GUiT – Book Review

Personally, this book is a walk down the memory lane for me. Kuala Terengganu always holds a special place in my heart. The people, the intriguing dialect, the mouth-watering delicacy and miles and miles of white sandy beaches in Terengganu calm the heart of many. Of course, the unforgettable MRSM Kuala Terenganu, Wakaf Tengah, Mengabang Telipot. That would need another posting in the future: only if I manage to jog my poor memory.

Where was I? Ah, the book review, of course. I read the flattering introduction right there at the bookstore (classic case of being an impatient person) and headed home with my head giddy in anticipation. The rest of the weekend was reduced to curling in bed in a vicious attempt to finish the book.

Awang Goneng (AG), whose real name is Wan A. Hulaimi kicked off his writing career after a brief stint in academic and jornalism. Originally trained in law, the man moved to a greener pasture as many law degree holders have done save for the dense ones who insist on practising the trade. The writer is currently residing in the cold and gloomy London with his adorable wife Kak Teh of Choc-a-Blog Blog.

Growing Up in Trengganu (GUiT) originates from AG’s postings in his blog; Kecek-Kecek. He started his blog in November 2004 and the rest, as they say, is history. From what I read, the publisher thought the postings are too good to just remain virtual in blogsphere and therefore they decided to publish it in an immortal form of a book.

When I first read GUiT the blogger-version, I couldn’t help but think that the postings, in some ways, reflect a research paper on Terengganu’s dialect; or as AG aptly calls it “Trengganuspeak”. But be warned, this is not some dull research papers, AG wittingly peppers his postings with cynical humor and satirical thought of his mind.

Reflective of its title, GUiT vividly narrates the childhood of its writer. AG weaves the story in astonishing details that feed your realm of imagination. He will hook you on the pages from his witty introduction right to the glossary at the back of the book. Whilst not being exactly a page-turner, this book is highly intriguing that you just need to know what else he has in store.

The writer captures the essential essence of satisfying the reader’s mind by describing the sense of smell, sound and taste of everything Terengganu. The setting and description of the characters in the book evoke the sense of belonging in you. You could almost touch the atmosphere in Terengganu from his unique writing style.

As you probably know by now, it is either you understand the “Trengganuspeak” or you just simply don’t. If you fall under the latter catagory – god bless you – kindly refer to the glossary I mentioned before.

If I have to choose, my personal favourite would be “Ice on the Gunny”. The story transports me back to my childhood when ice was covered with sawdust to prevent it from melting. Of course, this was before the advent of refrigerator in my kampong. AG also cruelly teases my taste bud by writing about the sinfully sweet nekbat, puteri mandi and lompat tikam. Ah, when is the next flight to Kota Bharu please?

Undoubtedly, GUiT is not an ordinary book. I am of the view that not many creative writers can narrate their childhood experience to be a charming read. Most of our growing up memories would be in an unfathomable patches and usually hard to recall.

This is not just a book, it is indeed a keepsake.


12 thoughts on “GUiT – Book Review

  1. Salam Elviza:

    I’m halfway thro with GUIT( now page 197 to be exact). Eventhough I’m not from trengganu, but I do have lots of Ganu friends in MU and had the opportunity of travelling to KT every weekend when my wife was posted there for 2 years during the last election. Most of the places described in GUIT are familiar to me and I can relate to AG’s story.

    GUIT eventhough was written about the old KT, to me it is also about the era of 60s-70s of most small towns in Malaysia. There are of course differences due to the geography ,vocation and speakwise but the essence of rural Malay kampong is very much the same.

    My verdict: All of us should get a copy each, read it and let our children read it too,later.


    Of course you would be the first to leave comment about GUiT at half past midnight. Tak tido ka… aisks belum abih baca lagi?? Tak pa… nanti you buat review pulak yer?

  2. My internet on the rig hancus laa. Just managed to borrow the client’s.

    Great review, Elviza!

