Mama Kucing Blogs

Monday, 9 November 2009

Catfish And Mandala by Andrew X Pham

Aaa...Morning liao. Mamarazzi burn midnite oil again ah? Got examination meh?

She was so engrossed with this book. About a solo bicycle voyage from the Pacific Rim to Vietnam. Andrew is a Vietnamese-American man who is in search of his family past and current life.

His father was a prisoner after the retreat of the Americans soldiers from Vietnam. He nearly died in prison but due to his mother giving a lot of bribe to the Official, the father was released.

Subsequently they managed to escape from Vietnam thru a small boat. The journey was horrible. The boat nearly sank. They were rescued by an Indonesian vessel. Somehow they managed to get to America and become its citizen.

Life was hard then. There was once his father beat his sister, Chi, for disobeying his order. The sister landed in foster care but she ran away.

Only in recent year the sister came back but she is a he now. He committed suicide. This made Andrew re-think life.

He made a daring decision to tour Vietnam with his trusty bicycle.

Many adventures. Some are mean whereby they view people like him(Viet-kiu =foreign Vietnamese) as "waterfish". They tried to cheat him at every turn. Bus ticket, train tickets and accomodation was charged much higher. Some wanted to beat him up for in their view he had deserted Vietnam. However, some were very kind. Taking him into their home when he was too ill to go further. Letting him ride illegally in a train though if caught they would be in very big trouble.

Overall, it's a very good book to read. Thanks a lot to Uncle Newton for lending it to Mamarazzi.


  1. woo u really read a lot.. my last book was read a year ago - Bill clinton

  2. Wah...looks like this book is very interesting. ;-)

  3. Yes, it was a very interesting book .

  4. Hello Small Kuching, looks like a very interesting book. Must check it out.
    There is a large Vietnamese community here and have met many of them. Listening to their stories of how they escape from Vietnam long ago, landed at Pulau Bidong, the storms, robbery and rapes by pirates we just cannot imagine.
    How you doin'? Best regards, Lee.

  5. Wondering is it a real life story?

  6. We are doing fine, Uncle Lee. There are Vietnamese staying around my area too. They are factories workers and will be back to their country when contracts end. The bad thing is they like to get drunk during weekends from home made liquor :(. Thus we dont mix with them. One thing good about them is that they learn our language super fast. Can speak malay, mandarin and whatever.

    Cheeyee- yes, the story is based on his life.

  7. Sounds like a good real life story!

  8. Yup :) thats why burn midnite oil


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