Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tenggelamnya Kapal Van Der Wijck oleh HAMKA

Penulisan Hamka bukanlah mudah untuk difahami oleh insan yang buta seni bahasa seperti saya. Tetapi gaya bahasa, santun dan kemas tulisannya sangat menarik hati untuk membaca naskah “Tenggelamnya Kapal Van Der Wijck” sehingga ke helaian yang terakhir.

Perjalanan cinta Zainuddin dari tanah Mengkasar sehingga ke Surabaya disusun dengan sangat kemas sehingga saya sentiasa tertanya pengakhiran naskah ini. Namun ada sedikit ralat sepanjang membaca kerana saya tercari-cari kolerasi antara tajuk naskah ini dengan jalan ceritanya. Akhirnya baru saya sedar bahawa penulis mahu mengakhiri perjalanan hidup Zainuddin selepas tenggelamnya Kapal Van Der Wijck bersama cintanya, Hayati.

Kisah sedih Zainuddin, bagaimana merana dan melaratnya hidup setelah kematian ibu sejak kecil, ayah juga pergi setelah bertahun hidup dalam pembuangan, serta cinta yang ditolak dek kerana adat yang menjunjung asal bangsa seseorang. Zainuddin bangun semula dari segala kedukaan, membuka lembaran baru dalam hidup dan berubah menjadi seorang penulis yang ternama dan berjaya. Menceritakan tentang kesetiaan, cinta dan kasihnya Zainuddin terhadap Hayati, gadis yang pernah berjanji sehidup semati namun mengkhianati cinta sejati.

Di akhirnya, penulis bermain dengan perasaan pembaca apabila Hayati kembali menagih kasih daripada Zainuddin setelah diceraikan suami yang telah membunuh diri. Disebalik sifat baik Zainuddin yang ditonjolkan, terselit sedikit sifat negatif seperti dendam walaupun sebenarnya masih ada cinta. Tindakan Zainuddin yang menolak cinta Hayati dan menyuruh Hayati pulang ke kampung halamannya dengan Kapal Van Der Wijck akhirnya menjadi pengakhiran sebuah kisah cinta.

Cerita cinta ini disampaikan oleh Hamka melalui surat-surat yang ditulis oleh Zainuddin dan Hayati juga tidak ketinggalan surat Khadijah,sahabat baik Hayati. Membaca surat-surat ini akan membawa kita melayang ke dunia dan zaman mereka. Sebuah cerita yang menyayat hati. Soal pangkat, darjat, wang dan adat bijak dimainkan oleh penulis.

Secara keseluruhannya, novel ini tidak menjemukan walaupun masih menggunakan gaya penulisan melayu lama. Diluar kisah cinta, sebenarnya penulis banyak menyelitkan ilmu penyetahuan terutamanya tentang adat Minangkabau yang memberatkan perempuan. Paling penting, penulis berjaya membawa pembaca ke dalam cerita ini.

Saya tertarik dengan baris ayat dalam naskah ini.

“ Di belakang kita berdiri satu tugu yang bernama nasib, disana telah tertulis rol yang akan kita jalani. Meskipun bagaimana kita mengelak dari ketentuan yang tersebut dalam nasib itu, tiadalah dapat, tetapi harus patuh kepada perintahnya”.

Tetapi saya juga percaya Dia tidak akan mengubah nasib kita jika kita sendiri tidak mahu mengubahnya.

nota : Kami di The Buku Project ingin mengucapkan terima kasih atas setiap ulasan yang diberikan dan mengalu-alukan ulasan yang lain. Ulasan yang menarik ini telah ditulis oleh seorang rakan kami yang mahukan identiti beliau dirahsiakan. Tambah beliau lagi, buku Tenggelamnya Kapal Van Der Wijck lebih menarik berbanding Titanic. Mungkin peminat Titanic ada sesuatu untuk diperkatakan? :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam

This review is written by a friend of the BukuProject's Nazir Harith Fadzilah*

Reading on the crackdown of the Shiite by the officials in Malaysia recently brought back the lessons I used to have in school, mainly those that taught me that Shiism is a blasphemy. Back then, it never occurred to me to question the textbook or even the Ustaz teaching the subject. All I know was, they are different from us, the Sunnis.

Most of us might just accept the facts as they were told to us (which is arguable) and never then revisit them, or to dig deeper on the how, the why, and the consequences of the split. Isn't it strange, considering the Prophet himself constantly preached of unity?

This book, written by Lesley Hazleton, brings us back to the time of tribulation, the time of difficulties, the time of fitna, the time in which the Muslim community was really tested by the Higher Power. Each character, one by one, is stripped from common misconception, either from misleading classes or through sheer lack of understanding

This is not a story that glorifies the characters, and neither is it full of flowers throughout. This is a story of mere human beings, prone to make mistakes, prone to fall to their Jahiliyah insticts, prone to have their judgment clouded by emotions.

