The Uncomfortable Truth

Why is it that some seemingly nice and charming women remain unattached? They all say that they are not too particular about looks and wealth. Are they being honest?

We live in a politically correct world. This is especially so for folks who have a social media presence. Nowadays, even a harmless comment on another race can attract a tsunami of accusations. When it comes to one’s criteria for choose a mate, it’s often not easy to be honest – especially when you are highly eligible.

Are women who say they don’t mind men who not good looking, don’t earn a lot of money etc telling the truth? In this video Xiaomin, tears off the masks of these politically correct leftover women and, revealing the uncomfortable truth of highly eligible women who are somehow unable to find a mate.


Dewdrop Books – Fiction and non-fiction with a focus on the colourful and exotic Asian realm. Check out our titles.

Emperors Once More by Duncan Jepson

This is a thriller set in modern day Hong Kong. The police force in Hong Kong now comprises both local officers and those from the mainland. Senior Inspector Alex Soong is an outstanding police officer from Shandong Province posted to Hong Kong SAR. Though his Cantonese is halting, he managed to perform very well in the HK police force.

Emperors Once More

Then, a series of seemingly unlinked yet somewhat related murders and assassinations hit the former colony. The killings are gruesome and the clues point to the Boxer Rebellion. In consultation with the young beautiful historian, Professor Yi, Alex follows the trail of the “make China great again” zealots to uncover a plot to recruit him into the movement and assassinate the pro-West Chinese Minister of Finance.

Emperors Once More

While the book is quite an engaging read, I find the obligatory surprise ending rather unconvincing. How do good guys suddenly turn bad? How do good cops suddenly turn crooked? Why do family men abandon their loved ones to become martyrs? There has to be a plausible explanation or at least there ought to be some misleading hint deliberately planted to mislead the reader in the beginning, only to point in the opposite direction when the truth is revealed. This is the ingenuity of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories which few can match.

Like many readers, I’m fond of ironies. Though I think that the author did not develop the afflicted characters adequately, the biggest irony in this book, published in 2017, is that most fertile breeding ground for imperial cults may not be authoritarian societies but relatively free and even democratic ones.

While the author’s prediction of a revival of xenophobic, anti-West imperialism is “on the button”, his irony of it hatching in HK instead of the mainland is way off the mark.


Dewdrop Books – Fiction and non-fiction with a focus on the colourful and exotic Asian realm. Check out our titles.

Jin Yong On Taiwan 1973

Hailed as the most popular writer of Chinese swordfighting novels, he was born in Zhejiang Province in 1924. Those of us who grew up watching Chinese swordfighting dramas would not find Jin Yong (Louis Cha) unfamiliar. He was the author of many wuxia novels like 書劍恩仇錄, 射鵰英雄傳, 神鵰俠侶, 倚天屠龍記, 天龍八部, 笑傲江湖, 鹿鼎記 which were serialised in a HK-based newspaper run by Mr Cha himself – Ming Pao. You can read more about his life and works here.

Jin Yong's Works

Those who only read his novels may not realise that Jin Yong was also a socio-political commentator. The book above (which I borrowed from the library) is a collection of his many essays and socio-political articles. Those who are only familiar with his pulp fiction will surprised by Jin Yong’s depth and breath of knowledge in history and politics, both Asian and Western.

I find his report on his 10-day visit to Taiwan (his first visit in 1973) most interesting. It was his first visit to the “renegade province”, having avoided Taiwan as prior to his founding of Ming Pao in 1959, he was pro-China. Unlike most of us, Jin Yong was a VIP in Taiwan and he had the opportunity to meet up and chat with folks at the helm including Taiwan’s president Chiang Ching Kuo. Even though his visit only lasted 10 days, he met up with all the “key personnel” and was therefore able to make such a detailed analysis. The English summary (and my remarks) are as follows.

jin yong

At that time, mainland China offered to hold peace talks with Taiwanese leaders. The offer was flatly rejected by the latter. The reason given was that agreeing to peace talks would be tantamount to surrender and they believed they had every right to make that call because it’s not that the KMT had never tried to work together with the CCP. They revealed that even as they were calling for peace talks in public, they were carrying out subversive activities in secrecy. KMT leaders could boast that nobody in the world understood the CCP better than they did. Of course, it would benefit the PRC most if Taiwan surrendered without a fight. They did not rule out the possibility of holding peace talks with the PRC in future, but the prerequisite was that PRC’s political system had to be very different from what it was then. Nevertheless, there were some who were keen on these talks. They might not have the interests of Taiwan at heart as we shall see in a moment.

