In 1994, nearly 22 years ago, I (Khairul Hisham Hassan) graduated from The University of Sheffield in the UK with a Bachelor of Laws degree or LLB. And one of my core subjects was International Law.
Hence, together with my 3 Jakarta friends who come from Indonesian legal background and who graduated 15 years ago from Fakultas Hukum of Universitas Trisakti in Jakarta, I have set-up an international consulting firm in Jakarta which provides 'Consultancy on Doing Business in Jakarta' comprehensive services. Currently, most of our clients are Malaysian companies and factories which set-up their PT PMA branch company or Representative Office in Jakarta. These companies were referred to us by Matrade in Jakarta which is part of the Embassy of Malaysia in Jakarta. Having said that, at the end of the day it is purely and entirely up to those Malaysian investors to select or appoint any consulting firm or legal advisor of their own choice for their "Doing Business in Jakarta" matters.


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Sahabat-sahabat saya sekalian, tolong benarkan saya berkongsi dengan anda semua sedikit rasa gembira dan sedikit rasa bangga saya (Khairul Hisham Hassan) atas kurniaan anugerah darjah bangsawan "Raden Tumenggung" oleh Sultan Pakubuwono XIII dari Keraton (Istana) Surakarta, Jawa Tengah seperti dalam photo di atas. Sebenarnya selepas Indonesia merdeka, Sultan Keraton (Istana) Jogkakarta dan Keraton Surakarta hanya berperanan sebagai "Gabenor" di Jawa Tengah sahaja. Tapi Perlembagaan Indonesia tidak menghalang pihak Istana ini memberi anugerah darjah kebesaran kepada sesiapa yang Baginda Sultan mahu. Penyanyi Rossa juga ada menerima Darjah Kebangsawanan dari Sultan yang sama i.e Sri Sultan Pakubowono XIII pada 26 Jun 2011. (http://www.cumicumi.com/news/read/20596/rossa-senang-bergelar-bangsawan). Syukur kepada Allah atas anugerah ini.


Tapi yang penting ialah saya tidak pernah meminta-minta, tidak pernah melobi dan tidak pernah membayar kepada pihak Istana Surakarta untuk mendapat gelaran bangsawan ini. Sri Sultan Pakubuwono XIII berkenan menganugerahkan, maka saya terima sajalah anugerah bangsawan ini dengan rasa sangat berterimakasih kepada Sri Sultan dan rasa syukur kepada Allah yang takdirkan semua ini. Anda mahu lihat Mohor Diraja Tulisan Jawa Lama? Sila klik dan besarkan photo di atas. Kemudian sila anda lihat disebelah atas kanan foto. Anda mahu tahu siapa itu "Sultan Pakubuwono XIII"? Sila anda lihat: http://id.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kasunanan_Surakarta dan juga http://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/pakubuwana_XIII serta anda lihat http://www.karatonsurakarta.com/.



Saya beritahu isteri saya, di Malaysia kita ini biasa-biasa saja tapi Alhamdulillah di Pulau Jawa nama kita berdua secara rasmi ada di dalam "Senarai Bangsawan Istana Surakarta". Nenek-moyang saya yang ratusan tahun dulu datang dari Jawa Tengah pasti bangga dan gembira dengan gelaran bangsawan Keraton Jawa ini. Saya sering berkata kepada diri sendiri seandainya orang mengetahui siapa sebenarnya nenek-moyang atau leluhur saya, maka pasti mereka tidak merasa aneh kenapa saya bisa mendapat gelaran bangsawan Tanah Jawa ini. Hmmm... Namun semua ini tidak penting sehabuk pun bagi saya kerana akhirnya nanti saya akan berbaring di dalam liang lahad kubur seorang diri, tanpa gelaran "Raden Tumenggung" atau gelaran apa pun. Yang penting adalan amalan soleh saya. Period. Full stop.




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January 2015 photo of my 2nd DAUGHTER (Not my wife) i.e Intan Nur Qistina Khairul Hisham (Left) with my 4th kid, Mehmed Al Fateh Khairul Hisham (Right). Intan Nur Qistina is 19 years old. She is now studying at University of Malaya (UM) after completing her SPM at an Islamic boarding school in Kelantan while Mehmed Al Fateh is my 4 months old newborn son.





THIS IS MY LIFE PRINCIPLE
(KHAIRUL HISHAM HASSAN)
(A 45 YEARS OLD REAL MUSLIM FUNDAMENTALIST)
(i.e PROGRESSIVE, HONEST, HARDWORKING AND ROMANTIC MUSLIM)


As a Muslim I believe that the day will DEFINITELY come when my helpless dead body or jenazah finally will be carried away to the grave. As a Muslim I also believe that the day will DEFINITELY come when I will be in my Liang Lahad alone, dealing with Malaikat Munkar & Nakir. And that will be the day when anything else does not matter anymore except my good deeds, my amalan and my amal jariah that I have done when I am still alive. At the end of the day it does not matter anymore whether or not while we are living on this Planet Earth we have a big business empire or a beautiful wife or a big house or a big car or a high position in a big company etc. Does not matter anymore, my friend. Does not matter.




As a Muslim, I solemnly believe that: "The only true measure of my success in life is as to how far I have obeyed Allah's commandments, according to the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W". Ukuran kejayaan SEBENAR seseorang manusia itu ialah sejauh mana dia dapat taat perintah Allah, berpandukan kepada sunnah Nabi Muhammad S.A.W. Justeru itu,
kalau seseorang itu kaya-raya atau berpangkat besar atau berwajah cantik atau berumah besar atau berkereta mewah atau bergelar 'Datuk', 'Datuk Seri', 'Tan Sri' tapi dia lalai solat, tidak berakhlak Islam dan tidak amalkan apa yang Islam suruh, maka di mata saya orang seperti ini bukanlah orang yang berjaya. Saya langsung tidak hormat orang seperti ini. Orang seperti ini tidak ada nilai di sisi Allah dan juga tidak ada nilai sehabuk pun di mata saya. Apakah saya kagum dengan kekayaan dan kedudukan orang seperti ini? Jauh sekali. Am I scared of this type of rich and 'powerful' people? Never. Insya-Allah I am not scared of any human-being in this world. Not even for a nanosecond. In my eyes, he or she is nothing. Yes, nothing. Period. Tetapi saya sangat hormat, sangat kagum, sangat kasih dan agak gementar apabila berhadapan dengan orang yang sebenar-benarnya 'Orang Yang Berjaya' iaitu orang yang menjaga solatnya, membaca Al Quran setiap hari, berdisplin Solat Tahajud setiap malam, berakhlak Islam dan tidak pongoh, pemurah dan tidak kedekut-pahit serta cuba mengamalkan keseluruhan ajaran Islam dalam kehidupannya.




