THE idea for Alexandra Wong’s first published book, Made in Malaysia: Stories of Hometown Heroes and Hidden Gems came from the most peculiar of places — a tissue box.
She had been having trouble figuring out the right name for her project, which took almost nine years to complete.
“I didn’t know what I was going for, but I knew that I wanted the word Malaysia in it.
“I caught myself looking at a tissue box one day, and saw the words ‘Made in China’ printed on it.
“So I thought hey, this could actually work as my book title!” said the perky Ipoh-born author when met at a book launch on May 9.
Currently a full-time writer based in Kuala Lumpur, who also occasionally pens her popular Navel Gazer columns in The Star, Wong had given up her corporate job in 2005 to pursue her writer’s dream.
Made in Malaysia is a compilation of her columns and other stories — tales of ordinary people she encountered in Malaysian society who have done something nice for her in their own way.
Wong said she wanted to inspire other Malaysians to perform acts of kindness through her stories.
“One such person in my life was Datuk Dr Madhuri Majunder, who was a humble doctor then during my teenage years.
“Back when I was having severe acne problems, she knew that my father wasn’t the kind of person who could afford a lot of acne medication.
“From time to time, somehow I noticed that she has been giving the medication to me free of charge.
“It is an act of kindness like this that I hope will inspire more in our community to help others in need,” she said.
Wong also pointed out her English tutor Julie Ho, whom she took English lessons with when she was 10 years old to improve her mastery in the language.
“To me, she isn’t an ordinary tutor. She made learning English fun, and she had her ways to make people interested in the language.
“Without her, I wouldn’t be where I am now today,” she said.
Wong related that she loved reading romance novels before slowly moving on to best sellers.
Her favourite author is Douglas Adams, who created a comedy science fiction series called The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Wong was among the four Ipoh writers who were introduced during the book launch at Kong Heng Square in Ipoh.
The others were Bridget Eu Yoke Lin, introducing her first poetry book When Footsteps Merge; Jasemin Sibo, with her book Epiphany, and cancer survivor Dr Teoh Soong Kee, who wrote down his cancer-fighting experience in Cell Wars.
Organised by Perak Academy, popular cartoonist Datuk Mohammad Nor Khalid, or Lat, attended the launch as a special guest.