In 1971, the PRC was recognised as a member of the United Nations. At the same time, the Republic of China (founded in 1911, joined UN in 1945) was ousted. Taiwan became isolated. When Jin Yong asked the leaders what they could do, they replied that they could only try their best to build a stronger relationship with the US through informal channels. In spite of Taiwan’s loss of UN membership, Canada sold nuclear reactors to Taiwan and trade between Taiwan and Canada doubled in volume even though they had no diplomatic ties with Canada.

When Japan formally established diplomatic ties with the PRC, Chiang Ching Kuo predicted that the Japanese would be disappointed. Japan’s special envoy to Taiwan privately admitted that dealings with the PRC were indeed problematic.

Why did Taiwan not declare independence earlier? The leaders gave three main reasons.

  1. They did not want to disappoint their supporters on the mainland. By declaring independence, they would be abandoning those supporters.
  2. Most countries would not be inclined to recognise Taiwan as an independent country. It would have made little difference on the diplomatic front.
  3. Taiwan would run the risk of being invaded by the PRC.

By then, Taiwanese leaders had acknowledged the impossibility of recovering territories on the mainland. KMT leaders were still hopeful that the regime or political ideology on the mainland would evolve and become more democratic. KMT leaders acknowledged that they had made many mistakes governing the Republic of China. They would learn from these mistakes and if the CCP made even bigger mistakes in future, mainlanders might prefer a government like Taiwan’s. While it was pointless to talk about the KMT making a comeback on the mainland, Taiwanese leaders were only aiming to safeguard the Taiwanese way of life which differed greatly from that of the mainland.

Taiwan’s leaders told Jin Yong that they were confident that the PRC would not invade them soon after they have been taught a lesson in 1958 when many PRC fighter jets were lost in Taiwanese airspace thanks to Taiwan’s air defence missiles. As military technology advanced in Taiwan, the threat of invasion was greatly diminished. Interestingly, Jin Yong found that the Taiwanese believed that the PRC would never use nuclear weapons against them. Likewise, the Taiwanese had no plans to make nuclear weapons but they did harness nuclear energy to power their industries.

nuclear-explosion

Taiwanese leaders declared that democracy was their ultimate goal. How far were they from that goal? Jin Yong highlighted a technical issue with the leader of Taiwan being called “president” because he has not been chosen by the rest of China. Jin Yong felt that he ought to be called “KMT chairman” instead.

Another issue was the lack of freedom of the press. No newspaper in Taiwan would get away with criticising the Chiang family. However, even though journalism was still pretty much shackled in Taiwan compared to the US, UK and HK, Taiwanese people already had easy access to world news. Only local news concerning high level officials and communist propaganda were censored.

The independence of the judiciary in Taiwan at that time was also wanting. Besides that, there were overseas travel restrictions, prohibition of protests, demonstrations and the unlimited powers of the police to search, arrest and detain. Basic human rights issues were played out on a daily basis.

The Taiwanese leaders had two trump cards over the CCP. One was the popular support which most mainlanders did not give the CCP. The other was the Taiwanese economy. The communist ideology of putting the strength of the country before the welfare of the people was not popular. Citizens on both sides wanted a higher standard of living.

However, for thousands of years, Chinese people had tolerated oppressive treatment from the ruling class. While those who had a taste of freedom overseas probably wouldn’t want to go back, Jin Yong noted that some Western scholars believed that submitting to dictatorship and authoritarian rule had already been deeply ingrained in Chinese culture. He considered this as an insult to the Chinese people, making them look pathetically subservient. If Jin Yong’s were still around today, he might be surprised to see the ideological slavery that is evident on 抖音. Perhaps as a man of letters, Jin Yong could not accurately grasp the mindset of the average peasant.

To win the hearts from the CCP, greater democracy and freedom than the PRC were not enough. They must measure up to the West. One Taiwanese leader told Jin Yong that many of the restrictions faced by Taiwanese people in the beginning could be relaxed without compromising “national” security. Jin Yong quipped that a reasonable clean environment would be far more conducive for good health and building resistance than a thoroughly disinfected one.

