviews were live sessions, it felt daunting indeed to a newcomer like me.

The interview was scheduled to run for 45 minutes, it went on for over 1 hour 20 minutes. It is to the guys' credit that it was so enjoyable. I came away with the one message I wanted so much to say.

The Hikayat is our heritage. We must take ownership of the legends because they belong to all of us.

When I say all of us - just so that everyone is clear - I mean everyone. All Malaysians. I mentioned that when you read Hikayat, you will find something intrinsic of yourself in them. You will seek what you want to find. There was a movement of people that centered around the Semenanjung. Everyone wanted something form this land. Gold. Power. Love. Take ownership my friends, before someone takes it away from us.

Our diversity is what makes Malaysia unique. Embrace it. Don't let it destroy us.

Goodnight, everyone.


samedi, août 18, 2012

Selamat Hari Raya from Rudy, ninotaziz and family

Selamat Hari Raya
from all of us at home
Rudy, ninotaziz
Iman, Inas, Irani, Ilena and

our official message delivered by Little Ikesha

jeudi, août 16, 2012

The ancient call of the nusantara

yesterday it was ancient
today, it is forever new
by tomorrow, it will be timeless

The beauty of gamelan is in its staccato pride,
the sense of calm as you play to breathe
and breathe to play a song from the past

to know me
to love me
to accept me
you must understand
i am an island girl
and the rhythmic call
of the bronze orchestra
seduces my ancestors
within me


dream catcher
in the fading notes
of an ancient song

I awaken

For Thursday Think Tank
For the mesmerising ancient songs, click

Copyright 2012 © ninotaziz. All rights reserved.

vendredi, août 10, 2012

My Sanctuary

Over the years, this is where we
dance, play, read, write, browse
chase the cats, wear stylish hats,  have brick brats
hold family meetings, gatherings, greetings
pack up, put on make-up

before we walk out the door

and brave the world

jeudi, août 02, 2012

The girl who started fasting

This is the first year
Ikesha started fasting.


samedi, juillet 21, 2012



A novel by: ninotaziz

  • Dear friends and fellow bloggers,

  • After much anticipation, my first ever novel NAGA is out. This has been a wonderful work of intense collaboration with many. First and foremost my head researcher and editor, my mother, Puan Kamariah Jaafar. Without her, this book would have remained a manuscript. My grandmother first told me the legend of Naga Tasik Chini when I was 11 years old. I am sad that she is no longer with us to share this book.
The dragons on the cover was illustrated by my daughter, Narissia Inas. Despite her busy schedule (she is in her exam year) she did not move from her laptop for two days to get it done. The cover design was done by Apratim and his team from Entercerebrum, India. Finally, the beautiful images in the book portraying the characters from Nagara, China and Bhumi Semenanjung Melayu were illustrated by artist Malek Rahim.

I would like to thank many for inspiring NAGA. Firstly, I thank Mr Lim Beng Teck for suggesting I write a full length story. I would also like to thank blogger Sir Remgold especially who was almost by my side every step of the way despite being in a different country, answering my queries in the middle of the night, wee hours of the morning. Thank you Ayoh Wang and Pakcik Hassan of Al-Manar for a glimpse of life in Terengganu, so essential to the story.  CfS Angelina's Mum gave sound and 'sexy' advice. And my sister Farah Alina was quick to give points on how to engage the reader. And my team at XLibris, Annie Maynard and Jane Cole, thank you for working so hard all the way in Australia.

I would like to acknowledge the tremendous help my daughter Iman offers when I need it, be it her opinion or her expertise.

Finally, my best friend and partner, the man who shares my journey, Rudy Daud. Thank you, Bang.

I hope you enjoy reading NAGA - A Legend of Tasik Chini.

For my daughters
Iman, Inas, Irani, Ilena and Little Ikesha.

  • ISBN: 1-4771-2924-3 (Trade Hardback 6x9)
  • ISBN13: 978-1-4771-2924-1 (Trade Hardback 6x9)
  • ISBN: 1-4771-2923-5 (Trade Paperback 6x9)
  • ISBN13: 978-1-4771-2923-4 (Trade Paperback 6x9)
  • Pages : 239
  • Book Format : Trade Book 6x9
  • Subject : FICTION / General


 ‘Loyalty and betrayal are the two faces of human nature, 
which give rise to legends that withstand the test of time.’

