Dear friends, 2013 has been a crazy, fun, wild year. For the first time since college in the US, I spent more of the year outside than inside Singapore, my home. In completing my longest research trip to date, I travelled overland more than 20,000 km from Kaniyakumari at the southern tip of India to Beijing in China, crossing Nepal and the Tibetan plateau in the process.
Having spent more than six months in China and India, I now know much more about life in both countries; and yet, have also been made painfully aware of how much more I have to learn. The research will continue next year. (For more on my book project, please see here.)
There are many people I have to thank for making this trip possible, and for helping me along the way. It may seem premature to do this before I have even started writing the book. But the publishing world is a fickle one, and I would like to say thanks regardless of what happens next.
The ones I can’t name include you, dear reader, for clicking on my frivolous blog posts and occasionally sending me comments and feedback; and all the incredibly friendly people I met in China and India.
I must, however, name the people who financially supported the project, as well as those who were part of my team. Without them, none of this would have been possible.
People in both groups took a big risk. The former because I am sure there are many wiser ways to invest one’s money than in a novice writer’s jaunt across Chindia. The latter because I know that these talented people sacrificed other projects in order to follow and help me.
So, a very big thank you. I’ll do my best not to disappoint you.
Ho Beng Huat
Sat Pal Khattar
Singapore’s National Arts Council (NAC):
It’s only right that I thank all Singaporean taxpayers, because it’s your arts money that has been chanelled towards this project. Additionally, I want to say thanks to the NAC for supporting this project, after being unable to fund my first project, Floating on a Malayan Breeze.
Then, NAC told me that my book had “the potential to undermine the Singapore government”, so they couldn’t support it. It was, of course, hugely disappointing for me that my country’s arts council distanced itself from my very first book. But now, happiness! Good to have NAC’s support for my second project.
Eddie Choo, who provided research assistance
Jeffrey Chu, who travelled with me in Nepal as well as Chengdu to Shanghai
Kirit Kiran, who travelled with me for six months, from Kaniyakumari to Beijing
Julia Lee, who travelled with me from Shanghai to Weifang
Arjun Nihalani, who provided research assistance
Tan Kane Juan, who travelled with me in Nepal and Tibet
And, saving the best for last, my dear wife, Ho Li Ling. Thanks for putting up with my six-month absence! (Although she had gotten so used to not having me around that my presence again was a bit disruptive, ha.)
Thank you, everybody. I feel blessed. Here’s to a great new year!