#IdolaSeni: Teme Abdullah (+ ‘Arkitek Jalanan’ Review!)

Assalamualaikum wbt.

This post is part of the #IdolaSeni series to show my gratitude to five Malaysian creatives who agreed to become respondents for my team and I’s research paper, ‘Instagram as a Platform for Emerging Visual Artists to Build Their Brand’.


“Seni merupakan bahasa yang difahami semua orang tidak mengira bangsa dan bahasa. Jika hasil seni anda berkualiti, bukan hanya pada mata rakyat tempatan, malah hasil seni anda akan dihargai masyarakat antarabangsa juga.” — Teme Abdullah@itsteme

Teme Abdullah bukanlah nama yang asing lagi di Malaysia. Lagi-lagi kalau anda aktif dalam komuniti seni tempatan ataupun jika anda seorang bookworm yang wajib melawat MPH setiap minggu. Sebenarnya, ramai kawan saya yang bukan peminat seni pun follow beliau di Instagram dan Twitter.


I discovered Teme back in 2015 because I loved reading his blog and found myself agreeing with a lot of his unique views, and because of his brilliant sketches of buildings, of course. His book #PelukisJalanan was beyond inspiring. He put smiles of the faces of many. And of course I want to give a big congratulations on the recent launch of #ArkitekJalanan!

I really wanted to make it to PBAKL to get myself a copy of Arkitek Jalanan but could not because I was abroad. Was really disappointed, especially as some copies had special cards in them!!! So I made sure to order a copy online as soon as I could. The Iman Publication website kept crashing, and new results kept appearing for the term ‘Arkitek Jalanan’ on Twitter the week it was released.


Sangat sangat MENGAGUMKAN sebenarnya, melihat rakyat Malaysia tergila-gilakan sebuah buku. People said they queued for hours to get a copy and asyik habis stok. It is honestly AMAZING, especially when the book is about study motivation (I know he doesn’t like it to be categorized as a ‘dakwah’ book, haha) and the best part is– people don’t even know what he looks like! That means, people genuinely like his work because of its impeccable brilliance, and not because of any other factors. I’m probably too young to know, but I’ve never heard of this kind of book craze happening in Malaysia. Especially a book that doesn’t have a title like Suamiku Encik Ketam or Paus or what have you.

Grandma’s house’s doorbell isn’t working, and the postman didn’t leave a message, so my copy had a looooong journey before finally reaching me. And Alhamdulillah, today it finally did! I finished reading the book in the span of a few hours.

Brb, busy fangirling over the fact that Teme touched this book. The 78th book he signed. Not as cool as the yellow cards, but it’s something! 🙂

Alright, here’s my review of Arkitek Jalanan. My dear friends, if you’re looking for motivation to gain knowledge and achieve your goals (and not just architecture students!) with a tinge of Islamic advice and social commentary, this book is for you. Teme and Ahmad’s bond is definitely #friendshipgoals. This book was written from the heart, and so it touches the hearts of many.

Personally, I read this book at the most perfect time. I had to make an extremely difficult decision lately. Since I’m on a 5-month break from university, I had to choose between staying in Japan with my family a little longer, or going back to Malaysia for the remaining three months.

I’m a lousy driver. I am not skilled in the least at driving. Something many people find very easy to do. I failed JPJ twice, and didn’t attempt anymore for the past two years, to focus on my studies. It sucks to be bad at something so expensive. The whole driving school experience traumatized me so much, I despise talking about it, and in fact, I blocked a lot of the bitter memories from my mind and can’t remember them. Now my L license has expired and I have to start all over again from the beginning.

Dad’s contract in Japan has been renewed for another two years, and I hate having to depend on my 77-year-old grandfather to drive me everywhere. I should be the one driving him around! Plus, next semester I will most likely have to live in a rumah sewa in a small town in Negeri Sembilan, 20 minutes from campus. Housemate yang lain-lain takde kereta walaupun ada lesen. Saya ada kereta (sebab parents saya tinggalkan kat Malaysia) walaupun takde lesen. So mesti susah nak hidup tanpa lesen, dahlah subjek sem depan banyak yang kena keluar.

So now I’m back in Malaysia, to learn how to drive. Not the only reason, but the main one, because everything else is doable in Japan. I actually don’t have an issue at all with coming back here, but a few days before my flight my parents suddenly made a big deal about me going. Mereka ugut saya, nak pergi bercuti di Korea kononnya. Kurang 24 jam sebelum flight pun mereka cakap I can still change my mind. I’ve been crying and crying for the past eight days especially at night, mata bengkak teruk haha. Still questioned my decision again and again and again walaupun dah balik sini dah pun.

And this morning I registered for driving classes, half-grudgingly. A few hours after, I read the first 100 pages of Arkitek Jalanan. Its effect on me was like ~*magic*~. It convinced me that leaving your family in a whole other country to learn something to benefit not only yourself but others… can be totally worthwhile if done with sincerity, determination and niat yang baik. I also adore how in the beginning Ahmad is convinced that he can’t draw, but ended up getting first-class honours. This book doesn’t just motivate you to strive academic-wise, but to learn new knowledge and skills with all an open heart and an open mind.

Teme, I’m sorry this took so long. I did attempt once or twice but they looked too ugly to be dedicated to you and I lost motivation for a while. This art journal entry is for you.


Until next time. Salam Ramadhan!

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Creating contentment.

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