Jin Yong observed that Taiwan had made progress. Government critics had successfully appealed against persecution. Apart from criminals and tax evaders, no free country should prevent its citizens from travelling abroad. Taiwan was still not a democracy in the 1970s, but Jin Yong observed that it had taken a number of steps in that direction.

The Taiwan that Jin Yong saw had been focusing on its economy. They began by shipping fruits like mangoes and pineapples to Japan. From the 1970s, they ventured into manufacturing, gradually moving from labour intensive to capital intensive industries. Only then could they increase workers’ wages. And they were doing well against all odds. Even the US did not expect Taiwan to survive.

When Jin Yong visited, he noticed that the average Taiwanese family could afford a TV set and a motorbike. Most houses had very simple furnishings. Jin Yong attributed the fall of the KMT on the mainland to its failure to manage the economy. Inflation had spiraled out of control. In Taiwan, they had their own currency which was very stable and inflation was well under control. They had learned from their mistakes. In terms of the ease of doing business, Jin Yong felt that Taiwan was still way behind HK. Inequality was also a problem. The leaders recognised ensuring equality would involve too much micromanagement. The most practical means to tackle the issue was to ensure equal opportunity for every citizen.

Land reforms in Taiwan

In collaboration with the US government, the Taiwanese government launched revolutionary land reforms in Taiwan starting as early as the 1950s. Some of the features of this exercise were:

  1. Imposing limits on rental income, capped at 37.5% of yields.
  2. Government taking over privately owned land by issuing bonds to landowners
  3. Selling land acquired from landlords to farmers who were allowed to pay by installments.
  4. Redrawing the boundaries for urban and rural areas.

After the scheme took off, 90% of Taiwanese farmers owned the land they farmed. Landlord exploitation gradually died down and productivity rose sharply. As in mainland China, some indigenous landlords opposed the reforms, but the majority of the biggest landowners were the Japanese. The Taiwanese government put them in jail instead of killing them like the CCP did in their land reforms.

Leaders Jin Yong talked to regretted not implementing these reforms when they were running the country on the mainland. Their scheme would have been much better received than the communist way. River systems were very different in Taiwan compared to the mainland. Given that the greater part of most rivers ran in the mountains, they were not only unnavigable on most of their lengths, there was a need to build dams and provide adequate storage to safeguard agriculture. Taiwanese leaders had wisely invested in dams and reservoirs. Oil refining was also an important industry in Taiwan. Their retired military officers took over many state-owned enterprises and they prospered.

Jin Yong said that he was not against socialism but he strongly opposed authoritarian rule, class struggle, absolute faith in government. He believed that a free market economy would always be better than a controlled, managed economy. However, many unabashedly capitalist economies had adopted socialist ideals and welfare.

Communist propaganda during those days claimed that Taiwanese people were oppressed by their corrupt, ineffectual government. That was indeed an accurate description of the KMT while it was the government on the mainland. Jin Yong believed that even the communist party could do something good after the Cultural Revolution. Not all mainlanders were dissatisfied with the CCP. Most of them were not demanding, not having been exposed to the outside world. As the PRC recovered from its famine-stricken years, the people were even thankful to the Party.

Conscription ensured that Taiwan would have a credible defence force to deter an invasion from the PRC. Jin Yong observed that there were two clearly distinguishable “tribes” in Taiwan. One was the Taiwanese natives and the other was the former mainlanders. While all the soldiers were young men born in Taiwan, senior officers who had to be experienced, were almost entirely former mainlanders. The same went with academics. University professors were mostly former mainlanders and they formed the most prominent group rallying for peace talks. This may result in division as most native Taiwanese would find unification quite meaningless. The one thing that both groups shared was their opposition to communism.

Jin Yong asked if Taiwanese leaders had ever considered a military alliance with the Soviet Union. The answer was an emphatic no. Firstly, they were against communism and secondly, they wanted to protect the Chinese way of life. Taiwanese leaders were also optimistic that the free world would not sit and watch them get destroyed. Already, Taiwan was getting a lot of investments and support from overseas Chinese. Having never been colonised by the British or by communism, Taiwan preserved many of the positive as well as negative aspects of Chinese culture and traditions.

