Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Monday, July 29, 2013

Dana Hui Lim - A Q and A Session with the author of Mother and theTiger A Memoir of the Killing Fields

Recently I had the great honor of reading and posting on Dana Hui Lim's very important, deeply moving memoir of her experiences in Cambodia under the rule of The Khmer Rouge.  I fear most are not aware of the basic facts of the period so I will relay them.

In 1975, Cambodia was taken over by a group called the Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pat.  He had a vision of turning Cambodia into a purely agrian society, starting over at "year zero".  He ordered all residents of cities to vacate.   Under armed guard, often by children, millions were forced out of their homes to work in agricultural projects. Iintellectuals, ethnic Chinese, business people, those who wore glasses, those who gave the slightest resistance were executed.  This continued from 1975 to 1979. As Lim explains in her narrative, it was in large part the destruction, destabilization, and atmosphere of terrible fear and suffering created by the senseless American bombing of Cambodia which created a society where this could happen.  About two million, twenty five percent of population,  died from disease, starvation, exposure and execution from 1975 to 1979.  It ended when the Vietnamese, the traditional enemy of the Cambodians, invaded the country in 1979.  One of the most exciting episodes in Liu's book was the time those in her slave labor camp realized the Khmer Rouge guards were all gone and they were free.   

I feel Lim's book should become an international best seller.   I am going to urge my three teenage daughters to read it.  There is a publisher's link at the end of this post where you can find more information.  I salute Odyssey Press for publishing this book.  

I am very grateful and honored for the opportunity to share this Q and A with my readers.  Some of the questions are deeply personal and I appreciate the forthright answers. 

Mother and the Tiger:  A Memoir of the Killing Field is a tribute to to the power of the human spirit.   The true wonder of Lim's marvelous book is letting us see the incredible hard times she went through without becoming hard.  Her prose is simple and beautiful.  Anyone who ever hated someone for their skin color, their birthplace, their language or religion should be required to read this book.  

1.  Pol Pol claimed on occasion he ordered people out of the cities of Cambodia to protect them from American bombs.  Historically how culpable is the United States in creating a social condition that allowed the Khmer Rouge to take control of the country and murder 2,000,000 people, directly or indirectly?

The best lies have an element of truth, and the B-52 missions were the most frightening thing that had ever happened to most Cambodians, at least at that time. America was a distant threat, but one that had demonstrated its willingness to kill innocents if that served its interests. That truth was constantly used to manipulate people when it was more convenient than simple force. I think that the US campaign played a large part in destabilizing Cambodia to the point where it was easy to knock the society off balance. For the entire reign of Pol Pot, we were told and we believed that everything that was happening was because of the threat from unseen external powers. With the best will in the world, it does seem to me that the American leadership makes a habit of leaving messes for someone else to sort out.

2.  How long did you ponder writing your book before doing so?  Was the process therapeutic or purging for you?   

From the first idea to a mostly completed manuscript it was about two years. The idea of the book really began when I was telling my partner about my life, soon after we first met. I had never really talked about the events of my life before, and after several years together he suggested that I should write down my experiences, just in dot point form and roughly in order. Once that was done we decided that there was enough for a book, and I set about expanding those brief points into the story as it is now. Writing the book was an emotional journey for me. I grew up in an environment where it was frowned upon, dangerous even, to show one’s feelings. For a long time I tried to forget the terror of my childhood and never spoke of it to anyone, so confronting those demons has been a big step in itself. I had never really been emotional about my past before, but I now regularly find myself in tears when I think about it. It was as if writing the book dragged those memories out of dark hidden places, and I now have to live with them every day. I am not sure if it has been therapeutic or if I am the better for it. Both I suspect, but only time will tell.

3.  Part of the book, indeed a large portion of it is drawn from memories of events from more than thirty years ago, some from when you were only six.   How much of this based on direct memories and how much on reconstructions of thoughts, observations, and conversations of long ago.

The book is entirely from my direct memories, except of course where it tells of the experience of my family when I was not with them. Those sections came from conversations after we were reunited and in some cases after asking family members during the writing process. I know very well how distorted memories can become over time, and that they become a series of impressions rather than a faithful recording of events. Nevertheless, the events of the book are seared onto my mind as clearly as they possibly could be. The mental scars remain that were once open wounds, and they mean that some things cannot be forgotten even if I wanted to. I decided not to include much dialog because I wanted to honour the truth as much as possible. I could not possibly remember exactly what was said all those years ago, and I did not want to simply invent the words of myself or others.

4.   Understandably much of My Mother the Tiger:  A Memoir of the Killing Fields is taken up with the continual search for enough food to survive.   A grandfather of an old friend of mine spent two years in a German concentration camp in Poland.  He moved to the USA and became a very successful furrier.  He never talked about his time in the camps.  He always insisted his wife have several months of food on hand, kept candy on display at all times, had served lavish to the point of wasteful meals and in fact became very heavy as were  his children and even some  grandchildren.  How has the years of food anxiety you suffered impacted your life, or has it not done so?

I smiled when I first read the question; not because of his experience in the concentration camp, but because of the similarity to my own food hoarding habits. I live a short distance from a supermarket, but there is still 40kg of rice in my pantry. Along with other supplies I have about a three month store of basic food at any given time, just like your friend’s grandfather. The difference is that I never waste food if I can help it, and find it distressing when I see people doing so. I have a habit of never letting the rice container that I cook from become empty, and the measuring cup within it is always full of grain. I don’t ever again want to be in a situation when my rice is all gone and that cup empty. I have found that when I have a craving for a particular food then I will buy a lot of it and eat until I don’t want it anymore. I also tend to eat quickly, which ensures that food cannot be stolen away from me. These habits do not seem to be fading very much with time, and I cannot keep myself from collecting resources that are freely available. In the first notes for the book, there were many repeating lines that basically said that I was hungry and that there was no food. Looking at that first effort reinforced to me just how much of a mark starvation can leave on a person.

5.  Your prose style is elegant.  Who are some writers you admire?  

I must admit that I tend to only read memoirs because I can’t really relate to fiction. The first books I ever read for pleasure were a few romantic fairy tales written in Khmer that I borrowed from a friend after I could no longer afford to attend school in Phnom Penh. They were a temporary escape, and let me practice some of the skills I had learned in my brief education. Then it was nothing at all for a long time, followed by English school books once I arrived in Australia. It has only been in the last ten years or so that I have found the time to read for pleasure, and by then my taste for fantasy had withered. The authors I read now tend to write books that are one off, and so I have not really been able to develop any favourites. I like memoirs where people have overcome adversity and succeeded despite the trials of life.

6.  You note toward the close of your book that your Mother always kept a very strong hold onto her Buddhists principals.   How do you think your families faith helped sustain them through very dark times without becoming consumed by hate? 

My family all dealt with their experiences in very different ways. Some of them found comfort in the idea that Karma would repay them in the end. Some decided that it was up to them, and went out to achieve what they could. I took the view that no-one was going to hand me anything and so I would have to work hard and earn my way in my new country.

7.   Are you active in Cambodia groups and social organizations in Australia?   Do you try to follow traditional practices when you can or are these old trappings you have thrown off?  

I was more active in the Cambodian groups until the beginning of this project and became consumed by the idea of completing the book. I will probably pay more attention now, and hope to encourage others to talk about their own experiences. I have left behind many of the traditions of my culture, especially the pre-scientific views of hygiene that many people still follow.

8.   Do you feel much prejudice against immigrants in Australia? 

I experienced some discrimination during my school years, though given my late start that did not last for long. I found it easy to ignore because I was too busy gaining an education to notice most of the time. Once you have been shot at a few times, the insults of the ignorant are nothing to worry about. Prejudice in Australia has grown less over the years, although the hysteria around refugees arriving by boat has been used as a particularly unattractive political football in recent times. Regardless of how people came to be here, I do not think it is right to blame them for desiring a little bit of the safety and happiness that we take for granted. 

9.  Personal question.  Ignore if you want.  My three teen age daughters feel not having a new cell phone every six months is a terrible suffering.  How do you feel when you hear teenagers complaining about petty things?   

As parents we all want the best for our children, but I think that when they are given things too freely they sometimes do not appreciate them or the effort it takes to earn them. When I finally began my formal education in Australia I could scarcely comprehend that many of the other students simply did not want to be there. They were more concerned with gossiping and looking nice, instead of the serious business of acquiring knowledge that no-one could take from them. Sometimes my impulse is to drop them into the jungle for a quick lesson in how good they really have it!

10.  It seems most of the guards in the labor camps you were in were themselves children, how did people get picked to be guards and camp leaders?  

The Khmer Rouge in the camps were mostly children only a few years older than the people that they were guarding, so for me that meant they were usually teenaged girls. Most of the guards were chosen from the traditional ‘native’ Khmer people and felt that they had been downtrodden by various sections of society. Young people were the ideal choice since they were uneducated, easy to sway and already resentful of the wealthy and other ethnic groups, such as us Chinese. They had never had any power before, and to be considered important members of the new order must have been very seductive. To be chosen you had to look like one of them, say the right things, act the right way and match the level of brutality that the leadership expected.

11.  Many of the guards and functionaries of the Khmer Rouge, now most would be fifty plus at least, are living still in Cambodia.  Would you favour a tribunal designed to bring these people to justice?  When you meet another Cambodia of a certain age, do you wonder about their past?  

I want them all brought to justice, and not only the people who were relatively young at the time. I want the old men dragged from their homes and places of refuge, and made to stand before those they have wronged. I want them punished, not only for the tiny amount of closure that it might bring to their victims, but because it just might make the next version of Pol Pot, Hitler or Stalin pause for thought before they embark on one of their miserable campaigns. I would like to see them pursued to their very graves and their names become the foulest of curses. We seem never to learn from history unless it is thrust, twitching and bleeding, right under our noses. When I meet people from Cambodia who are old enough to remember that time, I do wonder who they were and which end of the gun they were on. The veil of silence makes it difficult to ask, and the shame of the events makes it even harder to tell.

12.  In your day to day life, how long can you go without your mind flashing back to images of your terrible childhood?   

For a long time those memories were few and far between, set aside in the rush of getting on with life. Now they have all been dragged out one by one for examination, and it is a rare day that goes by without a vivid thought intruding. When I see small children passing on their way to school, I wonder how they would react if the world they knew was suddenly taken away and replaced by something dark and terrible. With the work to finalise the manuscript my memories come to me constantly, even now as I write this.

13.   Another personal question you can ignore, you mention your adult daughter working on a PhD.  I know this is rude question, but can you tell us a bit about your daughter's father and how your early years have impacted your close personal life?  

I married young, during university in fact, because, well, that was what was expected in my community. We had one child together, who is as talented and good a person as any parent could hope for. It wasn’t acceptable to ignore all the conventions of my culture, and only much later did I decide that I had to follow my own path. My ex-husband is a good man of the more traditional sort and also a survivor of Pol Pot’s regime. There came a point where we wanted different things, and we parted ways without the sort of acrimony that often occurs. To that point I had done whatever I was told for my entire life and now I had to live for me. This realisation has freed me to try new things and I now try to experience life to the full. 

 14.  what is your favorite city in Australia?  Favorite outdoor activity, favorite Aussie Food, any favorite Aussie movie stars or TV shows?  Favorite Aussie animal?  

I love Canberra, which has been described as a great place to live but you wouldn’t want to visit there. This is slightly unfair, but if you are after the bright lights and big city then Sydney is not far away.
I like to ski, which marks me as rather unusual in my family. I was about thirteen when I first saw ice so I suppose the fascination has never left me, and the ski fields are close to Canberra.
My favourite Australian food is Barramundi with lemon, salt and pepper. It is a large freshwater fish from the country’s North, prized by fishermen for its fighting ability.
Favourite TV shows are the real life tales of people who have done something special, much like the books that I read.
As for animals, the wombat is not as iconic as some of the other fauna, but I like it because it takes no notice of humans whatsoever. If you pitch a tent on a wombat’s usual path, it will sometimes tear its way through the side, walk over anyone sleeping within, tear its way out again and carry on. You have to admire that sort of single-mindedness, although I do wish they would pay more attention to crossing roads safely.

15.   I love your book and I hope it becomes an international best seller.  What steps are you taking to publicise your book?   

I will have an article in my workplace electronic newsletter, which has an audience of up to 20,000 people. My wonderful publisher has her own website and contacts that she will use. I will also seek to gain reviews in various publications wherever possible. Then there is your own website Mel, and I thank you for your kind words and the publicity you have given my story. Commercial success would be nice, but I am content that my story is now set down in a form that will last. I want others to do the same.

 16.  How did you feel when you first held a copy of your book in your hand?   How do you feel on reading reviews of your book?   

Ecstatic on the former and apprehensive about the latter. It was a long time coming and I went through the usual shopping around process that all first time authors need to do. Now that it is real, I want people to like it but I know that the story or the style will not be to everyone’s taste. I hope that either way, they will consider the story as a cautionary tale and lesson on how badly a country can lose its way and descend into madness. I have had a lot of positive feedback from friends and family, but you can never tell if people are just being nice until the book is read by someone who does not know you.

17.  Are you working on any other books or literary projects?

Not at the moment. If Mother and the Tiger gains an audience, I would like to tell the story of my brother Khay. I am not aware of much that he encountered but knowing him, I am sure it was hair raising. My partner thinks that there is a movie in the book, but we will see about that!

18.  Talk to us a bit about contemporary Cambodia fiction please.   Are there lots of memoir books?   

There are some books from the perspective of people who lived through the Khmer Rouge years, but on the whole people are very reluctant to talk about their experiences. I mainly read books in English now, because that is the main language in Australia and I always want to increase my skill in my adopted land.

19.  When you hear co workers complain about their jobs, about being over worked or having bad bosses, do you think to your self, what a pack of fools, if they only knew what I have experienced?  

Oh yes, but then I have to tell myself that everyone have their own tolerances and set of experiences. Just because their problems are not usually life threatening does not mean that they are not real and important to them. I have found that I have a very strong reaction to injustice, and have never shirked away from challenging poor behaviour amongst my colleagues. The strong should not abuse their power, even if is only over office politics.  

20.  Once you knew your book would be published by Odyssey, how long was the wait for it to be completed?  Did you select the very striking cover art?  

I signed the contract in April 2011 and we were trying to get a celebrity endorsement that our editor had suggested for quite a while. That did not pan out in the end (celebrities are busy people, especially the nice ones) so we went ahead this year. The cover art was put together by Michelle at Odyssey, and originally had a stock photo of another woman on the cover. Her headscarf was not the type or worn in the style that is common in Cambodia, so I asked my sister Mei to send me some photos of herself. That way there is a family resemblance to me and she looks a lot like my mother back then, although thankfully not as thin. 

21.  In the preface to your book you say millions of Cambodians are suffering, most with no help, from the terrible psychological traumas caused by years of privation.   How do these traumas manifest themselves? Based on your observations are there high rates of drug use, alcoholism, suicide, spousal and child abuse, crime, poverty among Cambodian survivors?  

People do not talk about their feeling much in Cambodian culture. It can cause a loss of ‘face’ to present anything other than a happy facade, although this can cover a multitude of negative emotions. I do not think that the crime/drug/abuse/etc rates are abnormally high, and people have reacted in many different ways. I know that just among my siblings, an outsider would see a wide range of different reactions that obviously stem from our childhoods experiences. One point of pride is that each and every one of us have contributed to our new countries and paid our own way. It is only right to support the society that lifted us up and gave us our chance to succeed.

22.   Do you think your experiences have made you somehow feel alone.   I sense a deep emotional reserve in your book, as if you wanted to scream out your hate and feelings but cannot.   Is it hard for you to open up and trust new people.  Are you only close to people you have known for decades?  Do you still have nightmares? 

We all suffered through the years of the Khmer Rouge alone. Those feelings have remained for a long time afterwards because people wanted to get on with their lives, and there was a collective unwillingness to bring the subject up. I had to bottle up my emotions for so long that it became second nature I think. If I opened those floodgates, my book might have been a hateful diatribe which would not have done anyone else any good. It is very difficult for me to open up to people, and I have only a small group of friends that I would trust with anything meaningful. It takes a long time before I relax around a new acquaintance, and if they betray my trust then I try to have nothing more to do with them. I only have one nightmare. It usually comes in November and will be familiar to many students: Exam time is here and I have not studied.

23.  What are the last three novels you read, or non-fiction?  

They were all non-fiction: The Road to Reality by Dianne Burnett, Pole to Pole by Pat Farmer and The Woman Who Could Not Forget by Ying Ying Cheng.

24.  Have you taken a cross Australia train ride?  I would love to do this?

There is a train called the Ghan that crosses Australia from South to North and the Indian Pacific that goes East to West.  They are both very nice ways to travel by all accounts, but I have not yet tried them out. I may do them one day, although Australia does have an awful lot of nothing in the middle. The stretch across the Nullabor has a dead straight section of 478 kilometres, the longest in the world. You would need a good book...possibly several!  

25.  Talk a bit about the national character of the Australians?   I know you don't like this question but please respond!

