“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

Selling Dreams: Early Advertising in Singapore – National Library, Singapore

Posted: November 14th, 2018 | No Comments »

I cannot recommend this excellent exhibition in Singapore highly enough – it’s really fantastic….

 

Selling Dreams: Early Advertising in Singapore

20 July 2018 – 24 February 2019
10.00am – 9.00pm
Level 10, Gallery
National Library Building
Free admission

Advertisements are fascinating cultural documents that both shape and reflect people’s desires and ideals. This exhibition features advertising materials from the 1830s to 1960s in the National Library collection, and explores the hopes, dreams, aspirations and insecurities of society over the years.

Modelled after a department store, the exhibition highlights advertisements promoting a myriad of products, services and brands that once saturated Singapore’s busy consumer market. Through this colourful showcase of the National Library’s rare publications, magazines, newspapers and ephemera, you will gain a deeper understanding of advertising and its impact on society, while learning more about Singapore’s past.

download the brochure here

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Turning Archival Research into a Bestseller – Singapore Central Public Library Programme Zone – 14/11/18

Posted: November 12th, 2018 | No Comments »

An event I’m doing this Wednesday in Singapore…

Turning Archival Research into a Bestseller

Wed, 14 Nov, 2018, 7:00 PM – 8:30

Central Public Library, Programme Zone

100 Victoria Street, National Library Board, Singapore 188064

Turning Archival Research into a Bestselling Novel

Speaker: Paul French
Author of Midnight in Peking and City of Devils
Paul French is a historian and author who got very lucky twice at the National Library in Singapore. On two visits, he found material in the archives that was key to writing his bestselling true crime books Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China and City of Devils:  The Two Men Who Ruled the Underworld of Old Shanghai. Now, French returns to the library to share how he approached his search; when he knew he had struck gold; and how to turn your library finds into a bestseller. Whether you’re researching world history, Singapore history or your own family’s story, the National Library could just hold the keys to getting your story on the New York Times bestseller list.

About the Author
Paul French was born in London, educated there and in Glasgow, and lived and worked in Shanghai for many years. His book Midnight in Peking was a New York Times Bestseller, a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, a Mystery Writers’ of America Edgar award winner for Best Fact Crime and a Crime Writers’ Association (UK) Dagger award for non-fiction. His most recent book City of Devils has received much praise with The Economist writing, ‘…in Mr French the city has its champion storyteller.’ Both Midnight in Peking and City of Devils are currently being developed for television.

It’s free but you need top register here

Paul French’s participation is made possible by Singapore Writers Festival.

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A Power Awakened: China Then, Now, and its Impact on the World – SWF – 10/11/18 2.30-3.30

Posted: November 9th, 2018 | No Comments »

and so I begin my weekend at the Singapore Writers Festival….

A Power Awakened: China Then, Now, and its Impact on the World

Panel Discussions

DATE / TIME

10 Nov, Sat 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
60mins

VENUE

Asian Civilisations Museum, Ngee Ann Auditorium

FESTIVAL PASS EVENT
S$25

LANGUAGE

This session is in English

MODERATED BY

Greta Georges

DESCRIPTION

The last couple of decades have seen power shift from the West to Asia, led by China and India. With China making aggressive inroads into Africa and South America, she is now a global leader, not just in economic terms, but also her cultural might. Join China experts Paul French, Hoo Tiang Boon, and Anurag Viswanath as they discuss the changes that China has witnessed in her economic boom, and whether these have posed new opportunities and challenges to the rest of the world.

FEATURING

Paul French

UK

Paul French lived in Shanghai for 20 years, after studying Chinese and history in the UK. He is an author of literary non-fiction. His latest book, City of Devils, is set in the dancehalls, casinos and nightclubs of 1930s Shanghai. His previous book, Midnight in Peking, was a New York Times bestseller and is currently being developed for TV.

Photo Credit: Sue Anne Tay

Paul French is featured in the following SWF event(s):

Resurrecting the Bad Old Days: Researching the Dark Side of Pre-war Shanghai & Singapore
Anurag Viswanath

Singapore

Anurag Viswanath has been a researcher at Fudan University, China. The Mandarin speaker has authored Finding India in China. Over 15 years, she has written about China in Bangkok Post, The Nation, Far Eastern Economic Review, Business Standard and Financial Express. She has been guest speaker at Foreign Correspondent’s Club (Shanghai and Hong Kong), Royal Asiatic Society (Shanghai), Siam Society (Bangkok), Bookworm Festival (Beijing) and SWF.

Hoo Tiang Boon

Singapore

Hoo Tiang Boon (PhD, Oxford) is an assistant professor at Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. His latest books include China’s Global Identity: Considering the Responsibilities of Great Power (Georgetown University Press) and (as an editor) Chinese Foreign Policy under Xi (Routledge).

 

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Midnight in Peking Walking Tour – November 10th 2018

Posted: November 9th, 2018 | No Comments »

the next Midnight in Peking walking tour is tonight!! last chance….

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Chinese Parasols in the California Desert, 1948

Posted: November 3rd, 2018 | No Comments »

I notice i haven’t posted a parasol picture for a while (there’s been loads – just put ‘parasol’ in the search engine). This image of model Virginia Stewart in Joset Walker for Harper’s Bazaar, shot in the desert near Yuma by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, May 1948….

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The Way We Were: A Photographic Journey Back to 1970s and 80s Hong Kong – Hong Kong – 3-18 November 2018

Posted: November 1st, 2018 | No Comments »

 

The Way We Were: A Photographic Journey Back to 1970s and 80s Hong Kong

 

Entitled The Way We Were, this exhibition features photos of nostalgic street scenes steeped in colonial and local culture, city panoramas and images of life on the sea. The show is a documentation of, and flashback to, Hong Kong in the 1970s and 1980s, expressing a city that abounds in colour, diversity and the contagious 工合 (gung1 hap6) attitude.

These images are exhibited alongside Keith Macgregor’s passion project called Neon Fantasies. In this series, Macgregor imagines what Hong Kong could have looked like if its neon signs weren’t removed or eclipsed by LED signage. Photographed street scenes are digitally collaged with images of the city’s most iconic neon signs—most of them long gone—creating eye-catching images that are simultaneously historical and futuristic.

Macgregor, who is now over 70 years old and based in London, still frequently returns to the city he called home for over three decades to capture its ever-changing cityscape.

Where: usagi Hong Kong – Shop B, G/F, Wah Shin House, 6-10 Shin Hing Street – Central

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Literary Shanghai – Special Edition – Shanghai in Singapore

Posted: October 30th, 2018 | No Comments »

The journal Literary Shanghai has produced a special edition for the Singapore Writers Festival this November – Shanghai in Singapore – with a bunch of original contributions (including from me) and new translations….it’ll be everywhere at the festival and available in various bookshops in Singapore and China as well as via Literary Shanghai…

 

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Ida Hurst – Typist in China, 1941

Posted: October 30th, 2018 | No Comments »

Ida Hurst was apparently an intrepid traveller between the wars and also a typist! I would very much like to read her book from 1941, Typist in China, but I’m a bit stuck finding a copy – anyone got one?

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