    Yaaay! WH has promised me a signed copy… but aah, that will be a while yet..

    Aiks? AG promised you a signed copy? Ish, jelesnya… But its okay, since you live, well, in the swamp, so you probably deserve it! LOL

  3. Elviza
    God knows when I will finish GUiT. And now my foray into GUiT is going to be punctuated with Tell, Pulau Batu Putih, corrections and new submission for scholarly journals and endless “year-end” work, Urggh. I bet AG is a mean cook, don’t you think?


    I know! So many interesting read nowadays yeah? The TELL magazine is still sitting by my bedside waiting forlornly to be finished. I feel so bad about it but since its school hols my entire family is here in KL: not much time to read and I am suffering…

  4. elviza, what a lovely surprise! Thanks. One of my girls has finished reading GUiT but I am still reading bits and pieces here and there – on the train, in the bus at a cafe. So, Tokasid u are not alone.
    aMiR – one thing is for sure. He loves food!

    Dear Kak Teh,

    Ah, we all love food… errrrr, could you be a darling and tell AG that I want him to sign my copy of GUiT as well? I cant stand it when Mat Salo gloat to my face that he has a signed copy! Urgghh…

  5. Am dying to lay my hand on GUiT. Of a bygone era, it sure will stir my nostalgia, tho I grew up in Penang.


    You have got to pre-order it. MPH is absolutely hopeless in keeping extra copies of GUiT. Try Kinokuniaya / Times. Better outlets. I don’t know why MPH is not displaying GUiT on their newly released shelves. They are usually supportive of local authors. I don’t know…

  6. elviza,

    what an insightful reiew. You are, what i’d call, a versatile writer. you can change your style at will. just love the choice of words and phrases to capture AG’s riveting anecdotes of a time past. rather times, past.

    brilliant….keep writing, elviza..

    Kak Ena,

    I have to read this comment repeatedly… macam tak percaya. This coming from a seasoned journalist and now an editor of Tell Magazine? I have died and gone to heaven 🙂

    Thanks Kak Ena…

  7. On English books…I wonder does everyone knows so many nice books are on auction at Ebay..real cheap.
    Than the famous Afro American talk show host…the riches female celebrity in America……name slip my mind…started an online books for sale at very low prices.
    Including postage …it’s still worth it.
    Got a chance to go to Sri Lanka…go to a bookstores and view hundreds of pirated books at unbelievable low prices.
    My problem starts …when the books packed in luggage bags to fly back are so heavy.

  8. Now I need to kick my butt and get GUIT from MPH! You have read it, Tokasid is reading it… Arrggghhh…. I can’t be missing the train right?

    (I’m ‘terliur’ after reading your review la sis…)

    No no no…call them first or order online. Some outlets do not have the books! And yes, you must buy the book. Kita mesti support local author kan??

  9. MPH @ Jusco Skudai haven’t ordered GUIT yet!! Yesterday I went to check out the book.. the staff there said ‘sorri kak, tak de dlm stock, kita belum order’ To my frustration , I didnt ask her when would the book be there.

    My intention to have the book, solely based on your review michelle.. yeahh who can forget the memory of MRSM KT.. what more I am from Seb. Takir!


    Aikssss? Macam kenal jer nihhh… 🙂 How are you dear? You are now based in Johor? Bestnya… close to Singapore, great shoppings! My hands are itching to write about MRSM KT and us. But its not coming yet… got to wait… sigh. Take care Azniza…

    p/s: u married? with kids presumably?

  10. For those in Treangganu, GUiT is available at ALAM AKADEMIK (Keda Pok Loh Yunang – mentioned in the book)- yes, the same old location.

    We were told that, in Trengganu, GUiT is only available at ALAM AKADEMIK.
    Tel 09-6231110.

    Check the website (
    for FREE DELIVERY (at selected location) C.O.D RM39.90 *LIMITED TIME OFFER*


  11. Pingback: GUiT oh GUiT! Where art thou? « Write Away

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