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On 28 January 2016 my age was 46 years old. By the way, my eldest daughter is now 21 years old. She is currently studying at International Islamic University (UIA) Malaysia. My second daughter is 19 years old and she is now studying at University of Malaya. And my third child is a 12 years old son. Alhamdulillah after a gap of 10 years, my wife who was 44 years old at that time delivered our fourth child on 24 September 2014 (Photo Above). Well...I do not call myself 'The Descendant of Majapahit Palace Warrior' for nothing, right...? :-) Syukur Alhamdulillah my wife has a smooth and safe delivery. Actually I have told my wife that if our newborn child is a baby girl I will name her 'Intan Nur Iriana'. The meaning of Iriana in Greek is 'peace'. Iriana is also the name of the wife of new Indonesian President Joko Widodo. However, it is our destiny to have another son, not daughter. Hence, I name my newborn son 'Mehmed Al Fateh Bin Khairul Hisham'. Sultan Mehmed Al Fateh is the Muslim Chalip whom at the age of 21 conquered Constantinople which is the modern-day Istanbul. He also brought Islam to Bosnia, Albania and Southern Europe. It is said that Sultan Mehmed Al Fateh has never failed to perform Solat Tahajjud every single night throughout his life from the age of puberty (akil baligh) until the day he died on 3rd of May 1481. It is my wish and also my wife's wish that our son, Mehmed Al Fateh Khairul Hisham will be a brave and pious Muslim like Sultan Mehmed Al Fateh and will never fail to perform Solat Tahajjud each and every night. Amin Ya Allah.



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These are my two beloved daughters: (Left) Intan Nur Farhana Khairul Hisham. She is my 21 years old eldest child. She is the one who is now studying at International Islamic University (UIA) Malaysia. (Right) Intan Nur Qistina Khairul Hisham. She is my 19 years old second daughter. She is now studying at University of Malaya (UM). Yes, both are my lovely princesses! Or shall I say my Javanese and Kelantanese princesses because I am a Javanese warrior and their mother is a Kelantanese lady! I have 3 kids. Apart from two daughters, I also have two sons. Their name are Mahathir Khatami Khairul Hisham who is now 12 years old and Mehmed Al Fateh Khairul Hisham who was born 15 months ago on 23 September 2014.




Kepada Teman-Teman Sekalian Di Mana Jua Pun Anda Berada: Saya Ucapkan Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri Dan Salam Lebaran Minal Aidin Wal Faizin. Saya (Khairul Hisham Bin Hassan) Adalah Seorang Manusia Yang Banyak Kelemahan. Maka Sempena Hari Raya Aidil Fitri Yang Mulia Ini Saya Memohon Agar Anda Bisa Memaafkan Saya Jika Selama Ini Ada Bicara Saya Yang Menyalakan Api Kemarahan Anda, Jika Ada Perbuatan Saya Yang Menimbulkan Kebencian Anda, Jika Ada Tulisan Saya Yang Menyinggung Perasaan Anda, Jika Ada Akhlak Saya Yang Berbau Keangkuhan Dan Jika Ada Jenaka Saya Yang Berlebihan. Sesungguhnya Suatu Hari Nanti Pasti Akan Tiba Jua Saatnya Saya Akan Bersendirian Di Dalam Liang Lahad. Dan Semoga Pada Hari Apabila Jenazah Saya Diturunkan Ke Liang Lahad Itu, Tiadalah Dosa Sesama Manusia Di Antara Saya Dan Anda. Amen..
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The above photo was taken by my wife near our rented house when both of us lived in Sheffield, north of England 22 years ago. I publish this photo here in my blog just to share my sweet memory with my dear blog readers only. Not to show-off whatsoever. That time I was doing my law degree at The University of Sheffield. It's Winter 1993. Being newly married I just wanted to impress my wife with some steps of my Pencak Silat during the snowfall. Maybe, just maybe, I was the first Malaysian man to perform Pencak Silat (an Indonesian and Malaysian martial art) during heavy snowfall in Sheffield. Well...I do not think Hang Jebat or Hang Tuah dares to perform Pencak Silat during -5 degree Celsius snowfall just by wearing their thin Baju Melayu. Yes, no doubt that Hang Jebat was a brave and hot-tempered man. Yes, he was also the only Malay who was not afraid to tell the cruel Sultan of Malacca more than 500 years ago: "Wahai Sultan Yang Zalim, don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry". But I am sure this -5 Celsius degree snowfall will melt whatever spirit left in this great 'Incredible Hulk of Ancient Malacca Kingdom' who loved to run amok here and run amok there.


And...what about Gusti Adipati Handaya Ningrat? (For your information,
Gusti Adipati Handaya Ningrat was a Majapahit Palace Warrior who failed to assassinate Hang Tuah. He was also a hot-tempered Majapahit Prince with a significant high blood pressure problem who could not accept any slightest criticism on his style of leadership. His sister by the name of 'Gusti Putri Retno Dumillah' eventually became the legendary 'Puteri Gunung Ledang'. Legend has it that even after 500 years, Gusti Putri Retno Dumillah is still residing at Gunung Ledang in Malaysia although the Malaysian Immigration Department has never granted her any Expatriate Visa, Permanent Residency or even Spouse Visa). I guess Gusti Adipati Handaya Ningrat would easily win 'Mr Bean Of The Year Award' if he did perform his Pencak Silat here in Sheffield just by wearing his traditional shirtless Majapahit warrior's costume. But one thing for sure..., no matter how sakti this Gusti Adipati Handaya Ningrat was, the -5 degree Celsius temperature would make him shivering non-stop to the extent that the English people would think this shirtless Majapahit Palace Warrior was high on drugs or narkoba while performing his Javanese Pencak Silat!










