Monday, 18 August 2014

Old school pals, again

My pals and I are usually around when Kee Thuan Chye comes to town for his book reading activities. The latest one was organised just yesterday at the Sinkek studios in Malay Street, George Town. A two-hour of interaction between Thuan Chye and the audience during which time he read excerpts from his latest book, Can We Save Malaysia, Please!

When my wife and I arrived at Sinkek, we were forewarned that it was already full house and we may need to stand if seats could not be found. We found some seats with mine most appropriately behind a makeshift sales counter for Chye's books. Later, someone placed some mats on the floor to enable some of those standing to sit down.

Thuan Chye added an entry into his facebook and commented that local bookstore Gerakbudaya and Sinkeh had been the joint hosts for this event. Together, they facilitated probably his first and only reading from Can We Save Malaysia, Please! in Malaysia. No-one else, it seemed, was willing to risk hosting him!

And later, I bumped into Marcus Langdon and Gooi Mong Kim. The former is an Australian who is now resident in Penang. He is most well known as an authority on local Penang history, and he told me that the second volume of his Penang, the Fourth President of India 1805-1830 should be out on the shelves before Christmas. I'm really looking forward to its publication since a chapter in this book is dedicated exclusively to the establishment of the Penang Free School in 1816. I was quite relieved to hear this as several months ago, I had heard from a usually reliable source that the second volume could be shelved because of lack of funds.

Anyway, the latter named above is a former freelance photo-journalist who, during his 30-plus years of work, had made contributions to established publications like Time magazine and the New York Times newspaper, as well as to leading American, European and Japanese television networks. He had written an interesting story on Master Wan Kean Chew, a local pugilist expert, for inclusion in FIDELIS, the coffee table book of The Old Frees' Association, two years ago.

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