Like all countries there is a mix of people, although probably a wider variety than most due to immigration from just about everywhere. A lot of us are sports obsessed, we tend to drink more than we should and to take our massive good fortune for granted. The average Australian ranges from the nicest person you could know, to the dimmest reactionary redneck that you simply wouldn’t want to meet. My Australian born daughter has had insults yelled at her from passing cars. Not very often, but too often. The funny thing is, you might find a person who will unthinkingly make a racist comment but when you point out that one of his or her good friends is a recent arrival, you get a response like “Oh but he’s/she's ok!”. I do think that once Australians get to know a person they eventually accept them for who they are. I hope that this trend will continue as education and online contact increasingly connect the world.  

 26.   There are, per my research, about 25,000 Cambodian Australians.   Do most live in New South Wales?  Do many restrict all social activity to others of similar background?  Have old prejudices against Chinese Cambodians been kept alive in a new country?

Do light skinned Cambodians privately look down on darker skinned Cambodians, as is found in the Philippines and Thailand?

I do not really know the breakdown of where people of Cambodian background live in Australia. I do know that they are fairly spread out, though the majority are in Sydney (New South Wales), Melbourne (Victoria), Brisbane (Queensland) and Darwin (Northern Territory).
I can’t speak for all, but in my own family people socialize with whoever they want. My partner is caucasian, others are with other cultures.
The prejudice against Chinese people was only really held by the zealots of the Khmer Rouge. In fact, a Chinese husband or wife was and is considered a good result by everyone else. They are seen as more dynamic business people and much sought after by the match makers.
Light skin is considered a sign of beauty in Cambodian culture, because of its association with prosperity; working in the hot sun makes you darker. There are all sorts of skin whitening treatments, most of which don’t work, for sale in Phnom Penh. Now that the idea is ingrained, it will be a long time before it fades I think.

27.  Quick  questions
A.  Lap top or tablet? - Laptop
B.  e reading or traditional books? - Traditional books
C.  Dogs or cats? - I have never had either so I can’t really choose. My favourite animal growing up was the golden bull I mention in the book. He was strong and smart and showed us the way home when we were lost.
D.  Favorite Adelaide restaurant? - Never went to any, we were always saving money.
E.  have you been to Angkor Wat? - Yes, it is magnificent
F. labor party, liberal party or greens? - Yet to decide, they are both engaging in questionable politics

 28.  "  Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has defended Australia's new asylum policy, saying it targets "merchants in death".
Under an agreement signed on Friday, asylum-seekers arriving by boat in Australia will be sent to Papua New Guinea for processing.

Those found to be refugees will be settled in PNG, which is to receive Australian investment.
Critics have accused Australia of shirking obligations and outsourcing its problem to a developing nation.
The move comes as Australia tries to tackle a sharp spike in the number of boat arrivals, and just a few weeks out from a general election in which asylum is expected to be a key issue.
Kevin Rudd, who last month ousted Julia Gillard as Labor Party leader amid dismal pre-election polling figures, has described the new policy as "hard-line".  From Manchester Guardian
Dana, this seems like a terrible policy.  Is it has horrendous as it sounds.  Is it a giant step back for Australia?

In the lead up to an election, both sides of politics seem to be engaged in a race to the bottom when it comes to Australia’s treatment of refugees. The problem is a difficult one, impossible in fact, and there are no perfect answers. One thing is clear to me though; the solution is not to use desperate people as political footballs in an attempt to garner votes. It is unworthy of the high ideals which Australia prides itself on, the main one of which is the concept of the ‘fair go’. It hardly seems proper to ignore the international conventions that we have agreed to when they become inconvenient. Other nations have had more refugees cross their border in a single week than Australia has ever had in a year. The people arriving on boats are just the symptom of the wider problem, which is simply that sometimes the situations that people find themselves in are worse than the risk of escape. Do people really think that people would leave everything they know and risk their lives if the alternative wasn’t worse? I have seen people say, apparently in all seriousness, that they would never put their families onto a rickety boat. I ask them: what would you do if you knew that people were coming tomorrow to kill you and your children, or worse. Join the fictional ‘waiting line’ that people are so fond of talking about? No, they would sell whatever they could and pay whatever it took to escape. Making a deal with another country to deal with a problem so that we can pretend that it doesn’t exist, shows a lack of faith in ourselves. 

29.  The Woman Who Could Not Forget by Ying Ying Cheng  is a very moving book in which the mother of iris Chang(author of The Rape of Shanghai) attempts to come to an understanding of why she killed herself.    You listed this as one of the last three books you read.  Please tell us a bit about your reaction to the life and death of Ms. Chang.

