A Malaysian Journey
By Rehman Rashid
Paperback: 295 pages
Publisher: RAHMAN RASHID (first edition 1993)
Selling Price: RM 59.90
This is not a new book, but I reread it last week and thought it deserves a mention for being one of the best books describing modern Malaysia.
Rehman Rashid grew up in post World War II Malaysia, when the country was newly independent. A scientist by training, and a journo by trade, Rehman explains how the country changed during the years Dr Mahathir was prime minister.
Rashid chronicles the effects of the New Economic Policy (a set positive discrimination laws that favours Malays over other Malaysian ethnic groups), the curtailing of press freedom, the politicising of Islam, and other hot topics.
It's all set in the context of a trip Rashid took through Malaysia, so you get the benefit of a travelogue as well as a personal (spiritual) journey, and political commentary.
Some Malaysians hate this book and say it's terribly biased; others say it explains exactly how non-Malays of Rashid's age think.
Few can argue about the style though. This book is beautifully written, and is already considered a modern classic.
If you're not in Asia, Check out Amazon, and second hand online traders like Abe Books.