Who's that guy in the above photo snapped by my wife during Winter 1993 when we lived in Sheffield? Is he Dicky Zulkarnaen The Indonesian Famous Actor? Wrong. Is he Si Pitung Macan Betawi? Nope. He is just 'Si Khairul Kucing Malaysia'! A blast from the past. Look at the background of the photo. Oh! I love living in England. For me, the Victorian style houses in England make it so picturesque. It's a romantic place to live especially in the northern part of England like Sheffield which is near the lake districts. That Winter 1993 was the most memorable winter because I just married in that year. So that Winter 1993 was the first Winter that I had a halal companion sleeping next to me, as husband and wife during long cold night. My wife said I was her 'Natural Winter Heater' that kept her warm and comfortable throughout very cold -5 degree Celsius Winter night.


Sekadar menggamit secebis kenangan lalu saja nih. Hmmm...selagi dinamakan manusia, kita nggak akan bisa melupakan kenangan lalu.
Pasti nggak akan bisa. Nggak seperti komputer yang kapan-kapan saja bisa di delete memory dalam CPU. Maka, apabila kenangan lalu tiba-tiba datang menjelma dan mampir di Inbox pikiran kita, tanpa kita minta, tanpa kita undang, tanpa kemahuan kita, sama ada kenangan itu kenangan yang manis ataupun kenangan yang amat menyedihkan dan sadis, sebagai seorang Muslim mari kita redha dengan Qada dan Qadar yang Allah telah tentukan untuk kita.
Seperti kata teman saya dari Surabaya yang ganteng, Bapak Firman Hadi Sukma Pratama (Pakar Kuasa Pikiran Bawah Sadar dan Founder Wahana Sejati): "Iya, nikmati ajalah..."


JUST MY SPECIAL NOTE: Mari kita tenang-tenang aja karena sebagaimana Allah bisa menjadikan apa pun untuk hal-hal yang sudah pun berlaku, maka sesungguhnya Allah juga bisa mentakdirkan apa pun untuk hal-hal yang akan datang walaupun kelihatannya mustahil untuk berlaku jika menurut logika akal. Bukankah dalam Surah Al Maidah Ayat 40, Allah berfirman: "Dan Allah Maha Kuasa atas segala sesuatu".









PHOTO: THESE BAMBOO TREES FORM A MIND-SOOTHING PANORAMIC VIEW AT THE ENTRANCE OF THE PONDOK PESANTREN AT DESA KERTARAHAYU. I SPEND EVERY WEEKEND AT THIS PONDOK PESANTREN; LEARNING TAFSIR AL QURAN, CONDUCTING MY FREE ENGLISH CLASS TO 'SANTRI & SANTRIWATI' AND MAKING A CONTINUOUS EFFORT TO BE A HAFIZ AL QURAN BEFORE I DIE. AMEN YA ALLAH...


No doubt I love every single minute running my own consultancy business from Monday to Friday at my Jakarta office located not far from the Embassy of Malaysia. BUT for me, the most beautiful thing about living in Jakarta is being able to spend my time every weekend at a Pondok Pesantren Tahfiz Al Quran at Desa Kertarahayu in Kecamatan Setu. This Islamic traditional learning place is located at a panoramic remote village which is a two-hour drive from Jakarta. This is my Paradise. This is my 'Heaven on Earth'. The Pondok Pesantren is located in the middle of a green aromatic ginger and sesame farm, surrounded by paddy fields and green hills. During my weekend stay at this Pondok Pesantren, I diligently learn in-depth about Tajwid and Tafsir Al Quran directly from a charismatic ulama by the name of Pak Kiyai Sarno who is very religious and very well-versed in Ilmu Fiqih, Tafsir Al Quran and Ilmu Hadith. Every single of his explanation is substantiated by the relevant verses in Al Quran and Hadith Sahih.









PHOTO: THREE BEAUTIFUL MUSLIMAH AND HAFIZAH OF PONDOK PESANTREN AT DESA KERTARAHAYU WHO WON THE “MUSABAQAH TAHFIZ AL QURAN SE-JABODETABEK" RECENTLY. THEY ARE ISTIQOMAH IRSYADIAH (LEFT) AND AMATULLAH ASSAATIRAH (YOUNGEST DAUGHTER OF PAK KIYAI SARNO)


Pak Kiyai Sarno is a Hafiz who has memorized 30 Juz of Al Quran and could recite the Al Quran verses from memory. His wife (Ibu Rachmah Julaeha) is also a Hafizah. And the 3 sons of Pak Kiyai Sarno are Hafiz Al Quran too. They are Mas Salahuddin, Mas Muhammad Al Fateh and Mas Mujahid. By the way, Mas Salahuddin and Mas Muhammad Al Fateh are now studying at Al Azhar in Egypt while Mas Mujahid is assisting Pak Kiyai Sarno to run his Pondok Pesantren. But Pak Kiyai Sarno plans to send Mas Mujahid to further his study in Sudan in 3 years time. Pak Kiyai Sarno's 10 years old beautiful youngest daughter (Amatullah Assaatirah) so far has managed to memorize 10 Juz of Al Quran.


