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Action Stations

Action Stations

  ‘Sailors are the only class of men who nowadays see anything like stirring adventure; and many things to which fireside people appear strange and romantic, to them seem as commonplace as a jacket out at elbows’. ‘Typee’, Herman Melville 1846   Chris ‘Spider’ Webb was born during the Second World War, joined the Royal Navy after school and retired in 1984. He saw active service during the...

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Treasure Islands

Treasure Islands

TREASURE HUNTING IN THE PI Beach vendors in the Philippines sell fridge magnets, shells, coral necklaces, fake Marlboros and anything they can to tourists. At Subic Bay I was offered American ‘silver’ dollars stamped 1797.  The coins were said to be from a ship wreck hoard recovered off Mindanao the second largest island in the Philippines. Both of us wanted them to be real but knew they were...

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Welcome To The Jungle

Welcome To The Jungle

AMAZING LUBANG OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, PHILIPPINES The week before Malaysia’s first Covid lockdown I bought Hiroo Onoda’s: ‘No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War’ from a second-hand bookshop in Penang. Onoda was a Lieutenant in the Imperial Japanese Army who refused to surrender at the end of World War II hiding out on Lubang Island in the Philippines for 29 years. Tucked inside the flyleaf was a...

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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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Hemingway in Manila

Hemingway in Manila

Hemingway enjoying his Asian tour. In November 1940, two months after publication of his Spanish Civil War novel: ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’, American author Ernest Hemingway married his third wife war correspondent Martha Gellhorn. Paramount Studios paid him $100,000 for the movie rights and announced that film star Gary Cooper would play the leading role. At the height of his fame Hemingway...

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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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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