KUALA LUMPUR: 24 May 2017 sees the launch of DIALOG: THOUGHTS ON TUNKU’S TIMELESS THINKING, a major new anthology book of Tunku Abdul Rahman’s enduring wit and wisdom, and the responses of many contemporary Malaysians to it. DIALOG provides a fresh new look at Tunku’s words, and his values which continue to both resonate and fascinate as Malaysia gears up for the 60th anniversary of Merdeka.
Just as Tunku won independence through close co-operation across boundaries of race and religion, DIALOG is equally a labour of love that has united dozens of Malaysians of all races, ages and walks of life – artists, photographers, illustrators, writers and others – who have come together to create a book that is a powerful and timely tribute to “Bapa Malaysia” as Malaysia ushers in her 60th year of independence.
The intention of this new book is not merely to offer history or analysis, but above all, inspiration for all Malaysians. The title itself indicates that it should create a conversation – about how the founding ideals of our nation are faring as we enter our sixth decade of freedom. Far more than just the cry of “Merdeka”, Tunku had a great deal to say about almost every aspect of the Malaysian national fabric – whether on unity, ethics, religion, law, civil liberties, and more. The book hopes to spark a vibrant dialogue around Tunku’s timeless values.
Among the organisations which participated in the creation of the book are the advertising agency M&C Saatchi Malaysia, IDEAS (Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, Malaysia), The One Academy (a leading art and design college), Projek57 (a social enterprise dedicated to keeping Tunku’s values alive) and The Rojak Projek (who created a spice portrait of Tunku, made of spices from all of Malaysia’s major races.)
The book showcases a wide cross-section of Malaysia’s unique diversity. The span of contributors who responded to Tunku’s quotes ranges from politicians to rappers, from actors to academics, and from sports legends to veteran politicians. Figures as diverse as Tun Musa Hitam, Harith Iskander, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Altimet (who provided specially-written lyrics dedicated to Tunku), Soh Chin Aun, Santokh Singh, Tun Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali and the cast of “Ola Bola” all contributed.
Younger contributors who wrote essays, as well as the art students from the One Academy who filled the pages with colourful illustrations, help DIALOG to ensure that a younger generation also stays in touch with the vision and ideals of “Bapa Malaysia”. Importantly, the book also features the views of the ordinary rakyat – as befits a man who saw himself as a leader for all Malaysians.
The media launch of the book takes place at the Concourse, Ground Floor, Bangsar Village II on 24th May from 11.00am to 12.30pm. Thereafter, the concourse area for the next four days (until Sunday 28th May) will host a range of exhibitions, promotions and special screenings related to Tunku. Artwork created by the One Academy for the book will be displayed in a mini gallery, as will many of Tunku’s quotations.
The public are welcome to browse the new DIALOG book in the chairs provided before they buy it, watch video content, and take advantage of special offers on Tunku merchandise, books and others provided by Projek57, Gerakbudaya (the publisher), and the Rojak Projek. They can also refresh themselves with a unique, limited-edition Tunku “unity popsicle” ice cream created by Pops Malaya to reflect the intermingling of Malaysia’s many races and flavours.
“Negaraku, tanah tumpahnya darahku” – these very first lines of our national anthem, Negaraku, were written by Tunku Abdul Rahman himself. These lines have been sung countless times by countless Malaysians since they were young. The coming together of Malaysians to create DIALOG is itself a powerful expression of patriotism and love for Malaysia – a gesture surely Tunku himself would have appreciated.