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An Unknown Hand

An Unknown Hand

An Unsolved Murder in Colonial Malaya The biggest Christian cemetery on Penang Island is Western Road Cemetery and includes graves of Commonwealth servicemen and police officers killed during the Malayan Emergency (1948-60). Their headstones are a standard design but in the same section is the grander tomb of John St Maur Ramsden who:                                                        ...

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Snail Mail

Snail Mail

Penang's colonial era post boxes According to the Royal Mail there are around 115,500 post boxes across the UK so that 98% of the population live within half a mile of one. Roadside post boxes were introduced following the introduction of adhesive stamps for pre-payment of postage in 1840. The growth in demand for postal services and the need for more convenient places where letters could be...

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Eastern Fantasies

Eastern Fantasies

Goodwood Park Hotel's Eastern Fantasy & Raffles Hotel's Shanghai Lily Today a white Russian is a sweet tasting, 1960’s cocktail made from vodka, coffee liqueur and cream. Apart from vodka the drink hasn’t any Russian origin. Culturally more significant in the 20th  century were the White Russian émigrés. They were supporters of the Tsarist government deposed in the 1917 Russian Revolution...

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Chips with Everything

Chips with Everything

COLBAR: A taste of 1950’s Singapore   Colbar Eating House & Milk Bar. Apart from their Chinese dishes the Colbar Eating House & Milk Bar in Singapore serves chips with everything. Opened in 1953 the café is popular with food bloggers who identify it as ‘British-Hainanese’. Serving mixed grill, pork chops, omelettes, cucumber sandwiches and fish and chips the British influence is...

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Not Amused ?

Not Amused ?

In August Bangkok’s Big Chilli magazine opened with the short article – ‘Shocking Fate of Queen Victoria’s Statue’. They reported that the statue formerly in the British Embassy grounds had been relegated to the banks of a dirty klong (canal) along Soi Somkid in Central Bangkok:  ‘a forlorn and thoroughly undignified sight for such a historically important figure.’ In 1947 the British Mission in...

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The Golden Age of Luggage

The Golden Age of Luggage

Millets and Army & Navy Stores were the main suppliers of camping equipment in 70s Britain. Rucksacks were either army surplus, canvas with metal A frame or the popular Cobmaster brand in primary colours and distinctive external frame. Both had limited storage capacity designed for bedrolls and sleeping bags to be tied to the frame or under the flap. Water bottles, shoes and even pots and...

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Bottoms Up

Bottoms Up

 Thanks to Simon Ostheimer for posting one of my stories on his blog - Tales of the Orient under the heading 'Bottoms Up'. Simon is a travel writer and blogger who grew up in Hong Kong and is now based in Cambodia. James Bond 007 was arrested outside the Bottoms Up club by British agents posing as Royal Hong Kong Police officers in 'The Man with the Golden Gun'. The Bottoms Up club was a Hong...

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Print the Legend

Print the Legend

" With all my heart I still love the man I killed...."    Bette Davis in 'The Letter', Warner Bros. Pictures 1940 (Source: Getty Photos) Colonial Malaya's most shocking murder case Long Read In 2003 Hong Kong's ‘Milkshake Murder’ was a brief distraction from the SARS outbreak that dominated the news. Sixteen years later COVID-19, a more deadly respiratory illness, escalated to the level of a...

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About The Blog

About Blog In March 2020, after 28 years in Hong Kong, I moved to Penang as a base to travel in the region. The Covid 19 pandemic ended that plan and I spent much of the time re-reading books I had collected over the years. The only new book I bought was ...
Palm Hand Draw