Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Short Trip to Malaysia

The reason why I haven't posted since Saturday is that I've been at my Malaysia home since Sunday and I only got back last night. Despite the lack of Internet there (and now, I don't have my laptop for a week), it was an extremely productive trip in terms of reading. I finished 5 books!

Two of those books are G. A. Henty books. G. A. Henty wrote a lot of books (99 in total). And, my aunt has all of them. So I borrowed two - When London Burned and The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt. Both stories follow blond haired blue eyed boys (in The Cat of Bubastes, the protagonist is a Rebu prince who was made a slave), who are typically brave, moral, humble and all other good qualities.

In terms of plot, the stories follow the boys life more than they do any plot. This is why in When London Burned, the fire was at the end of the book, and even then, only an incident in Cyril (the protagonist's) very eventful life thus far. This is also why the cat in The Cat of Bubastes is killed near the half-way mark rather than the beginning of the story.

But what you should do is enjoy the details in each book. As far as I know, each book is meant to be historically accurate. which is why for some homeschooling programmes (like the Robinson curriculum), it's used as part of unit studies. Plus, the books really are enjoyable to read, although it might take some time getting used to the pace of the book.

The best part of this is that the books are now in public domain, so you can get an ebook for free from Project Gutenberg or ManyBooks (I like ManyBooks cause the covers are nicer, but that's all). I'm going to set myself the personal challenge of reading all 99 books(: oh, and without a time limit.

I also read Lee Kuan Yew's latest book: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore going. I admire Mr Lee for what he has done for Singapore (this does not mean I agree with everything he does), and it was interesting reading about his thoughts on various subjects. If he speaks as how the book reports, I can see why he's a very persuasive leader. And it's really cool that he doesn't take bullshit from anyone else, and by extension, that he speaks his mind (astonishingly frankly for the age of political correctness we live in). I disagree with his stance on intelligence and homosexuality and a few others, but it's still, there's much to admire in him.

For some reason, I read another 'old' book: The Lais of Marie De France. At first, I didn't think I would find it, but yay! It was on Project Guternberg! The book is basically a collection of medieval love stories. Although it's explain in the preface why all of them feature adultery in a positive light, I don't understand how they can see the Church condoning this. There is a very clear stance in the Bible, which makes me think that the characters in the book were only nominal Christians.

Finally, I re-read one of the books I have there: Different Dragons by Jean Little. It's a very simple story, for kids younger than me, but I still love it. The book spans 2 days and in those two days, Ben (the protagonist) grows. He doesn't go on any heart-stopping adventures, he just makes friends with a dog (he hated doges previously) and gets trapped in an attic for about 2 hours. It may sound boring, and I don't know why, but I really enjoy reading it. I suppose it's the way it's told, letting you sympathize with Ben and cheering him on to make friends with the dog. Or maybe it's because I like animals but never had a pet (fish don't count, and mine committed suicide after a day...)

And that, in a very long post, is what I read in Malaysia.

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