Photo: Irwan Kurnia/Indonesia Tatler

Hidup Ikhlas Tanpa Muslihat (A Sincere Life Without Deceit) is a frankly told true life story of a man who once found himself stranded at the lowest point in his life. He had nothing, not even a bowl of rice for his morning meal, let alone a humble home decent enough to live in.

But throughout these years, Haji Anif never gave up, for it is just these sorts of circumstances from which tides will turn.

“We experienced living below the poverty line,” he said at the launching ceremony. “But by the grace of Allah Almighty, step-bystep our lives underwent meaningful changes.”

The ceremony was attended by the crème de la crème of Medan as well as distinguished guests from Jakarta.

The story starts with an interesting flashback to the years of the Japanese occupation period in Perdagangan, a small town 170km from Medan, North Sumatra. The opening chapter narrates an incident when the 4-year-old Anif was captured by the Japanese military police who had mistakenly taken him as a European boy because of his fair skin, blue eyes and slim figure.

Anif remembers every detail of this episode; he even recalls the words he said to his father after his release from the military post: “Tidak Dak, Musa tak takut.”

Musa means not afraid, while dadak is the Afghan word for father, and Musa is what the boy, born as Musannif, calls himself. Anif ’s father Hafiz Gulrang Shah was a Phastun merchant who travelled far from his homeland in Afghanistan to earn a living, while his mother Syarifah came from Perupuk, a small hamlet on the coastal area of Batubara in North Sumatra.

Written in flowing Indonesian by Toga Nainggolan, the biography covers all the interesting episodes in the life of Haji Anif, the business tycoon praised by former Vice President Hamzah Haz for his extraordinary personal approach.

His inherent qualities and a knack for communication have been the gifts that have enabled Anif to delve into, and succeed in, a variety of business ventures; notably, an automobile repair shop, general trade, a contractor, the real estate industry, palm oil plantations and even the birds’ nest business.

A number of endorsements, remarks and notes from friends and members of his family are another interesting chapter in the 316-page book. Media boss Surya Paloh saw Haji Anif as “a hard-working person who never stops before he reached his goals”, while politician and member of parliament Panda Nababan praises Haji Anif for his “great political talent”.

Also read: Here are 12 Books You Should Read This Year

Tags: Book, Haji Anif, Hidup Ikhlas Tanpa Muslihat, Book Review