Thursday, July 29, 2010
Review Thursday: Confessions of an Old Boy: The Dato' Hamid Adventures
By Kam Raslan
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Editions; 1st edition (February 25, 2007)
I picked this up in MPH a while ago on an impulse - and it was worth the money. The Old Boy in question is a Malaysian civil servant Dato' Hamid (Dato being a Malaysian title like Sir and also the word for grandfather).
This collection of stories starts in the 1940s when our hero joins the Ministry; and end in modern times. Stories are based in London, France, northern Africa and Malaysia so we see the Dato show his true colours in many different settings. Lazy, cowardly, and quite open to a few bribes, he gets into lots of trouble - and manages to slip out from under it time and time again.
Of the stories, I loved "Ariff and Capitalism" best where the Dato goes to a party in London, and ends up becoming embroiled in a get-rich-quick scam. My favourite side-kick character is the Dato's son, the "the Ayatollah" who is no doubt much more moral than his dad, but so horribly self righteous and smug that you can't help but want to give him a kick in the pants.
The characters in this book are so true to life, that I could swear that Raslan based these on real people. If you can, get this book.
For overseas readers: It's available from Amazon but it costs a bomb there from what I can see: US$118. Local price is less than US$10. I don't know why Malaysian books overseas are so expensive. I'll look into postage costs and blog about that on Monday, OK?