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KL International Book Fair 2009, PWTC

Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair 2009
From Raden Saleh, Tun Perak, Abdul Samad Amjah to Mawdudi and Hamid Enayat

Visiting the KL book fair has become part of my annual routine for the past 5 years or so. I've lost count how many books lying on my shelves that I haven't read or waiting to be read and yet, today I bought another five books. Well, I guess that is fairly normal for a bookworm, isn't it?

Out of the five books, I am particularly interested in "Raden Saleh: Anak Belanda, Mooi Indie & Nasionalisme" (Komunitas Bambu, 2009) by Harsja W. Bachtiar, Peter B.R. Carey and Ongkokham. It's in Bahasa Indonesia by the way. Many thanks to Gerak Budaya and SIRD for bringing in excellent Indonesian books to our shores.

Browsing through the pages of Raden Saleh Syarif Bustaman, a 19th century Javanese aristocrat, scientist and one of the greatest Indonesian painter; I had a lot of questions running through my mind. I began to wonder whether there exist such a distinct intellectual within the Malay society in the 19th century other than Munshi Abdullah, the father of modern Malay literature. If ever there were any, could it be possible that such work was left unpublished or lost? (Note: According to 'Hikayat Abdullah', thousands of original Malay manuscripts were lost at the time when Stamford Raffles' ship went up in smoke) Also, I wonder why is it that the awareness of nationalism, intellectualism and independence came in rather late in the Malay states, if we were to compare with others say in India or in the Arab states?

Reading 'Hikayat Abdullah', the great Munshi made no apologies when he criticized the attitude of the superstitious Malay society, the stupidity and cruel Malay Sultan(s) (note: Sultan Husin Syah of Singapore and the Temenggung), their negative attitude toward education and so forth. Upon finishing reading through Munshi Abdullah's social critique on the Malay society, I find it rather sad that some of the old Malay traits are still exist in the modern era. No doubt there's been a great deal of improvement in terms of education, social, economy etc, but certain aspect like witchcraft, magic and other un-Islamic rites are still being practiced till today. I'm thinking of reading again Mahathir's Malay Dilemma and probably Syed Hussein Ali's 'Orang Melayu - Masalah & Masa Depan' later on.

Back to work!

Previous KLIBF postings
KL International Book Fair 2008
KL International Book Fair 2007


muNm said...


Still rajin pergi KL Book Fair ye.. I've stopped going since few years back since I discovered it's not as cheap as MPH warehouse sale. Tapi saya tak cari buku-buku yang macam awak baca, jadi asalkan buku yang saya nak tu ada kat MPH, boleh la tu. Hehe..

Shahnon said...

Haha. Yes, masih setia lagi dengan KLIBF. :P
MPH warehouse sale pun saye pegi jugak, cuma kadang2 tak semua buku-buku yang ada kat MPH ada di book fair ni.

Rasanya paling murah bukan warehouse sale MPH. Tapi, Pay Less Books & Times bookstore! Dua ni selalu miss sebab takde publicity sangat.

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