It is December and we found ourselves on the road down memory lane. It must have been the second time in 28 years that we made this journey together to Singapore. The first was when we went there to take the flight to London. I was then a tearful bride leaving for a foreign land with a future firmly placed in the hands of God Almighty. The road that we took by car was a far cry from the modern highway dotted with R & R’s. The 6.45 Aeroline to Singapore was one hour late because of the rain, but I must admit the service was fantastic.
Twenty eight years ago, all manner of thoughts played in my mind but this time, it was filled with excitement and anticipations. Singapore holds memories of school holidays, walks in the Botanical Gardens, visits to Makam Habib Noh, of fresh buah lai and imported apples and gawking at window displays of Robinsons with Pak Lang – his words still ringing clear in my head: “Ni lah tempat orang-orang kaya shopping”, he said, as we walked away.
This time the visit to Singapore was almost like a visit to the official birthplace of GUiT. It was the launch of Growing Up in Trengganu, a meeting with publisher Philip Tatham of Monsoon Books and with friends old and new. GUiT was launched with four other titles. Read more about it here.
It was a very short visit and before we took the Singapore- Malacca Express the next day, we visited Makam Habib Noh once again to offer our respects.
We arrived in Malacca, all sweaty and tired, to be greeted by songs of gazal and gambus at a friend’s wedding. Nurul’s parents had decided to take her back from London to Malaysia for a real kampong style wedding and what a treat it was for us to find a big group of ex Londonders occupying two big tables. This was the first of several weddings that we attended.
The other wedding was of course that of the famous daughter of an equally famous mum. It was held at The Legend and again a reunion of sorts with friends and ex colleagues from Jalan Riong.
When the radiant bride and groom left the stage to meet their guests, cheered on by some friends, we took over the stage, short of sitting on the dias, to take the 28 years later picture.
The GUiT Trip
One of the reasons for our home coming is of course to see how GUiT is doing in the homegrounds. On arrival at KLIA, I was disappointed to see that the bookshop there did not stock GUiT. I made my first visit to MPH Midvalley – again, this confirmed the comments and reports from people in search of GUiT. None- in this case – only one copy lodged in between other books at the Malaysiana section.
My next stop was MPH Alamanda – none at all. And by this time, I was ready to speak to someone to try to understand how the distribution of books works in the absence of the writer himself promoting it. I was lucky that I met a very helpful and kind MPH manager who explained to me how the whole system works. Of course, it is the distributor's job to push the books and to keep on asking if the stores need anymore. And if the copies run out, shops too should contact distributors to ask for more, especially when people are asking for it. In the case of GUiT, I don’t know what went wrong.
Then Kind and Helpful MPH manager took out his phone and made one phone call. The next day – most of MPH stores were stacked with GUiT. And this week – GUiT made it to NUMBER ONE best seller non fiction at MPH from a humble number ten at the beginning. Thank you all for the support. Tabby and his siblings will be mighty pleased with this news.
Indeed, there have been several GUiT meets kindly organized by blogger friends. Thank you again. We are so touched by such wonderful gestures and support from people, some we have never met before. I hope and pray that our friendship goes beyond GUiT.
We will soon be going to Kuala Trengganu for a booksigning session at what AG calls the spiritual birthplace of GUiT. So, do come, one and all. It will not be a grand one, just a modest occasion where we can meet and talk and get to know each other. Thanks to Encik Karim of Alam Akademik (Keda Pok Loh Yunan). For more information, click here.
I guess we will still be doing the rounds now that we are here. Hope to meet up with whoever wish to meet up with us, soon. Insyaallah.