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History at the E&O

History at the E&O

On January 27th the author Andrew Barber was invited to Penang’s Eastern & Oriental Hotel to discuss his novel ‘Fortress Penang’. Andrew is a former British diplomat, living in Malaysia whose previous books include: ‘Penang at War’, ‘Kuala Lumpur at War 1939-1945’, ‘Malaysian Moments-A Pictorial Retrospective’, ‘Colonial Penang 1786-1957’ and ‘Doris Van Der Stratten’. Andrew turned to...

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Those Historic Bars of Asia

Those Historic Bars of Asia

Wanchai neon “What the Marines taught me was that you can do anything. If it’s there, you can do it. You can do everything you want to. Once you get rid of this idea that you need money, you can do anything.”  Harold Stephens 1926-2021 In January 2021 Harold ‘Steve’ Stephens a Bangkok based travel writer died at the age of 94. He was described as ‘a modern day Marco Polo’, ‘the man you wished...

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A Tale of Two Photos

A Tale of Two Photos

In 1960 Paramount Pictures released the musical comedy ‘G.I. Blues’ starring Elvis Presley and Juliet Prowse. Elvis played a tank crew soldier in West Germany who forms a band and pursues a nightclub dancer played by Juliet Prowse. Some scenes were shot in Germany but most of the picture was filmed at Paramount studios in Hollywood. In real life Elvis served in the U.S. Army from March 1958 to...

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Death in Mongkok

Death in Mongkok

Mongkok Police Station 1950s.   Thanks to Karl Spencer from Hong Kong who provided information on another Shanghai Municipal Policeman (SMP) who came  to Hong Kong after release from a Japanese internment camp in October 1945. He was a similar age to the publican Jack Conder who kept in contact with many of the ex-SMP in Hong Kong. Alexander Seddon Anderson was born in Queenstown, New...

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Wings Over Manila

Wings Over Manila

In August 1936 the Warner Brothers film ‘China Clipper’ was released starring Pat O’Brien and Humphrey Bogart. It was inspired by the life of American aviation pioneer Juan Trippe founder of Pan American World Airways and capitalized on public excitement generated by the first commercial transpacific airmail flight the year before. The China Clipper was a four-engine flying boat that took off...

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Time for a Tiger

Time for a Tiger

In October 1969 Columbia pictures released ‘The Virgin Soldiers’ based on a best-selling novel by Leslie Thomas. The story is about a young national serviceman posted to Singapore during the Malayan Emergency, counting the days to demob and more interested in chasing girls than soldiering. Like PFC Chris Taylor in ‘Platoon’, Private Brigg is dominated by two NCO’s; the cowardly, blowhard...

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Jack’s Bar

Jack’s Bar

In May 1955 Twentieth Century Fox released the film ‘Soldier of Fortune’ starring Clark Gable and Susan Hayward based on a novel by Ernest K. Gann. Hayward is an American woman in Hong Kong searching for her photo-journalist husband who disappeared after illegally entering China. She enlists the help of a wealthy businessman played by Gable who has made his fortune from smuggling between Hong...

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The Sunshiners

The Sunshiners

In December 1945 MGM released the war film ‘They Were Expendable’ starring Robert Montgomery, John Wayne and Donna Reed based on the best-selling book by William Lindsay White. Directed by John Ford then a Captain in the United States Naval Reserve it told the story of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 3 defending the Philippine Islands from Japanese invasion in 1941. By April 1942 five of the six PT...

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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 ...

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