Monday, January 14, 2008
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.