A friend of mine went to Malaysia awhile back, and I ordered a few Malaysian books through her. So expect me to share about these Malaysian books during the next few weeks, starting with Atuk’s Amazing Sarong!
Atuk’s Amazing Sarong is a Malaysian children’s story written by Lim Lay Har and illustrated by Lim Lay Koon. The story follows Atuk, which means grandfather in Malay, as he tries to look for his favorite sarong.
To use Merriam-Webster’s definition, a sarong is “a loose garment made of a long strip of cloth wrapped around the body that is worn by men and women chiefly of the Malay Archipelago and the Pacific islands”. And from an objective point of view, that’s exactly what a sarong is.
Atuk’s favorite sarong, however, is missing! And so he starts searching for it. He looks high and low and even asks the different members of the family if they’ve seen it. Everyone he asks answers no until there’s only one person left to ask. And when Atuk asks Adik (which is Malay for younger brother) for his sarong back, Adik naturally answers, “it’s not a sarong, Atuk.”
And that’s when Adik shows the many things this seemingly simple sarong can be. And the two spend all afternoon letting their imagination run wild with this magical cloth.
And because this is a Malaysian book, it is also colored with multiculturalism. And so even though the story revolves around a Malay family, there are hints of the different cultures and races of Malaysian society such as the Chinese Lion Dance and the multiracial police officers on their way to nab a crook (that Adik, with his magical sarong, nabs first!).
It is a wonderful book that shows the creativity of children from a Malaysian point of view. I’m quite excited to read this with my children, and introduce them to a new batch of words in a new language!
Here are the translations of the Malay words (Bahasa Malay) used:
Atuk – Grandfather
Nenek – Grandmother
Abang – (Older) Brother
Kakak – (Older) Sister
Adik – Younger Brother/Sister
This book is part of my 52 Children’s Books from Asian Authors collection. Discover more children’s books by Asian authors by clicking this photo below: