DuBook Press, RM25.00, ISBN 978-967-0723-19-8
Popular Culture, 2015
Tora Datang Lagi is the famous tagline of a brand of chocolate cookie-ball thingies aimed at kids, by including a toy within each box. There was a new toy advertised every few weeks on TV, and children back then watched the commercials and then pestered their parents to buy them a Tora. Of course, these days such commercials are no longer allowed on TV, but those were the glorious 1980s when kids learned all the unhealthy eating habits to become the fat adults they are today.
This book is exactly what it is advertised on the cover and more – it is packed with short encyclopedia-like entries on various things – everything and anything – that shaped one’s childhood during the 1990s in Malaysia. Some of the entries could easily fit into the 1970s and 1980s as well. Written from clearly a boy’s perspective, the entries nonetheless can bring a smile to anyone who has lived through the last three decades. Really, I’ve never thought of some of the things mentioned here – traditional games, the judi tikam games that were sold (illegally) to school kids, the spirit of the coin fad, the Milo van – and I am hit by the sweetest haze of nostalgia as I turn the pages. Remember the excitement when the first few Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets hit Malaysia? Or when the illegal Chinese Famicom consoles were all the rage? I still have fond memories of playing a bootleg version of Mappy on that one. Anyway, there are also mentions on the infamous convicted killer Mona Fandey, so things aren’t all that sunny and cheery in here.
The author injects some sly humor here and there, making this a pretty fun read rather than a dry one, and really, from popular schoolyard taunts to urban legends of those days, Tora Datang Lagi is all about the best kind of nostalgia. I’ve no regrets at all buying this baby, just lots of fond moments. This is like a magic time machine!