mardi, juin 26, 2012


The morning after, the scent of lilies reminded me that the book launch did happen. It wasn't a dream and the most important people were there either physically or in spirit, with me. My family and friends, and the people who made it all happen - my mother, Pn Kamariah Jaafar who worked on Hikayat as well, Fuzana, my editor  from Utusan and En Malek, to whom the exhibition was dedicated to.
Moments like these are best shared with family - hubby Rudy and daughters, Narissia Inas, Nadessia Ilena, Nafertari Ikesha, Naquessia Irani and Natassia Iman.

Iman, together with Inas and good friend, Alysha were in charge of registration, book sales, press kits. They did a marvelous job. Thank you girls!

Hanif, Iman's classmate during their Form Five days, was the official photographer. We are waiting for his expert shots. That's Goki, on the right, one of my favourites from Iman's former class also. Likewise, I am pretty sure I am his favourite Aunty.

Inas and Alysha with their friends and my extra hands whenever I have small events at home. Hakeem, who is not in this photo, is doing digital illustrations for my future book on Dragons and Serpents (2013). My sister in law, Wan Rosnita arranged the illustrations for the exhibition and she too, did a fine job indeed!

My gamelan performance

My upcoming book
NAGA - A Legend Of Tasik Chini
(August 2012)

Cover illustration  by Narissia Inas
Design by my good friend and associate  Apratim Mukhopadhyay of Enter Cerebrum, India

Thank you, everyone!

Next segment : The official blogpost of the Hikayat Book Launch, Exhibition and Gamelan Promise.

vendredi, juin 22, 2012

ninotaziz on HIKAYAT

My stand on the Malay Hikayat

dimanche, juin 17, 2012


 En Malek is satisfied with Hikayat and has just finished 
his illustration for my next project : NAGA

En Malek Rahim's sketches of Malay dancers and Kadazan warriors are regularly featured at the Butterfly Park souvenir shop at the Lake Gardens. After a long happy but weary day with the girls, I found myself staring at these beautiful black and white illustrations and fell in love with the obvious detail, care and love that went into these drawings.

The shop assistants had the artist's phone number but they warned me that En Malek was a bit shy. They gave me his number as I was insistent. That was seven years ago. Since then, En Malek has illustrated four of my books From The Gathering, SRIKANDI, HIKAYAT and NAGA. Each book had a different style but all unmistakable in their homage to our culture.

 Panji Semirang

En Malek started out in design work for the textile industry for 15 years and then left to venture into illustrations that portray Malaysian scenes. He is reticent about his art and yet would be fiercely vocal about my work, encouraging me to ensure it becomes accepted and widely read. Our partnership is strengthened by our mutual  love for the Hikayat and we would both comment on each other's work without reserve until we get the results we are both satisfied with.
An avid reader and observer of past designs and artwork, En Malek would bring me books to study especially when he finds collections of his father's own Hikayat books. I am blessed to have En Malek as a partner and I hope the rest of the world would also one day appreciate this quiet unassuming man's artwork for the genius that it is.

Putri Saadung

Thank you En Malek.

lundi, juin 04, 2012

Why I wrote Hikayat

Our Malay Hikayats deserve to be on the world stage along side all other great epics of the world.

I am ninotaziz daughter of Abang Tik daughter of Chu Rahmah daughter of Yangchik daughter of Bebunga. And I remember the stories being told night after night, grandmother to granddaughter to granddaughter.

Our history spans more than a millennia. And there is certainly a continuum of history that is preserved through the very legends of the land.

We have inherited a legacy of a myriad of legends, as rich and exciting as the Greek mythology or as revered as the Ramayana poems of Valmiki and yet sadly - these classical works are fast disappearing. Many of our Malay Hikayat originated from a Sultan’s wish to record his royal lineage. The Sejarah Melayu, Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa and Misa Melayu are examples of this. The origin of Sejarah Melayu or the Sulalat us Sulatin may never be uncovered but throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, versions were zealously updated, it was time consuming work, each volume faithfully copied by hand.

Professor Dr Ding Choo Ming of ATMA, UKM says:
Dua perkara penting telah dinyatakan dalam definisi itu [classical Malay manuscripts]. Pertama, media karya sastera itu ialah manuskrip. Ia lahir di celah-celah tradisi lisan dan percetakan. Kedua, karya itu lahir di istana dan bukan daerah pedalaman dengan sastera lisan berkembang dan diperkembangkan.”

There are also astounding works of literature, which language is beautiful and cosmopolitan in nature. This is because, the Malay cultural revolution and classical literature were shaped throughout a period of changing influences which fused effortlessly in the region. Buddhist tenets during the Srivijaya empire and Hindu teachings during the Majapahit kingdoms pretty much found deep roots in the Nusantara existent until today. Our epic legends are collaborated in other classical text especially in Java, China throughout the 13th to the 17th centuries and more modern writers in the 18th and 19th. When Portuguese traveler Tomes Pires of the 16th century in his Somu Oriental recounted the story of Parameswara from Palembang who commanded his Orang Laut, his version closely corresponded to that of the Malay Annals which alludes that the descendents of Seri Teri Buana of Palembang founded Singapore and Melaka.

Then Islam arrived as part of the Muslim world expansion. In the medieval period of Islam up to the 14th century, the Muslims led the world in their pursuit of knowledge and in science. Muslim scholars were aggressively studying Greek, Persian, Egyptian, Indian, and Chinese documents, amassing huge libraries and making astounding discoveries in astronomy and mathematics. Muslims were also purveyors of stylized art and literature.In this way, the Islamic influence extended to our shores, and, to our literature. This is where the word hikayat originated. Some epics such as Hikayat Hang Tuah actually bear witness to this transition from Hindu influences in the beginning to Islam in the ending.

Historian, Prof Tan Sri Khoo Kay Kim elaborates on the term hikayat:
Although the word sejarah has long existed in Malay vocabulary, hikayat was more widely used. Many historical works tended to focus on the genealogies of ruling families-these were called salasilah. When history appeared in verse form, it was also known as syair. The term hikayat indeed tends to imply that, in traditional Malay thinking, history was not punctiliously distinguished from literature.

There is no doubt, the world found the Malay epics fascinating study. Though R.O. Winstedt was critical, he was totally dedicated to the study of the Malay romances and sought to collect many of the surviving books. Amin Skinner, Teeuw and Shellbear poured over the Malay manuscripts, studying its content and influences. Today, 151 libraries and museums in 28 countries hold the bulk of the old manuscripts.

We need to bring forth these epic legends through theatre, story telling and books and other media, especially movies.


For one, these legends are priceless and part of the world’s intangible heritage, just as monumental as any historical structure such as Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and Java’s Borobodur. In the intricacies of our classical literature, we will rediscover a civilization so cosmopolitan and complex.

It is high time we gave it its due worth and recognition.

I am Zalina daughter of Abdul Aziz, son of Tok Muda Salehuddin, son of Tok Awang Pekan, son of Tok Nik son of Tok Tunggal son of Tok Ghafur son of Tok Haji son of Tok Sabur. And my mission is to see that these classics come back to the main stream and flourish.

Review by The Malaysian Reader
Review by Sir PokDeng
Review by Nisah Haron

Next segment : Malek Rahim - The artist who brought the Malay World to life
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