Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fun at Kunang2

Nov 2010 Kunang-Kunang

For those of you who don't know, Kunang2 is the inflight magazine of Firefly. Kunang-kunang is the lesser known word for fireflies in Malay, the more common being kelip-kelip.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Fun at Times, Pavilion KL

In conjunction with Times Pavilion's 3rd anniversary celebration, had a fun kids' event on 7 November 2010 to promote Fun for Kids in Malaysia. Games for the kids include word games, jigsaw puzzles and 5 stones (Batu Seremban). Most of the kids were quite clueless on how to play 5 stones except for a 10-year old girl who had learnt it at school. It was the adults who had fun with the stones.

Times sponsored three sets of prizes for the winners and gave out cake pops (sugar-coated cake on a stick) to all children. I chipped in with pens for everyone, a jigsaw puzzle and a small note book for the consolation winners. The youngest participant was 4-year old Hyunu, a Korean boy who was there with his two siblings. The kids were so adorable.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Fun at TBS, Ntv7

Appeared on The Breakfast Show on 3 November 2010 to promote Fun for Kids. I think this is the third time I'm meeting Aishah Sinclair on the set but it's the first time I'm meeting Hansen Lee. In person, he looks more muscular.

The green screen at the studio.

On TV, this is what the backdrop looks like.

At the waiting room, met singer Joe Flizzow, Philippa Yoong, national coach of Malaysian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation and her young charges (the girls have read Honk! If you're Malaysian). It was the girls' mum (far right) who kicked off the conversation by saying that she's read my book. I'm glad she did. Surprised to learn that Philippa is a mother of two young kids.

In Conversation @ Bfm

Radio interview with Caroline Oh at Bfm on 3 November 2010. I don't think I did that well on the interview but someone emailed me the next day to say it's one of the most interesting and inspiring interviews she's heard!

Caroline is camera shy. I used to listen to her back in the days when she was with Lite Fm. In the background is Sonia Zubeir who was formerly with MixFM.

Thanks to Jee Wan and Hilyati for arranging the interview.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Fun at Times, Pavilion KL

I will be at Times Bookstore this Saturday for a fun event held in conjunction with Times Pavilion's 3rd anniversary celebration and the promotion of my latest book, Fun for Kids in Malaysia. Details:

Date: Sun 7 November 2010

Time: 3.00 to 4.00 pm

Venue: Members' lounge, Times Bookstore, Pavilion KL

Activities: Fun games for kids such as puzzles, word games and Batu Seremban (5 stones)

Prizes: Times is sponsoring three sets of prizes for the winning kids and there will be door gifts for everyone.

Be there or be square.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Fun at Mychild

Title: Fun for Kids in Malaysia
Author: Lydia Teh
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Editions

"What are we going to do during the coming holidays, Mum?" comes the dreaded question from the restless children of a highly frazzled mother with a small budget and no more ideas left in her weary mind.

Fret no more....Lydia Teh offers you salvation in a book called Fun for Kids in Malaysia. At RM29.90 per copy, salvation is pretty reasonably priced, considering that much of our domestic incapacitation stems from a lack of finances in the first place.

Here's a summary of Teh's book:

* A comprehensive guide to child-friendly attractions in the whole of Malaysia conveniently categorised into five regions - Northern; Eastern; Central; Southern; Sabah, Sarawak & Labuan

* Complete with contact details, opening hours, price guide, features and courses

* Listings include places to go for dance classes, cooking classes, art classes and outdoor activities

* Helps parents plan and utilise fully their children’s free time and school holidays (You might find this immediately handy for the upcoming Nov/Dec 2010 holidays!)

About the Book

Quite possibly the first of its kind in Malaysia, Fun for Kids in Malaysia is an organised listing of what to do, where to do it and how you can get it done - all in a slim A5-sized volume. (There is another book titled, Kids in KL by an expatriate couple, which highlights only activities in KL.)

