Wednesday 25 February 2009

You gotta have faith

TUHAN MANUSIA by Faisal Tehrani (Al-Ameen, 2007, 350 pages)

Last week’s book, Ayat-Ayat Cinta, was a love story with a very consciously contrived Islamic setting. This week’s book also exists in an Islamic epistemological universe, but is more daring and austere in form and content.

Tuhan Manusia is a provocative and sometimes fascinating work. It’s also thematically very conservative, but since when were conservatives not allowed to be provocative?

The 17-year old protagonist, Ali Taqi, is stunned that his older brother Talha is now murtad (an apostate). The whole nation seems to know about it (the novel was written shortly after the Lina Joy case) and Ali Taqi is enraged. He keeps remembering the wise words of his late mother, who said that religion is the tiang seri (most important pillar) in one’s house. These words constitute the opening paragraph of every single chapter, achieving an incantatory quality. So what Talha did was to bring down the house – but not in the way a standup comedian would.

Ali Taqi is determined to do battle against the forces of liberalism and pluralism that he blames for his brother’s decision. The battle isn’t a militaristic one, but social and intellectual. Most of the book takes the form of dialogues between himself and various ustaz, professors and wise people. There’s also a debate on stage, and a lecture and Q & A session with himself (now a grownup) near the end.

Tuhan Manusia is extremely talky; you can imagine it functioning as an unusually arid radio-play. Flip open a random page: someone is quoting a Quranic verse, a saying of the Prophet or his companions, or otherwise puncturing holes in the very idea of religious pluralism. Various texts, some quite esoteric, of the Islamic and Western intellectual traditions are excavated and explicated.

No wonder Ali Taqi doesn’t have time for a girlfriend! But there is a schoolmate, Zehra, who fancies him. Zehra’s father Aris is a liberal pluralist intellectual (although the novel doesn’t deign to accord him a PhD, unlike those other guys who agree with Ali Taqi’s conservatism). Aris is part of a conspiracy to weaken the faith of Muslims, which explains why he keeps getting grants from Germany and the US.

Talha the apostate never appears and is never permitted to speak, even in flashback. Conceptually, he has been cast out of the fold, waiting for divine wrath to deal with him. (Perhaps, one day, someone can write Talha’s story!)

Most of the novel takes place in a very homosocial environment (with lots of manly hugs) but women are nonetheless revered by always getting the first paragraph, and they are the only ones to speak on the last page.

The speech is never realistic. Faisal Tehrani thinks that realism, with its seemingly passive gaze at human foibles, is un-Islamic. The thoroughly didactic tone of Tuhan Manusia is his attempt to return to what he sees as the pedagogical origins of Malay-Muslim literature. Ali Taqi’s father spells it out (just as everyone in this book spells things out): “Cerita yang tidak tepu nasihat dan ilmu ialah cerita yang sia-sia.”

In this world-view, there are only two groups of people: those who are ‘for’ or ‘against’ Islam. These include entire systems such as Marxism, feminism and liberalism. When Aris is given a chance to defend his views on stage, the novel makes him babble and then trail off. Well, at least he is not caricaturised further; a cruder work would not hesitate to impute all manner of vices to him.

But there’s certainly a difference between believing “all religions are the same” (which is what this novel calls pluralism), and believing that all religions contain essential truths. Such as this saying (not quoted here) from Jewish tradition: “How can you love God if you can’t even love human beings?”

Tuhan Manusia does push some unexpected buttons. Ali Taqi’s observation of how the Saudi government disrespects the Prophet’s legacy is hardly in keeping with what a 17-year old on his first umrah would think. It’s Faisal’s essayistic voice, but it does hint at how ‘Islam’ is hardly a static entity but always operates in the profane realm of politics.

In his final speech, the adult Ali Taqi warns against hypocrites in Muslim society. But if Talha had not left the religion, wouldn’t he qualify as one? By making that difficult choice (which caused him to be disowned), he was at least being true to himself. Although frequently presented as being under threat, Islam is still the fastest-growing religion in the world, so wouldn’t it be better to have fewer of these munafik?

Ah, but in the Tuhan Manusia scheme of things, what I just wrote might seem dangerously ‘liberal’ or even ‘pluralist.’ In the interest of saving myself from fatal freak accidents (I shan’t be more specific), I recommend that you read it for yourself. I didn’t feel like hugging it, however manfully, but its righteous energy and erudition did earn my respect. And it didn’t commit the ultimate ‘sin’ of fiction: it was never boring.

