A Sea Gypsy's Odyssey

Fiction - Cultural
428 Pages
Reviewed on 03/08/2022
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Author Biography

Tunku Badlishah was born in Kuala Lumpur in 1976. He grew up and got his education in the capital of Malaysia. Then he graduated from a local university with honours in English Studies. He wrote in several local publications after tutoring, proofreading, translation. He dreams of exposing the traditional culture of Malaysia in the global language. In his book 'A Sea Gypsy's Odyssey', he shared a piece of his diverse homeland. His mission to elucidate the rich hidden qualities of tradition in Malaysia yo the world.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite

A Sea Gypsy's Odyssey by Tunku Badlishah is a powerful story of one man’s transformative journey, a cultural fiction novel that features a character you don’t often see in commercial novels. The story begins on the expanse of the Celebes Sea, where we are introduced to Matin, the seafaring Bajau where the ocean is his home and the sea creatures are his brothers. From Matin’s perspective, you witness a real-life inspired account of the Bajau’s lost culture as a minority that stems from poverty and discrimination. Boat-making is in Matin’s blood, but living in the ragged village is hard as he has to contend with indiscriminate fishermen engaged in illegal fishing, and life on land lacks a sense of solidarity among the land-dwellers. As Matin tries to find his purpose, he gets involved in illegal activities that include piracy and smuggling militants. But in the process, he will also help the poor, reunite them with their lost families, and provide cheaper goods.

The bulk of the novel outlines the increasing challenges that Matin faces: environmental, social, and political. Along the way, you not only learn the dynamics of the Bajau’s plight over rights. Matin, in trying to overcome the oppressive system that confines him and his fellows to unfair conditions, learns of the essential humanity necessary for him to become an instrument of social change. But this is not without becoming a part of necessary evils to escape from the societal and political ills that are killing him. Tunku Badlishah has written a powerful epic tale and he is very descriptive in the way he depicts the Bajau life with his sharp eye for details, capturing a sense of realism to get the message across. A Sea Gypsy's Odyssey is a welcome change in your standard reading fare, and I recommend that you give it a chance.