Actually this is not so much about how many verses, chapters or Juz of Al Quran that a Muslim has managed to memorize. Having said that, it is indeed a proven fact that in order to succesfully memorize all 6,666 verses or 30 Juz of Al Quran, a Hafiz needs to observe his behaviour, akhlak and ibadah strictly based on Islamic rules and regulations. They must also lower their gaze. It is extremely unlikely that a person can eventually be a Hafiz or Hafizah if he or she is not humble. And for a Hafiz or Hafizah, patience is definitely a virtue. They also need to ensure that they do not use their mouth to talk bad about others or insult other human-beings or cause hatred among human-beings. These underlying principles which actually have shaped a Hafiz or Hafizah's behaviour or akhlak to be a very well behaved human-being or 'manusia berakhlak mulia' that makes our Planet Earth a better place to live. Since they have to put in practice in their daily life all the life principles outlined in the Al Quran verses that they have memorized, they ultimately become 'Al Quran Bergerak' or 'The Moving Al Quran'
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PHOTO: THIS IS THE VILLAGE ROAD OUTSIDE THE PERIMETER WALL OF THE PONDOK PESANTREN. FOR ME, THIS IS THE ROAD TO MY 'HEAVEN ON EARTH'. FRIDAY EVENING IS MY BEST MOMENT OF THE WEEK BECAUSE EVERY FRIDAY EVENING I WILL TRAVEL TO DESA KERTARAHAYU TO SPEND MY WEEKEND AT THE PONDOK PESANTREN.
FROM MY OFFICE, IT TAKES ABOUT 2 OR 3 HOURS TO REACH THERE. I CAN'T DESCRIBE TO YOU THE NATURAL SENSE OF HAPPINESS IN MY HEART WHEN I SEE THE ENTRANCE GATE OF THE PONDOK PESANTREN, THE PADDY-FIELDS NEARBY AND ALSO THE VERY MOMENT I SEE HIJAB-CLAD MUSLIMAH STROLLING AROUND THE PONDOK PESANTREN AREA. AND USUALLY 10 TO 15 MINUTES AFTER I HAVE ARRIVED AT THE PONDOK, THE MUSLIMAH OR HAFIZAH WILL SERVE ME DELICIOUS INDONESIAN VILLAGE DISHES. OH DEAR! I LOVE THE 'SUASANA AL QURAN' AT THIS PONDOK. I LOVE THE HEAVENLY BEHAVIOUR OF THE PEOPLE AT THIS PONDOK. I LOVE THE VILLAGE FOOD SERVED TO ME AT THIS PONDOK. WHAT CAN I SAY...I SIMPLY FALL IN LOVE WITH THIS PONDOK PESANTREN!


The truth is I am already 46 years old. So, I asked Pak Kiyai Sarno whether it is too old for me to start memorizing all 30 Juz of Al Quran, slowly but surely, during my weekend stay at this Pondok Pesantren and Insya-Allah eventually become a Hafiz Al Quran. Pak Kiyai Sarno answered that no, it is not too old because he has seen a 50 years old man successfully memorizing the whole 30 Juz of Al Quran and became a Hafiz at that later stage of his life. This true story really inspires me. Yes, Monday to Friday I am an International Law Consultant who run my own consultancy business at the heart of Jakarta City Centre but that does not stop me to start learning to become a Hafiz Al Quran during my weekend rendezvous at this Pondok Pesantren. I told Pak Kiyai Sarno that no matter how challenging it will be and no matter how long it will take to become a Hafiz Al Quran, I will persevere and I will istiqomah because I want to die not just as a businessman. In fact I want to die as a Hafiz Al Quran. Yes, I do. This is despite the fact that I come from British law education background and not from Islamic studies background. Indeed this is my new personal ambition. Amen Ya Allah... By the way, to read the 12 benefits and prerogatives of being a Hafiz Al Quran please scroll your mouse to the bottom left of my blog. Each prerogative is supported by the relevant Hadith and verses from Al Quran.









PHOTO: THE MUSLIMAH AND HAFIZAH OF PONDOK PESANTREN ARE IN THE MIDST OF PERFORMING MURAJA’AH OF THE VERSES OF AL QURAN. THESE KIND-HEARTED MUSLIMAHS ARE BEAUTIFUL, SOFT-SPOKEN, POLITE, RELIGIOUS, OBEDIENT AND NO DOUBT THEY ARE SMART


Each time I am at this Pondok Pesantren, the Muslimahs ('Hafizah' or future 'Hafizah') who are learning Islam at this Pondok Pesantren would happily serve and cook for me very delicious Indonesian village dishes for my breakfast, lunch and dinner. These kind-hearted Muslimahs are beautiful, very soft-spoken, very polite, religious, obedient and no doubt they are very smart (what can I say, they memorize 30 chapters of Al Quran). These virgins have the discipline of performing Solat Tahajjud and Solat-Solat Malam every night. For me, it is an honour and a privilege to conduct my free English Class to them every Saturday and Sunday during my weekend rendezvous at this Pondok Pesantren, learning Tajwid and Tafsir Al Quran from their Guru (Pak Kiyai Sarno). And I must confess that by looking at their mind-soothing face alone is enough to make the work stress of my consultancy business in the heart of Jakarta City Centre from Monday to Friday simply gone with the wind. Oh dear...no kidding. And I am very sure this such a soft-spoken Pondok Pesantren lady can definitely make even an extremely violent man like Mike Tyson or Incredible Hulk purrs like a kitten. Yes, you hear me right, purrs like a kitten...


JUST MY SPECIAL NOTE: The purpose I disclose that I am now conducting free English class during my weekend stay at Pondok Pesantren is NOT to show-off or menunjuk-nunjuk. On the other hand, my ONLY purpose is I hope by sharing this story I can inspire all my other friends wherever they are, who have certain skills and specialization to infaq (donate) their skills for the benefit of others by giving their free services or free class during their weekend or free time. Pak Kiyai Sarno has taught me that infaq does not necessarily in the form of money or tangible assets only. Well...besides spending our weekend at Wet World, Taman Negara, Zoo Negara, Pantai Seri Tujuh, Genting Highland, shopping mall, restaurant or other entertainment centre, wouldn't it good if we can also do something and infaq our skills for the benefit of other human-beings during our weekend, right? Wrong? Of course 'right' lah, right...









PHOTO: IN FRONT OF THE 'KAMAR TAMU' ALLOCATED BY PAK KIYAI SARNO FOR ME AND MY KELANTANESE WIFE TO PUT UP DURING MY WEEKEND STAY AT THE PONDOK PESANTREN


Pak Kiyai Sarno has also allocated a comfortable Guest Room for me and my Kelantanese wife to put up during our weekend stay. What a romantic night at this Pondok Pesantren with extremely mind-soothing night breeze blowing from the nearby mountain and paddy fields. I always have a 'feel-good' feeling whenever I am at this Pondok Pesantren. It reminds me of the same feeling during the honeymoon time with my wife when we were newly married 20 years ago in 1993. At that time both of us were nothing but just a 23 and 22 years old young innocent couple who married at such a young age to get Keredhaan Allah. And what a feeling to have my bath here using very clean natural mountain ground water from the well. Oh Mammamia! Mammamia!


JUST KIDDING: But please do not have any slightest imagination of a gagah-perkasa man like me having a romantic private bath or bermandi-manda with a beautiful virgin Muslimah or Hafizah during my weekend rendezvous here. Sheesh...Tak elok tu.










