A short story from Myanmar by San Lin Tun
Roughcut Bar, Myanmar;Photocredit: Roughcut Bar FaceBook page
Roughcut Bar; Photocredit: Roughcut Bar FaceBook page
Moe did not know what he could do while he sat in his chair and his mind drifted like a kite floating with the free flow of wind. Something dampened his strength and he felt frayed. He had been feeling this way for a couple of days. It started gradually till it took concrete shape in his mind, tending to block his mental processes. That is why he could not focus on his job. He decided to try to deal with it…
Though he felt it, he could not name the sensation. He picked up the pen from the rectangular lacquer pen holder in front of him on the table, unconsciously. He did not intend to use the pen but his laptop. He sighed at his confusion and looked at his watch — fifteen past four in the afternoon. He stood up, pushed his laptop away and picked up his shoulder bag that lay in a slant against the foot of the table. Read more
We studied the extensive menu, which listed both international as well as local cuisine. Joe and I were fast decision makers when it came to selecting our dishes. Joe settled on rice with Crispy Catfish in Chili Paste and a side order of the ubiquitous tangy Green Mango Salad to share, while I chose rice with Red Curry of Roasted Duck, a dish Joe had suggested after describing it as a bracing Thai classic combining tender roasted duck with a perfect blend of spices, coconut milk, and pineapple. The food arrived within ten minutes of ordering, and was excellent in both presentation and taste. My duck curry surpassed Joe’s mouth-watering description. I complimented Joe on his recommendation. His quiet response was “I’m happy you liked the duck.”
Food aside, what do you talk about with a charming Thai man whom you have just met on his home turf? A lot, apparently. I told Joe about my job, and he pressed me to tell him more about the documentaries I had shot from Singapore to Bangkok. As I had at least a dozen documentaries under my belt in Singapore but only one in Bangkok, I gave Joe capsule highlights of my work. He seemed impressed. It was now Joe’s turn to talk about himself. His voice was even and fluid as he told me about his student days majoring in Read more
Barry Forshaw reviews Jo Nesbo’s Cockroaches in The Independent
Harry Hole arrives in Bangkok after the Norwegian ambassador (a close friend of the Prime Minister) is murdered in a down-market motel, but it seems that the dead man’s family has secrets they wish to keep. Harry (whose job is to fend off scandal during the investigation) lays his hands on some incendiary CCTV footage. Needless to say, a can of worms soon splits open, and when another diplomat is knifed in an Asian brothel, Harry realises that keeping a lid on things will be a tough job.
The Bat channelled culture shock tactics with its fish-out-of-water Norwegian sleuth in Australia, and Cockroaches employs similar tactics with a far more rigorous attention to plotting than in the earlier book. The complex narrative and large dramatis personae are handled with steely authority, but what really makes the novel work is the fact that the picturesque seediness of Bangkok and Thailand turn out to be Harry Hole’s natural element, with Nesbo plumping his hero down in a very non-Norwegian setting.
10 writers from South East Asia honoured by Thailand
The SEA Write Award has been given out annually by the Thai government since 1979.
Among the winners is Singaporean writer Yeng Pway Ngon, Brunei’s Haji Masri Haji Idris, and Malaysia’s Mohamed Ghozali Abdul Rashid.