Name: Nurshahafiqah binti Asli
Book: Bolehland
Author: Masao Usui
Publisher: Petai Books
Publication Year: 2013
Book Language: English

front cover of Bolehland, written by Masao Usui

Bolehland is an amalgamation of a Malay word ‘Boleh’ and the English ‘Land’. It represents the collective spirit of ‘can do’ attitude of a nation, whether of its people or the governance. It literally means achieving the impossible. Or figuratively thinking nothing is impossible.

This book is about the people in Bolehland. Citizens who rallied behind the call of their leaders to strive for excellence, empowering them to feel no fear, to never give up and to know no failure. These are the people who believe that equal opportunities exist for everyone.

This is a study of the cumulative effect of twenty-eight million people trying to do the ‘impossible’. It is from the perspective of one shallow-thinking Japanese expatriate who’s also a best-selling humorist.

Keen to see Malaysia from a different perspective? Try this view for size: a Japanese chemical engineer who has never stepped foot in Malaysia and had a very vague idea of its geographical location, gets to live and work here for two years. While “Bolehland” is often a sarky term we use for our own country, Mr Usui uses it in a more complimentary manner to describe – often in humorous terms – what it’s like to be in Malaysia. This book contains his thoughts and experience as an expat in Malaysia.

The writing is light, often humorous, as the author witnesses this nation’s attempt to improve, whether as a country or as individual citizens. Mr Usui is not always complimentary – he is not too fond of our working culture, some aspects of our economic management, and one or two Malaysian Laws, movie censorship law for example – but his is a friendly and honest view of “Bolehland” and its population.

My personal favorite is when the author explains why it is inadvisable to drink directly from the tap in Malaysia, although it is safe in countries such as Japan, United Kingdom, and the United States. Want to find out why? Read the book!

– Puan Nurshahafiqah Asli, Building Executive

“Today in Malaysia, you can see all Malaysians at twenty-four-hour food joints called mamak stalls for their chapatti and tosai while catching the latest Premier League highlights on the big but hazy screen projection televisions. If anyone lacks the imagination of what the highest aspiration of peace can be, I suggest that they fly here and visit the food stalls pronto. Nowhere anywhere in the world will you find the Malay, Chinese, Indians and other culturally-different groups mingling happily around each other and gorging on the same food.” – page 39

This book is available at the Perdana Library. If you are interested in reading or borrowing the book, please visit our Library here at Putrajaya, or contact us 03-88858961 (Library Counter).