An illustrated book for children about Malaysian cultural and natural heritage loss as a result of economic development and modernity.

fkibuchananAuthor and illustrator, Iain Buchanan, a former Scottish academic geographer, chose to shorten his academic career to dedicate his last 8 years to this first book. “I wanted to communicate effectively the sort of things I lectured about for twenty years: over-urbanization, the loss of community, deforestation, ecological collapse…Not through academic lectures and publications anymore but through a wider means of communication.”

Fatimah’s kampung was inspired by the youngsters of Buchanan’s Malaysian family (from his wife’s side Maznoor) and is dedicated to them. The book is about everyday life in a fictive Malaysian village, Kampung Idayah, the surrounding forest and its inhabitants. They will be swallowed by the hungry and never-ending expanding city – that looks like Kuala Lumpur. Through Fatimah’s eyes, we witness the process of the landscape’s changes as the consequence of modernity and economic development. Buchanan’s illustrations express the texture of the landscapes – the lush greenery of the forest, the warmth of Fatima’s house, life in the Kampung, the cold, impersonal and uniform landscape of our modern cities. fatimahs-k-color-ill

Definitely a universal story and an ideal book to share and discuss with our children, nieces and nephews, about how and why nature, culture and economy are inter-connected. It is also a beautiful souvenir of your journey in Malaysia.

Fatimah’s kampung (the Malaysian edition) is published by the Consumers’ Association of Penang thanks to Lim Jee Yuan who is the author of The Malay House (Central Books Ltd, 1991). It is available for purchase at Badan Warisan’s Gift Shop . The book retails at RM65 per copy (paperback version).

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Written by C.Bossis, Kuala Lumpur, 19 january 09 Permission granted to reproduce for personal use only.
Commercial use is prohibited.