Two Books At the RAS
We had a celebration of two books on small-town Malaysia by two writers at the Royal Asiatic Society in London on Friday 26th October, 2007. There were friends and well-wishers, booksellers and people from the neighbouring academia, and the trays of curry puffs (made by the talented Puan Jamilah) quickly vanished into thin air and Tuk Din's kway teow was discreetly packed into take-away containers to be consumed again, later. There was my friend the Haji, and writers more established than yours truly, and assorted men and women from all corners of the world, but a few got lost along the way — sorry Millie Danker! — or had previous engagements to go to. All in all there were about 50 people. And there was someone with an unkempt moustache pretending to be me who signed Growing Up in Trengganu for the unsuspecting many.
Christopher Gallop, author of Wanderer in Malaysian Borneo (written under his pen name of Pengembara) gave a wonderful speech about his travels in the East (which started from his base in Brunei Darussalam) and tugged at my heart-string when he said that he had a special fondness for Trengganu because, on Independence day 31st August 1957, he was there. I commend his book to you for an insightful, engrossing view of East Malaysia and Brunei. The man who claimed to be me gave a long, rambling speech and even claimed to have slept under the stars in opposite parts of the world. He spoke of his travels, and of another East, the east coast of peninsular Malaysia, Trengganu.
If you'd like to see photos of the event, first please go HERE where you can connect to the link to the photos (after signing in as a member, which is easy). Both web pages are the work of my good friend Azman Ramli, a talented video-editor from Singapura and an able photographer.
Thank you everyone for such a splendid day – to Annabel especially, to the Gallop family, to my family and Kak Teh and the Royal Asiatic Society. And also to Dr Ben Murtagh of the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS) for being such a splendid master of the ceremony.
Wanderer in Malaysian Borneo, by Pengembara; Marshall Cavendish, Kuala Lumpur, 2007.
Growing Up in Trengganu by Awang Goneng; Monsoon Books, Singapore, 2007.