Disclaimer: I will try not to give away too much but this may contain a little bit of spoiler. Read at your own risk. But in short, get these books!
It is the 31st of August 2020, Selamat Hari Merdeka semua! So what’s the best way of celebrating it other than cherishing, cheering and promoting our very own local products by our fellow Malaysians?
Purchasing and reading Money Stories from Malaysians is my way of celebrating Merdeka.
Money Stories from Malaysians is a collection of local short stories on money curated by Suraya Zainudin of RinggitOhRinggit and… okay that’s all I actually knew before getting these books. I didn’t know if there’s any specific genre on the stories, who are the short stories authors, if it’s fiction or non-fiction I had no idea at all what I was getting myself into, and oh boy was I glad.
Look at the description – Volume 1 contains ten short stories from fantasy to sci fi to alternate universes to memoir; Volume 2 contains eleven short stories from autobiography to science fiction.
Ahhh see the diversity! Though I rarely read fiction anymore since my high school years, I was just excited to see the diversity of short stories these books offer.
Money Stories from Malaysians Volume 1
If I have to pick one favourite story from Volume 1, it would be Necessary Expense by Sarah Anne. It got many mythical creatures – the harpy, the half-woman half-bird creature; the freshwater merman, the mythical mermaid-man version; a werewolf doctor, a wolf-person who is also a… doctor; and many other beautiful creatures. Awesome right? And guess what’s the theme of the story? Money, it’s about money! Fuh double awesome.
To be fair, I can’t actually pick one favourite. I enjoyed reading them all. There are stories on cigarettes (cigarettes are expensive), managing finances during PHD (this is also expensive but good kind of expensive) and a mother calculates how much is her job as a mother worth (indeed the most expensive unpaid job there is and I genuinely hope my mom would say it’s all worth it). And many other stories – go read them!
Money Stories from Malaysians Volume 2
On Volume 2, there are actually quite a few stories that make long lasting impact on my mind.
There’s one story on hantaran and wedding costs where the son shares his concern and the father shares his experience and it turns out… let me tell you… the father…. oh clever twist, but very relatable in our Malaysian setting… but nah I can’t tell you. The same twist with a story on a woman with her family and the inheritance left by their dad. Very clever.
Through one of the stories, I also met this one cool woman, Raja Ummi Nadrah. I got hooked up reading her story because she’s taking the road less taken in living her life and it’s so cool. And apparently she blogs all about it here too. See, this book also lets you meet new people, virtually.
Next, one story that I found myself sharing with my friends the other day because it is funny (and sad) is a short story of a house owner who rents out the rooms in his condominium. Sounds like a normal relatable thing right? Aha it’s really not. It’s actually mind blowing.
Other stories are equally interesting as well with many life lessons can be departed from them – that you don’t need any sophisticated apps to improve yourself or change your money habits, it comes from within; that family and parents should talk about money and instil money management skill in their kids; and that entrepreneurs are not just those with startup companies, they can actually be the school van drivers or makcik selling nasi lemak.
All in all
Okay I hope I have teased you enough and made you wanting to pick up these books if you haven’t. Don’t worry if you’re not much of a reader, this would be a good start for you. Every story is just few pages short.
By the way, I got mine from Borders online when they were on 20% discount. I’ve seen them in the bookstores or you can just get them directly from the smart brain behind them here.
To be honest though, the books may be on the high spectrum of prices if you are just to consider the thickness. I understand that money is not a very common book genre for the common Malaysians (me, months ago), so for a common Malaysian (me) to pick up a pricey book (this is not pricey lah, English international books are wayyyy pricier) on money may be quite unlikely. But no regret, to have our very own collection of money stories by Malaysians is exciting!
All in all – some are very imaginately creative, most are relatable and all are certainly enjoyable. We got to taste every genre of stories, a little bit of everything, oh the Malaysian way.
Selamat Hari Merdeka!