Monday, 7 July 2014

Still Honking After All These Years

Though it has been over seven years since Lydia Teh "honked" her way into the hearts of readers through her best-selling Honk! If You're Malaysian, it appears things haven't changed much since it was published. Yes, she is still honking. And she still is the typical Malaysian next door.

In Still Honking: More Scenes from Malaysian Life, Teh continues to hold up a mirror to the Malaysian psyche and way of life. Her light-hearted and whimsical tales and essays, which capture the essence of being Malaysian, take the form of personal anecdotes, how-tos, newspaper-style columns, and hybrids of two or more of the aforementioned - all tinged with her (at times) fiery, sharp, straight-to-the-point wit and homespun wisdom.

Follow the chronology of a typical piece of world-class infrastructure via a series of acronyms. Pick up some ideas on how to deal with pesky sparrows, handling garbage-can theft, saving electricity, and promoting your book - should you decide to write one. Find out what you can use instead of a warning triangle when - heavens forbid - your car breaks down.

Get acquainted with some common archetypes of salespeople, queue-jumpers, "actors" and people who stare into mirrors - have you encountered one or more of these? Also, learn how to get your fussy children to take their medicine, brush their teeth, or eat their vegetables - maybe.

Closer to home, learn why a beloved pet's demise made her swear off roti canai for a while, laugh at her anxiety over her teens taking the wheel, and gawk at what happened when Phua Chu Kang aka Gurmit Singh and company arrived at her sister's place for a location shoot.

True-blue Malaysians and foreigners alike will still recognise the characters and situations in these snippets of what happens in the average (and not-so-average) Malaysian backyard and laugh (or maybe cry) at memories of something similar.

Some might be sad at the realisation that little has changed in this multicultural melting pot of a nation, but many others, perhaps, wouldn't want it any other way.

Lydia Teh hung up her well-worn apron after 17 years of staying home with her four children. She now runs an English-language centre in Klang. She writes a weekly column, "Family Teh Time", for The Sun newspaper on family life in general. She's the best-selling author of Life's Like That: Scenes from Malaysian Life, Honk! If You're Malaysian and Do You Wear Suspenders? The Wordy Tales of Eh Poh Nim. She can be reached through her web site at

Still Honking
More Scenes from Malaysian Life

Lydia Teh
MPH Group Publishing (July 2013)
194 pages
ISBN: 978-967-415-208-6

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  1. Thank you, Alan, for your meticulous work in editing my book.

    1. No problem, Lydia. Part of the job. Eric helped a lot, too.

      Hope the book does well.


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