Dedicated to kids, these suggested activities make up a checklist of to-do things when you are planning to go to, or are already at, a specific town/state.

This book is not only helpful to tourists and expatriates but is also relevant to Malaysians who have not yet discovered several under-publicised spots in their own country.

Schools, learning centres, family-based associations, libraries, travel agencies and the Tourism Ministry should consider taking up copies of this book.

About the Author

Lydia Teh has four children who constantly moaned about how boring the school holidays were. She wished this book was written ten years earlier when all her kids were below ten so that she could earn the title of Most Fun-tastic Mom. It is better late than never though. Armed with this book, she would be dragging her brood around Malaysia to have some fun before they reach the age when they would rather hang out with their friends than their parents.

For more information, please contact the following person(s):

Distribution sales
Michelle Low
Tel: (03) 5628 6928

Mei Li
Tel: (03) 5628 6806

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday, October 04, 2010

Fun at Virtual Malaysia

Book Review - Fun for Kids in Malaysia

For someone who's single and obviously not intending to have children any time soon, I found "Fun For Kids in Malaysia: An essential guide to fun-tastic activities for children" by Lydia Teh rather amusing, as it really brought out the (hidden) kid in me.

Separated by states in Malaysia, the book offers attractions which bring interests to children, but as I read on, it would also be great for adults (those who are young at heart) to tag along.

15% discount at Borders

From camping, swimming, to performing extreme sports and such, the book caters to the needs and interests of the whole family - and you know what they say - the family that plays together, stays together.
"I grew up with six brothers. That's how I learned to dance- waiting for the bathroom" (Bob Hope) - a favourite quote of mine, which Lydia puts in the book as well.

How I wish I could have learned capoeira (Afro-Brazilian martial art that incorporates music, dance and acobatics) when I was a kid; I was really into it after watching the movie "Only The Strong" - and only managed to practise the moves on my brothers. Now, there are even packages that cater to the art, and cool parents know better than not to enrol their children in it.

All the quotes that Lydia included in Fun for Kids in Malaysia are tied up to the subject of the book - entertaining children so that they don't end up whining, "I'm bored, there's nothing to do".

However, one thing that is lacking from the "guide" book are pictures - there are only some cartoons showing the attractions and drawings of children. That, to me, took the "fun" out of the book, making it rather monotonous and detracts from conveying the fun-factor of the activities.

Parents who get hold of a copy of this book will have plenty of pointers to make their family holidays fun and enjoyable for the children. In fact, it may just earn them not only the label The Greatest Parents on Earth, but also the coolest!

Fun for Kids in Malaysia: An essential guide to fun-tastic activities for children by Lydia Teh retails at RM29.90. Get 15% off this month at Borders.

By : Nazreen Tajul Arif

Fun at

Friday, October 01, 2010

Fun at Her World

Her World October 2010 issue

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

ParenThots Review of Fun for Kids in Malaysia

Must-have book on activities for kids
27 September 2010
The Star

An essential guide to fun-tastic activities for children
By Lydia Teh
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Author Lydia Teh has really put in a lot of research for this book. It is the guide book for all families.

Often parents are left at a loss as to what to do during the school holidays and how to entertain their kids on the weekend.

The number of places we visit seem to be few and the number of activities we are familiar with are even fewer. You could probably count all of them on one hand. And, often, the kids end up going nowhere and doing nothing or we just keep taking them back to the shopping malls.

Take heart, you need not bring up a mall rat.

That's where this book comes in. It offers stuff to do in all states and that includes Sabah and Sarawak. There's even what to do in Labuan!

The list covers information like how to get there and getting around each state. Included in the list of activities are museums, libraries, nature attractions, adventure activities, sports, performing arts, arts & crafts, festivals and shopping.

You will be pleasantly surprised to find out the kinds of stuff you could do in your state. For example, I didn't know that you could roll down a hill in a giant plastic ball at Taman Tasik Titiwangsa or fly a plane at Subang Skypark.

