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REVIEW: Malaysian Politicians Say the Darndest Things by Amir Muhammad

I'm not sure if this book even needs an introduction. With all the fanfare the book's been getting, I think anyone with a decent Internet connection and/or reads Off the Edge should know what this book's all about. Heck, even the title's a dead giveaway.

But here I go anyway. Malaysian Politicians Say the Darndest Things presents to its readers various quotes by Malaysian politicians that were said between the late 70s to earlier this year. Compiled by the incomparable Amir Muhammad, director of the infamous Last Communist that got banned last year, the quotes obviously aren't just any old random quote but are what Amir calls "Outrageous Quotes".

Amir describes the Outrageous Quote as "something undiplomatic about gender or race, or it might smack of a certain ignorance of due process and rule of law. It would get civil libertarians in a twist, or a funk, or some other dance music-like word. Outrage would be expressed; a befitting response, you would say to an Outrageous."

An example of an Outrageous Quote would be something like this:
"He is not clever at doing it... to be a fraudster you need skills. Fraudsters should always be a notch above their victims. He didn't learn from me or I could have given him some tips... As a father I am disappointed."
- Senator Muhammad Abdul Ghani, implicating his son in a scandal of cloned Approved Permits (APs) for imported cars. (The New Straits Times, 11 October 2006)
Each page boasts one Outrageous Quote (sometimes even two or three related quotes), accompanied by an explanation of the context of the quote written by Amir, as well as a humourous illustration by the talented Shahril Nizam. Shahril Nizam's illustrations as well as the overall book design complements the surrealism and weirdness of the world these politicians seem to live in. His strange yet appealing art style gives a book a certain kind of style that adds to the book's charm.

I must say that Amir Muhammad has stumbled upon a brilliant idea. Malaysians, in general, love simple books (preferably ones that require less reading and contain more illustrations). Combine that concept with the really weird things our politicians keep spouting out from day to day, and you have the basis of what I would consider the definitive Malaysian Joke Book.

The book is funny, well-executed and well worth getting. Looks pretty neat on your bookshelf too, so be sure to buy your own copy!

Related Links: Amir Muhammad's blog.

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