Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tropical Affairs: Indochine -- racing boat scene

On the set of racing boat scene in Indochine.  Robert Raymer at left with Siggi and friend on the footbridge that the French built.

Robert Raymer with actress Linh Dan Pham

Linh Dan Pham took this black and white photo of Siggi and me and sent me the photo from the Netherlands

In Indochine, I had also been in the racing boat scene, which was set in Parit, Perak, a place I knew well, since it was one kilometer from my former mother-in-law’s house.

The French constructed a footbridge, made from solid timber, painted white with three evenly-spaced peaked, blue roofs, linking the town to the islet in the middle of the Perak River. They also constructed a matching gazebo on the islet and a dock for the racing shells. The race was between a French Navy crew led by actor Vincent Perez and a group of Indochinese plantation workers employed by the character portrayed by Catherine Deneuve, who received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

On the day of the filming, the current was swift, and during one of the takes, the eight-oared racing shells (brought to Malaysia from Hong Kong) got too close and collided. For several tense moments, since they had no back¬ups, everyone watched in silence as the various experts and consultants checked out the damage.

In order to take close-ups of the rowers and the race itself, the movie camera had to be mounted onto a pair of sturdy rubber rafts that had been strapped together. Not only did the rafts have to support all of the heavy equipment but also the director, Regis Warnier and several technicians needed to make the shooting a success.

Meanwhile members of Saigon’s high society, portrayed by expats from Kuala Lumpur, Butterworth, and Penang, myself included, were dressed in period costumes from the 1930’s – suspenders, hats, vests, seer¬sucker suits or navy uniforms – watched the race from the bridge, cheering the rowers on to victory.

During the filming I became close friends with the actress Linh Dan Pham, and later we danced together at a Bastille Day party in Ipoh.

-excerpt from “Parit - A French Legacy”, Tropical Affairs: Episodes of an Expat's Life in Malaysia

*Here is a link to another Indochine post about the Christmas Party scene.  In the future, if the interest is there, I'm considering posting both complete articles

**Looks like I have another French connection.  Lovers and Strangers Revisited, my collection of short stories set in Malaysia, has been translated into French by Éditions GOPE!

*Update, the 20th anniversary of Lovers and Strangers Revisited, my collection of short stories set in Malaysia

**Update: Book orders for Trois autres Malaisie  E-book orders.  Or recommend it to your friends, especially those who would like to know more about Malaysia or have an interest in Southeast Asia.
Here's a link to the intro and excerpts, and to four reviews of Trois Autres Malaisie in,,, and Petit Futé mag.

***Here’s an update to the French blog about Trois autres Malaisie and my meeting the French translator Jerome Bouchaud in Kuching, and my involvement in a French documentary for Arte (June 2017) on The Sensual Malaysia of Somerset Maugham.

Here are links to some of my author-to-author interviews of first novelists:

Ivy Ngeow author of Cry of the Flying Rhino, winner of the 2016 Proverse Prize.

Golda Mowe author of Iban Dream and Iban Journey.

Preeta Samarasan author of Evening is the Whole Day

Chuah Guat Eng,  author of Echoes of Silence and Days of Change. 


Beheaded on Road to Nationhood: Sarawak Reclaimed—Part I 


thelostfollower86 said...

zaini look heaps like you

BorneoExpatWriter said...

Thanks. I hope that's a compliment for him!