The author has included info like what the activity/event is, where it can be found, what time the place is open, contact details and how to get there.

Apparently, there are a lot of activities in Malaysia that we may not even be aware of.

I liked that the author included things like where to adopt animals and societies/associations for children with special needs.

In addition to the state by state breakdown and the special needs information, there are also details on festivals that might be celebrated by all states – Chinese New Year, Christmas, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa, Chap Goh Meh, Hungry Ghost, Mooncake, Wesak and Thaipusam.

Then there are the school holiday programmes offered by Club Med, Cambridge English for Life, Children's Technology Workshop, Polgar Chess and Xtreem Adventure.

If your child is into uniformed activities, you might be interested in the contact details for Girl Guides, Cadet Corps, Polis Kadet, Red Crescent Society, Scouts and St John Ambulance.

To top all of that, the author has included right at the back of the book, hiking guidelines and safety at waterfalls tips.

In all, this is a great guide and every family should have one. You will be amazed at what you can do in Malaysia and you probably don't know about any of the libraries near you.

Highly recommended.

* Want to win a FREE copy of the book? Go to the contest page to find out how you can win one.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Fun at Bookfest

Conducted a talk on Getting Kids to Read and Play at the annual Bookfest in KLCC. The talk was on Sunday, 5 September 2010. Turnout could've been better. I think the timing wasn't good but that was the only spot available for me on that day. Six o'clock is the time people are getting ready to makan.

Thursday, September 02, 2010 Review of Fun for Kids in Malaysia


This handbook is for parents who have to plan their children’s activities. It is divided into the states of Malaysia, with Kuala Lumpur and Selangor combined as one. In each state, the fun activities and places to visit are further categorised generally into the following, with some categories being omitted in smaller states:

* Fast facts – state’s tourism office.
* Getting there – how to go there by plane, car, bus and train.
* Getting around – information on buses and taxis in the main towns.
* Back to nature – forest reserves, parks, islands, beaches, waterfalls, animal farms.
* Adventure (name of state)! – caving, fishing, flying fox, paragliding, paint ball, rock climbing, white water rafting, etc
* Sports – archery, badminton, bowling, cycling, fencing, football, etc
* The performing arts – dance, drama, music
* Arts, craft and cooking – includes art galleries as well
* Where to go – places of interest that do not fall into the ‘Back to nature’ section, such as mosques, temples, museums, tourist spot like Chinatown, etc
* Festivals – major festivals unique to each state
* Shopping – shopping malls
* Reading – list of bookstores and public libraries

Detailed information are provided, which usually includes address, telephone number, email address, website address, opening and closing times, entrance fee, and price guide for activities. For major tourists’ attraction, road directions are given.

Our review

If you are always cracking your head as to how to keep your children occupied during the weekends or more crucially, during the school holidays, then this is a must-have.

Not only does it give you a rather comprehensive list of activities for kids, but should you decide to go on a holiday, it also includes the places of interest in each state.

The list for Kuala Lumpur/Selangor is the most complete. In here, you would be exposed to activities you might not have think of. Hence, you could use the key words here to find out more in the Internet.

They are all ‘under one roof’, unlike what you will see in the Internet. Searching for information in the Internet is not as easy as you would like it to be. Say, if you search for ‘archery’, you may get one or two archery centres on the first page of the result, another one on the 5th page and a few more buried in later pages that you would have no desire to venture to.

The author has injected several personal observations in the description of places. This gives you useful insights. For example, on page 29 she wrote, “...the roads in Penang can be quite narrow and the one-way streets can lead you round in circles.” Then, on page 257, “Your children will beg you to come to this mall for its proliferation PC games, CDs, DVDs, PlayStation and software programmes which are mostly pirated.”

However, it would be nice if it has an ‘Index’ section – say if you are interested in white water rafting, you would probably like to know where it is available. So, an ‘Index’ would help a lot, compared to having to browse through each state to look for it.

