Thursday, August 7, 2008

Book Review: 50+1 Malaysia

Oh goody! The book has arrived. We are talking about the 50+1 Malaysia book.

On opening the courier pouch, I was taken aback by its size. This cute little booklet is so cute and compact that you can and would want to bring it with you wherever you go.

Travellers would love it because a lady could have it fit nicely into her handbag while a gentleman could easily slip it into his pants pocket. Yes, it is that compact and convenient, plus it has an attractive, very Malaysian book-cover.

Book-size: approximately 11cm x 15cm (4 3/4" x 6").

Though small, this handy travel guide does pack a punch. The guide is divided into seven sections and each section contains 50+1 items (that's 51), thus the book's title, 50+1 Malaysia. Just browsing through it, you would be surprised and delighted at the amount of information and pictures it contains.

A little bit about the concept behind the title. The authors, QuaChee** and his colleagues, picked this title to represent the number of years Malaysia is celebrating her independence. You have guessed it. Come August 31, Malaysia will be celebrating her 51 years of independence from colonial rule. To carry this theme throughout the 50+1 Malaysia book, there are 50+1 items in each of the seven sections. Going through the book, you will agree that much work and research have gone into its compilation.

Section 1 covers 51 truly Malaysian items -
A foreigner would find this travel guide very useful with its information on local culture, lingo and expressions. QuaChee does a good job of compiling all the words and expressions that could get a visitor speaking Manglish in no time. Words like alamak, syiok, ta pau, are all in the list.

Section 2 is on Food -
No travel guide is complete without a section on food. A traveller with the 50+1 Malaysia book in hand would be well-equipped with a good idea of what to expect in Malaysia with regard to food. This booklet provides a comprehensive section of the various types of food available and some details on how they are prepared and how they would taste like. Indeed very useful information for the uninitiated and the adventurous alike.

Sections 3 & 4 cover Places to visit and Things to do -
Just armed with this little travel guide, a visitor would have an idea of at least 51 different places to visit and things to do, probably more than he has time to complete the rounds or try out every activity. The pictures in these categories are awesome, enough to whet any traveller's appetite for adventure.

Section 5 is on Festivals & Events -
Malaysia has the most number of public holidays. Selangor alone has 17 each year. Not surprising at all, considering we are multi-racial and thus multi-cultural. For a visitor to our beautiful and colourful country, he would be able to experience all 51 of our festivals and events as listed in this handy book if he stays here for a year. Not a month passes by without an event and every festival and event is documented in this informative and comprehensive travel companion.

Section 6 is on Famous Malaysians -
Every country has her famous personalities and celebrities, and Malaysia certainly has her fair share. QuaChee has managed to highlight 51 of Malaysia's very best and famous people we can proudly call our own. Celebrities like our very own Bond girl, Dato' Michelle Yeoh, our sports sensation, Datuk Nicol David, Amber Chia, the International Ambassador for Guess Watches, M Nasir, Mawi, our very first Malaysian in space, and others.

Section 7 uncovers Love expressions -
This last section is kind of sweet. It features 51 love expressions - 51 ways Malaysians show their love for the country. Touching.

This 50+1 Malaysia book is a must-have if you plan to visit Malaysia or if you are already here and wish to know more about Malaysia in order to fully enjoy this beautiful country that she truly is. Malaysia, truly Asia.

For Malaysians, get a copy and get to know and appreciate the wonders and beauty we have around us. You would be surprised to find things and places you never knew of.

There are a few things I like about the 50+1 Malaysia book. I like its compactness though it could do with a bigger font so that readers will not have to strain their eyes - quite taxing trying to read the small print.

-- I like that the booklet has lots of pictures and very nice ones too - very enticing. Again, some of the pictures are too small.

-- I like the colour-coding of each section - makes locating information so much easier. The negative side to this is that certain colours like yellow, orange, green and magenta make it difficult to read the text. Instead of white on colour, it would have been better if it is black on white with a coloured border. Same colour-coding effect but readable text.

-- Good paper quality.

-- Perhaps it would have been better if the book-size is bigger, maybe like the size of those published by Insight. Perhaps we will see a second edition/reprint in a bigger book with sized-up text?

-- Though a little pricey at RM51, the information contained in it is worth every ringgit. The 50+1 Malaysia booklet is on sale online right now at a much discounted price of RM19.90. This is for a limited time only so here is your chance to own a copy of a true Malaysian travel guidebook or a Malaysia reference book, whichever suits your purpose.

Finally, on a personal note, I am glad to have found in this 50+1 Malaysia book, a Malaysia Present book that completes my collection of Malaysia trilogy - Malaysia Past, Malaysia Present, Malaysia Future.

A little note on QuaChee:
** QuaChee is an entrepreneur, multi-talented, passionate about Malaysia, a fellow-blogger, a writer, an actor, a model, and a photographer himself.

This travel/reference guide, 50+1 Malaysia, is the second book he has written and published. His first book, Batik Inspirations - Malaysia's Living Heritage, is a hardcover, coffee-table book which has been and is still well-received. We can be sure there will be more books from QuaChee in the not too distant future. Cheers!


  1. Anonymous1:52 PM

    Hmm...I wonder whether I won this book or far no news :)

  2. Anonymous2:16 PM

    Heard good things about the book! I'm eagle to get a copy.

  3. MBL, not to worry la. I'm sure it's just a case of the postman being late.

    CC, yeah, a good book to have.

  4. I'll be sure and get a copy of that book before I come to Malaysia to hunt down all those Malaysian bloggers I know and spray-paint their cars BLUE!!!! HA HA HA HA HA!!!!

    Seriously, though...I really do hope (intend?) to visit Malaysia someday, and that definitely looks like a useful guidebook.

  5. RM19.90... that's cheap. But I gather that the book is more for foreigners.

  6. Did you win it or buy it? :)

  7. MM, yes, it is a useful guidebook - information-packed.

    Some dark knight you are! We'll have to request a ban on blue paint before your arrival, won't we now?! hahah...

    KS, no doubt, that is a great price! Locals would benefit from it greatly too. You'd be surprised at how little we ourselves know about Malaysia.

    MB, guess you can say I won it.