Since the birth of GUIT, life has somewhat changed, not least because my bag weighs a few tons more, causing a strain on my shoulders while walking and pretending to AG that I wasn’t carrying any copies of GUIT. The unsuspecting writer/husband would only be aware of my marketing ploy when I fish out a copy to flash it in front of unsuspecting and vulnerable buyers.
Soon, he will be writing on Why You Must Never Allow Spouse to be Marketing Manager/Agent!
Take a simple outing to the bank in Oxford Street for instance. After a very tedious transaction, I spotted a familiar face at the bureau de change. It was none other than a former Finance Minister (FFM). I knew instantly what I had to do, much to the horror of hubby and son who were prepared to make a dash out of the bank, but decided against it in case people thought they were running out with bags of money. So they waited while I waited for the opportune moment to flash GUIT before FFM. Admittedly, FFM hails not from Trengganu but a neighbouring state. But what is a few miles between states, eh? Aaaah, he said, you’ve not been home since those days? Yes, we admitted, recalling his visits to the London head office when we were minding the shop in Fleet Street. Needless to say, he walked away with a copy of GUIT in his hand.
Then of course it was the Conference to celebrate 50 years of Britain/Malaysia relationship and an interview with our Foreign Minister ended with, Er, can I be so bold as to give you something?
“Ah, he is a good writer – I must read this,” he said and walked away for all to see with a copy of GUIT. I then waylaid Datuk Dr Munir Majid at the same event, and whetted the appetite of our Minister for Domestic Trade all the way from Southampton to Dublin recently. He too left with a copy of GUIT.
My husband suspects people will soon be crossing the road when they see me!
Well after all the trouble I took to get friends, (including Dato Shoe) to bring over the books, you can’t blame me for finding ways and means to publicise it. After all I have publicised other people’s books so why shouldn’t I do the same for my own husband?
That is easier said than done. My dear friend Dr Annabel Gallop had the same apprehensive feelings about telling people about her father’s second book – Wanderer in Malaysian Borneo. Both Awang and Pengembara (Christopher Gallop) are painfully shy and bashful about their books, so it left us wife and daughter to do the publicity campaign. Annabel decided on an evening to celebrate the two authors at the Royal Asiatic Society – a better place we couldn’t find for our celebrated authors! It is home to some very precious Malay manuscripts, such as hikayats that Raffles brought back with him.
Dr Ben Murtagh from SOAS (my former lecturer) did a good job introducing the two authors, drawing parallels between their reminisecne and travels with his own and Annabel pointed to the similarities between the two - both using pseudonyms and both kampung boys – one from Kuala Trengganu writing in
This is not Chris Gallop’s first book – he had written Wanderer in Brunei Darussalam some years back and both books are based on his weekly contributions to the Borneo Bulletin. A man I truly admire, one for having such an intelligent and wonderful daughter who is an authority in Malay manuscripts, and secondly for his perseverance and tireless effort to study. He did his MA in Malay literature in 2001 at the USM at the age of 70. That spurred me on to do mine in the same area three years ago and he kindly gave me a copy of Winsted’s English Malay dictionary to get me going.
The man who claimed to be Awang Goneng spoke at length about why he wrote the book – remembering the sounds and tunes of yesteryears and watching the stars from the plastic sheet in the roof of their house. He managed to tug at the heartstrings of a few unsuspecting friends who then parted with some money to buy the book.
Tash Aw took a break from his writing and we appreciate that very much.
All in all, a wonderful evening with close friends and family. In a sense the journeys of the authors which started from two different places miles away brought the two families of the Wans and the Gallops even closer together at the RAS.
Ton Din’s kuayteow and Pn Jamilah’s curripuffs were the talk of the evening and beyond. We came home and looked at the photographs taken by another dear friend Azman. What a wonderful evening.