PHOTO: THIS PONDOK PESANTREN IS LOCATED IN THE MIDDLE OF A GREEN SESAME FARM, SURROUNDED BY GREEN PADDY-FIELDS AND GREEN MOUNTAIN. INDEED IT’S MY GREEN PARADISE!



Furthermore, I can't find any word in any dictionary ever published on this Planet Earth to describe my happiness performing Solat Tahajjud and Solat-Solat Malam together with these 'santri-santri' each night when I am staying at this Pondok Pesantren. And what a satisfaction to conduct free English lesson class for them
every weekend at this Pondok Pesantren. The unique thing about this Pondok Pesantren is apart from Islamic studies, this Pondok Pesantren also teaches 'modern' subjects such as English Language, Mathematics and Computer Skills because for their school-age 'santri' they also sit for Indonesian Ujian Nasional which is similar to SPM Exams in Malaysia or O-Level Exams in the UK.









PHOTO: PADDY-FIELDS AROUND THE PONDOK PESANTREN MAKE THE VIEW HERE VERY PICTURESQUE ESPECIALLY DURING SUNRISE AND SUNSET. INDEED THIS IS MY ‘HEAVEN ON EARTH’



Perhaps it's worth mentioning that it's my dream and also my wife's dream to spend most of our post-retirement time later
in a Pondok Pesantren like this which is located in a beautiful Indonesian village surrounded by green hills. We also plan to contribute something to the Pondok Pesantren in term of our skills. I plan to continue teaching these 'anak-anak Pondok Pesantren' English Language and my wife can teach them Computer Skills. By spending our time at Pondok Pesantren, my wife and I plan to learn more about Tafsir Al Quran from the Pak Kiyai. It's also our dream to have the discipline to perform Solat-Solat Malam and Solat Tahajud each and every night together, as a husband and wife, at the Pondok Pesantren. And during day time we will enjoy doing some farming over here. No doubt, it is Heaven on Earth in whatever way both of us see it. Indeed it is.









PHOTO: THIS IS THE ACCOMMODATION BUILDING FOR THE MUSLIMAH AND HAFIZAH OF THIS PONDOK PESANTREN. THE SECOND AND THIRD FLOOR ARE STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION. PRAISE TO ALLAH, ALHAMDULLILAH I HAVE MANAGED TO GET MANY OF MY MALAYSAN FRIENDS TO TRANSFER MONEY TO THE PONDOK PESANTREN AS THEIR ‘INFAQ AMAL JARIYAH’. PAK KIYAI SARNO HAS TAUGHT ME THAT IN SURAH AL BAQARAH (VERSE 261) ALLAH HAS PROMISED THAT FOR EVERY 1 THING YOU INFAQ, ALLAH WILL MULTIPLY IT AND GIVE YOU BACK 700 TIMES. INDEED. ALLAH WILL NEVER BREACH HIS PROMISE. NEVER. NEVER. EVER.









PHOTO: THIS IS THE PONDOK PESANTREN MOSQUE WHICH IS USED AS THE CENTRE OF ACTIVITIES. I CONDUCT MY ENGLISH CLASS DURING MY WEEKEND HERE INSIDE THIS MOSQUE. AND EVERY SATURDAY NIGHT I HAPPILY WATCH ISLAMIC FILM INSIDE THIS MOSQUE BY USING PROJECTOR AND PORTABLE WHITE SCREEN TOGETHER WITH ALL THE HAFIZ AND HAFIZAH. WHO SAYS IN ISLAM WE CANNOT 'MENONTON WAYANG'? OF COURSE WE CAN. BUT WE MUST OBSERVE THE SYARIAH GUIDELINES. NO PROBLEM AT ALL. I CAN SEE THEY ENJOY 'NOBAR' AND THEIR WEEKLY MOVIE WATCHING SESSION...










PHOTO: I WISH M.NASIR, THE LEGENDARY MALAYSIAN SONG COMPOSER IS HERE WITH ME, SPENDING TIME UNDER A TREE NEAR THE PADDY-FIELDS AROUND THE PONDOK PESANTREN. THIS SCENIC VIEW MAY STIMULATE M.NASIR’S CREATIVE MIND TO COMPOSE MANY NEW ROMANTIC SONGS! OH I LOVE ROMANTIC SONGS COMPOSED BY M.NASIR SUCH AS 'KEPADAMU KEKASIH' AND 'SUATU MASA'. DO YOU REMEMBER THESE BEAUTIFUL LYRICS?: “BAGAIMANAKAN KU MULA, DAN APAKAH KATA-KATA, YANG INDAH UNTUK DIABADIKAN, TIAP WAJAH BERKISAH, TIAP MADAH BERERTI, MANAKAH ILHAMKU…, CAHAYA DI MATAMU, SENYUM DI BIBIRMU, MENGUKIR SERIBU TANDA PERTANYAAN, MUNGKINKAH KAU JUA DALAM KERINDUAN, DI SAAT BEGINI AKU MERINDUKAN…” (WELL...GEMUK-GEMUK SAYA PUN ADA PERASAAN JUGA..., SIAPA BILANG ORANG GEMUK NGGAK DIBENARKAN ADA PERASAAN 'JIWANG' YA...? NGGAK SALAH KOK..., APATAH LAGI PERASAAN 'JIWANG' ITU HANYA TERHADAP ISTERI SENDIRI. GITU...) BY THE WAY, SINCE M.NASIR ALREADY COMPOSED 'KERONCONG UNTUK ANA' SONG, PERHAPS IT’S A GOOD IDEA IF HERE AT PONDOK PESANTREN HE CAN COMPOSE 'KERONCONG UNTUK ANTA'. I CAN BE THE PENYANYI LATAR










