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Musing Mondays asks you to muse about:
Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).

SFO 1110
SFO 1111

My recent whim has been non-fiction. It just happens that way, I’m intrigued by all these books. First and most of all, Argo by by Antonio Mendez. In Thailand, I found a copy of Bangkok: A Cultural History, something that is neither a history book on academic scale nor a conventional travel guide. It delves into how Bangkok becomes a post-modern city while retaining its Buddhist ethos and monarchic traditions.

Ghetto at the Center of the World: Chungking Mansions, Hong Kong by Gordon Mathews arrived in the mail the other day. Chungking Mansions is known for the diversity of its international residents. It’s been estimated that coming and going of residents, visitors, and food stall customers of this complex amount to about 10,000 a day. This peculiar locale is named by Time Magazine the one of the most globalized places in the world:

“When Hong Kong refers to itself as “Asia’s World City” it means the well-ordered worldliness of big banks, fine hotels and a philharmonic. The local tourism board would probably prefer that you didn’t think of the worldliness of Nepalese sex workers, Bangladeshi hash dealers and Nigerian men trading used PCs by the container load. But this other Hong Kong can be found across Victoria Harbour, just a few minutes from the city’s administrative and financial heart. And the truth is, Hong Kong’s claim to internationalism is as equally proven by the demographics of Tsimshatsui, as the tip of the Kowloon peninsula is called, as it is by anything else. The district’s pavements are swirling rivers of turbans and baseball caps, hoodies and hijabs.”

4 Responses

  1. Wouldn’t blame you for any of these! Would love to know how the Argo in print works.

  2. The version of Cityscapes/A Cultural History for Hong Kong, by Michael Ingham is also excellent. During my last trip to HK, I encouraged the library at the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre to add a copy to their holdings.

    Exploring Hong Kong’s neighborhoods through the context of film, music, and literature makes this book both unique and wonderful. Watch Stanley Kwan’s film Rouge, staring Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung, and then tour Shek Tong Tsui and Western District at night and you will be transported back in time !

  3. I’m so happy you are reading non-fiction right now as I know I will get some good recommendations from you.

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