8 books on Malaysians who’ve had success internationally – and in space

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This article is part of a regular ExpatGo editorial series on books, authors and reading in Malaysia and around Southeast Asia. To see more articles in the same series go to the reading series section.

From a commercial astronaut to a shoe designer, these Malaysians have made their mark in Malaysia, around the globe and in outer space. These eight books offer insight into journeying to space, becoming a successful supermodel to cooking like a chef.

1. Amber Chia’s Guide to a Successful Modelling Career

amber chiaWho: Amber Chia, Supermodel

Propelled into international limelight in 2004 as the face of Guess watches, Amber Chia’s modelling career took off making appearances on screen and in print for numerous commercials, television shows and movies.

Part of a “how to” series written for Malaysian audiences, this book exemplifies Amber’s own experience in the industry by sharing her own insights, and what she believes it takes to be successful in the modelling industry both at home and internationally.

Buy it at MPHOnline.

2. Journey to Space: A Memoir of Malaysia’s First Angkasawan

Jouney to SpaceWho: Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, First Malaysian in space

On the 10th October 2007, Dr Sheikh Maszaphar Shukor became the first Malaysian to journey into space on a mission to the International Space Station aboard Soyuz TMA-11.

This personal account depicts the emotional and physical triumphs and struggles of Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor.  He begins by detailing the application process and once selected, the rigorous preparation, and fitness medicals. He goes on to explain the year of training he undertook in Russia before being chosen for the mission and journeying into space.

Buy it at MPHOnline


3. Dare To Be A Champion

dare to be a championWho: Chong Wei Lee, Professional Badminton Player

Chong Wei Lee was ranked as the number one singles player on the Badminton World Federation World Ranking list for 199 weeks, first gaining the title in 2009.

This autobiographical account details his childhood, where he talks about his family hardships and growing up as an adopted child, the inception of his badminton career, and leads into the defeats and achievements he faced along the way.

Buy it at Amazon

4. The Best of Chef Wan: A Taste of Malaysia

the best of chef wanWho: Redzuawan “Chef Wan” Ismail, Chef

Having spent almost three decades in the industry, Chef Wan has become a household name in Malaysia, having appeared in a variety of cooking shows, including as a resident chef on the Asian Food Channel.

In his cook book, Chef Wan shares 138 of his favourite Asian recipes for meals, desserts, and snacks. The book is filled with signature recipes for his curries, soups, stir-fries noodle and rice dishes.

Buy it at Amazon

5. The Towering World of Jimmy Choo: A Glamorous Story of Power, Profits, and the Pursuit of the Perfect Shoe

jimmy chooWho: Jimmy Choo, Fashion Designer (author: Lauren Goldstein Crowe, Sagra Maceria de Rosen)

As the head behind his luxury fashion brand, designer Jimmy Choo has become a international name for bags and shoes.


Delving into fashion and business, the book The Towering World of Jimmy Choo examines the evolution of the Jimmy Choo brand, from Jimmy Choo starting out as a shoemaker in London to becoming one of the most high-end brands in the fashion world.

Buy it at Amazon

6.  A Doctor in the House: The Memoirs of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

a doctor in the houseWho: Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Fourth PM of Malaysia

Dr Mahathir Mohammad became Malaysia’s fourth Prime Minister in 1981, and held the position for the next 22 years. During his time in power, he transformed Malaysia into an industrial powerhouse that set the foundations for it becoming one of the largest trading nations in the world.

This autobiography conveys a professional, and at times private, account of his struggles and achievements, which were not absent of controversies, during his time as PM. He details why he made the decisions he did and provides readers his personal insight into Malaysian politics.

Buy it at Amazon

7. Yasmin Ahmad’s Films

yasmin ahmad filmsWho: Yasmin Ahmad, Director/ Actress (author: Amir Muhammad)

Prominent director and actress, Yasmin Ahmad left a dynamic legacy after her sudden death in 2009.  Directing feature films such as Sepet, Rabun, and Talentime and starring in popular commercials for Petronas, Yasmin Ahmad became well-known for bringing passion and humour to our screens while challenging ethnic stereotypes and defying cross-cultural barriers.

As a means to overcome his grief, fellow Malaysian filmmaker and friend Amir Muhammad wrote this book delving into her films and commercials in a chatty and informative light.

Buy it at Amazon

8. Telling It Straight

marina mahathirWho: Marina Mahathir, Socio-political activist/ Former leader of Malaysian AIDS Foundation

Marina Mahathir brings her activist persona to the pages of Telling It Straight, Marina Mahathir isn’t shy to ask questions about contemporary issues and ideas, touching on the hard topics such as human trafficking, and corruption. She gives reader an insight into psychology of Malaysia and offers her own philosophy for a brighter future for the nation.

Buy it at Amazon

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