PHOTO: THE PONDOK PESANTREN IS SURROUNDED BY PADDY-FIELDS ON ONE SIDE AND THIS JUNGLE GREENERY ON THE OTHER SIDE. BEING HERE IS LIKE SPENDING TIME IN OUR TAMAN NEGARA BACK IN MALAYSIA. DURING NIGHT TIME ALL SORTS OF MUSICAL VOICE OF INSECTS AND BIRDS CAN BE HEARD COMING FROM THIS JUNGLE. BUT I HAVE NEVER HEARD THE SOUND OF TIGER OR LION ROARING. THAT’S GOOD NEWS BECAUSE COMPARED TO 20 YEARS AGO; I CAN’T RUN THAT FAST ANYMORE. FURTHERMORE, I MUST CONFESS THAT I AM A MAN WITH 3 MONTHS 'PREGNANT' TUMMY. THANKS TO INDONESIAN DELICIOUS FOOD SUCH AS ES TELER, BEBEK KALEYO, PECAL LELE LELA, AYAM BAKAR MAS MONO, AYAM BAKAR WONG SOLO, CHICKEN STORY, SOTO GEBREK, PISANG BAKAR, AYAM KALASAN, MARTABAK BANGKA, KONRO DAENG TATA, AYAM GORENG MBOK BEREK, GADO-GADO BOPLO, SOTO BETAWI, SOTO MAKASAR, SATE SENAYAN, RAWON SETAN, TAHU PETIS KEDUNGDORO, BEBEK SONGKEM, SEMANGGI DEMPO, NASI KRAWU BU RIDA AND MANY MORE. IT SEEMS THAT UNLESS AND UNTIL I CONSUME 'ALPHA LIPID SLIM DIET 2', I WILL BE FOREVER PREGNANT....

















Mari Kita Tetap Rendah Diri Meskipun
Punya Wajah Cantik,
Karena Wajah Terakhir Kita Adalah Wajah Jenazah Pucat Pasi

Mari Kita Tetap Rendah Diri Meskipun Punya Rumah Besar,
Karena Rumah Terakhir Kita Adalah Liang Lahad


Mari Kita Tetap Rendah Diri Meskipun Punya Busana Mahal,
Karena Busana Terakhir Kita Adalah Kain Kafan


Mari Kita Tetap Rendah Diri Meskipun Punya Kulit Mulus Dan Kinclong,
Karena Kulit Terakhir Kita Adalah Tanah Kuburan


Mari Kita Tetap Rendah Diri Meskipun Punya Mobil Mewah,
Karena Kendaraan Terakhir Kita Adalah Keranda Mayat


Mari Kita Tetap Rendah Diri Meskipun Punya Minyak Wangi Bergengsi,
Karena Wangian Terakhir Kita Adalah Kapur Barus








"Ya Allah...Jika Dengan Terus Hidup, Saya Khairul Hisham Bin Hassan Akan Dapat Terus Beribadat Untuk Menambahkan Pahala Dan Akan Dapat Terus Berbuat Amalan Kebaikan Serta Akan Dapat Terus Memberi Manafaat Kepada Orang Lain, Maka Saya Mohon Tolonglah Panjangkan Umur Saya Ya Allah..."

"Tetapi Ya Allah...Jika Dengan Terus Hidup, Saya Khairul Hisham Bin Hassan Akan Hanya Menambah Berbuat Dosa Dan Akan Hanya Menyakiti Hati Orang Lain Serta Akan Hanya Memberi Mudarat Kepada Orang Lain, Maka Saya Mohon Tolonglah Matikan Saya Secepat Yang Mungkin Jika Mati Itu Lebih Baik Bagi Saya. Dan Matikanlah Saya Dalam Husnul Khotimah..."





Sunday, June 7, 2009

Khartoum: Hot Weather, Hot Lady!

The way I see it, Khartoum is indeed a big city. If I am not mistaken the total population is more than 8 millions including people living within its surrounding area. Khartoum is the capital of Sudan and of Khartoum State. It is located at the confluence point of the White Nile flowing north from Lake Victoria, and the Blue Nile flowing west from Ethiopia. The location where the two Niles meet is known as "al-Mogran". The main Nile continues to flow north towards Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea.

Meaning Of 'Khartoum'


I was told that the word 'Khartoum' itself is derived from Arabic for "end of an elephant’s trunk", probably referring to the narrow strip of land extending between the Blue and White Niles.

'Dubai of Africa?'

If you read 'The Independent', a reputable UK newspaper, there was an article published on the 7th April 2009 that says: "...Everything in Dubai is fake. Everything you see. The trees are fake, the workers' contracts are fake, the islands are fake, the smiles are fake; even the water is fake!". This is not what I say. This was what 'The Independent' UK newspaper said.

So, at the time when the world business community now gradually writing-off Dubai in UAE as a 'gone case' and no more economically-attractive with its property buble, Khartoum strives to be the new 'Dubai of Africa'. You can see clearly here the process of transformation . There are many major mixed-use developments especially in the Mogran area. While the conflict in Darfur rages far away on the other side of the country, developers are hard at work building this city-within-a-city. The project is to include no less than 10 hotels, masses of shopping, residential, offices and more, all rising above the Nile on the site of a former garbage dump.

Khartoum, As I see It

On Wednesday, 3rd of June 2009, I decided to stroll along the streets in the city of Khartoum alone so that I can see the real Khartoum. My Sudanese local partner (Mr Abdul Jalil Abujjoud) said Khartoum is indeed a very safe city. Much safer than London, Washington or even Kuala Lumpur, perhaps.

I asked him whether there is any rebel soldier at Khartoum or not. His answer was a definite 'No'. According to him even Darfur which the international community considers a 'conflict zone' is also actually a safe area. He blamed the western propaganda for painting Darfur as an extremely dangerous place to visit. Anyhow, Darfur is very far away from Khartoum. Even there is 400 miles or 640 kilometres of desert between Darfur and Khartoum. I told him he must tell me the truth because if later there are bandits chasing after me, I cannot run very fast. My 105kg body and my '5 months-pregnant- tummy' will make me a slow baby elephant. He said not to worry because there will be no bandits on the street of Khartoum. Guaranteed.

50 Degree Celcius. Oh Mamamia!

So I walked towards the area nearby my house first (Arkaweet area). The locals call this area 'Balabil Station', the place where the buses, taxis and Tuk-Tuks dropping and taking pasengers. The first problem walking on the street in Khartoum during broad daylight is the weather. It is very hot here in Khartoum during April, May and June. In fact somebody told me the temperature during this season is between 46 to 50 degree Celcius.

In Malaysia when the temperature reaches 32 degree Celcius (which should be the average maximum in Malaysia) that day is already considered a damn hot day. I still remember back in 1985, when I operated a small stall near the roadside selling sugar cane ice juice (during my MRSM Muar semester holidays), a day with a temperature of 32 degree Celcius was always a good day for my water juice business because a lot of people would definitely bought sugar cane juice to quench their thirst.

