Irreverent, informed and downright eclectic crime fiction and reportage from Southeast Asia and beyond
I’ve been interviewed by acclaimed travel blog Where Sidewalks End, about travel, crime fiction, Sacred Skin, Burma and The Devil’s Road to Kathmandu.
I’ll be giving a live radio interview on Rudy Maxa’s World, America’s most widely-syndicated, weekend travel radio show, on Saturday, May 11th at 10.18 am EST US, which is 9:18pm Bangkok time.
I’ll be talking about travel writing, publishing and my new US published guide to the Angkor temples in Cambodia from Moon Guides.
Here’s an interview I did with Moon a while back.
Journalists, writers, bloggers interested in reviewing my new crime novel The Cambodian Book of the Dead, out very soon with Exhibit A, please follow this trail…..to the advance reading copies….and thank you…
Private eye and former war reporter Maier is sent to Cambodia to track down the missing heir to a Hamburg coffee empire.
His search leads him into the darkest corners of the country’s history, through the Killing Fields of the communist revolution, to the White Spider, a Nazi war criminal who reigns over an ancient Khmer temple deep in the jungle.
But the terrifying tale of mass murder that Maier uncovers is far from over. And soon Maier realises that, if he is to prevent more innocent lives from being destroyed, he will have to write the last horrific chapter himself.
The Cambodian Book of the Dead – it’s where Apocalypse Now meets The Beach…
Rosa Ellen reports on all things fiction and Cambodia in this week’s Phnom Penh Post.
Great photograph by Alexander Crook.
There have been media reports of a fight between Sherpas and climbers on the slopes of Mount Everest.
Rich white men without compassion or mountaineering experience have been throwing dollars at the world’s highest mountain for a couple of decades now and the atmosphere at base camp is one of sloth, luxury and violence.
Nepal remains desperately poor, the mountain gets more crowded every year and most so called climbers are simply there to be able to say that they have been there.
The trekking tourism out of Lukla is utterly deplorable with hundreds of tour groups marching like small victorious and very wealthy armies marching in the face of grinding poverty.
The circus at base camp is even more disgusting with hundreds of mountain tourists lording it over the locals.
Since Hillary and Tenzing went up Everest in the early 50s, nothing much has improved in the life of the people who live around the world’s highest peak. In fact their front door is now strewn with rubbish of all sorts including the human kind.
For the Nepalis the mountain is sacred. For the foreigners it’s just an ego playground. It would be absolutely the best to close the mountain to these people. But the Nepali government makes so much cash from permits, that this is unlikely to happen.
The tensions will continue and the whole spirit of the enterprise has long turned into absolutely crass commercial nonsense.
The situation on Everest is by no means unique. The sense of idiotic entitlement white people feel they have when they come to Asia is visible from the beaches of Ko Panghan to the slopes of the Himalayas.
Resentment will continue to grow and occasionally there’ll be a violent discharge against this aspect of neo-colonialism.
I was in the Everest region last year and posted about the horrors of high altitude tourism several times:
Read Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air for a great text on the commercial scramble for the world’s highest peak.
The South East Asia Globe features my new non fiction Burmese Light – with acclaimed photographer Hans Kemp – this month. The book is on its way into shops and should be available on Amazon and elsewhere within the next week.
In fact it’s been hovering around # 7 for books on Myanmar on Amazon in the past days.
I will be talking, from the hip and to the hippest at tonight’s Bombyx Stories, a regular spoken word even at the WTF (what the fuck) Bar (on Sukhumvit Soi 51) in Bangkok tonight. Other performers include John Gartland, Aaron Grieser, Wesley Hsu, Andrew Kingham, Donald Quist, Mrigaa Sethi, Chris Wise and James Yu.
Show time is 8.30pm and there’s a whole gang of other speakers on the bill, all of them recounting something they had never happened. The event takes place in the context of the WTF Bar’s three year anniversary. Should be great fun.
Check out the book trailer for Burmese Light, my new non fiction book with photographer Hans Kemp, published by Visionary World this month.
“Whether you are planning a visit or have recently traveled to Myanmar, Hans Kemp’s magnificent photographs combined with Tom Vater’s illuminating text create an unforgettable portrait of a truly remarkable country where light, landscape and culture leave an everlasting impression.” - Art Wolfe, Renowned photographer and TV host of Travels to The Edge
“…a visually stunning look at the cultural, geographic, archaeological and ethnic diversity and beauty of a country only now stepping out of the shadows.” – Bangkok Post
About the authors:
Award winning freelance photographer Hans Kemp has been based in Asia for over twenty years. His editorial work has been published to great acclaim in a wide variety of international newspapers and magazines such as GEO, Sud Deutsche Zeitung, Time, Panorama, Asahigraph, Reader’s Digest, and many others. He has published several books of his work, of which perhaps the best known to date is the best-selling Bikes of Burden, about the motorbike culture in Vietnam.
Tom Vater has written nonfiction and fiction books, travel guides, documentary screenplays, and countless feature articles investigating cultural and political trends and oddities in Asia. His stories have appeared in publications such as the Asia Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Times, Marie Claire, Penthouse, and The Daily Telegraph. He co-wrote The Most Secret Place on Earth, a feature documentary on the CIA’s secret war in Laos, which has been broadcast in twenty-five countries. His bestselling book Sacred Skin, the first English language title on Thailand’s sacred tattoos, has received more than thirty reviews.