Last weekend I attended the launch of the book FINDING MALAYSIA:  MAKING SENSE OF AN ECCENTRIC NATION. The book is authored by Zairil Khir Johari, the Member of Parliament for Bukit Bendera, Penang since 2013, and is a collection of recent selected essays on 5 themes that are a constant in our political discourses today.

He begins with his perspective on the ethnic question – identity cleavages, what it means to be a Malay and a variety of related issues. In the section “No god but God” he analyses secularism, and syariah penal code.  The other issues covered in the book include Politics, economics, Federalism and our education system.

Zairil is the son of Md. Khir Johari who was involved in the struggle for independence after the Japanese occupation.  Md Khir Johari was Minister of Education from 1957 -1959, and1965-1969 and his son also pays tribute to his father in the prologue and epilogue of this book by documenting the lessons he learnt from his father. Khir Johari was an English teacher when the British ran schools and inculcated a love of the English language but also a desire and love of learning, to his son Zairil. Khir Johari also espoused a strong work ethic where the world does not owe anyone a living, and believed in achievement based on merit and hard work.

Zairil is a rock music lover and displays this love in the album – style cover of this book. The cover is inspired by the Beatles best-selling iconic 1969  Abbey Road album which shows the  four band members – John, Paul, George, and Ringo –  walking across a zebra crossing outside Abbey Road Studios in London.  Zairil posed near the Dataran  Merdeka  and the Sultan Abdul Samad Building in Kuala Lumpur for this book cover shoot.

DISTED Library has a copy of this copy. Check it out for a good read.

Article contributed by Puan Rashidah Begum Bt. Fazal Mohamed