(Malay Mail, 25 February)

Tuesday 24 February 2009


MPH Local Non-Fiction Bestsellers
for the week ending 22 Feb

1. Mahathir Mohamad: An Illustrated Biography
Author: E. Yu

2. Urban Odysseys: KL Stories
Edited by Janet Tay & Eric Forbes

3. Blog Merentasi Halangan (Dwi Bahasa)
Author : Dr Mathathir Mohamad

4. Malaysian Politicians Say the Darndest Things (Vol 2)
Author : Amir Muhammad

5. Eat Well, Live Well: Your Healthy Lifestyle Guide
Author : Chia Joo Suan

6. The Quintessential Man: The Story of Tan Sri Azizan Zainul Abidin
Author: Azam Aris

7. Nation Before Self and Values that Do Not Die
Author : Yuen Yuet Leng

8. Dare to Sell: Inspirational Comic
Author: Billi Lim

9. 50 Days
Author: Marina Mahathir

10. Profit from the Panic: How to Make Your Fortune from the Worst Financial Crisis Since the Great Depression
Author : Adam Khoo; Conrad Alvin Lim; Ryan Huang

* This list is called Local Non Fiction but actually collects all local books with the exception of Malay novels (which has a separate list). Hence, the mainly-fictional book at #2.

Monday 23 February 2009

Off to Mexico

This week, four of us will be flying the flag at FICCO in Mexico City, which is having a focus on recent Malaysian cinema by showing 14 feature-length films, including three of my oddball documentaries: The Big Durian, Lelaki Komunis Terakhir and Apa Khabar Orang Kampung. Sharifah Amani, Liew Seng Tat and Khoo Eng Yow will be there, too.

This will be the longest flight of my life (30 hours, including two stopovers) but I decided to go for it because I just love being surrounded by the Spanish language! Swoon!

As is usually the case whenever a foreign festival wants to spotlight Malaysian cinema, no cooperation at all was received from the Malaysian embassy. This is in marked contrast to how the embassies of, say, Thailand, Indonesia and especially Singapore operate. Oh well. It's a good thing the festival managed to get their own sponsors. So there's no reason to gripe :-)

This is one of my favourite Spanish songs (the singer is actually Brazilian):

Unfortunately the video seems to cut off; luckily I have the original double CD of his Greatest Hits!

Wednesday 18 February 2009

Elizabeth Wong video

We interviewed Elizabeth Wong in January 2003 for The Big Durian at the Lotus restaurant (RIP) in Bangsar.

She was, as ever, helpful, articulate, passionate and fun. These are two extracts:

(This is from the first cut, which explains the English VO, and the absence of music).

Some people actually thought she was too good for mere party politics, but she had her own reasons for throwing in her lot with PKR. And, lest we forget, she was with the party way before it became such a potent electoral force. I could see how hard she worked at two pre-tsunami by-elections which the Opposition ended up losing, but she never gave up.

On a similar note, I know she will bounce back. Now the test is whether Malaysians in general -- not to mention her own party -- are grown-up enough to look at her sterling record as activist and wakil rakyat, instead of allowing one of our best and brightest to be buried under a landslide of our own prurience and hypocrisy.

Your love lifts me higher

AYAT-AYAT CINTA by Habiburrahman El Shirazy (Al-Hidayah Publishers, 2008, 510 pages)

This is actually the Malay version of an Indonesian novel that has sold over 200,000 copies since its release in 2004. It was then made into a film that was seen by over 2 million people.

Why was it so successful? Perhaps the cover provides a hint. The shocking pink may not seem unusual in the novel cinta genre, but the author’s academic credentials are: he is a graduate of Egypt’s Al-Azhar University. That’s like a secular writer saying he came from Oxford or Harvard: it inspires immediate confidence.

The novel is indeed set in Egypt, and follows an Indonesian student of Al-Azhar named Fahri, and is narrated in the first person. He’s never physically described but he might be hot stuff, since women are quite literally dying for his lurve – but you’d need to read to the end to find out how.

The title means Verses of Love and the verses are most decidedly divine: the Quran, examples from the Prophet, and other signs of God’s greatness. These are liberally sprinkled through-out the text. Fahri and his friends seem to always have the right verse for each occasion. None of them is the dating kind: romantic love is seen as just one of the many paths to express the transcendent love for God. (At the risk of sounding crass, you can even say that this book uses Islamic verses the way a Western chick-lit book uses couture labels: to provide comfort and guidance. )

Its protagonists inhabit a totally different epistemological universe than you might be used to. Collete once said: “Without adultery, there is no novel.” Meaning, I presume, that novels are usually about breaches of social rules. But Fahri not only never commits adultery, he refrains from even holding a woman’s hand until after his wedding. Heck, he only sees her face after agreeing to marry her; he agreed because his religious elders couldn’t possibly have made the wrong choice for him, could they?

