I’m very Kiasu, putting up this review on the deadline. But I can’t wait to get my hands on Lydia…Lydia’s bookshelf, I mean! So here goes…
Lydia Teh’s “Honk! If you’re a Malaysian” is a wonderful, witty read. It covers all aspects of Malaysian life, it tells us why Malaysians are indeed Malaysians. It allows us to be proud of our culture, one that is mixed with so many races and religions.
Realise this, there is no other such culture on earth, except for Singapore lah (but they were once part of Malaysia, as children as young as 10 who have read my “A Children’s History of Malaysia” will tell you – yeah, I know another shameless plug, but as my school teacher once said “If you don’t wave your own flag, no one else is going do it for you”) Now what was I saying? Oh yes, we Malaysians do indeed have a unique culture and Lydia Teh has opened our eyes to it. It is a must read. And thankfully, it’s also an easy read.
It’s not an academic book but there are certainly issues raised which a sociologist would need to grapple with. How has one culture influenced another? Have Malaysians become too Westernised?
Any gripes? Perhaps just a bit more depth. We can read all about the How? What? and When? But not enough Why? Why do Malaysians do things the way we do? Did UMNO and MCA or Yong Tau Foo have anything to do with it? I like something which I can really get my teeth into. Fish head curry for me. Top Hats are just too delicate. One bite and all gone!
But then again Lydia knows her readers. She knows what they want. Her hugely successful “Life’s Like That” and “Honk”, which I’m sure will do even better, is a testimony to that.
“Honk! If you’re a Malaysian” belongs on your bookshelf. And don’t just leave it there, read it, have a laugh, get a bit of insight and be Malaysian.