To be candid, I bought “A Face Like A Chicken’s Backside” (AFLACB) because someone had mentioned it in a comment made to this blog quite some time ago. With a title like that, who wouldn’t be intrigued? So, when I found a copy on shelf E6 of Kinokuniya, I wasted no time in grabbing it, plonking my money down at the cashier, and rushing off home for a good read.
Perhaps I should not have been too hasty.
The author of this book, Daniel H. Pink, was the chief speech-writer of a recent American president. Depending on your view of America (or of Americans), this fact alone may put you off this book altogether. But don’t let that deprive you of an excellent read. It is a wonderfully insightful book that just might change the way you think – literally!
Pink’s premise is that, left-brain prowess (rational, analytical and logical) alone – skills long associated as the tip of the spear of a strong mind – while still relevant today, may no longer be sufficient. He cites three reasons why this is so and goes on to recommend developing right-brain skills like creativity, synthesis, and empathy if we want to remain competitive in the twenty-first century.
The Soul of Malaya (TSoM) left me at a loss; not because it was not a good book – it was: TSoM was a masterful piece of work by the French author, planter and adventurer, Henri Fauconnier. Indeed, TSoM won the Prix Goncourt; the French equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize.
My sense of loss, however, was due to the fact that the best book ever written on British Malaya, as I discovered, was actually written by a Frenchman! A rude awakening for an incorrigible Anglophile notwithstanding, the intricate beauty and felicitous relevance of TSoM quickly cleansed my tongue of any bitter taste left there by the irony. And before long, reading TSoM felt not unlike soaring on the honeyed thermals of some ancient and glorious cliff.
‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ (TKaM) is one of those books – when read for the first time – makes you want to kick yourself in the rear for the folly of not having read it much, much earlier. I, too, might not have read TKAM at all had a lovely lady – one who has since become very dear – not introduced it to me. But that is – as I am always fond of saying – another story: Better told, perhaps, at a later date. Now, back to TKaM,