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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fashionista's Book Review: A Doctor in the House


It took me more than six months to finish reading this book. You must be thinking that I'm the slowest reader ever, and maybe you might be right. I kind of like to think of myself as one of the contributors that helps to increase the number of books read by Malaysians; Malaysians used to be known to read only 2 books in a year, fortunately that statistic has now improved, Malaysians now read an average of 12 books annually, to read more about the Malaysian reading statistic you can click [here]. But that is beside the point, the point of this post is my review on Dr M's latest book, A Doctor in the House (there's also a Malay version, Doktor Umum).

I was given the book in November and I only recently completed reading (and I mean really reading, not skipping the pages) the book last night. That means it took me about 9 months to complete the book. Why did it take me so long? No, not because there's more than 800 pages to read, because some parts of the book was really heavy reading and I had to stop and rest my head for a while (that rest took about three months, I'm afraid, that's why it took me so long to complete the book). So, now back to the book:

The book chronicles the life of the man we know as the father of modern Malaysia, the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia. The beginning of the book starts from his childhood days and from then on it kinda flew up to his university years in Singapore where he met his wife, Hasmah. The heavy reading starts when he starts describing his experience during the Japanese occupation in World War 2. However, the interesting part starts when he began his political journey and from then one, I find this book to be one of the enthralling non-fiction books that I've ever read.

What I like about the book is the way it's written. During the time when I was reading the book, I felt like I was being told a story (just like a grandpa would tell stories to his granddaughter) and it was like the story of Malaysia started to unfold, from the beginning, being governed by the Brits, then the Japanese occupation, then back to the British and finally our own independence. And then Dr M started to chronicle his own journey, from opening his own practice to politics and finally becoming the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia. He elaborated stories that we (the public) would never have known, what happens behind the scenes in our country.

To me the book is an amazing read. What is even amazing is Dr M's remembrance of names, events, dates and so many other things. Although I do find that the book is slightly biased to Dr M's point of view, after all, he did write the book, but I would recommend the book to be used as one of the references for the subject Malaysian history. Those reading his book would certainly have a better appreciation for our country.

For those who are still wondering whether or not they should read the book, let me tell you this: if you want to know how the planning (and design) of Putrajaya came about, the building of the tallest twin towers in the world (KLCC), our currency crisis in 1998, why KLIA is located in Sepang and the start of LIMA, well, it's all explained in the book. And the book also includes stories that are political of nature, some of it regarding Anwar's entrance to UMNO, his rise up the ranks, his ousting from UMNO and his sodomy trials. The book also included stories of failures and mistakes that the government may have made.

In all, I'd say the book is written but someone who was the most powerful man in Malaysia, but still, he retains his humble beginnings and despite all that has been said about him, it is without a doubt that he is very, very proud of being a Malaysian.

If you'd like to purchase a copy of the book, you can click [here].


xoxo Mrs Fashionista