The ‘Where to go’ section could be placed together with ‘Back to nature’. After all, they are all ‘places to go’. Splitting them gives you a sense of ‘why-are-we-back-to-tourists-spots-again’. Apart from that, a few states like Negeri Sembilan and Pahang, lack information on weekend activities (sports, arts, crafts and cooking).

Although this is not an exhaustive list of fun f or kids, nevertheless it has something for everyone.

The author’s website is To order this title, please visit MPH Bookstore (online or otherwise).

Source :

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hooked on Bookz review of Fun for Kids

Here's a review of Fun for Kids by Hooked on Bookz.

In a nutshell

So. You have a bunch of hyperactive kids who become even more hyperactive during weekends and school holidays. What do you do? No no no. Turn off Astro. Whip out Fun for Kids in Malaysia and get the entire family outta the house, and explore Malaysia.

This guidebook lists a wide range of activities for your children to indulge in and new places for them to explore in this country. Travel from the northern region right to the southern region of Malaysia and have a great holiday.

What I liked

My first thought was, 'Are there that many places for kids to go to in Malaysia?' Go through the 'Contents' section and you'll find out that there are indeed many places to go to and fun activities to do around Malaysia. At the start of each section, there are 'fast facts' about the state. Then it tells you how to get there and how to get around the area (e.g. what buses to take, or if you could take taxis/rented cars/trains and so on).

Then there's a list of fun activities that they could do while they're there. Let them be Robin Hood for a day and sign them up for archery and horse-riding, or send them off to the golf course with Dad; or if they love art, encourage them to explore their creativity in arts and crafts classes, cooking, or maybe even pottery courses. If you want undistracted shopping, there are professional babysitters who offer 'drop and shop' services in some of the shopping centres.

The 'most happening' or rather the hype of activities featured in this book is KL/Selangor. So if you happened to be living in this area, you might want to check it out and make full use of it for the coming holidays :)

You'd also find beautiful illustrations and pretty amusing quotes throughout the pages. Some of my favourites were 'In primitive society, when native tribes beat the ground with clubs and yell, it was called witchcraft; today, in civilised society, it is called golf. ~Anonymous' and 'Avoid fruits and nuts. You are what you eat. ~Jim Davis (I had a good laugh at this one haha)

This is a helpful and informative guide book that comes complete with contact numbers, websites and email addresses. It'd come in handy for parents who are always at wits end when it comes to planning for the holidays :)

It'd be better if...

An index would probably make it more user and reader-friendly.

Thank you Marshall Cavendish for the book. Fun for Kids in Malaysia is now available in all major bookstores. For more information, kindly email

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Perdana Leadership Foundation Talk

22 August 2010

PLF invited me to give a talk on personalizing your essays in conjunction with their essay writing contest with the theme of Nurturing The Minds of Future Leaders. The grand prize includes RM7,000 cash, a netbook, an e-book reader and RM500 MPH vouchers. If I were in the 18-25 age group, I will definitely enter the contest. Since I'm not, I will bug two of my kids to take a shot at it. The closing date is 30 September 2010.

My co-speaker is Professor Murad Merican, Universiti Petronas Professor and author of Media History: Worldviews and Communication Futures. He is a learned man and spoke very well indeed. I sound absolutely shallow compared with him.

Zarina of PLF has done a good job in recording the proceedings. Since it is posted at the PLF's essay website, I shall just point you there to read all about it. The earlier talk with Dina Zaman and Dr. Ong Kian Ming is up too.

Dr. Murad and his wife are on the left. Zarina (wearing headscarf) and the rest of the PLF gang.

The nice display of my books as the backdrop for the talk.

Post Script: A highlight for me was when a participant, Vidia, produced Honk! If You're Malaysian for me to autograph. It belongs to her friend, Kala who is a fan of my book but unfortunately couldn't attend the talk to get my prized signature. Nice.