Hmm...but now it is 50 degree Celcius in Khartoum. I was so thirsty and I wish somebody sells fresh sugar cane juice near the roadside. What a wish. Only in my dream, I guess. It was really a hot day and the wind blows bringing along a lot of dust. Everywhere is dusty. It seems that it is pointless for you to shine your shoes if you plan to walk along the streets in Khartoum.

Hot..Hot..Hot. I was wondering how on earth this people can stay outdoor so long under this extreme hot weather. There are many small stalls near the roadside selling cigarettes, newspapers and mineral waters. Even I saw many ladies just sit on the roadside on a small stool to sell hot tea and coffee. They bring along a kettle and cups. They boil the water near the road side on a makeshift small kitchen on the ground. This is an open-air stall. They do not have anything that we can call a 'roof' to cover their head from the extremely hot sunlight.. I salute them. They sit there for more than 8 hours manning their small business under the heat of between 46 to 50 degree Celcius just to earn a living.

Warm & Friendly Sudanese

The weather is hot but the Sudanese people are indeed very warm and friendly. It seems that the extremely hot weather does not mould them to be a group of hot-tempered people. I wonder if in my own country the weather is 50 degree Celcius, perhaps Mazidul Akmal Sidik of ''999' series in TV3 has a field day covering many criminal cases of 'human eat human' due to uncontrollable hot-tempered among Malaysians. Don't laugh. We never know.

When I stopped by at a grocery shop, I can see their natural friendliness from the way they communicated with me. This level of friendliness will increase tremendously when they know you are Malaysian. Generally, the Sudanese has a big respect towards Malaysian. Especially towards Dr Mahathir. Whether you love or loathe Dr Mahathir, this is the reality. But believe it or not, one of them thought I am a Chinese. I think it is because there are a lot of Chinese here in Sudan. For your information, apart from our Petronas, China invest heavily in Sudan's oil industry. With my darker skin completion compared to the average Malaysian, there is no way I will be confused as a 'Chinese' in Malaysia. But here in Khartoum I am 'whiter' than a normal Sudanese. That day, on Obaid Khatim Road in Khartoum I looked around and then I paused, whispering to myself: "Well...most probably I am the most handsome guy on the road now".

Look left, Not Right

Before I reached Khartoum, I was based in the UK, also a right-hand driving country same like Malaysia. So I am little bit confused here when I wanted to cross the main road in Khartoum. Normally in Malaysia and UK we will look right to ensure there are no cars coming towards our direction before we cross the road. Not in Khartoum. I have to re-adjust my mind-set. I have to look left, instead of right. It can be very dangerous because a few times I forgot that this is a left-hand driving country and I rush to cross the road without looking left first.


Pray Under the 50 Degree Celcius Sunlight

While walking from shop to shop, I saw something that made me feel very 'small'. I saw a few people placed their prayer mat on the dusty pavement near the shops to perform their obligatory prayer or 'solat'. The weather was hot and dusty, yet these things have not hinder them from performing their mandatory 5 times a day prayer. I have a soft spot when seeing this kind of thing. Just imagine the exteme heat of the pavement when they knelt down and prostrated to perform the 'sujud'. Deep in my heart I said to myself that this people are very 'quality' people in the eyes of Allah. Coincidentally when I entered another grocery shop to buy a bottle of mineral water, I found out the shopkeeper was also praying on the prayer mat near the cash register in his shop. Masya-Allah. Despite their relatively poor condition as compared to living condition in Malaysia, they certainly do not forget their obligation towards God the Al Mighty. Yes, he is a businessman, but when the time is up to perform his religious obligation, he just set aside this worldly gain without thinking twice and he performed his prayer there and then.

Caring Sudanese

After walking around for almost an hour, I decided to check my e-mail at an internet centre or what we call in Malaysia a 'cyber cafe'. so I asked a Sudanese on the street where I can find an internet centre. He gave me a direction to the nearest cyber cafe which that so happened was located not very far from the place we were standing. What amazed me was when I finally managed to find the internet centre which is less than 100 meter away from where he was standing, I looked back and I saw he was still standing there, looking at me at a distance away to ensure that I have managed to reach the internet centre. With his hand gesture I can see he waved at me to say that I am now standing in front of the right place, i.e the internet centre. I'm impressed with this Sudanese. Not only he showed me the direction, he even wanted to ensure that I reached my intended destination, safely and correctly.

'Horn-Lover'

However, there is one thing I do not like about Khartoum. It seems that all the drivers here (whether bus, car, taxi and Tuk-Tuk drivers) really love to press their automobile horn. Sometimes it is non stop. I can bet my money that every three minutes at least somebody will press their horn. Horn here, horn there. It sounds like the Bukit Nenas Convent School brass band team is performing on the street of Khartoum. Maybe they press their horn to warn people not to cross the road, maybe to warn other drivers to give they way. Whatever. Oh dear. I really found it very annoying.

Daredevil Tuk-Tuk Driver

There is no Tuk-Tuk (auto rickshaw) on the street of London or Kuala Lumpur. But here in Khartoum, I can say these Tuk-Tuk drivers are the 'King of the Road' on the steets of Khartoum. The way they ride (or 'drive ') are very daring. It reminds me the time when our very own 'Bas Mini' or Mini Bus used to ply the roads of Kuala Lumpur. It seems that this Tuk-Tuk drivers love to show-off their skill.

After checking my e-mails at that internet Centre, I took a Tuk-Tuk from Balabil Station to a nearby shopping complex called 'Afra Shopping Centre'. I was told that a taxi will cost me more money. So I took a Tuk-Tuk. The Tuk-Tuk driver charged me SDG 3 (RM 4.20) for a distanace of less than 3 km. 'SDG' means 'Sudanese Pound' and SDG 1 equivalent to approximately RM 1.40. Even though the distance is less than 3 km, there was no way that I would want to walk for 3 km under 50 degree Celcius of sun heat.

