Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Harmony Silk Factory Tour of Perak

Our book club, Fiction&Friends, would like to point out a factual inaccuracy on page 13 of The Harmony Silk Factory:

"In 1947, my father installed the first flush cistern and septic tank north of Kuala Lumpur ..."

Jessica is aggrieved because the first flush toilet was in fact installed in her family house in Taiping in 1938. The house was the first one to be built of concrete in the town, and it was commandeered by the Japanese during the war.

Jessica is prepared to open up the toilet for public viewing ... for a fee.

This leads us to discuss the possibility of getting in ahead of Tourism Malaysia and organising our own Harmony Silk Factory Tour of Perak.

After all, something similar has been done in Britain with writers from the Brontes to the Bard.

The tour could take in all the places mentioned in the book and include, not only a visit to Jessica's family throne, but also a romp through the Cameron Highlands (and make it back to Kampar on foot in time for tea),

... a ride on a specially restored tin dredge (with costumed Mat Salleh bosses to shout at everyone) ...

... a now-you-see-it-now you-don't drive through the forest to Kellie's castle with twin sisters hawking fruit by the roadside ...

... and of course an optional boat trip out to the islands ...

... in a highly unseaworthy boat with self-assembly engine and no crew. (For this part of the trip, tourists would have to sign an indemnity clause covering both physical and psychological damage.) Accomodation would be provided in rest houses along the way (bathtowels and pontianak provided).

Think about it - the possibilities are endless!

Seriously, though, we had a really good evening discussing the book. There are many books which we enjoy reading, but which don't lend themselves to a deeper level of scrutiny. The many twists and turns and ambiguities of plot and different viewpoints of The Harmony Silk Factory provided us with one of the liveliest book debates in our three year history.

And how nice it is to read a book in which we recognise Malaysia.


Unknown said...

Pity I missed this one :(
Can I let you know on Friday if I can make it? It all depends on whether I stop coughing :(

Anonymous said...

Last night was only my second time with the fictionfriends group. If you didn't tell me that it was one of the liveliest discussion, I would believe that the discussions have always been so lively. I really enjoyed myself the last two times!


Anonymous said...

Good idea!!!

By the way heard through the grapevine that a certain Malaysian woman blogger who talked to Tash in London was given a good round of laughing at by the author himself at one of the readings? ;)

bibliobibuli said...

Sham - yes it was good fun. Hope you can come Friday. Would rather have you with the cough than not at all.

Angeline - We ran out of things to say about No.1 Ladies Detective Agency rather quickly though we'd all enjoyed reading it. Some books just generate more interaction than others.

Anita - A difference of viewpoint on whether the Malaysian novel should paint an "exotic" picture of Malaysia or not. Is Malaysia exotic? I know which side of the argument I stand on personally, but everyone must have their own take on it and be allowed to interpret things their way as long ... as they do it with sincerity of heart and not with a view to pandering to (perceived) western tastes.

I sincerely wish the blogger you mention all the best of luck becasue she's brave enough to face the heartbreaking round of submitting her work to agents, and also brave enough to post samples of her work online. She also has a lot of very interesting and valid things to say about the writing scene in London. Again, I don't always agree with her, but respecting different viewpoints should be part and parcel of blogging.

Kak Teh said...

hi all, I am taking all this in...especially being out and looking in, sometimes we do see things differently. Interesting, tho! sharon, will update you abt my meeting with that professor. We went walkabout at the commonwealth war grave memorial, right at my doorsteps and I didnt even know!!!! will write to you soon.

Anonymous said...

I don't know which blogger you mean. But yeah, like someone said, once you're high enough you can poop on anyone who's lower than you. Once you're financially secure, you can pee on the people that once were in your position.

And Sharon, that's part of the fun, after all you've got life jackets, and there're no sharks or piranha in Malaysian waters. May have jellyfish though, but you won't die.. quickly.