This is from the Bernama website:


Monday 23/08/2010

Kuala Lumpur, 23 August - The Art Of Personalising Essays And Infusing Writing With Passion Were Addressed By Ms. Lydia Teh And Professor Dr. Ahmad Murad Merican At A Public Talk Yesterday At MPH 1Utama On “Essay Writing Dos And Don’ts”. The Talk, Organised By The Perdana Leadership Foundation And MPH Group, Was Held In Conjunction With The Perdana Leadership Foundation-MPH Essay Competition 2010.

Ms Lydia Teh, the author of “Honk If You Are Malaysian” kicked off the public talk by sharing her writing secret, an acronym, “A SASH ICE” which stands for:
· Active (use the active rather passive voice),
· Simple (avoiding convoluted sentences and obscure words),
· Accurate (checking and double-checking your facts),
· Senses (appealing to the five senses),
· Hook (beginning with an irresistible situation or scene),
· Illustration (using anecdotes and stories to strengthen your points),
· Connection (laying out the connection between the anecdotes and your arguments) and Experience (being willing to share parts of your personal experience with your readers)”

Using this as a guide for her writing, Lydia recounted her experience as a writer and how she translated her personal experience into bestsellers.

Professor Dr. Ahmad Murad Merican, NST Learning Curve columnist and also the Perdana Leadership Honorary President Resident Fellow, described writing as an art, a form of self-expression. He urged everyone to “be present” in their writing and not to be too detached from the work they produce. “Writing is a jungle”, he said, and you often cannot see the path except by hacking through the noise (refining your arguments) and clearing your own way (deciding on your angle). He mentioned personal experience as a rich starting point for writing ideas and for further research.

This talk is the second instalment of a series of Public Talks that Perdana Leadership Foundation and MPH are organising to encourage young Malaysians between the ages of 18 and 25 to participate in the 2010 Essay Competition which is running until 30th September 2010. Themed “Malaysia in a Globalised World”, the competition invites young Malaysians to submit a 2,000 word essay on any one of the following topics: high income economy, Malaysia’s global competitiveness, and Vision 2020 in either Bahasa Malaysia or English.

The competition offers attractive prizes such as RM7,000 in cash for the Grand Prize winner, a Netbook, an E-Reader as well as MPH book vouchers. Additionally, the Grand Prize winner’s college or university will also be rewarded with a computer workstation and RM500 book voucher from MPH, as will the institution that sends in the most number of entries.

The third Public Talk will be held on 5 September 2010 at MPH One Utama and will feature three personalities; Ms Alexandra Wong, The Star columnist who will talk about selecting writing perspectives, Mr Daniel Chandranayagam, the author of “Fraser’s Hill Haunts” who will elaborate on opinion writing and Mr Amir Muhammad, movie-maker and author of several books including “Rojak” who will share writing tips with the audience.

Established in the year 2003, PLF is a non-profit organisation dedicated to Malaysia’s leadership history, highlighting in particular the policies, strategies and contributions of Malaysia’s past Prime Ministers. The Foundation preserves, documents and disseminates materials – including speeches, news clippings and magazine articles – related to the country’s rich intellectual heritage. Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s fourth Prime Minister, is the Foundation’s Honorary President.

Further details on the contest are available online at and .


Monday, August 16, 2010

The Asian Parent Review of Fun for Kids in Malaysia

Fun For Kids in Malaysia - Book Review
An essential guide to fun-tastic activities for children.
by Aishah Begum

Author: Lydia Teh
Pages: 360
Price: S$13.60 before GST
Availability: Select Books and all major book stores.
Published by: Marshall Cavendish Editions.
ISBN: 978-983-3845-48-4
Recommended for: Children and parents of all ages.


If you have kids between the ages of 3 to 18, and you’ve run out of places in Singapore to keep them entertained, then you should definitely grab a copy of “Fun For Kids in Malaysia.” The comprehensive guide book is chock full of ideas on where to go and what to do in Malaysia for lots of family fun.

