this busy, dusty world, having accomplished nothing, I suddenly recalled all
the girls I had known, considering each in turn, and it dawned on me that all
of them surpassed me in behaviour and understanding; that I ,shameful to say
for all my masculine dignity, fell short of the gentler sex.” – from the
Dream of Red Mansion.
As I have
interests in books, film, television and video games, they are often major
influences on my work. Although I like to write something innovative, I am also
aware of respecting the work of others before me. It can also be fun and more
meaningful to the reader when my novel references some other work.
main things I do before planning a story is to narrow down on these ‘selected
works’. For ‘Hot Spring’, the first in the series of Godfrey and Chucky’s
adventures, I spent two months ‘drawing out the essence’ from the Chinese
classic ‘Dream of Red Mansion‘. Since this revered classic had a common
theme with my story idea, I wanted to make sure that I don’t write a scene only
to discover it had been done before. Both my story and “Dream of Red
Mansion” deals with the growing up phase of a young boy in an affluent
household. In both stories, the young boy is uneasy with his father and
fascinated by his aunt. The adolescent is also discovering his conflicting
feelings for two of his female friends. But enough of the similarities for now.
original work has 120 chapters and about 2500 pages. I have the English
translation from Foreign Languages Press. I remember taking 6 months to finish
reading this, and I was sure I didn’t want to write something of that length.
So I did a summary of the timeless work, which helped me to remember some of
the major plot themes I had read before. You have to know how something is approached
traditionally, before you can give it a twist, don’t you?
the Dream of Red Mansions describes the slow decay of the esteemed Jia family,
and how the young heir Jia Baoyu awakens to spiritual discovery. Stripped bare
of all details, the classic is about a boy living in a large house with plenty
other hand, in ‘Hot Spring’, the Gao family is prospering, and the story is
about how they overcome a threat to their business. There is still the
wonderful dynamic of a young boy living with many beautiful women in the hotel
and at school. On top of that, the Gao family hotel hosts wealthy tourists
Godfrey and Chucky, and even assists them on the adventure. The hotel’s name,
Red Jade Palace Hotel, is an allusion to the classic novel, and provides an
extra layer of amusement for its fans.
summaries beforehand can really help an author to plan out the story well, and
ensure there is no unwanted repetition with a more famous cultural work. For my
second book I am already summarizing the films that I hope to pay homage to.
The same applies when a TV series or a video game inspired your writing
passion. If you want to read a fresh, innovative novel inspired by ‘Dream of
Red Mansions’, you should definitely catch your copy of ‘Hot Spring’ at Kobo
committed to sharing scenes of beauty with his readers. He hopes that through
the mansion-like device of the novel, he can host a tea party to serve his
readers exotic delights. In the day, he is a tutor, essayist, gourmet and world
traveler. People somehow love to share their secrets with him, and he wants use
his gifts of perception to tell innovative stories.
Chucky: Hot Spring
has seatbelts. We watched a TV program where the Singapore Airlines girls,
called SIA girls, showed us how to evacuate in the event of an emergency. I
looked around and noticed that very few people were paying attention to the TV
program, and my master himself was alternating his gaze between the dinner menu
and the SIA girls that walked down the aisle. From the behavior of my fellow
passengers, I could only conclude that air emergencies did not happen very
frequently, so I felt reassured. They sound quite scary, these emergencies.
seats, don’t you think. There’s just barely enough space for me to stretch my
legs. What if one of those hot girls comes to sit on my lap?” He slouched
forward and wiggled his feet.
us things, master,” I replied, trying to defend the air servants.
picture,” said master, pointing to the Krisflyer magazine. “They got these
first-class seats where you can like, lie down and roll about. That’s the way
it should be, don’t you think?”
satisfied with our business class seats. It is very important that servants
work hard for the sake of higher authorities. I was actually quite happy that
we could get tickets just like that with our credit card, but I did not dare to
mention it to my master in case he would get angry. Usually when I book the
train in the Eastern Heaven, I have to make reservations beforehand.
master, but it turned out that things went the other way. The SIA ladies
started to walk down the aisle and gave us these strange-looking black things
wrapped in a see-through bag. There was one lady on Master’s aisle, wearing the
interesting dress with the shape of the female body and hair rolled up into a
bun with a neat, shiny side-parting. There was one lady on my aisle too,
wearing the same interesting dress with the shape of the female body and hair
rolled up into a bun with a neat, shiny side-parting. Both had a mild smile on
their faces and were walking down the aisles at about the same speed. When the
lady walking down Master Gawd’s aisle met Master Gawd, her smile widened and
she started talking a lot in a loud voice. Master Gawd greeted her and
introduced himself as ‘Great Godfrey’, and she chuckled and introduced herself
as ‘Mindy Wong’. Master mentioned that it was his ‘first time on your wonderful
airline’ and she proceeded to explain to Master that she was giving him
headsets for entertainment and that her beautiful dress was called the Sarong
Kebaya. Her English pronunciation was not the most clear and I think I might
have heard ‘headsex’ but I probably was mistaken. From my master’s reaction and
smiling face, the lady must have been quite beautiful and pleasing to his
smile almost vanished. She took out a yellow piece of headset and passed it to
me in silence before moving on really quickly. The yellow headset felt a little
tight as I spread it around my ears. I was fumbling about with the controls
while Master Gawd was already fully plugged in and flipping through the
channels. Then the most mysterious thing happened: the same SIA girl whom I saw
just a short while ago comes down the aisle once again. This time she looked at
me, with the same face as before, and spoke:
headset, which is for children. Here is the correct one.” She passed me a black
headset just like the one everybody else had.
saw moments ago. I think the take-off is making me imagine things, don’t you
Never mind.” I stammered.
colleague I met before, walked off briskly, leaving me to my confusion. Perhaps
this is what the ancient sages call ‘mystery of mysteries’.
drawn and down the aisle I noticed a whole new area to the aircraft with many
people inside. The seats looked smaller than ours, and every seat had someone
in it. They were being served by a male steward, and when I asked him what this
area was, he stared at me with a confused look, and replied “This is economy
class, sir.” I felt somewhat relieved that I was not the only confused man on
the aircraft. This economy class seems to be quite popular though.
exchanged many words and glances with Mindy. I was not used to the descent to
Changi Airport, so I threw up into the throw-up bag. I felt a bit embarrassed,
but Master Gawd did not seem to mind.