Rojak Fakta Malaysia (ZI Publications, 2011)
The Malay version of Malaysia At Random
(Disclaimer: This book was given to me as a complimentary copy from ZI Publications with no obligations to review it)
This is the Malay translation of Malaysia At Random which I reviewed here so I don’t know what else I can say other than…well, it’s a marvelous book. 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 not even 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.
As stated at the beginning of this entry, my copy is a freebie from the publishers. This book was apparently published in January 2011 but I did not see it at my regular visits to the many MPH branches around Petaling Jaya. But Silverfishbooks.com has it so ordering online is an option and Kinokuniya Malaysia’s site says the book is in stock but I’ve learned not to trust that site. It lies.
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.