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 purchase : click here
Available as well at Barnes&Noble

Mimpi Onangkiu

Illustration by Malek Rahim

Dalam duri ada api
Dalam api ada bara
Sejak kecil ku bermimpi
Tapak kaki menjejak samudera

Hilang sedih, rindu kembali
Hilang di tengah lautan
Hilang sudah Gellangui
Hilang dari ingatan

Dari mana datangnya sayang
Dari mata turun ke hati
Sudah lama terbayang bayang
Memanggil Tuan Puteri

Satu satunya pujaan mata
Indah berseri di dalam taman
Ratu di Bija Nagara
Masih terkenang kampong halaman

Dian membakar diri
Terang seluruh semesta
Keturunan Melayu sejati
Menzahirkan Raja semua Negara

Copyright 2012 © ninotaziz. All Rights Reserved.

mercredi, juillet 18, 2012


Berita Harian  18thJuly 2012

About two months ago I received this email from Prof Ding Choo Ming, my mentor and friend from the Institute Alam & Tamadun Melayu, UKM (ATMA). "...we would like to invite you to ATMA to give a talk on your experience, technique and skills in telling ancient stories to modern readers.  You are one of the rare tukang cerita now! The tentative date in on the 10th July subject  to the availability of ATMA's director who is going to preside the 2 hours seminar...It is just a small gathering of some fellows from ATMA, some students and of course reporters from our local newspapers...What is different is you are the keturunan jati daripada keturunan tukang cerita yang panjang, maka penuh dengan misteri ... Salam hormat Ding"

I was delighted and humbled to receive this invitation as my association with ATMA over the last six years have been one of friendship and enlightenment. I was a bit worried about what was expected of me. But then, Prof Ding assured me it was a small gathering of minds and told me not to worry.

With Prof Ding Choo Ming at his office

Iman, my eldest daughter who is turning out to be such a wonderful help,  took care of all the details like driving me to UKM, taking care of my books and illustrations (which our dear Sir Remgold  advised me to bring along - Thank you kind Sir)

Receiving a gift to be treasured from Prof Dr Abdul Latif Hj Samian, ATMA Director

Prof Ding's student from Malaysia, Japan and Hong Kong
I enjoyed telling them the story Puteri Saadong

HAK, an FB friend, turned up for the event. Apart from writing, we have found another connector - Adiguru Pak Nasir of ASWARA. Pleasure meeting you HAK!

I met writer Nisah Haron at Goodreads Malaysia. Our love for books brought us together!

Dato Zawiyah Baba had already bought Hikayat before the Wacana event.
She was such a delight to talk to.

It turned out that the room was full. After my talk, the audience started asking questions. When each of them introduced themselves, I was a bit shocked. Prof Dr Harun Mat Piah was there - had I known, I would have been very nervous indeed about the talk. Dato Zawiyah Baba. As it is, the talk was a wonderful experience. A student from Hong Kong asked me to tell the story Puteri Saadong. I also told the story of Onangkiu and my version of NAGA.

12th July 2012 was certainly a day etched in my memory. Thank you ATMA!

samedi, juillet 14, 2012

Friends and Family at the Book Release

 Thank you for coming, everyone!

Hikayat Babies

With Shazlin, my friend since Seri Puteri days
and her kids, Kalia, Tuah and Nisha. Where are you Putra?

With Yolanda, a gem of a friend

With Damien, an old friend and writer
and Ruben (far left)

Sisters, Khadijah and Farah
with Mum

Seri Puteri gang again
Dearest Habs and Uyun who just arrived from Hong Kong the same day.

The Rantau Panjang clan
Thank you Eita (middle front),
my sister in law who arranged the exhibition

With Kak Mah
the eldest cousin in the family


Ilena was besotted with gamelan

Introducing Srikandi Inrasara
of upcoming book, NAGA - A Legend of Tasik Chini

A short video-clip on the book launch
Related Posts with Thumbnails