“Honk” in a Nutshell

Honk If You're Malaysian book cover.I’ve finally done reading my second book of the year (honest, it’s really just my second!), which means I have 28 more to go. See the updated list for a couple of title changes.

The book which I had just finished reading was Honk If You’re Malaysian, a collection of witty, biting stories about what it’s like to be Malaysian. It’s the perfect handbook for foreigners looking for an insight into what Malaysians are all about before they boldly set foot on our not-so-clean-but-very-sandy shores. No books on Malaysian culture and its people are as honest as they can be than Lydia Teh‘s Honk.

But first and foremost, this book is for all Malaysians… and who knows, maybe some of us might see ourselves reflected in the stories Lydia had wrote from her sharp observations of Malaysian society. Light-hearted with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, Lydia does not shy away from showing us Malaysians for what we are – the good, the bad and of course, the ugly. But she never pointedly criticise us for any of a behavioural quirks that make us Malaysians unique and that is why I love this book as well as that of her more personal book Life’s Like That. Lydia has shown us that despite everything, it is most important that we’re able to laugh at ourselves and along with others about what it is like in Malaysia. This book should not be seen as a criticism of Malaysian culture, instead, it should be read to enlighten us on the various aspects of Malaysian life so that we can do something about it.

Kudos to Lydia for writing these stories. You’ve written something that not many Malaysians are willing to write about and you’ve done it in a light-hearted way that it does not reprimand us but make us laugh and blush in embarrassment (for those that read the book and said “hey, that sounds like me!”). May we see more of your stories to come and looking forward to your next collection with bated breath!

What’s good about the book:

  • Easy to read
  • Concise – each stories about 800 to 1000 words or so long.
  • Witty, plenty of of laugh-out-loud moments
  • Her observations are spot on – especially in the stories she wrote about spitting, begging and the Malaysian appetite.
  • Great book to relief stress and tension – laugh it all out and away.
  • I could relate to many of her stories – hunting lizards were my favourite childhood past time too and I so so so love pineapple tarts!

What’s not so good about the book:

  • Some stories make me wish I had written them because I had experienced/encountered such situations as well.
  • The book is not something you’ll read to increase your brain power.

Dear Kenny, hope you don’t mind me using your pic of the “Honk” book cover…


2 responses to ““Honk” in a Nutshell

  1. No problem, I myself must have gotten the picture of Lydia’s book from somewhere else before I resized it.

    I completely agree with you that this is indeed a book for all Malaysians, and how rare is that? Yet there are so many other books that Malaysians need to discover, even if they don’t come immediately to mind or have a huge marketing campaign behind them.

    Some days, it’s the small books that sate my appetite the most.

  2. Philipp, thanks for the wonderful review. Appreciate it very much. Haha, *not something you’ll read to increase your brain power* – that’s an interesting way to put it.

    Keep on reading and writing.

    Kenny, thanks!

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