Book review: Malaysian Flavours: Insights into Things Malaysian

THIS is a delightful book that gives an insight into the Malaysian way of thinking and doing things.

Lee Su Kim, a former columnist in The Star newspaper, delves into her Peranakan roots, and through amusing asides and deft observations, leads readers through the unique quirks and idiosyncrasies of Malaysians.

If you are a Malaysian, you will quickly recognise the special English we use in our everyday life, or how we react to things in ways that ‘outsiders’ might deem unfathomable.

This book entertains without being preachy, and along the way, you might even discover that what you thought normal is actually questionable.

It covers the invention of our unique lingo, and common Malaysian traits that are not necessarily all good, as well as looks at the nostalgic past, and the lifestyles today.

There are sections such as Malaysian English, Alamak! Bloopers and Boo-Boos, Cross-Cultural Encounters, Observations, Malaysian Names, Yesteryear, Children, Lifestyles, and A Nyonya in Texas, accompanied by illustrations that are as entertaining as the text.

The book captures the essence of what it means to be Malaysian and is filled with a smorgasbord of amusing and interesting details that would surely have you nodding in agreement or gasping in mock horror at one point or another.

Absolutely riveting.