But all that takes place in the second half. The first section is more like a campus novel. We follow him as he prepares his thesis and does translation jobs. There’s lots of hurrying about on the metro system. The blistering heat and dust of Cairo are evoked well; you feel like taking a long, cool bath after each chapter. The prayer times are always there as reminders of his first duty. He’s a conscientious bloke with a 10-year academic and professional plan, and there’s no time to waste.

We are introduced to a few women around him: Maria, a Coptic Christian neighbor; Nurul, a fellow Indonesian; Noura, who is being abused at home; and Aisha, who is of Turkish-German parentage and visiting Cairo partly to brush up on her Arabic.

There’s also Alicia, an American journalist who wants to find out if Islam discriminates against women and non-Muslims. Fahri is so hard-working that he writes her a 40-page answer, and gets Maria to translate another book of over 100 pages. The novel has a few references to Malaysian students at the same university; I can only hope for the sake of national pride that they are similarly rajin, but we never find out much about them.

There is not much incident at first but it’s immensely engaging; its didacticism blends rather than grates. Then Fahri gets heat stroke and dreams of meeting one of the Prophet’s companions. This marks a significant turning-point in the novel’s style: the second half lurches into melodramatic overdrive.

He gets married. Then not one, not two, but three other women profess that they’ve always loved him. (There’s a lot going on under those purdahs.) What’s a poor guy to do? For a moment I thought he would just marry all of them, but Fahri is not that kind of guy. He gets arrested and tortured on a trumped-up charge. Someone almost rapes his wife. Another woman slips into a coma. There is a trial, and his wife faints in court.

Straining for pathos, the final sections ditch the pleasurable dignity and restraint of the beginning. There’s a deathbed denouement that I am sure will make some people hear angels, but it unfortunately brought to mind Oscar Wilde’s quote on a Dickens scene: “You’d need a heart of stone not to laugh.”

I don’t have the original Indonesian with me, but I don’t think many changes were made. I am sure words that would have provoked unintended guffaws, like butuh and pantat, have been changed to perlu and punggung. Other than that, many Indonesian terms have survived, to the extent that percuma, lucu, and budak are left in where a Malay reader would expect sia-sia, comel and hamba.

The Malay version is now in its 11th edition and has inspired a host of imitators. Truly, it has been blessed.

(Malay Mail, 18 February)

Friday 13 February 2009

I am sandwiched between Dr. Mahathir and Amber Chia

(I bet that's something that doesn't happen to many people, and I don't care how kinky you are.)

MPH Non-Fiction Bestsellers
for the week ending 8 February

1.Mahathir Mohamad: An Illustrated Biography
Author : E. Yu

2. Barrack Hussein Obama: Presiden Amerika Syarikat yang Pertama Berkulit Hitam
Author : Najib Amin Sahib

3. March 8 the Day Malaysia Woke Up
Author : Kee Thuan Chye

4. Politik Baru: Mematangkan Demokrasi Malaysia (Bilingual)
Author : Saifuddin Abdullah

5. Laughter, the Best Malaysian
Author : David Tong

6. Eat Well, Live Well: Your Healthy Lifestyle Guide
Author : Chia Joo Suan

7. Malaysian Politicians Say the Darndest Things (Vol 2)
Author : Amir Muhammad

8. Blog Merentasi Halangan (Dwi Bahasa)
Author : Dr Mathathir Mohamad

9. Profit from the Panic: How to Make Your Fortune from the Worst Financial Crisis Since the Great Depression
Author : Adam Khoo; Conrad Alvin Lim; Ryan Huang

10. Supermodel's: Secrets of Success
Author : Amber Chia

Thursday 12 February 2009


Just saw this local animated flick. It's a fun, frisky ride: a multi-culti adventure that was created out of obvious love for pop conventions. Its youthful creators are also wonderfully attuned to bratty speech. As fun as Kung Fu Panda, with some big durians to boot. A feel-good summer smash that makes you glad Malaysia has summer all the time.

My three favourite lines:
-Nasib baik kau bapak aku.
-Ingat masa depan, Ipin!

