Racket Boy – An autobiography by Philip George

Where’s My Country?

It’s been a great start to the first quarter of 2024 for Racket Boy! First, there was our dynamic debut at the KL Alternative Book Fair, with the dragon ushering in prosperity and good tidings for the iconic Central Market where the book fair took place.

In quick succession, our Malaysia publisher, Gerakbudaya, participated in the World Conference on Statelessness at Taylor’s University, Kuala Lumpur. The event was organised by the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion (ISI), Nationality for All (NFA), and Development of Human Resources for Rural Areas (DHRRA) Malaysia.

The focus was on the “Global Campaign to Tackle Statelessness,” and there were various programmes across the main campus – from art exhibitions and innovative craft displays to talks and forum discussions. It struck me as a powerful initiative, especially to see the enthusiastic participation of young people on such serious topics. Incidentally, the Statelessness/plight of Indian labourer classes in Malaysia is touched upon in Racket Boy.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 17 titled “Am I Not A Man and A Brother”. For context, Philip is revisiting Malaysia and his old school, after sixteen years:

We then took the Dengkil road, past my bicycle stand at the Chinese medicine shop and the old graveyard, to Sg Buaya, Papa’s final estate and from where I left for England. Worn out Sg Buaya’s noticeable change was the presence of Indonesian labourers. ‘They get in easily in boats and ferries. Once they’re here they’re free to stay as long as they please the police. Some get red, even blue ICs it seems. It’s our Indian workers born here that cannot get their ICs. Don’t know what’s going to happen to them when they are forced out of these estates,’ Rajan shrugged as he spoke.

Mark your calendars for the Malaysia launch events coming your way in April!

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