Review

By The Star, Malaysia’s Leading English Daily

A cute, nifty, handbag-friendly new book has hit the market in time for our 51st Merdeka. Smartly called 50+1.Malaysia, the book is an ode to the nation.

2838681455_a2f9716561Just when we thought the dust had settled after our lavish coming-of-age party last year commemorating a half-century of independence, the year 2008 brings a tiny but charming tome exalting our beloved land.

The size of a large wallet, the feel-good 50+1.Malaysia is the brainchild of Quachee, who at 26, was just one year old when Malaysia was a quarter-century old.

The sometimes model and self-described “dreamer entrepreneur” describes the book as an “entertainment-travel guidebook”. But it is less Time Out Malaysia and more of a condensed and instant dose of Malaysiana.

The book is perfect as a present for foreign friends or Malaysian students who have stayed away too long.
Handy read: Author Quachee and his pocketsized book, 50+1. Malaysia.

Of course, it includes the inevitable, like Food, Places to Visit, Things to Do and Festivals, etc. These are rather run-of-the-mill but the saving grace is in the first and last two chapters.

The chapter Truly Malaysian deals with Malaysian English and explains the nuances of such words from the vernacular as lah, one, aiyoh, chin chai, yam seng, syiok, ta pao, belanja and alamak. Quachee, like Kit Leee, calls it “Manglish”, which gives it the impression of being mangled English, which it is in a sense.

There is also a discourse on Malaysian fabrics and fashion. This is not surprising, considering the fact that Quachee’s first publication was the lavish coffee-table book Batik Inspirations.

The opening gambit succeeds in grabbing our attention as it delves on all things Malaysian, from the way we speak, to the Malaysian car, to hibiscus, MyKad, gamelan and a mishmash of familiar and little-heard-of stuff.

Every chapter features exactly 51 items (now why are we not surprised?), which makes the book easy to read and refer to. One suspect, though, that occasionally Quachee had to stretch or shorten each description to accommodate the holy grail of 51.

Invariably, some of these overlap, like cave exploration, which is found in both Places to Visit and Things to Do.

Most entries deal with the things that any free tourist brochure will include, from satay to laksa, yong tau fu to buah keluak, Jonker Street in Malacca to Suria KLCC, all the major state museums, cultural villages, temples, caves, islands, forest reserves, beaches and you get the drift.

More interesting is the line-up of notable Malaysians. Badminton silver medallist Lee Chong Wei’s triumph at the recent Olympics came too late for him to be included in the list, but Lee is described as “one of Malaysia’s most promising badminton players”.

This shows Quachee to have his pulse on the who’s who of the sporting and entertainment world. More examples: he lists Maya Karin and Rosyam Nor,both of whom recently won Best Actress and Best Actor nods at the 21st Malaysian Film Festival.

The drawback is the lack of photos in the book. Not all of those honoured in 50+1.Malaysia have their mugshots included.

Of the 51 Malaysians, only 30 come with their photos attached, and these tend to be among the most photographed personalities, like angkasawan Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, Chef Wan, Erra Fazira, Mawi, Maya Karin, Jaclyn Victor, Fish Leong, Datuk Michelle Yeoh and Amber Chia.

Not that many know or have heard of Fasha Sandha, who limps in with a mere five sentences, Jazeman Jaafar, Penny Tai, Rynn Lim and Saiful Apek. Quachee also has a penchant for songwriters.

The last chapter, 50+1 Love Expressions, is postcard-perfect with tributes and pretty pictures by ordinary Malaysians showing, among other things, cascades of the Malaysian flags. The websites of contributors are listed should you get the urge to download what you see.

A few of the entries are deadly wishy-washy, like number 49 who croons “Malaysia is a sea of love ? a master of everything”. However, some have sent in gems worthy of your time.

At number 44, The Last Patriot is rather moving, focusing on a Proton crest held in the palm of a hand painted (or photo-shopped!) in the Malaysian flag colours.

Fazri Nuha writes: “We may have been hurt and have had misgivings but the future is in our hands. We can crush that little piece of plastic, drop it into a drain ? or hold on to it and do our best to keep it safe and secure for the sake of our future.”

The most irritating aspect that gets on my nerves?

The headings at the top of each page, which squeals “bookmarQC” with the QC highlighted to represent QuaChee. I should think readers would appreciate it more if one page actually lists the name of the chapter instead. As it is, there are 211 pages containing “bookmarQC”.

Well, this is Quachee’s party and he can do what he likes.

Still, the book is readable, fun and surprisingly enlightening. And it’s reasonably priced at RM19.90.

