Author: Lee Su Kim
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
I am not one to talk when it comes to language used in writing because I am still learning and trying to be more proficient in English. Nevertheless, as a reader, I found this book really easy to read and understand. I think the story is pretty clear cut, no mind-boggling metaphors or riddles that I need to figure out to understand the plot.
Ok, so I'm done talking about the things I like about Kebaya Tales, now its time for a few things that I think could be improvised. First of all is the use of terms in other languages. I have no complaints with the use of terms from Malay, Chinese and Baba Nonya, but there are times when I don't understand what it means. I'm really glad that some of it came with translation however, there are some words that didn't, for example 'Fatt sun keng...Chan hai ow huit lor'. Now, I could just easily ask my Chinese friends what does it means, but I think it would be much better if the book has a simple glossary at the back. I would also like to praise the effort done for the two stories with Japanese backgrounds. Although I am not an expert in Japanese culture and language, from what I know the facts in the stories are pretty accurate to me. However, there is a slight mistake in a few of the spellings. I know Japanese people are very nice when it comes to people who are trying to learn their language. Anything that sound Japanese enough to them are considered correct, but, I think it would be much better if the spellings are correct as well.
One of the things that is very special about this book is the effort of spreading the Baba Nyonya culture to the readers. As a reader, I see this as something very unique and different. Nonetheless, I think a little bit more of different culture should be mixed into the stories. I could see there are a few non-Peranakan characters in the book but most of them play minor parts . From my point of view, if there is a little bit more mixture of other ethnics in the stories, the readers who come from different ethnic groups could relate themselves more to the events in this book. I'm not promoting the 1Malaysia concept for sure, but from my own reading experience, this book would capture me a lot more if there is a much better balance among the ethnics mentioned.
All in all, I think this book is a good read. I have to admit, books of Malaysian writers are rarely my type, but this one is the first in my collection and the best so far. If you are bored of the old collection of short stories ever published, try something more refreshing like Kebaya Tales. It's truly one of a kind.
A/N: The book is copyrighted by the author and publisher. The review and the pictures taken using my camera are copyrighted to me ;3