It was his first trip to Taiwan but Jin Yong observed that compared to their cousins on the mainland and in HK, Taiwanese were friendly people. In fact, he felt that the friendliness and hospitality of the Taiwanese people were more genuine than that of the cold and rigid Japanese. The only rude and arrogant people Jin Yong encountered in Taiwan were low level civil servants.

However, he also noticed that Taiwanese people lacked a sense of urgency, moving a lot slower than people in HK. Laws in Taiwan were also a lot stricter than those in HK. He found Taiwanese to be more flexible, forgiving, compassionate and not as pragmatic as people in HK. On the downside, traffic on Taiwanese roads was horrendous and driving habits were bad.

With Jin Yong, Taiwanese leaders referred to mainland leaders as 共产党. Among themselves, he overheard the Taiwanese calling them 共匪. On the mainland, communist leaders would refer to Taiwanese leaders as 蒋匪. Taiwan had its own propaganda department which would periodically dispatch balloons bearing messages from the Taiwanese government across the Straits. They also had a research team monitoring developments on the mainland and advising the government on how to deal with government there.

Mao Zedong had declared that he would never wage a war without being confident of victory. Jin Yong believed that Taiwan would be gone if the KMT ever messed up. Of course back then, he did not know that Taiwan would eventually develop into a multi-party democracy doing fine with the KMT in the opposition. Anyway, Jin Yong predicted that there were a few conditions that would herald an invasion by the PRC.

  1. CCP establishes a strong hold over the entire territory with a powerful leader.
  2. The Soviet Union becomes an ally of China and no longer poses a threat.
  3. America promises not to intervene.
  4. KMT government fails resulting in crippling internal conflict in Taiwan.

Some of the conditions Jin Yong laid out had already been satisfied. Obviously, Taiwan could not control what happens in the mainland and their relationship with the USSR. But does Taiwan stand any chance of surviving an invasion? Their optimism is reflected in liberal use of the word 莒 in naming buildings, trains etc. It comes from the reminder 勿忘在莒 – don’t forget that we are in Ju. To explain this, we need to go back in Chinese history during the period of the Warring States.

Ju was a city that the state of Qi 齐国 had managed to defend after practically all the cities had been conquered by the state of Yan 燕国, its army led by General Yue Yi 乐毅. The situation seemed hopeless for Qi but Qi general Tian Dan 田单 managed to fight back and recovered lost territories. This was a reminder to Taiwanese that it’s possible for them to become masters of China.

However, Jin Yong also mentioned the conditions for Qi’s seemingly miraculous victory over Yan. Qi lost the battle initially because the people were losing their trust in a callous ruler who exploited and tormented them. Tian Dan did not retaliate immediately. He timed his counter offensive at a time when there was a change of leadership at Qi and Yan. In Qi, a wise and benevolent ruler loved by all the citizens took over at the helm. Unfortunately, the new ruler at Yan was a suspicious character. He dismissed General Yue Yi and replaced him with inept commanders. Tian Dan saw his opportunity and fought back.

On the mainland, the KMT had completely messed up, giving the CCP an opportunity. If China had invaded Taiwan back then, they would have the advantage of an uncooperative people. By the 1970s, the CCP under Mao had made many serious mistakes while Taiwan grew from strength to strength with guidance and assistance from the US.

The PRC could try to legitimise their invasion by claiming that they are liberating Taiwan but in order for “liberation” to be meaningful, the people to be liberated must have been suffering before that. If their lives were not improved by this “liberation”, then the invasion would lack legitimacy. Jin Yong believed that if the KMT messed up again, the PLA could just breeze through Taiwan – without knowledge of the current political system in Taiwan where the KMT could get voted out and the bureaucracy still works.

Like most reasonable people, Jin Yong wished for peaceful unification – with the prerequisite that the PRC embraces democracy with freedom of the press, lifting of travel restrictions, freedom of religious beliefs, property rights and human rights.

Considering the fact that Jin Yong wrote all this in 1973, his insights back then are truly remarkable. Nevertheless, we should also take note of the times when Jin Yong was wrong. When he was working for Da Gong Bao in China, he was pro-communist, anti-West and did not hate the CCP even though he own father was persecuted. He later became very disappointed with the CCP and started a Rightist newspaper Ming Pao which was often sabotaged and even faced attacks from pro-communist terrorists. It was the British government that protected his freedom to publish.