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By Sin Chew, Malaysia’s Leading Chinese Daily

“50+1”: A gift dedicated to National Day

2839531660_5726c4dfd7There’s many patriotic ways to celebrate National Day. Some people hang national flag, some people countdown and cheer in the plaza, some join various events or activities that featured with national day. And there’s a 26 year-old young man, who takes a unique action to celebrate the country 51st birthday by dedicating a tourism guidebook named “50+1.Malaysia”. His name is QuaChee.

“50+1.Malaysia” is the second publication of QuaChee. He has published a book with the theme of Malaysia Batik before this. It can be seen that he is passionate in exploring the local culture.

In this new book, which indicated with the theme of “Entertainment- Tourism Guide”, QuaChee has introduced Malaysia through 7 different segments and it shows a close relation of that we familiar with in our daily life. For example, he has introduced the unique Manglish of Malaysia in “Truly Malaysian” segment. He has shown those words that local Malaysians always use in a conversation such as “Lah”, “Alamak”, “Syiok”, “Kao Tim”, “Chin Chai” and “Boss”. And giving us a knowing smile by explaining these words further and show the “correct” way of using it in different scenarios.

Good food is a part that a tourism guidebook can’t neglect. From the cuisine of 3 major ethic groups, and the small community of East Malaysia to the stunning Nyonya food, the book shows each of them by attaching many pictures and explanations. This not only makes the foreigners understand about Malaysian food better, but also allow local Malaysians to recommend to their foreign friends about the local delicacies better by referring this book.

It is a ‘headache’ for QuaChee when talks about the places of attractions. He said it’s hard to make sure that there’s no attraction to be neglected, and he believed that it’s the most interesting part that Malaysians love the most. He said that we might think that we know our country well but indeed, there’s many places that are waiting for us to discover.

One day we would be very “cool”

The most unique part of this book may be the introduction of local celebrities. They beam their talents to let the world know us and it is rare to find it in a tourism guidebook. Those go upon QuaChee’s “ Celebrities List” are Malay singer Siti Nurhaliza, top model Amber Chia, astronaut Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, squash player Nicol David, and those who expands their career in Taiwan such as Gary Chaw and Michael Wong.

QuaChee has interviewed with the celebrities personally and he said it is a challenge for him to interview them and he’s glad that they came to an agreement that Malaysia has many talented people. He believed that we would be a very cool people & nation one day and our talents would be exposed and appreciated by foreigners and we ourselves then.

Lastly, QuaChee gave his wholehearted support to the country in “Love Expression” segment. In this segment, it shows how Malaysians express their love to the country through photography, writing and poetry.

It’s interesting that some people hand up their photos taken in Malaysia from far away and some even drew paintings dedicatedy for Malaysia. It’s really touching to see Malaysians express their love to the country in different ways!

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By The Edge Daily

Msian Youthscapes – Dreamer Entrepreneur

2838677823_d7f2985647Alvin Quah (right), calls himself a dreamer entrepreneur. “People don’t dream anymore,” the 26-years old Quah explains. “When we enter working life, many of us stop dreaming.”

He’s not a somnambulant businessman, nor a specialist who has mastered the four stages of deep sleep. Quah dreams to venture into the media and entertainment industry through his company., Quachee Enterprise, and eventually be a global media player. As with his first venture into publishing with Batik Inspiration, Quachee Enterprise’s second publication 50+1 Malaysia aims to promote Malaysia’s talents throughout the region and the world, something Quah feels very passionate about. The guidebook was recently launched to coincide with Malaysia’s 51 years of independence.

“My patriotism may have come from school,” he suggests. “But what Malaysia really lacks is branding. We have the talent, but we need to brand ourselves further. Not many people know Malaysia beyond Asian countries.” He uses economic and pop culture powerhouse Japan, South Korea and the US to illustrate his point. “Their pop culture and products have a reputation because they are of substance. We must have that substance too, and then we should brand it – just like our talents.”

In 50+1, Quah and his team put together interviews with Malaysian celebrities Siti Nurhaliza, Mawi, Amber Chia, M Nasir, as well as Taiwan-based artistes Michael Wong, Fish Leong, Nicholas Teo and Gary Cao Ge. That he managed to put together a series of interviews with household names is exceptional, but Quah’s take on local talent is not limited to just that. The book also featured content from average Malaysians, mostly gleaned from various online communities and from email submission. Quah counts up to 400 contributors for texts and photos, including many users from photo community site, Flickr.com.

