Revisiting Anthony Burgess Old Haunts

The Anthony Burgess Foundation is organizing a symposium in Kuala Lumpur. Students, fans and professors of the celebrated author will use this occasion as an excuse to celebrate the life of anthony Burgess aka Mr Wilson.   A misfit expatriate, according to the colonial office. To the locals he was their   myth buster. It reminds me of a narration by Tan Sri Dolah Kok Lanas about his teacher Mr Wilson, that there was such thing as a British working class who behaved like one  in the form of that Mr Wilson. Mr Wilson the Myth Buster.

The devotees will be visiting Kuala Kangsar or Kuala Lancap according to Wilson. They will visit the Malay College, the Idris Club and the Kings Pavilion.

They should also have a few  drinks at the toddy shop where Mr Wilson felt more at ease then the bar at the Idris Club. Try locate the Hailam kopitiam where Rahimah used to work. Where could Rahimah possibly lived? Kampung Pisang? It could not be in the Malay  kampungs as the sight of a Matsalleh entering the room of a beautiful sultry widow would have expedited Wilson’s departure from KK. Is she still alive? Rahimah’s son must be a grandfather by now, the little boy who was sent to the Koran Class while Mr wilson and Rahimah were in missionary position.

Is the gay houseboy still alive? A notice in Utusan Malaysia and a handsome rewards may unveil  a few interesting living keepers of secrets.

The commercial transactions he made with the chinese ladies must have been transacted in Ipoh. Ipoh has changed, so it is not possible to revisit these old haunts.  In the 70s jalan Mountbatten was still lined with hotels with little cubicles, ladies waiting to entertain. These little rumah tumpangans are no longer in existence.

The above are just fleeting moments of a journey well recorded in his Autobiography. Have fun reading. It will be a good excuse to visit Yut Loy and have time for a Tiger.

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