These people were not without ideals. It would seem to us that 23 years under the guidance of the Prophet would have prepared them for the coming of this disunity in the Ummah. But we forget that this was the period which most of the characters had prayed they would never see. The period that became known as the beginning of the Sunni-Shiite split.

To be honest, I was nervous about reading this book since every line was new and unfamiliar to me, quite unlike everything I have been taught. Frightened as I was, I did not stop halfway. The author writes with such wit but is never didactic. Since she fills the lines with questions that insist the reader to dig deeper, dig deeper a reader should.

I love the way the book is being presented but I must warn the reader to read with caution and to try to cross-check with much more authentic history books. To call it a major work of Islamic history is short sighted but nevertheless the book shows another side of looking on the history of the Muslim Ummah.

*Nazir is a third year engineering student at the RMIT, Australia. He co-founded the ASAM, a community for artistic souls that sometimes features articles from the BukuProject. "While others enjoy being under the spotlight", Nazir prefers "a candle to light up [his] life". Nazir now resides in Melbourne.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

Contains spoilers. Readers, be warned.

Since I've been reading a lot these few days, I might as well write down what I get from those books. So here is a review of one book that I read during my stay in kampung over the weekend. A very famous book revolving around a very famous fictional detective and his equally famous sidekick. A very famous story indeed! :D

I think most everyone knows or has heard of Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson. As a kid, I used to read abridged versions of all his famous investigations, The Sign of Four being my favourite of them all. I haven't watched the 2010 film adaptation starring Robert Downey Jr. However, I did watch an unaired pilot episode of BBC's Sherlock, which is good enough to ignite a long-forgotten passion for investigative works within me. So I got myself a cheap copy of Arthur Conan Doyle's Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes just
before New Year, and boy, I don't regret it for the slightest bit!

The styles are different throughout. There are some cases from other compilations that are narrated by Holmes himself, and some by an omniscient voice. But I enjoy the story most when it is Dr Watson that puts on the narrator's hat. After all, he was the one who started all the sensation with A Study in Scarlet. He's a normal person, just like me. We both do not study the science of deduction, and we both have average minds. So it is interesting to be finding out the wonders of Sherlock's deduction from the point of view of one who is not in the know. Plus, Watson is a funny character. He's someone I would be delighted to have conversations with over dinner.

Sherlock, on the other hand, is a bit of an enigma. Even without his incredibly unbelievable skills of finding out things about people that are not very obvious at first, the way he carries himself is also quite strange. I credit Doyle for this impressive work of character building that not only makes Sherlock intriguing, but also human. I am sure I have never encountered such human-ness before, but it feels human nonetheless. Even his patronizing "Elementary" to our much beloved Watson is a delight to read =)

The first part, the adventures, is straightforward cases presented as short stories, so they work really fine for people who like to read during commuting. Every case is a new start so it doesn't require an immense attention span. Perfect! It is the same for the second part, the memoirs. However, the Memoirs is especially famous because it marks Holmes' involvement with the notorious Professor Moriarty. The Final Problem accounts Holmes last moments before he was said to have fallen down the Raichenbach Fall clutched together with his nemesis, Moriarty. I was deeply moved by Watson's last words on his long-time friend, a sleuth that became an icon for the English speaking world and beyond.

So when I found out that Holmes did not actually die and that he made a return in The Return of Sherlock Holmes, I was not exactly sure how to react. I suppose I should be happy for the comeback but part of me still felt a bit cheated. You know, I know for a fact that it's not true but I still harbour irrational suspicion that old Arthur must have needed money real bad or something. Or maybe people just missed Holmes that much that Arthur felt it was cruel to kill Holmes off just like that. And it was cruel. We were left with no credible explanation of what happened to him in the memoirs. So yea, thank God for The Return of Sherlock Holmes.

I won't review here the longer cases like The Hound of Baskervilles, The Valley of Fear and A Study in Scarlet because I think I should revisit those novels before attempting to review them. And thanks to Feedbooks, I can finally do that without emptying my ever thinning pocket!

So to those of you who find the detective as interesting as I do, get buying paperbacks now! Or even better, visit Feedbooks for free titles here:

Elementary! :D

Monday, February 7, 2011

Free Books! =)

Hi everyone, I just stumbled upon a cool discovery. It is called FeedBooks, which is one of the largest pools of online books available to download in PDF, Kindle, and EPUB versions! What's even cooler is they are all free. Just go to the Public Domain page on FeedBooks and browse for any interesting titles and get downloading! If you have a Kindle or Kindle for PC, you just need to click on the title of the book and choose the download-for-Kindle option and the book will be automatically stored in your Kindle. It is so easy!

Here are the steps:

1. Go to FeedBooks

2. Click on Public Domain

3. Click on any title

4. Download whichever version you like

You may register if you want to make an online purchase. But if you're just in it for the free books, save yourself the hassle and skip the registration process. Happy reading! =)