Now in cinemas all across the land.

(Although I think this trailer emphasises the monsters too much. I am an old fogey, so I preferred the non-monster scenes).

Wednesday 11 February 2009

Love, repetitively

CHINTA by Norhayati Berahim (NB Kara, 728 pages, 2008)

I was supposed to write about an urban anthology this week, but I got distracted by this big fat thing. Urbanity can wait; let us now share some lurve.

I realise I have been terribly remiss for not reviewing any Malay novels since this column started. So to make up for it, I promise I will read one every month. I chose Chinta because it was the best-selling Malay novel of January in the entire Popular book-chain. That’s a whole lot of lurve being shared.

Chinta is the name of the protagonist. She had a tough kampung childhood because her father was always mean to her. (We know she’s adopted, but she doesn’t until much later). She’s a total sweetie anyway, always willing to help anyone in need. She then works as a researcher at a KL food factory run by Raja Akid’s father. She has a fiancé, Saiful, who is getting bored with her. Raja Akid, meanwhile, is single and very dashing.

If you think you have it all figured out, the author has surprises in store for you. To be honest, I expected the bashful maiden to be all aflutter at the attentions of an eligible scion. But Akid has … a problem. They hit it off wonderfully as friends and are always trading wisecracks. But he admits that he probably can never be romantically involved with a woman.

There are subtle hints. He’s always well-dressed in designer togs; he even picks out handbags and shoes for her. He has a close male friend named John. Gasp! Is he gay? Chinta does entertain the thought, but then dismisses it. Would a gay man become the hero of a novel cinta?

Akid’s problem is that he can’t trust women. When he was a wee lad, he caught his mother doing the nasty with a man she wasn’t married to, and this scarred him for life. Even the mention of her would have him break out in a fit; Chinta, in a panic, thought he was epileptic. His opinion of his mother is expressed in English so enraged it becomes ungrammatical: “She is slut!”

All this is established rather early on. The rest of the novel consists of repeating these basic facts. Here is Chinta musing on her fiancé Saiful: Seharusnya sudah sampai masanya untuk mereka berkahwin. Tetapi Saiful tidak pernah langsung menyebut mahu meminangnya. A page later: Namun sampai sekarang Saiful tidak pernah menyebut mahu melamarnya. A page after that: Kalau Saiful sayangkan dia, kenapa sampai sekarang Saiful tidak mahu melamarnya?

We got it the first time, love! He's just not that into you. A rigorous editor could slash this book to half its length. But I think its sheer bulk is intentional: it mimics a comforting (and bulky?) friend who’s always chattering about the same things. Yes, that must be it.

It doesn’t quite become a chore, because the dialogue has a breezy, even smartass, quality. When Saiful finally dumps her, Akid comforts her not with sweet nothings, but with a comedy routine: “Saiful haprak tu? Dia bukan tandingan kau, Chinta. Pokai, tak ada apa. Tak handsome. Jahat. Kau tak payah fikir dia lagi. Aku ni lebih handsome, lebih kaya. Semua aku ada!

This is the first novel cinta I’ve read and I’m glad it wasn’t so sappy. I didn’t feel like I’d just swallowed several cotton candies in a row. But Chinta herself is such a paragon – right down to her academic brilliance, cooking skills, and even muslimah swimwear – that she seems more like a wish-fulfilment fantasy for the target reader than a living, breathing thing. She even continues to pick up her ex-fiancé’s parents from work!

Akid’s sexual dysfunction and general childishness help to foreground her as the stronger character. Her step-mother and aunt, too, are shown as much more resourceful and resilient than the older male figures in the family. But patriarchy is confidently affirmed, since these good women never try to take the place of men!

I wonder if any other novel cinta has the couple’s marriage take place 150 pages before the end. The suspense, of course, now comes from whether Akid can finally bring himself to consummate it.

The eventual truth about Chinta’s birth parents brings joy and Dickensian fortune. All the good people end happily, and the three bad people end up murdered, in jail or diagnosed with cancer. If that doesn’t comfort you, I don’t know what will. Who needs sex when you have divine justice?

(Malay Mail, 11 February)

Friday 6 February 2009

The Fairly Current Show

I really must learn to be more circumspect during interviews. One of these days, I might get into trouble. Or something.

Thursday 5 February 2009

"Reading Room" installation in Rotterdam

When I was asked by Rotterdam's Gertjan Zuilhof to do a room in a 'Haunted House' exhibition, the first thing that came to mind was electricity.