The fun-filled guide is not just meant for foreigners – but it’ll definitely be a handy keep for local Malaysians as well. Be the greatest parents on earth by bringing your children on a rock climbing adventure in Jerejak Rainforest Resort, Penang, or kick it old-school by bringing them to the state museum in Negri Sembilan to view ‘Rumah Minang’, which depicts a typical Minangkabau house with its pointed roofs which looks like the horns of water buffaloes.

What we love

• The Fast Facts section, which gives insight on websites and addresses.
• Short yet detailed and to the point. Reading this was a breeze!
• The quirky illustrations and anecdotes will grab yours and the kids’ attention.
• It caters to the parents too, for when you need a break away from the kids.

What we dislike

• It would have been better if there were tabs for readers to flip to specific pages for easier find.
• We would have preffered a lighter more compact book, to keep in our handbags/pocketbooks.
• Pictures of the venues and attractions would have added a nice touch.
Our verdict:
We love the layout and easy-to-read factor, so we give this book a 4 out of 5!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fun for Kids in Malaysia

ISBN : 978 983 384 5484

Retail Price : RM 29.90 / S $13.60 before GST

Pages : 360pp

Imprint Marshall Cavendish Editions

About the Book

If you have ever wondered how you were going to keep the kids occupied during weekends and school holidays, worry no more. This guidebook lists a wide range of activities for children to indulge in and new places for them to explore.

Whether or not you are Malaysian parents who want your children to enjoy their childhood to the fullest or foreign tourists who just want your kids to have some fun in Malaysia, this book will give you plenty of pointers on where to go and what to do, and help you earn the label as The Greatest Parents on Earth.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Female July 2010

A framed quote in Female, July 2010 issue.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Malaysian Insider

Nothing beats a good book
By Eric Forbes

KUALA LUMPUR, July 10 — Lydia Teh was born and bred in Klang, Malaysia. She still resides in this royal town famous for its glittering streetlights, seafood, bah-kut-teh (herbal pork stew) and the ubiquitous crows.

A homemaker, she enjoys writing while raising her brood of four. In between cooking for her children, chauffeuring them around and coaching them in their studies, she loves observing the quirks and idiosyncrasies of Malaysians. All these she captures in her three best-selling books, Life’s Like That: Scenes from Malaysian Life, Honk! If You’re Malaysian and Do You Wear Suspenders?: The Wordy Tales of Eh Poh Nim.

After being a desperate housewife for some 17 years, Teh hung up her apron in 2009 to join the office brigade. She now administers an English-language centre in Klang. Her sixth book, Fun for Kids in Malaysia: An Essential Guide to Fun-tastic Activities for Children, has gone to print and should hit bookstores in August 2010. Next is a parental guide with lots of humour.

How do you find the time to read with your busy schedule?

Clean and cook less, sleep later. If there’s a will, there’s always a way.

Do you think reading matters?

Reading is a pastime that makes time fly like a speeding bullet. Reading is my ticket to escape into other worlds for a bout of wandering and poking around. Reading helped me score distinctions in my English-language examinations and without having to memorise dates, events, places, body parts, plant cells, formulae and what-not. Does reading matters? You bet.

What kind of books did you read when you were growing up? Were there any books that had a significant impact on you at that early age?

Enid Blyton was my first love. I read a wide range of her books, including boarding school stories at St. Clare’s and Mallory Towers, adventure tales of the Adventurous Four, Famous Five and Secret Seven, The Naughtiest Girl series as well as her bedtime stories.

In secondary school I graduated to Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries. Then there was the “M&B” series. No, not maths and biology, but Mills & Boon! Barbara Cartland with her stammering helpless heroines followed close on the heels of Agatha Christie’s mysteries.

Books played a big part in my young life. Reading allowed me to escape into exciting worlds quite different from my own quiet existence. One of my favourite memories of my late father was of him taking me to the KK Dawood bookstore in Taiping Street to borrow M&B books.