I guess my luck was not good that day. I got a little bit crazy young man as my Tuk-Tuk driver. He literally performed a stunt. He overtook a car in front of us although he knew fuly well that there was an incoming van on the other side of the road. I was so scared. I though that was it. That was the end of my so-called 'Conquering Africa' ambition. I thought I will die or at least lost my legs, or lost my hands or lost my sexy tummy. But guess what? This silly hero managed to squeeze his Tuk-Tuk in between the car he overtook and the incoming van. I was so thankful to Allah but I cursed at him in Malay language for his silly action. He just laughed at me showing his extemely white teeth. I shouted at him in Malay that although his skin is very dark, my blood and his blood still have the same colour and I did not want to spill my blood on the road of Khartoum just because of his silliness. Enough of Tuk-Tuk. Next time, I will take a taxi although I know not every Tuk-Tuk driver is as crazy as this young man. But I do not want to take the risk.

Oh Sudanese lady!

I reached Arfa shopping Centre with great relief after a 5 minutes hell of ride with my daredevil Tuk-Tuk driver. If you can recall, long time ago in Malaysian television there was an advertisement with a tagline 'Black is Beautiful'. When I saw Sudanese ladies at Afra Shopping Centre, I remember that tagline. The Sudanese ladies are indeed very beautiful and elegant, in term of their body figure and 'body design'.

When I was in Tehran last year, there was nothing much I can comment about the body figure of Iranian ladies on the street because the dress code in Tehran requires them to wear a loose traditional 'hejab'. But it is not the case here in Sudan. Yes, Sudanese ladies wear head scarve or 'tudung' but in many cases I saw their dress are indeed very tight which can show their body figure or shall I say 'body-design'.

The moment I entered that Afra Shopping Centre I saw many Sudanese ladies walking around inside the complex doing their shopping. Well..my friend, I must confess Sudanese ladies are indeed have a very unique and beautiful body structure. The 'design' or to be precise the 'curve' of their body is simply magnificient.

No, please do not get me wrong. I do not go to Sudan to stare at Sudanese ladies like a lunatic or even like a 'Gorila Masuk Kampung'. But when these ladies walk in front of me, logically as a normal, healthy, strong and warrior-blood man I simply can't ignore their extremely attractive body design which is too obvious to see. Only a blind man can deny this. By the way, I cannot walking around with my eyes looking downward towards the ground all the time. Can I?. If I did that, I may end up hitting some pillars inside the building, right? So, I just let my eyes admiring the beauty of God's creation. My intention was noble, you know. Admiring the beauty of God's creation. Nothing more, nothing less.

Perhaps the Sudanese lady's skin is not as fair or white as Nicole Kidman or Renee Zellweger but when comes to 'body-design' or body structure I am very certain that even Nicole Kidman's is nothing compared to Sudanese lady's. As a normal man, I was simply speechless on that day. . I do not plan to go to the details here but suffice to say that the 'upper part' of a typical Sudanese lady can make even a violent person like Mike Tyson purrs like a kitten. Oh Dear...The Italian says 'Magnifico' & 'Fantastico'!

Again, Queue Jumping. Should I Throw Her Out Like a WWF Wrestler?

However, like I told you in my earlier posting, the lady here can just walk in front of you and then slimply jumps the queue. It has happened to me at least three times including when I was in the Khartoum International Airport. Perhaps it is just a normal habit here. Not an isolated case like I initially thought. It happened again at Afra Shopping Centre when I wanted to pay for my groceries at the payment counter. It was too obvious to ignore.

As a Malaysian gentleman, I just smiled at her. However, when I looked at the man standing in the same queue behind me, he showed his sour face to me because I let the lady jumped the queue. In my heart I said to myself: "Haiya brother! What do you want me to do, man? Do you want me to throw out that lady like a WWF wrestler always does in the wrestling ring?". Come on! You do not do that to a lady. Do you?

Jumping queue or not, I must say with a certain degree of certainty that if you want to find the most beautiful 'body-design' and the sexiest body-curve lady in the world, you will definitely find it in Khartoum, not in London, not in Paris, not in Kuala Lumpur, not in Tehran, and of course certainly not in Mongolia!

Salam, Permisi, Khoda Hafez, Pamitan, Bye For Now..

(My next posting will be my story accidentally bumping into a group of Malaysians in my Khartoum neighbourhood; two Malaysian military colonels and five majors who are here under the United Nation peace mission)

8 comments:

  1. You story in a way open my eyes regarding the world we live in

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  2. Dear 'Anonymous', good that my real story somewhat open your eyes. But better we also open our minds. Thank you for your comment

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  3. Dear 'Azura', yes go for it. But you yet to see I am dancing with the style of 'Agogo' the 60s dancing style!. Thank you for your comment

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  4. Salam my dear commando. Normally a guy's opinion on sudanese ladies is : first month "hitam nya", second month "biasa je", third month "not bad jugak diorg ni". And i didnt know u r going on the day... :)

    Take care bro, and keep posting...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dear 'Fauzi', love is blind or at least colour-blind. It does not matter whether your skin is black, white, chocolate or rainbow in colour. Because of love is indeed blind, that's why our Tan sri P.Ramlee a.k.a "Saudara Kassim Selamat" patriotically tried very hard poking and digging out his own eyes in the "Ibu Mertuaku" film (and he succeeded!). Do you ever think that Valentine,(Love Saint of the West) dare to do the same like Kassim Selamat to prove the power of great love towards his 'Sabariah'? Nay..Nay..Nay, No Way brother... That's also the reason why year-in-year-out I single-handedly protested that comes every 14th February by right all all Malaysians should call it 'Kassim Selamat Day', instead of 'Valentine Day'!. Thank you for your comment.

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  6. My husband, Mohammed, is from Khartoum, we currently live in WA State, USA. We are getting ready to travel to Khartoum to visit his family. He has not seen them in 20 years. I have never visited, and am trying to gain as much knowledge about the area. I came across your article, and I so enjoyed it. It made me laugh and I can't wait for the experience of visiting. Although, I might pass on the tuk-tuk drivers now.

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  7. Dear Anonymous, I just realized that you have written a comment here. I hope you already had a very nice holiday in Khartoum. I also hope you have visited Meroë whereby there are actually more than two hundred Nubian pyramids in three groups, of which many are in ruins. The pyramids are unique because of their distinctive size and proportions, as compared to the pyramids in Egypt. And there is also an area located not very far from the pyramids and the town of Shendi which has been gazetted as "The Lost City". Thank you so much for writing your comment in my blog.

    ReplyDelete

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