Friday, December 04, 2009

A Compendium of Curiosities

Think you know everything there is to know about Malaysia? Think again!

Martin Cross of Edition Didier Millet sent me a copy of a new release the other day - Malaysia at Random. This little book has had me so entertained that I swear I'm going to go out and buy some more copies as Christmas gifts.

This book is a compendium of Malaysian trivia and curiosities on pages which look as if they could have come from a long-ago almanac. (The nearest comparison I can make is Schott's Original Miscellany.)

The last thing I want to do is give too much of the contents away, so I will chuck at you the questions on the back cover :
What is the main ingredient of torpedo soup?
How much is the Malaysian prime ministers' salary?
Where were the first fast-food outlets established in Malaysia?
How many taxis are there in Kuala Lumpur?
What are the most uncommon causes of death in Malaysia?
What does the "P" in P.Ramlee's name stand for?
What percentage of the emails originating from Malaysia is spam?
What are Malaysia's most valuable brands?
How do you artificially inseminate an elephant?
I laughed at all the descriptions (by Mat Salleh's of course) of what durians taste (and smell like) with Anthony Bourdain's assertion :
Your breath will smell as if you'd been French-kissing your dead grandmother
the wittiest. (Yeah it's true, but then so what?)

I laughed almost as hard at Dr. M's reply to the hapless British lad who wrote a letter expressing his concern about deforestation.

I'm very glad that I now know that it is an offence to ride of lead an elephant on a public road without the permission of the Chief Police Officer, because I would hate to be fined the mandatory RM50.

I know Malaysians will rejoice reading the list of items that can be classified as Intangible National Heritage (from Acar Buah to the writings of Za'aba).

I particularly appreciated the Malaysian food calories counter (6 pieces of the aforementioned durian - 357 calories!!), though i am not sure I know what to do with the information on goat breeding or how to torture my enemy to death with a nipah palm.

I could go on, but don't want to spoil the fun for you guys. So do go buy a copy as a gift, and read it yourself first!


Bobbie said...

It's on Borders Best so 20% off with any other purchase ;)

SiriuslyCold said...

ooh, this sounds delish