A book from an Island resident in Hong Kong arrived here recently. His name is John Cairns, and he’s the editor and primary author of All Aboard! Planet Expat, subtitled Why Dedicated Expatriates Seldom Go Home (Power Publishing club Ltd., Hong Kong).
This book contains 22 short biographies of 20 expatriates — and the 58-year-old junk featured on the cover. (It’s the last of the junks that used to crowd Hong Kong harbour, is called Duk Ling, i.e. clever duck and is constantly busy with trips, taking anyone from wedding parties to actors from episodes from television series.)
Getting back to the human stories, all of them are about men — a second volume all about expat women has been announced. The men are mostly in their 40s, 50s and 60s. They range from a former Scottish nationalist to a former plumber.
The Scotsman loves white-water rafting and sky diving and wants to try bungee jumping. He’s 67. As for the American plumber, Wayne Cotton, he’s 65, “retired” in the Philippines, and crazy about cockfighting.
Other expats include, “a talented jazz pianist born in the Virgin Islands”, he now lives in Hong Kong; a man brought up on an Australian dairy farm, who’s now a company director living in the Philippines; and a Sri Lankan artist who specializes in “cartoons and political satire” (he also illustrated this book) and lives all over the world (except Sri Lanka where his work is banned).
All of the other chapters in this book are about equally unusual men, some of whom only became expats after 50.
Older people here should definitely read this book; it could cheer some of them up and give them different positive ideas.
This unique book is an easy, enjoyable and literate read. People of both sexes and any age will appreciate it. It’s available through the Internet and as an e-book and may reach bookstores as well.
The Wind in the Rigging by Captain Jack Dodd (1902-1978) is a reprint by Boulder Publications, sells for $19.95 and was originally published in 1972 by Dodd himself. It covers only the first 10 years or so of his career and leaves off dramatically when he ships out of New York under sealed orders.
It’s just as replete with all kinds of adventures as All Aboard!..., though written in a conversational down-homey way, which, however, is just as simple to read. In fact, it’s hard not to read all 167 pages at one sitting.
Anyone who loves the sea feels its magic will enjoy it.
Interspersed among the adventures are songs and adaptations of other people’s songs, also by Dodd. These include his version of The Star of Logy Bay.
These are two excellent books that many people will enjoy.
Elizabeth Cran is a freelance writer who writes a book review column for The Guardian. To comment or to send her books to review, write her at 111 Sydney St., Apt. 17, Saint John, N.B., E2L 2L8, or call her at 506-693-5498.