你說,寮國到底有什麼?What is there in Laos? (Republishing July 2017 Piece)

A friend of mine brought me this book from Taipei early this year. I was eager to read it in a leisurely manner, for I know Murakami’s travel essays are still very good. The Chinese version of What is there in Laos? was translated by Mingzhu Lai. For me, it is a great pleasure to read Traditional Chinese arranged vertically from right to left. Although it is a Japanese-styled expression, I often find refuge in Japanese- and Murakami-styled Chinese-language written by Lai.

According to Murakami Haruki, Laos is a country where everybody slows down everything. Even dogs have a lot of free time for a siesta in temples. Travellers who wish to save money enjoy their time a lot in Laos, whose cuisines fall between Thai and Vietnamese dishes in terms of taste. And the price is cheap. Continue reading “你說,寮國到底有什麼?What is there in Laos? (Republishing July 2017 Piece)”

Wu Bai – the rocker cum traveller (Republishing Sep 2017 Piece)

Poet rocker Wu Bai is known for his music career with his band China Blue comprises dummer Dean “Dino” Zavolta, keyboardist Yu Ta-hao (nicknamed Big Cat) and bassist Chu Chien-hui.

The reason he picked up a camera to start shooting around – as he wrote on this book Wu Bai Story (《伍佰.故事》), was that he wanted to get himself a background on his computer. And he started with colour photos, only switching to black and white films, when he travelled in Angkor Wat, the Cambodian city where only black and white films are sold.

Apart from music and occassional acting opportunities, Wu Bai also travels extensively. In this book – as he put it, he went to Tokyo to take photos of Japanese office workers. From his perspective, he was curious if these office workers feel tired for their lifestyle – everybody follows the conformity of the society, puts on the same suits, walking in the same direction, eating at eateries after work. And he put it very bluntly – don’t they feel stupid? Continue reading “Wu Bai – the rocker cum traveller (Republishing Sep 2017 Piece)”

馬宜中筆下的第一滴淚 (Republishing Oct 2017 Piece)

我曾經追蹤臺灣流行音樂,無意中在網路上發現滾石MTV前導演馬宜中寫的《他們的第一滴淚:馬宜中和那些有故事的人》,於是拜託友人從臺北幫我買,好讓我在國外的旅途中好好讀一番。

身為伍佰樂迷,第一個細讀的藝人故事當然就是他。馬宜中細數以前幫伍佰拍〈煞到你〉、〈返去故鄉〉的故事,我才發現原來伍佰真的在乎要保護家人的隱私。話說馬宜中與攝影團隊跟著伍佰 and China Blue 在嘉義走透透拍MTV,好像是伍佰老家附近的樣子,然後有個記者死纏爛打就是要拍照又怎樣的,原本答應拍照之後不會公開,結果還是在那記者服務的報紙上登了出來。 Continue reading “馬宜中筆下的第一滴淚 (Republishing Oct 2017 Piece)”

細讀《半島》之穿梭時空 Travelling through time with Peninsula (Republishing August 2017 piece)

Two months ago, many content creators would wring their wrists when they learned about the death of writer Rehman Rashid. Radio hosts of BFM 89.9 were always talking about him in recent programmes and they respected him a lot. They were of the opinion that it was great loss of Malaysian writing scene.

I went to look for his old books at Gerakbudaya and only managed to find Peninsula. The other title, A Malaysian Journey, which was more famous, was said to have been out of print. I wonder if his previous publisher would like to republish for him.

Rehman Rashid’s writing was no ordinary English writing. He did not elaborate in a simple and straightforward way. Contrarily, he was always cutting into the topics from sideline while adding a lot of background knowledge into his stories.

Some details of the years of Mahathir, Anwar Ibrahim, Abdullah and Najib were cited in his stories while he led the readers to travel through time. And his writing left no traces of time. Given such an outstanding feature, other Malaysian writers might find it difficult to fill his big shoes. Continue reading “細讀《半島》之穿梭時空 Travelling through time with Peninsula (Republishing August 2017 piece)”

英格蘭左衛之實話實說 Refreshingly honest England left-back

It was several years ago when I read this book. Thanks to the former England defender’s vivid and honest account, I still remember some of the contents. I was following Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers when both clubs were at the top of their form. That was the time when I noticed the good performance of Graeme Le Saux, particularly the time when he and his teammates put on the British brand Umbro’s England jersey. Continue reading “英格蘭左衛之實話實說 Refreshingly honest England left-back”