Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Get that Garouda off the Twin Towers!

Farish Noor, surely one of the most influential contemporary thinkers on the political landscape of this country has a new book out this month. Di Balik Malaysia is a collection of his essays translated into Malay. Hopefully this will mean that Farish's writing will reach a much wider local readership.

Most of the pieces appeared previously in English in From Mahajapahit to Puterajaya (Silverfish Books 2005), but there are also three new pieces written specially for the book. The cover illustration by Fahmi Reza is rather lovely too. Very King Kong Indon style. (Click up to full size and admire.)

Being the lazy so-and-so that I am, I've lifted this synopsis from the English version on the Silverfish website :
Washington has fingered Malaysia as a 'Islamic terrorist hub' several times since 9/11. In this second collection of Farish A Noor's commentaries on unfolding developments in Malaysia (which) is nothing if not timely with the current raging debate on the 'clash of civilisations'. By focusing on specific issues and suddenly erupting controversies, of Malay/Muslim nationalism and (what he calls) the rise of Islamic 'religio facism' in Malaysia and Indonesia, he tries to answer the question: how much of this is caused by Western 'meddling', and how much of it is actually home grown? This book is written in "white heat" of someone personally affected by the events, but at the same time Dr Farish A Noor manages to maintain an academic distance required by the scholar he is. A must read for anyone interested in the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and religio-fascism in the world today, especially in Malaysia and Indonesia.
I had a breakfast meeting Ezra Zaid of ZI publications (which put out this book) the other day. I tell you the guy is absolutely bursting with ideas for great publishing projects. I'm giving him the space here to tell you more very soon.

Oh, and news about the launch party for this book when I have it.

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