Saturday, November 29, 2008

Rice Wine and Dancing Girls

Philip Tatham of Monsoon books wrote to tell me his latest book Rice Wine and Dancing Girls has now had its launch in Singapore. I read the book some time back, and wrote a blurb for the back cover.

It makes me very happy that the stories of ordinary Malaysians are being recorded for posterity, and this book is a memoir with a difference - Wong Seng Chow actually used his father's scattered notes and archived interview material to recreate his father's life story.

Bong Kai Hong was a pioneer cinema manager working for the Cathay Organisation in Malaya and Singapore during the golden age of cinema. One of his unwritten rules “Retain calm presence of mind” proves particularly useful as he finds himself dealing with everything from cabaret girls, a jingoistic journalist, ticket-touting gangsters, to Sarawakian longhouse etiquette.

The contemporary photos, especially those of the old cinema buildings are an added delight.

The only disappointment for me was that I would have liked to have heard more about the films that Cathay was showing!

5 comments:

Amir said...

Chop one!

lil ms d said...

me too!

Kak Teh said...

Will certainly get one!! is it already in the bookshops?

bibliobibuli said...

haven't seen it here yet, kak teh, but i think it must be in the shops in singapore

Yusuf Martin said...

At first I though someone had written a biography about my former life.............

Looks very interesting, must get a copy.