Monday, January 14, 2008

East


I've been east before, of course. Why, only last year, I holidayed in Aldeburgh. But this is a bit different. I'm in Malaysia as the guest of uberblogger and Kuala Lumpur literary scene maven, Sharon Bakar. My mission is to give a couple of talks about Anthony Burgess, first to the old boys of Malay College, where he worked in the 50s, and then to a seminar at the university here.
It's fascinating to be here, and to see this vibrant country at first hand. What's more, we have expert guidance from Sharon and her husband Abu, himself an old boy of the college. We went up to Kuala Kangsar to visit the college, and to see the area generally. Sharon shamed me by being able to quote verbatim from Time For A Tiger. Her blog shows her reading from the novel at a very appropriate location. We also ate an "egg steak" at KK. This is, basically, fried eggs in a kind of HP sauce with chips- apparently the staple diet of Aussie and Brit troops who couldn't afford meat. Delicious- and veggie too!
The talk for the old boys has aroused lots of interest, so I'm hoping they will be gentle with me. Certainly, the committee members who invited us to a delicious tea at the Petaling Jaya Hilton yesterday could not have been more gracious and welcoming.
Last night we also had the great pleasure of meeting Tan Twan Eng, Booker longlisted author,with whom we spent a very pleasant few hours chatting about all kinds of things.
Full report to follow. Scores so far: mosquito bites- 6; Tiger beers consumed- 1; egg steaks demolished-1; monkeys encountered- 487; fainting fits- 1.

14 comments:

Mister Roy said...

Glad it's going well - and welcome to the Syncope Club!

hesitant scribe said...

Fainting fits?!!! And how many monkeys???

Sounds like you're having a wonderful time over there - you sure you aren't missing work ha ha!

Hope talk goes brilliantly - sure it will - and that you improve those beer numbers somewhat!

Anonymous said...

It was lovely meeting you and Elaine too. And the wine WAS drinkable, despite Sharon saying otherwise.

- Tan Twan Eng

Rob Spence said...

Thanks Twan- I think we managed with the wine didn't we? Hope all goes well for you in Oz.

Juliet said...

oh, what a fantastic job for a Burgessite! Hope you enjoy every minute and that the beers to bites ratio improves.

bibliobibuli said...

rob and elaine - i'm going to miss you! no-one to talk books with over breakfast

Rob Spence said...

Hi Sharon
Just back - well, about five hours ago. Trying to sort house and cats out, and failing on both counts. Thanks again, and I'll report back on the trip, and possible developments to come.

bibliobibuli said...

have plenty to blog - now can get down to it

Yves Buelens said...

Fainting fits ? You sissy...

Rob Spence said...

Yves - go to Bibliobibuli for shocking pictures of me immediately before my one-second blackout...
More to come here. Lots of photos, and some very interesting possibilities.

bibliobibuli said...

i just put up another post. hope i've remembered things accurately!

my photos all disappeared off the previous post through a black hole in blogger. had to move my photos to picasa and upload them again from there which was fiddly.

Rob Spence said...

Thanks Sharon. I will get on with my own blogging on this soon. Any other pics?

Mister Roy said...

Just one second? You sissy...

bibliobibuli said...

more pics yes

a couple more to be blogged and the rest i will send