Thursday, October 21, 2004

Oh what a miserable coincidence!

Without a TV or computer at home, I have come to rely much more heavily on reading and radio for entertainment. There is very limited choice of English radio in Hong Kong and the couple of stations that do exist are on the AM band. It took a while to get used to listening to music with so much static.

The books that I have read this year have been pretty mixed. I began with modern Indian fiction before going on to read both Clinton autobiographies. I am pleased to announce that after reading them both (and watching Farenheit 911) I am safely on the road to becoming anti-Republican rather than simply anti-American.

Lately I have been reading some African fiction. My current book is extra special because is was written by the brother-in-law of one of my friends. It's about an English anthropologist who attempts to assimilate with the members of a traditional tribe in order to do her research.

The book I am reading is an English translation from the original version. The novel is very well written but the translation is obviously a translation. The style of the writing in English draws on various literary influences, oscillating between Enid Blyton and tabloid magazine.

The following is a lengthy but priceless Blytonesque section of the book. It is a narration of an encounter with lions:

Sitting without a gun in the bush was a real claim for their pity. However, they fortified themselves with some courage; and finally, they emerged from their hiding place.
"Oh, look!" one of them produced a horrible cry.
"Look! There... the lion and the lioness"
His yellowish eyes stared at them.
"I don't believe this," Delti murmured pejoratively, pounding on the coincidence. He straddled his legs to keep his balance. Predators who love anonymity as a paradise were walking along the narrow path. Leaves and tiny red starry flowers were dropping down on the ground.
The men hid with fright and observed the leaves and trees moving in the distance. They peered through the leaves to see if the lions had shifted their direction.
"Oh! What a miserable coincidence! - The lions have turned towards us," Lalombe whispered. All of them were greatly shocked. The wind blew the leaves and they were so upset when they shut in.
"We better escape from this deadly predicament!" somebody screamed in horror.
No! Escape is more dangerous. Be ready to make a ferociously hostile attack with bayonets."

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