Part of the fun of living in a country that is not my own is that I have a hunger (rather than a complacency which plagued me more when I lived in the UK) to discover new things about Singapore and Asia in general.
At a recent dinner party I found myself sitting next to Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh who, as well as writing for The Economist, has just completed his first book based upon a fascinating journey he took through Malaysia which he cycled around – visiting every state – for one month, living on just US$3 a day. He had no fixed place to stay and only one change of clothes.
We have kept in touch since meeting (mainly through his lovely wife; she and I share a love of durian) and so I was thrilled to be asked to the launch party for the beautifully titled ‘Floating on a Malayan Breeze’, which, in part, details this journey and his findings, thoughts and discoveries. The launch drew an impressive crowd including Channel News Asia and ex-President Nathan.
Sudhir is a great guy (and a Changmoh reader no less – I am very proud!) and this book is a very approachable, eloquent view of the differences and similarities between Singaporean and Malaysian cultures; after all, they were the same country 50 years ago. It’s a good background read for anyone who wants to know more about the country they are living in and is much more digestible than the very-important-but-I-can’t-quite-finish-it ‘New Asian Hemosphere’ by Kishore Mahbubani.
My advice would be to start with ‘Floating’ first!
‘Floating on a Malayan Breeze’ by Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh, published by NUS Press in Southeast Asia, is available from all good bookstores throughout Singapore for $34.24. It’s also available in ebook form from amazon.