It saddens me that Malaysia does not make more of its wide and varied history.How on earth does a British engineer in the oil and gas industry end up writing a huge historical novel set in Miri, Sarawak?
In the Sun Bissme S. interviews Paul Leslie Smith (whom some of you will remember from Readings@Seksan a couple of months back).
Paul describes how most of his novel, Rainforest Tears, which centres on the love story of a British man and a Chinese/Melanau woman, was written in hotel rooms as he travelled for business. (Writing it kept him out of the bars, he says!) He also explains how he interviewed folks in Miri who had lived through the war, including one 82 year old man who moved him to tears:
He told me how they had a fine, thriving town before the Japanese arrive. ... Then he said the Japanese spent three years beating them, raping them, killing them and leaving them with nothing.I met Paul for coffee a week or two ago and he showed me the old photographs he collected as he was doing his research and will soon be putting up on a website. I had no idea that Miri had such a fascinating past!