This is the Malay translation of Malaysia At Random. I loved the original English version. The facts, trivia and anecdotes are presented liberally with no order whatsoever. Brilliant! That’s how a book full of trivia should be. A page on the ‘Guidelines on naming your child’ is followed with a list of the worst accidents and natural disasters in Malaysia in the past 30 years. Turn the page and it’s the 30 most valuable Malaysian companies and the page after that has 12 steps on how to capture elephants. Because you never know when that might come in handy.
Since all the facts are presented in a rojak manner, every turn of the page brings a breath of anticipation. You literally have no idea what you will find next. Nothing has been lost in translation so that’s good. The person or persons who did the translation was/were not credited in the book so I can’t thank them here by name but whoever you are, good work. There have been a few poorly translated books out there (I heard that the Malay version of Twilight was so bad it’s funny) so when a good one drops in my lap, I must highlight it. Credit where credit is due.
The one thing that the Malay version is better than the original English one is the cover. The cover to Malaysia At Random looks as if it was designed 2 minutes before they sent the book to the printers. Rojak Fakta Malaysia has an irreverent version of the Malaysian coat of arms which I think suits the tone of the book. Oh and it’s in paperback only.
Anyway, get the English version which is still widely available or get the Malay translation or get both. If you love trivia, this book is a gem in any language....more
If you aren't sure if how to pronounce a particular word, check this book first. Chances are it's in here and the author will tell you that the way yoIf you aren't sure if how to pronounce a particular word, check this book first. Chances are it's in here and the author will tell you that the way you pronounced that word is the accepted version nowadays although it did not start that way and she'll tell you why.
A good book to throw at so-called purists of the English language. English is a constantly evolving language, we must evolve with it.
I wonder how they'll speak the language in 100 years time?...more
If you ever need a literal example of the old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover“, then Malaysia At RandoThis review is ad verbatim from my blog:
If you ever need a literal example of the old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover“, then Malaysia At Random is a perfect example. Look at that picture. It’s like they couldn’t be bothered, could they? Just scatter in some thumbnails of Malaysiana and you’re good to go.
Horrible, horrible cover but wonderful, wonderful content.
This book is 150 pages of Malaysian-related trivia. From the leaning tower of Malaysia to J.W.W. Birch’s last journal entry on 24th October, 1875. From the structure of a traditional Malaysian Chinese Secret Society to the dining habits of the Malaysian tiger (the book claims there have been no evidence of Malaysian tigers eating tapirs. Maybe they taste bad?)
The trivia collected encompasses history, language, politics, society, statistics and even excerpts from interesting news items (“Foreigners making headlines in Malaysia”, “Bungled Burglaries”). Want to know how to capture a herd of elephants? This book’ll teach you (it involves starving them to near death, by the way). Even what goes into the Ramly Double Special Cheese Burger is included here.
You cannot compile a book on Malaysian trivia without including something from Dr. Mahathir, the country’s longest serving Prime Minister to date. The most interesting one is his reply to a 10 year old British boy who wrote to Dr. Mahathir imploring the doctor to stop exploiting the tropical rain forests of Malaysia. The Prime Minister’s response was, shall we say, a bit testy.
A lovely book I would recommend to anyone, of all ages. I love how the tidbits are not presented in any order; the origins of the “Five Foot Way” is followed by a list of live performances that faced problems with Malaysian authorities which is followed by a thorough guideline for Muslims who want to venture into outer space. Every page is a surprise. For example, Malaysia’s 10th richest person, Vincent Tan (net worth in US Dollars: $750 million) has 11 children. Vincent Tan has 11 kids?? What is he? Kelantanese?...more
Clearly inspired by Michael Hart's The 100 A Ranking of The Most Influential Persons in History, Muhammad Khan presents to us the Muslim version whereClearly inspired by Michael Hart's The 100 A Ranking of The Most Influential Persons in History, Muhammad Khan presents to us the Muslim version where he has attempted to list the 100 most influential Muslims in history. Like Hart, Muhammad Khan's no. 1 spot is also reserved for the Prophet Muhammad. Unlike Hart, though, Khan does not really get into details why he chose Prophet Muhammad as the most influential person. Of course being a Muslim, Khan is expected to place the Prophet at the top. Michael Hart justifies his choice for the number one spot by explaining that Muhammad (pbuh) was the only person in history to have made a lasting impact in both the spiritual and material world. Hart also argued that Muhammad's (pbuh) Arabic dialect has been preserved over 1400 years and has become the standard Arabic dialect because of the Quran (no other language or dialect today is the same as it was 1400 years ago) superceding the other 10 different Arabic dialects. The Prophet's dress code, how he prayed, even how he ate are all preserved today not just by his fellow Arabs but throughout the world by Muslims eager to emulate his example. Surprisingly, Khan did not list this bit of detail in his biographical entry for the Prophet.
The Prophet's companions and two of his wives (Khadijah and Aisha) make up the top 9 in Khan's list with the prolific hadith narrator, Abu Hurairah, coming in at number 10. The remaining 90 are made up of Muslim scholars, scientists (like Ibn Khaldun, the father of historical inquiry) and rulers. There are a handful of 20th Century figures that made the list like Ayatollah Khomeini, Kemal Ataturk and even the boxer Muhammad Ali at number 100.
One may agree or disagree with his choices or the placing of certain luminaries over others but Muhammad Khan has nevertheless pulled off a magnificient feat with this book. It is a great book of reference for anyone interested in the movers and shakers throughout Islamic history....more
An excellent book compiling all the recorded sayings and examples of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) in alphabetical order. Makes it sooo much easier fAn excellent book compiling all the recorded sayings and examples of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) in alphabetical order. Makes it sooo much easier for readers to find a particular saying. ...more
Michael Hart made the unenviable choice of listing who he thinks were the 100 most influential people in history and I think he pulled it off. His decMichael Hart made the unenviable choice of listing who he thinks were the 100 most influential people in history and I think he pulled it off. His decision to place the Prophet Muhammad at no. 1 may rankle the bigoted but Hart argues that no one else in history was so influential in both the material and spiritual world. I agree....more
A very good encyclopedia on military history but I only give it three stars because it focuses mainly "on land warfare in Europe and America, and aspeA very good encyclopedia on military history but I only give it three stars because it focuses mainly "on land warfare in Europe and America, and aspects of naval and air history that bear directly on land operations"...because as we all know, wars only ever occured in Europe and America. The rest of the world was just peachy keen, thank you very much....more