Sixth Form exposed me to the works of William Shakespeare, the Brontë sisters and poets like Alfred Tennyson and Robert Browning. I digested these works in the course of duty rather than the pleasure they could afford but I learnt to respect their skilful penmanship in critical appreciation class. These literature classes stood me in good stead later in life when I would voluntarily pick up copies of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Emma and read them with much enjoyment.

What are some of your favourite contemporary books? Why do you enjoy reading them?

I enjoy reading novels on Asian culture such as Amy Tan’s books (I’ve read all her titles except Saving Fish from Drowning which I bought but somehow couldn’t get past the first chapter), Arundhati Roy’s Booker Prize-winning The God of Small Things and Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth.

I also enjoy reading memoirs, particularly those of writers such as Amy Tan’s The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life, Stephen King’s On Writing, Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, Mary Higgins Clark’s Kitchen Privileges and Michael J. Fox’s Lucky Man: A Memoir.

I read Lucky Man to gain an insight into how the "Family Ties" and "Back to the Future" star coped with Parkinson’s disease because my late father was also afflicted with the same condition. I also like Roald Dahl; it’s a pity I didn’t discover him until I became an adult. I bought almost all of his books for my children — and myself! Reading his books is akin to going on a journey without knowing what to expect. You don’t know what is coming up and you can’t wait to take the next step to find out what lies ahead!

Do you have an all-time favourite book? Why do you enjoy reading it? Do you reread books you enjoyed the first time round?

No, I don’t have an all-time favourite book. I usually don’t re-read books. I think this is a luxury I can ill afford. I’d rather spend time reading new books or discovering new authors. Having said that, I did re-read Jung Chang’s Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China recently. I borrowed the book from a friend several years back. My daughter didn’t know about this and bought it as a gift for me on Mother’s Day. So I read it again, and it was just as riveting the second time round.

Assuming you enjoy reading fiction, what are the elements in fiction that take your breath away? In other words, what do you think are the essentials of good fiction? What distinguishes the great novels from the merely good? (If you prefer reading nonfiction, tell me why. Perhaps you enjoy reading both fiction and nonfiction?)

I enjoy reading both fiction and non-fiction. Where fiction is concerned, I prefer page-turners to literary tomes. The writing may be beautiful and the sentences may leave me awe-struck by their sheer genius, but if nothing much is happening on the page, I would rather go scrub the kitchen sink. I read non-fiction to be enlightened and sometimes, to be entertained. If the book covers a subject I want to learn about, that is good enough for me, with one proviso: It must not be written like an academic text as I am allergic to such prose. My immediate reaction is to fall into a deep, deep sleep.

What are you reading at the moment?

Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales. As a young girl, I read scores, maybe hundreds, of fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen and the Grimm brothers. I am rereading the collection as research for my next book.

What are your thoughts on the future of books, particularly on e-books and e-book readers? Do you think they will replace physical books one day?

Get out of here! Books will not go extinct. If they ever do, it will be sometime in the distant future when there is no more production of paper. Think about the day when all the books in the world can only be found as e-books.

Imagine no longer being able to pose for photographs in front of your imposing bookshelves. Instead you would be holding up a little Kindle or an iPad in one hand. What a ludicrous and pedestrian picture that would make. Nothing but paper books can make you appear more erudite than you actually are!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Yummy Mummies @ Malaysian Women's Weekly

Malaysian Women's Weekly ran a special Yummy Mummies feature in the May 2010 issue to celebrate Mother's Day. Three mummies were chosen to undergo a transformation to reflect what their kids wished them to be. Genevieve Sambhi, a model and ambassador for cervical cancer, looked glorious as a mermaid; Amy Mastura was bright as a butterfly and I turned into a rock star. Su Yen loves to watch Hannah Montana, so that's me in my rock star garb. I have never ever worn an off-shoulder outfit and it'll probably be the one and only time ever. If you look at the small print on the extreme right of the page, you will notice the credits: 'Lydia's dress (worn as a top)...' That's because the dress was too small for me. It got stuck at my hips and since it looked fine as a top, we let it be.