I was deeply saddened by the death of Iris Chang, who worked so hard to tell a story that badly needed to be more widely known. Her hard won education, children and work were all signs of a life lived well, but mental illness can strike anyone at any time. It is a terrible thing that people can be struck down by happenstance and their accomplishments reduced to ashes in their own minds. I have never suffered from depression, but it frightens me that we are all potentially vulnerable to the same fate.


30.   Do you think that the undeniable fact that the Cambodian experience, the actions of the Japanese in China during W W Ii are much less  talked about or even known than European events like the Irish famines of the 1800s or the Nazi Holocausts evidence of a deep seated racism?

I think that in many cases apathy causes much of the under-reporting of other countries and cultures. People often prefer stories about people similar to themselves and the media caters to that desire, because their business is only to sell advertising space. It was also the case in Cambodia that all outside communication was shut down, and by the time more information was widely available it was far too late. Having said that, it certainly seems to be true that the lives of others are deemed to be worth less, the further away they live and the more different their skin colour. It should not matter and we should not ask for whom the bell tolled, but we are imperfect creatures. When we take the time to think about it though, and then deny that others laugh, love and mourn their dead just as we do, then we have forgotten what it is to be human.


31. Norodom Sihanouk, King of Cambodian from 1941 to 1951 and 1993 to 2004 was for a time the puppet head of state for the Khmer Rouge.  He effectively ruled from 1951 to 1970 as dictator.  He claimed many of the troops of the Khmer Rouge were falsely told they were fighting to restore his rule.  Big question is was he an opportunistic self serving person who went however the wind was blowing or did he try to mitigate the horrors of the Khmer Rouge as he claimed?

Sihanouk may not have meant for the horrors that befell Cambodia to occur, but he lent the Khmer Rouge support when their numbers were small and this helped to vastly multiply their forces. His obsession with regaining his power meant that he placed his needs ahead of the people of Cambodia. He appeared to place his own welfare ahead of his people, and death and destruction was the result. I think that a King worthy of the title would live and die with his people, serving them and not himself.


32.  Were you mesmerized as I was by the great mural carvings at Angor Wat? 

The carvings are extraordinary not only for their sheer scale and detail, but also the impression of depth. I recall one battle scene where a warrior on an elephant is frozen in the act of falling from his mount; a small thing but this was carved from stone hundreds of years ago. The humour captured in that moment tells me that the artist was not so different from me. I watched the sun rise over the temples and was able to climb to the top sections of the Wat. I think visitors are no longer permitted in those areas for their own safety, due to the fact that the ancients thought that if one would approach the gods, then the journey should be difficult, with the stairs very steep and their tread very narrow. I hope that the temples are preserved for future generations to see.


Publisher supplied bio

Dana Hui Lim was born in Cambodia and was only six years old when the Pol Pot regime seized power. She survived the rule of the Khmer Rouge through a combination of good luck, and a determination to survive that she had not previously known she possessed.

Dana arrived in Australia when she was eighteen years old. She was unable to speak English and had virtually no formal education. She began high school in Year Ten, went on to complete a university degree and began a career in the Australian Public Service.

Dana wants to share her story with others to encourage them to persevere in the face of adversity. She would also like to urge her countrymen to discuss their experiences, or set down their own stories so that they are not lost forever. Her book serves as a warning to people of all nations and races, to be wary of the danger than can occur when ideology is not subjected to reason.

I strongly urge all librarians to obtain this book.  

Dana Hul Lim has written a book that deserves to become a classic.  It is a tribute to the power of the human spirit, our ability to triumph over evil.

Mel u


Writing For My Life said...

I really enjoyed this interview. Some very thought-provoking responses to well considered questions. Best of luck to Miss Lim with the book, and keep up the good work, Mel!

Sheila Waterman said...

Dana Lim has written a most powerful book that should be read by all in politics and power

We think these things could never happen to us, but if we become complacent it is so easy for powerful people to justify their so called "ideals" and commit untold atrocities.

We need to question and we need protection if we question, this is beginning to slip away in Australian society'

It is a book which should be in schools.

Rachel Fenton said...

Superb interview, Mel and Dana. Dana, I was struck by the imagery of your rice cup always needing to be full - a small and simple thing that reveals so much about your journey and experiences. I wish you great success with your book.

Unknown said...

Very interesting, as always Mel! All the best with this to Dana Hui Lim

Mel u said...

Elizabeth MacDonald. Thanks very much