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The Shield

The Shield

Early 1900's postcard - British bobby on the Shanghai bund POLICING CHINA'S TREATY PORTS A Hong Kong Police detective badge sold last month on eBay for £3,913.75. The King’s crown, gilt metal, blue enamel badge bears the Chinese characters for investigator and GR Royal cypher dating it to between 1910 and 1952. There are no lugs at the back so it was probably carried as a shield in a wallet...

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Let’s Go Brandon

Let’s Go Brandon

From the 1920s until the 1950s China’s largest and most cosmopolitan city Shanghai (‘The Paradise of Adventurers’, ‘The Paris of the East’, ‘The Whore of Asia’) was the exotic backdrop for pulp fiction, novels, magazine articles and studio bound Hollywood movies. Arguably the best films were ‘Shanghai Express’ (1932) and ‘The Shanghai Gesture’ (1941) both directed by Josef von Sternberg. In May...

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The Road to Bang Saray

The Road to Bang Saray

In Bangkok I always pick up a copy of the BigChilli Magazine at the British Club on Silom Road. Published by Colin Hastings former editor of Thailand Tatler the magazine is aimed at ‘regular’ expats rather than the ‘hiso’ crowd. Alongside profiles of Hotel GM’s, incoming and outgoing ambassadors, ads for international schools and luxury yachts are interviews with some  interesting and eccentric...

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Ambush on Kedah Peak

Ambush on Kedah Peak

'I realise that the Police have been and are the spearhead of our attack as well as the main source of our defence against the bandits in Malaya.’ General Sir R.M.M. Lockhart, K.C.B., C.I.E., M.C., Director of Operations Federation of Malaya 1951-52 THE FEDERATION OF MALAYA POLICE Warrior Square next to Kuala Lumpur’s Lake Gardens is a monument to Malaysian police officers killed in the line of...

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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 Remembering Harold Stephens Long Read “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...

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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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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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