Jonathan Fryer

Rehman Rashid’s ‘A Malaysian Journey’

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 6th January, 2010

Most good travel writing is a journey into one’s inner self, but it is rare to find a book that manages to be equally incisive about the country concerned and the author. Rehman Rashid, who has worked as a journalist in various parts of Asia, including Malaysia, where he was born in the twilight of the British colonial period, had the advantage of studying and traveling widely abroad before returning to his homeland, to examine it with a criticial, albeit subjective, eye. He never lasted long in any job, being far too much of an individualist, yet one who still feels great affection for family and friends and the multicultural dreams of Malaysia at its inceptuion. His book was rejected by a number of publishers, not because of the quality of the writing (on the contrary), but because they thought it was too hot to handle. So he published it himself, and it has gone on to sell many thousands of copies since it first came out in 1993. It’s still selling — I picked up a copy in the bookstore in KL low cost carrier airport — and deservedly so. Highly recommended.

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