In the rare instances where I have seen installations, what struck me most was how much electricity tends to get wasted. They have these video screens blaring away, often simultaneously, and sometimes accompanied by a separate sound system. This sense of waste gets exacerbated because art galleries, like our own Balai Seni, tend to be so empty. (The only crowded post-opening art space I've ever been to was when I showed Tokyo Magic Hour at the Yokohama Triennale a few years ago. That was like being in a superstore.)

And another thing that I wanted to do was give the visitors something to take back. As a souvenir. If an artist is gonna get paid, he might as well share the love.

Among my haunted house-mates, I already knew Garin Nugroho, Riri Riza and Lav Diaz, since we always meet at film festivals. This was my first time meeting Wisit and Vin Sohn. Just for the record, my favourite is Lav's, but you will have to find a description elsewhere :-)

READING ROOM: The concept

Since I am now a book publisher, it seems apposite for me to get the reading room. But the fact that it contains several copies of only one slim book might make it like Borges's idea of Hell. The anti-bourgeois might also find the IKEA furniture particularly Hellish.
The Malaysian Book of the Undead was a book that I badgered the writer Danny Lim to come up with for a year. It's a very secular and skeptical book, as neither of us is the type to get spooked easily. And it thus fits the functional Scandinavian furniture very well.
The book's visual artist (who's a real artist, he is in art galleries and all that) was so embarrassed at being associated with such a book that he insisted on a pseudonym. But since he chose a Muslim pseudonym, I felt glad because I thought this would make the book sell better to the Malay-Muslim population, which make up most of Malaysia. And even Danny felt a bit embarrassed by such a blatantly cash-in book that he insisted on a 'compiled by' rather than a proper writing credit. (But both these fine young gentlemen were not so embarrassed that they didn't cash their cheques right away).
To find out the significance of the marbles, read the entry under Toyol.

The process:

I got Eclectic Design to do a new layout, and a red cover, for Danny's book and shipped 500 copies to Rotterdam by FedEx. Nice and cuddly publisher that I am, I even paid him royalties even though these books weren't for sale.
We (meaning the composer Hardesh Singh and a tall festival volunteer named Alp) went to a large IKEA outside of Rotterdam. What's scary is that, aside from the absence of a surau and the presence of alcoholic drinks in the cafe, the layout is exactly the same as the one in PJ. We bought the whitest furniture we could find.
The furniture was then assembled at the room. Luckily the 500 books filled the Billy shelves perfectly.
The marbles were very difficult to get. I went to four toy stores, which didn't stock them. (One said: "Come back in May. That's a summer item.") Finally Alp was resourceful enough to get them from a pet store. (Marbles are used for aquariums what.)

The outcome:

(The marbles are on the table)

There were 2,000 visitors in the space of 10 days. This is good considering the exhibition was only open at night! I hung around for an hour each day and it was nice to see people, after getting over their initial bafflement, sitting down and reading the book.
Visitors were encouraged to take back the books. My initial instruction was for this to happen only on the final day. But a Dutch newspaper printed that the books could be taken right away, so the 500 books started disappearing at a rate of about two dozen per day. It was indeed like the Toyol couldn't be distracted by the marbles anymore. So this is how it looked in its final hours, on closing day:

This installation ended up getting a better review than Susuk. Kwang kwang kwang!

(*photos by Gertjan Zuilhof)

Wednesday 4 February 2009

Remembrance of things past

FATIMAH’S KAMPUNG by Iain Buchanan (Consumers’ Association of Penang, 2008, 120 pages)

You don’t get many tots named Fatimah these days. If it’s true that celebrities inspire baby-names (which would explain why we are in the age of Siti), this dearth could be explained by the fact that the last celeb with a similar name was active over a decade ago. Even then, it’s telling that the stage-name she chose was Erma Fatima – minus the ‘h’, because Fatimah is so much more kampung than Fatima.

Telling, too, that even though most of our urbanites have been surrounded by concrete for only a generation or so, the very word kampung is already common slang for being gauche and unsophisticated.

Well, the protagonist of this beautiful book is kampung and very proud of it. It’s not just any kampung, mind you: Kampung Hidayah started over a century ago, and Fatimah’s great-grandfather roofed his house from ancient belian wood. He would tell his descendants: “Remember the tree that gave us the roof…Let us think of the tree and be humble.”

Although this is a work of fiction, it’s very much an act of remembrance. Kampung Hidayah represents all that we have forgotten about old villages, including the respect for nature implicit in their structures and rituals.

