Karim Raslan, one of Asia’s leading commentators and the author of Ceritalah: Malaysia in Transition, addresses this puzzle as he trudges through the vast landscapes of the region. From Mahathir to Michelle Yeoh, from Islam to Indonesian rap music, Journeys Through Southeast Asia: Ceritalah 2 puts together the pieces of a massive puzzle that is Southeast Asia. By revealing facets of the region that have escaped our detection, Karim sweeps us from our familiar environs and brings us to the neglected Muslim enclaves in Buddhist Thailand – the bustling Rangoon of the 1930s; and the debilitated kratons in Solo.
Tracing the steps of painters and poets, politicians and clerics, our guide wanders through overlooked communities, high-level conferences and elegant art galleries. With his usual wit and insight, Karim brings us closer to the vortex of Southeast Asia by painting an image that is both familiar and excitingly remote.
Times Books International