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Tales from the South China Seas: Images of the British in South East Asia…

af Charles Allen

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1154183,188 (3.75)1
This work chronicles the adventures of the last generation of British men and women who went East to seek their fortunes. Drawn into the colonial territories scattered around the South China Sea, they found themselves in an exotic, intoxicating world. It was a land of rickshaws and shanghai jars, sampans and Straits Steamers, set against a background of palm-fringed beaches and tropical rain-forests. But it was also a world of conflicting beliefs and many races, where the overlapping of widely differing moral standards and viewpoints created a heady and dangerous atmosphere.… (mere)
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Viser 4 af 4
An entertaining collection of entries from various expats in British colonial Southeast Asia, with the highlight perhaps being from the Ranee of Sarawak and her stories of rat kings and the like. ( )
  MiaCulpa | Feb 22, 2021 |
much better than I expected. ( )
  mahallett | Feb 17, 2020 |
Social history, recounting the experiences of the men and women who lived and worked in South East Asia, mainly in what is Malaysia, including Sarawak. Good detail from first person interviews, derived from a BBC radio series. The period covered starts in the 1920s and continues to the 1960s, including the terrible experiences of those who survived imprisonment, at the hands of the Japanese, from 1942 to 1945. ( )
  DramMan | Jan 29, 2018 |
The third book of a trilogy based on the personal, and recorded accounts of residents of the British Empire between the world wars; the first on India, the next on ‘The Dark Continent' and this work on the magical lands of the ”Far East”. These books are the edited extracts from a BBC Radio series. Charles Allen, the ‘oral historian’ for the series was himself born (1940) in India to a family of six generations who served in the British Raj.

Each of the chapters (of all the books in the series) are edited narrations from BBC radio 4 interviews with the actual raconteurs. Many of them, if not most, are now gone of course, so these works form their last true oral history.

The power of the magic of the South China Seas, that truly casts its spell on those of us who worked or lived there is from the peoples of those fragrant, busy and charming lands. Charles Allen makes the point in his introduction – “several races drawn to the same watery crossroads principally by the lure of trade but coexisting as more or less equals”. Later, in the prison camps under the chillingly brutal Japanese occupation, that same fraternity was in evidence as the enslaved races worked and survived together through the horror.

A tremendously different – taught and expected - attitude prevails in these personal accounts; being a Tuan in the Far East Colonial Services seems to have been the exact opposite of being a Bwana in British Africa or even a Sahib in India; “… one felt that one did indeed belong, and that they seemed to accept one as belonging to them”.

It is this need to be of service attitude that clearly rings out throughout these personal narratives.
2 stem John_Vaughan | Aug 10, 2011 |
Viser 4 af 4
These vivid stories and recollections give an evocative and unique glimpse into the lost days of the Empire across India, Africa and the territories fringing the South China Sea. A hugely valuable record of colonial life in India, Africa and the Far East -- intimate, vivid and immensely enjoyable
 
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This work chronicles the adventures of the last generation of British men and women who went East to seek their fortunes. Drawn into the colonial territories scattered around the South China Sea, they found themselves in an exotic, intoxicating world. It was a land of rickshaws and shanghai jars, sampans and Straits Steamers, set against a background of palm-fringed beaches and tropical rain-forests. But it was also a world of conflicting beliefs and many races, where the overlapping of widely differing moral standards and viewpoints created a heady and dangerous atmosphere.

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