By Rehman Rashid
PEDALING JAYA, MALAYSIA: REHMAN RASHID, 1993,
AVAILABLE ON-LINE AT HTTP://WWW.ARTHURSBOOKS.COM
Despite its insipid and travel-guide sounding title, this autobiographically based narrative of postcolonial Malaysia is a noteworthy addition to the otherwise relatively anemic selection of what amounts to rather nondescript and unimaginative accounts of modern Malaysia one would likely encounter. Rashid’s contribution is lucid, imaginative and engaging. In his own way, Rashid shrewdly—and often bluntly—confronts some longstanding sensitive issues that academics in Malaysia have long, perhaps understandably, felt it best to leave unscrutinized. At any rate, little that has come along about modern Malaysian affairs in the recent past has been as unsanitized, descriptively grounded or forthcoming. For me, this was the most refreshing aspect of the book.