“The aim is to present Malaysia not just from a publisher’s perspective, but form a variety of perspectives. 50+1 is the book by the people for people,” he explains, adding that he has received contributors from Australia, Japan, the UK and the US. “It’s interesting to see how foreigners see our country. It’s a very genuine combination of perspectives,” he adds.

The “entertainment-travel guidebook”, 50+1 Malaysia, is at best a potpourri of everything – food, events, festivals, places of interest, a dictionary of colloquial expressions, culture and traditions, and special segments by famous and everyday Malaysians. The pocket-sized guidebook is not comprehensive in this coverage, nor does it claim to be definitive guide on Malaysia, although the Ministry of Tourism provided some of its content.

The main attraction, one would say, is the different voices heard throughout the book, both in the text and photos. A personal description by a Magnus Caleb on roti canai, read: it is “angelic food that fell from heaven”. It is evident that this book makes no reservations about gushing enthusiastically about Malaysia, an energy and passion consistently expressed throughout the 216 pages. Quah says, “It’s personal, but it’s very genuine.”

That describes Quah’s own passion accurately as well. “Although the book is targeted at both foreigners and Malaysians, there are subjects which are alien even to Malaysians themselves. We want them to go, ‘Hey, I didn’t know that,’ and ‘Hey, our country is not too bad leh’ – we want Malaysians to be proud of our country too.”

50+1 Malaysia is available at major bookstores nationwide.

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By Today Singapore

LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR

3120579880_041e7076fd_m50+1 Malaysia. $9.80.

Useful for newcomers to the region, this pocket size manual lists information such as the lingo – use of the word alamak, kao tim, etc – food, places to explore and home-grown talents. Those familiar with Malaysia will find a few new nuggets of information. Who knew that the first instalment of reality show Survivor was filmed on the resort island of the Pulau Tiga Resort Sabah? The presentation of the book, however is marred by the small pictures and the lack of page numbers.










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By CLEO

TRULY MALAYSIA

3119737647_795993070c_mHow much do you know about your country? Don’t know enough?

Then get a copy of 50 + 1 Malaysia, a must have pocket sized handbook on all things Malaysian! Trust us, you’ll find it un-put-down-able!

Retailing at Rm 19.90, buy it at http://themalaysiapage.com.










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By KLue

50+1 Reasons To Read

3119737103_e99c2a7abbLocal entrepreneur, writer and publisher QuaChee first came to our attention with his coffee table book, Batik Inspirations. While that publication focused on top batik designers and their creations, his latest book 50+1 Malaysia deals with something we’re all familiar with—our country and its many different facets and quirks.

The book is divided into seven different segments and serves as sort of a travel guide and introduction to readers curious to learn more about Malaysian culture. One of the segments is called “50+1 Truly Malaysian: Confirm Malaysia One” which attempts to break down our complicated Manglish language system into a form that makes it easy to understand for the confused foreigner.

There’s also a segment called “50+1 Malaysians: Now That’s What I Call Talent!” which highlights homegrown names like Datuk Michelle Yeoh, Mawi, Fish Leong, Nicholas Teo and even our Angkasawan, Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar. And what’s a book on Malaysia without a segment on food? “50+1 Food: Very Sedap One” lists our culinary heritage. QuaChee is quite certain that even true blue Malaysians will discover a new dish on that list. And there’s also the photography—lush, vivid and filled with life, it’s reason enough to give the book a read. Check out www.themalaysiapage.com to purchase a copy.

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By Galaxie

2889836794_2cd0e8c58fReleased with the conjunction of the recent Merdeka celebration, this pocket size book contains everything you wanted to know about Malaysia and then some. From food to famous people to cool places to visit around the country, 50+1 is an ode to Malaysia. Though the writing style of model, actor and entrepreneur isn’t that great, you have to give the team credit for the excellent presentation. Photos are glorious and there are even interviews with many local celebrities. 50+1 Malaysia makes a good gift for your visiting friends, but hurry, promotional price ends soon. Then you’ll have to fork out RM51 for it.




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By The Finder

REVEALING READ

3119737289_9930beef5cWritten by a team of proud Malaysians, 50+1 Malaysia – a compact entertainment-travel guidebook-features 51 must -do’s in seven sections: cultures & traditions, food, must see, how to explore, festivals and celebrations, home-grown talent, plus dedications from local and international fans. This handy resource is a great opener to all Malaysia has to offer. From Manglish explanations to hunting down the best Peranakan cuisine and how to spot a tapir in the wild, 50+1Malaysia also offers great tips for exploring the peninsula and beyond. Rm 19.90, www.themalaysiapage.com.