Part 1 Wah!  This year’s SSEAYP PYs get a homestay book memento!

Part 1

Wah!  This year’s SSEAYP PYs will get a homestay book memento!

Yes. This year’s participating youths (PYs) of the Ship for Southeast Asian and Japanese Youth Programme (SSEAYP) will each receive a SSEAYP homestay book to read and keep for remembrance.

The book, which carries international friendship as its theme, will be given to a total of about 330 PYs from ASEAN and Japan during the homestay matching ceremony at the Resorts World Sentosa on 16 November 2019.

Homestay host families and SSEAYP officials will also get a copy.

I am delighted and happy to have written this special book which is published by SSEAYP International Singapore (SIS).

The responsibility of writing this book fell on me for two main reasons:

(1) I have been a SSEAYP homestay host for over 25 years and therefore have lots of experiences with SSEAYP and its PYs.
(2) I am an experienced writer in English.

Now a social blogger of “Read-and-Reap”, I’ve written 14 books and over 350 articles and short stories in various local and overseas magazines, including in Singapore’s The Straits Times and Berita Harian. Varied samples of my writings are:

Books on Geylang Serai stories: “The girl with the mole”, published by EPB Publisher, 1992; and “A kite in the evening sky”, published by Marshall Cavendish (Asia), 2018.

Short stories in magazines: Photos show the first page of the short stories “The painting” in Malaysia’s CHECKMATE of February 1976, and “The orchid messenger” in Singapore’s HER WORLD of March 1977.

General articles in magazines: Photos show the first page of two general articles “The changing world of the Geisha” in Singapore’s FEMALE magazine of May 1978, and “Forming the internal landscape” in THE ASIA MAGAZINE of August 1979.

General articles “For THE STRAITS TIMES (in the “Review” column): “Clearing up confusion over Muslim names”, 26 May, 2007; and “Countdown to Deepa-Raya”, 31 October 2009.

General articles in “Pandangan” of BERITA HARIAN as “Invited writer” and “Guest writer”: “Tekad Ramadan dan jihad henti merokok”, 15 August 2009; and “Masjid sebagai ikon bersih dan sempurna”, 7 December 2009. (Translated, the two headings are: “Striving to stop smoking with Ramadan determination” and “Mosque as a clean and excellent icon”.) 

Books on Islam:  Poster of book launch and autograph-signing of “Islam Explained” (First edition, 2006) and “Inside Islam – 101 Questions & Answers” organised by the books’ publisher Marshall Cavendish (Asia).

Book on Islam – “Islam Explained” (Second edition, 2017) published by Marshall Cavendish (Asia) on sale at bookshops. Photos from left show Ms Farah Amirah Redzuan and Ms Nadia Saiful Rizal, both from Brunei Darussalam, at Kinokuniya Orchard bookshop; Mr Lee Samsudin; Ms Suriani Suhaimi at Popular Bookstore Johor; and Ms Yuri Abe from Japan at the Relay Bookshop at Changi Airport.

Well, the idea of producing a book about SSEAYP homestay came up a year ago but it was not until late April that I was told to proceed writing it.

I immediately sprang into action with great zeal. Why so fast? Well, because the book has to be completed in a short time of four months only – the entire narration needs to be submitted to the printing company on 30 August as the company would take two months to get the book printed and delivered by end of October.

I always took between two to three years to write a book as it is not easy to write a “solid” book of over 100 pages as lots of researches and confirmations need to be done. The SSEAYP homestay book is no different. What’s more, it carries lots of interview information that needs to be written and confirmed by the interviewees. (The book carries views, comments, fond memories and experiences of others involved with SSEAYP – all were heavily edited by me for brevity and homogeneity.)  I thank them all for their contributions, especially their photos.


To write the book, I faced lots of challenges and encountered sleepless nights. At one point my 4-year old ASUS laptop gave trouble or rather it gave me trouble as it might be angry at me for not giving it enough rest.  The folder containing the half-completed narration of the SSEAYP homestay story suddenly disappeared and I almost fainted.  Nervously I searched for it everywhere.  But it has simply vanished from the computer! I collapsed.

My son came to my rescue.  He too frantically searched for the folder, and after a long struggle extracted a copy from somewhere deep in the stomach of the laptop!

He advised me to get a new laptop, and I immediately did. I bought another ASUS laptop. Still, I didn’t give it enough rest like the previous one but this one is young and strong, so no fear.

Eventually, I managed to complete writing the homestay story a couple of days before the end of August, and handed the manuscript to the printing company on 31 August.

A great relief descended upon me. Now, I’m awaiting to do two proof-readings before the book goes into its final stage of production.

SIS President Yacob Hussain did his part by calling for quotations for the printing job and negotiating with the printing companies for the delivery date. Together we applied for the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) from the National Library Board and discussed with the selected printing company on matters concerning the book.

The book will be ready for delivery at the end of October, about two weeks before the arrival of the PYs. Do doa (make supplication) for the successful production of the book.

Anything else you want to know?

Yes, what’s the title of the book?

The ship that spreads friendship.

Wow! That’s a nice title!

How many people gave comments and were interviewed for their experiences?


Eighteen?  Wow!  So many!  Who are they?

Be patient lah!  Don’t be too excited lah!  Wait for Part Two of the article, okay?

Till Part Two appears in this blog in about two weeks, just keep wondering how the design of the front cover of the book would be – the one shown above is only a sample done by me, not professionally done. So, I’m wondering too. But the designer has been instructed to make the front page look friendly – with the ship merrily sailing from one port of call to another, spreading friendship.

Shaik Kadir
8 September 2019

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