About Tales From The Orient Blog
After 28 years in Hong Kong I moved to Penang in 2020 as a base to travel in the region. Covid 19 ended that plan and I spent most of the time reading again books I had collected over the years. The only new one I bought was ‘Tales from the Tiger’s Den, An Oral History of Foreigners in the Far East 1920-2020’ by Stuart Lioyd aka Colonel Ken. It was a natural addition to a bookcase that includes: Jack London’s ‘Tales of the Pacific’, Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘South Sea Tales’, William Somerset Maugham’s ‘Far Eastern Tales’, James A Michener’s ‘Tales of the South Pacific’, Charles Allen’s ‘Tales from the South China Seas’, Harold Stephen’s ‘Tales from the Pacific Rim’, Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Plain Tales from the Hills’ and Jimmy Buffet’s ‘Tales from Margaritaville’. During the lockdown I started this blog to pass the time.
In his book ‘Another Bangkok’, Alex Kerr an American expert on Japan, cautioned against romanticizing the east:
“We’ve learned as Westerners to guard against the tendency to see Asia through the eyes of the ‘exotic’. Exotic is something that tourists seek; it’s not an acceptable emotion for a serious student of the culture, much less a long-term resident. But In Bangkok, you simply have no choice but to give into the exotic sparkle.”
Although a long-term resident I make no claim to be a serious student. I’m just another foreigner who has given in to the sparkle.