“A Doctor in the House” is the autobiography of Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad, the fourth prime minister of Malaysia. Up until his last days in office, the prime minister came under heavy criticism from Western observers for his controversial Asian ideology, model of development and way of thinking that went against established Western views.
This memoir was written to provide the former Malaysian premier’s view on why he decided to do what he did.
Prime Minister Mahathir was the one who pioneered the “Look East policy” which turned away largely Western development models. He believes the European capitalist model is imperfect and must be adapted in accordance with Asian values, and its cultural diversity and different demography.
Starting off as a doctor in his homeland just below the Thai-Malay border, Alor Setar, he earned his doctoral degree from the University of Singapore and become a well-trusted doctor in his district. His political career came later.
Divided into 62 chapters, the book tells a different storyline of the premier than some might be familiar with. In some chapters, readers will find an explanation of his ideological orientation. In other parts, readers will get a look at his personal life, and things that influenced his thinking as prime minister, including scandals, and inspirations he found from travelling to smaller nations, and the drive to unite Malaysia’s Malay, Indian and Chinese communities.
The book is slightly more than eight hundred pages long with every single page confirming the doctor’s drive to modernise his homeland of Malaysia into one of the most developed countries in Southeast Asia after World War II.
Despite being written by a politician, the vocabulary, grammar and sentence structure used in the book are very easy to grasp and largely understandable. I recommend this book to anyone who is willing to spend time reading a biography.