Thursday, July 30, 2009
Burgess in Kuala Kangsar Tour
Thought you might like to see a pic of some of our delegation of members of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation and Badan Warisan Malaysia on our trip to Kuala Kangsar yesterday. You might recognise Dr. Rob Spence who came to talk to Malay College Old Boys Association about Burgess last year, and his wife Elaine (in blue at the front). We gave books by, and about, Burgess to the schools as a thankyou for their hospitality.
We were really privileged to be allowed to see around the schools - the first MCKK where Burgess taught, and the second the girl's school housed in what used to be King's Pavilion (the old residency) where Anthony Burgess and his wife Lynne lived 1954-6. The two schools are rightfully proud of their traditions, and I hope we have added yet another layer to that by reminding them that a very famous author was connected with the buildings.
The teacher at the front in the picture is holding a copy of The Long Day Wanes, the US edition of The Malayan Trilogy which I passed to her (... a bit of informal book-crossing!).
The biggest thrill for me was being allowed to go up to the top of the tower of the old residency where there were panoramic views of the forested hills, Perak River, and sultan's palace. This is the very scene that inspired Burgess to start writing about Malaya (just read the opening of the second chapter of Time for a Tiger).
And of course, our tour took in all the other famous sites in Kuala Kangsar ... mosque, palaces, oldest rubber tree, cemetaries, Idris club (aka Burgess' Iblis Club), riverside ...
Our Badan Warsian members added to our enjoyment significantly, being able to explain about history and architecture and culture much more effectively than yours truly, and I must say a big thank you particularly to Najib Ariffin (who also happened to be a Malay College old boy) for his entertaining and informative commentary on the coach.
Thanks too to my former student Hasnul Ariffin, who present a spectacular time-lapse photograph of Malay College Big School to the IABF taken to mark the centenary of the school.
Thank you to everyone who helped to make our trip a big success.
Next - (and I am quite serious here) going to work on a Perak literary tour taking in Ipoh and other places and focusing on more contemporary literature!