When Deng Xiaoping took over, Jin Yong became optimistic about China again. He participated enthusiastically in the committee drafting Hong Kong’s Basic Law. The Basic Law was to ensure HK autonomy (one country two systems) after 1997 but Jin Yong had often been criticised for being too obliging towards Beijing. The Tiananmen incident would change his mind completely, causing him to swing back to his rightist position. He resigned from the committee drafting HK Basic Law. Below is a rare video of Jin Yong feeling shocked and emotional after the Tiananmen massacre.

Jin Yong was a multi-talented genius, but like many people, he was not immune to misjudgement and flip flopping. Jin Yong remained hopeful of changes in China, but his dream of retiring in his hometown of Hangzhou, Zhejiang would never come true. He died on 30 October 2018 in Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital.


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Why The Trashy Guys Get Lucky

The other day, I read an interesting piece of news published on Shin Min Daily. It reported that a 70+year-old man with a string of criminal offences, having been in and out of jail many times since 1975, has offended again.

In his latest crime, he broke into his ex-girlfriend’s home twice and stole more than $25,000. Charged in court, he was sentenced to seven years of preventive imprisonment. He would have spent a total of 26 years of his life in prison.

According to court documents, Lin Yaojing, 74, faced a total of seven charges including burglary, deceit, breach of trust and theft. He admitted to three of them while the rest were taken into consideration when the judge handed down the sentence. The prosecutor mentioned in the court that the defendant had committed crimes frequently since 1975. This time he committed the crime again soon after he was released from prison. The victim was his ex-girlfriend.

I remarked in the comments section: 这样还会有女友。天理何在?

About 20 years ago, there was a very popular acronym – SNAG which stands for Sensitive New Age Guy. That concept had many of my unmarried male friends worried. Brought up as nerdy schoolboys, they had no idea how to behave or what to say when the girl they were courting frowned, sneered or turned away. Was it something they said? What should they say to redeem themselves?

Who Is BTS & What It Means? The Korean Boy Band

So how do you train a SNAG? Make them do household chores? Make them play with dolls and kitchenware when they are kids? As there is no bible for it, female experts came up with their revolutionary, untested methods. This shift in the image of the “ideal” male and the eye-popping methods that some clueless, guru-following parents used could have created a monstrously warped creature which yours truly, not being a fan of K pop, can sometimes find it difficult to identify as male or female. The LGBT radical left wing in the West have been just as guilty, insisting that a person’s gender identity is not always the same as their biological sex, nor their assumed gender based on their assigned sex. It depends on how they identify as a person, and this can change over time. People can identify as more masculine, more feminine, a combination of both, or neither. This is a topic for another day.

Women who supported the concept of the SNAG or even male feminists may not admit it, but while SNAG is not necessarily something bad, not all women who demand it are reasonable. Neither are they always clear about what they really want. The result was of course confusion and frustration. Marriages go down, divorces go up and men are to blame because they can’t catch up with changing times. Meanwhile, the serial criminal we saw above had a girlfriend while many of my SNAG friends are still single in their 40s and 50s. 男人不坏女人不爱 does ring true sometimes.

For the fans of SNAGs, the video below is a slap on the face. While I don’t completely agree with this extreme self-centered alpha male approach, there is definitely some truth in all this.


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Fake Photos Real Feelings

A 50-year-old woman “borrows” photos from her daughter and creates a fake online profile for a delivery app, calling herself A Fen, age 38. A young, athletic male customer by the name of A Xuan orders goods from her. He hits on her, thinking that she is the young lady in the profile.

Other male customers are also interested in A Fen. She delivers the goods and claims that she is helping A Fen with the deliveries. Meanwhile, A Xuan is also not totally honest with “A Fen”. He shows off a car he has washed, telling her it’s his new car. They fall in love with each other’s fake profiles.

A Fen finally decides that she can’t go on living behind a fake profile. She asks to meet with A Xuan. A Xuan is elated but gets stabbed by a robber on the way to his blind date. A Fen waits in vain.

