Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Reflections on my trip to Malaysia

It's taken me a couple of days to recover from the very long flight back. 

It's that parallel universe you go into isn't it?  Sitting in Dubai airport at what was 1am in the morning or maybe 5am or later depending on where my stomach felt it was.

It's a while since I did a long flight but nothing's substantially changed except the advent of the personal screens.  The food certainly isn't changed.  Though I have to say that three out of the four legs of the trip, the menu did offer me as a non meat eater at least something I could eat.

Since watching small screens isn't my ideal I managed to read quite a lot on the way back.  The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima was one of the books I borrowed from my niece and I chose it for the plane journery only because it was the lighter of the two. 

A story of obsession about an object, the Golden Pavilion, and an ideal, beauty, are woven together based on a factual incident in 1950 when the real temple in Kyoto was burned down.  It's a disturbing read and was compared to Dostoevskian violence and passion according to Nancy Ross Wilson who wrote the introdiuction.  It's certainly a very intense read.

The other book I borrowed is The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng.  It's a story of a half Chinese, half English boy in Penang before and during the Second World War and his relationship with a Japanese who teaches him Aikido.  Apart from the story, it interests me because I visited Penang 30 years ago so I have echoes of the scenery and the atmosphere in my head as I read.

It was good to be offered different perspectives on literary life while I was out there even if only briefly..

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