Iain Buchanan did not grow up in such a place, and you might say he’s a romantic. But romantics are better than cynics, and in reconstructing the collective memories of his wife and her extended family, he has crafted one of the most stunning local publications you will ever come across. The colour illustrations, many of them spanning across two pages, are full of wonders. You can see every leaf, hear every cicada, and even smell the “pleasingly mysterious” bunga tahi ayam: “not sweet, not fragrant, but musty, spicy, with a little bit of pepper, earth and smoke.”

Fatimah possesses great curiosity about her surroundings, and wonders whether she will ever meet the fabled tiger, which tradition dictates should never be referred to directly but as Pak Belang. In the meantime, her trip to a keramat shrine hints at the syncretic beliefs of the not-too-distant past.

Iain Buchanan first came here from England soon after Independence, and taught Geography for five years. Then, after two decades back in England, mired in “parochialism and corporate politics,” he found himself back here again with his Malay wife. Needless to say, much “had changed beyond recognition.” Back in his English university, he still lectured on the ecological and social costs of rapid urbanisation to an increasingly apathetic audience. He realised that story-telling was a much better way to get these points across, and spent eight years writing and illustrating Fatimah’s Kampung.

So this book is anchored in something sturdier than mere nostalgia. But it’s also far more sensuous than an environmentalist tract. The author perfectly balances his intellectual-activist impulses with his storytelling skills. As that famed lepidopterist-novelist Vladimir Nabokov once said, a writer must have “the passion of the scientist and the precision of the artist.” I am also pleasantly surprised that it’s published by the Consumers’ Association of Penang, whose previous titles never looked like this!

It’s a book I made myself read slowly, but even then, I am sure I will revisit it. Discreet proof of its structural intelligence can be found in the fact that the pages describing the house’s most important pillar, tiang seri ,occurs almost right in the middle, but slightly closer to the ‘rural’ half.

Ah yes, as you may have expected and feared: there is a ‘non-rural’ half. The village inevitably falls victim to rapid development. Even the keramat and the sultan could not help; rather, it’s the latter’s business interests that speeded the village’s demise. (Of course, this is a work of fiction, so Buchanan should be spared Thai-style lèse-majesté prosecution). I won’t spoil too much, but the house’s fate becomes a parody of crass commercialism. And the most heart-rending pages, at least to me, involve Fatimah’s eventual encounter with Pak Belang.

Although pricier (RM65) and wordier than Lat’s Kampung Boy, it deserves to sell like nobody’s business. It’s for children of all ages; rather, it’s for anyone who still has some of the spark, curiosity and even instinctive knack for indignation that children have. It’s finally not an anti-urbanisation screed but, as the last panel shows, it’s about how respect and healthy tradition must be maintained even when things are changing all around us.

But I myself never grew up in a kampung, so finishing this book made me also hungry to hear urban tales, too. But for that, you will have to wait till next week.

(Malay Mail, 4 February 2009)

Tuesday 3 February 2009

Debuts at #3

MPH Local Non-Fiction Bestsellers
for the week ending 1 February

1. Mahathir Mohamad: An Illustrated Biography by E. Yu
2. Tau Tak Apa by Dr HM Tuah Iskandar Al-Haj
3. Malaysian Politicians Say the Darndest Things (Vol 2) by Amir Muhammad
4. Barrack Hussein Obama: Presiden Amerika Syarikat yang Pertama Berkulit Hitam by Najib Amin Sahib
5. Nation Before Self and Values that Do Not Die by Yuen Yuet Leng
6. Eat Well, Live Well: Your Healthy Lifestyle Guide by Chia Joo Suan
7. Politik Baru:Mematangkan Demokrasi Malaysia (Bilingual) by Saifuddin Abdullah
8. Things in Common by Syed Akbar Ali
9. Tarik Kekayaan Dengan Kuasa Minda by Amar Mahmood
10. Hadiah Buat Muslimah: Panduan Asas Fiqah Wanita by Siti Nor Bahyah Mahamood

Monday 2 February 2009

Valentine's Day launch

The book will have its own launch 6pm on Valentine's Day. And things might get sticky.

Fret not: Despite some suggestions to the contrary, no politician will be launching it.

Our special guest will instead be a chocolate fountain. a much more useful sort of VIP.

Oh, this takes place at the Annexe literally minutes after the latest talk by Farish A Noor, and an hour before a unique concert that you Annexe cronies will soon hear all about.

You can confirm your attendance on Facebook.