The video below documents how this interesting MV is made. The plot is interesting, but I figure I could change it a bit – give it a supernatural twist and a happy ending. Let’s see if I have time to write the story. Singer A Lin normally sings with a low tone. In this song, she has completely departed from her usual vocal range. Impressive.


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Dignity & Principle

Like Jackie Chan, Zhang Ziyi is a bootlicker who tried to get on the fast lane by sucking up to men with influence. Chow Yuen Fatt took a dig at her, referring to the subservient way she behaved towards Jackie Chan, ostensibly to beat a path into Hollywood.

Then, there’s Maggie Cheung. How did she end up with a smaller part than Zhang Ziyi in the final cut even though she was supposed to be the lead actress? Obviously, the producer had made some arrangement with Zhang Ziyi after the shoot.


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From Singer To Nun

Born in 1960, Liu Lan Xi was first spotted by talent scouts when she participated in a singing competition at the age of 16. This song, 小雨中的回憶 was written in 1976. Liu was later discovered by famous author of romances, Qiong Yao who found her suitable for playing some of the characters in her novels.

However, Liu was permanently cast as a supporting actress, playing second fiddle to Lin Qing Xia and Lin Feng Jiao. As a singer Liu could have been far more successful. With a sweet, soothing voice and demure looks, she recorded several popular albums with Taiwanese folk songs from the schools. But as the popularity of Qiong Yao movies declined, Liu Lan Xi moved to Hong Kong where she found some success but also as a supporting actress.

Below is an excerpt from the 1981 HK slapstick comedy 追女仔. Liu married doctor Liang Rong Ji in 1984 and she promised her fans that she would not give up on showbiz because of marriage. She finally got her lead role in the movie 亮不亮沒關係 1984 which turned out to be a big flop. Liu became very depressed after that.

The couple moved to the US. Her husband specialised in endocrinology. She earned her degree in mass communications. It was her husband who first introduced her to Buddhism. She became so absorbed in Buddhist studies that she decided to become a nun. After much discussion and persuasion, she finally had the blessings of her husband and her family members and was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1991. She became known as Master Dao Rong.

As Master Dao Rong, she once again wowed audiences, reappearing on the TV screen when the Dalai Lama visited Taiwan in 1997. She was then the translator for the Dalai Lama’s team and when asked if she would mind being interviewed, she readily agreed. After that interview, she kept a low profile and virtually disappeared from public view.

The Venerable Dao Rong passed away in California USA on 10 January 2022, age 61. There is no further information on how she died.


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Professorial Singers

After the Xinyao fever of the 1980s, Singapore’s music industry entered a period of flashy and flamboyant stage and MV performances. Many of these singers had no substance or their vocals might not be microphone-ready. Undiscerning audiences loved them anyway. To stand out from the crowd, one could either go for cheap thrills or in the case of law lecturer Jimmy Yeh, you could shock them with your qualifications.

Packed with substance, Jimmy was probably Singapore’s only “professorial” singer who takes centre stage (Liang Wern Fook normally works behind the scenes). He was also an accomplished local songwriter and composer. He has written hits for superstars of the Chinese music scene, including Jackie Cheung, Andy Lau, Anita Mui, Leslie Cheung, Jeff Chang, Jolin Tsai, Alan Tam and Kit Chan.

Around 1995 when I was writing for a magazine and visiting Thailand like it was my second home, my editor gave me an interesting assignment – interview Jimmy Yeh at his home. I remember that interview very well for a number of reasons. First of all, the “press kit”. His company was generous enough to give me a CD. Most others only gave cassette tapes.

I would describe his home’s decor as avant garde but comfortable. And with all his daring use of Singlish and colloquial expressions, it was one of the most casual and comfortable interviews I had conducted with a celebrity. Jimmy was a very candid and approachable person.

Obviously from a well-to-do family, he had no airs at all. I told him about my profession and we had a good laugh at each other. At the end of the interview, we were almost like friends, talking about Thailand and trekking in Nepal. As all the arrangements were made between the magazine publisher and the recording company, I only knew his address but not his number. I thought it would be unprofessional to ask, but we could have stayed in contact and become friends.

Below are three of my favourite songs by Jimmy.

Those were the glorious days of students and lawyers recording albums, neurosurgeons and dentists writing books and magazine articles that have nothing to do with their professions. Will we see them again?


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