The Garret Tree
Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Chinese blogs

As part of CBC News' trip to Beijing, has posted a story on China's bloggers — and the restraints they impose on themselves.

See: China's blogs face the censor
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Thursday, January 20, 2005

Sonkrai update

Finally have enough operating grey cells to get back to work on the book, after a lot of time working on the tsunami coverage for

I worked on almost daily photo galleries and interactives on the story. For those you can go to the Asia Earthquake main page and check out the list of photo galleries and interactives on the right side.

Worth reading:Andrew Sullivan has continuing good comment on Abu Ghraib both on his Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish Blog and in a book review in the New York Times.
Atrocities in Plain Sight. In the Times piece Sullivan shows he gets it.
One quote: "The scandal of Abu Ghraib is a...sign of both freedom's endurance in America and, also, in certain dark corners, its demise." We know what happened because the U.S. military, to its credit, (with some prodding from The New Yorker and CBS), has released most of the information we know about what happened at Abu Ghraib. And as for
"the certain dark corners" that still exist in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo, if history is any guide, those actions are doing almost nothing to protect the world from further attacks, but rather confirming the widespread idea that the United States is the prime oppressor on the planet, rather than the beacon of freedom that George Bush boasts it is.
In the review, Sullivan also notes: "In fact, those with real responsibility for disaster were rewarded."— the opposite of the concept of commmand and political responsiblity that the United States has used to prosecute or criticize politicians, generals and even sergeants from its adversary nations.
In both the blog and the review Sullivan emphasizes the mixed message that the Bush administration was and is sending about "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of prisoners. As The Sonkrai Tribunal will show, history is repeating itself.

(A note on links. The New York Times keeps its book review links active, so that one should work. Sullivan, unfortunately, as far as I can tell, is behind in indexing his blog archive, so I am linking to the main page, rather than the specific posts on Abu Ghraib and torture.).

The Abu Ghraib book reviewed by Sullivan is Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib and the War on Terror by Mark Danner, New York Review of Books. and Truth Torture and Truth
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Wednesday, January 19, 2005
The Sonkrai Tribunal movie riddle:

I met both my movie trivia friends on Tuesday. With one, a university buddy, it was for dinner. The other guy, by coincidence, I met on the street.
Neither guessed the riddle out right. But when I went over the clues, the university buddy, was able to come up with two of the three movies. As I said, this little riddle is a tease. You have to know both movies and the characters in the book to get it.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2005
More Sonkrai Tribunal riddle clues

One friend has guessed wrong with the first set of clues.

(I am not going to post the correct answer on the blog. After all I want to promote the book!)

(and this is a bit unfair since this was uncovered in research for the book.)

The book takes place during the Second World War in Singapore before the fall of the city to the Japanese, a POW camp on the River Kwai and during the subsequent war crimes trials.

The characters/stories

One story with one character does take place during the Second World War.

The second story with the second character takes place five years after the end of the Second World War.

The third story takes place many years later as the third character is about to retire.

The Actor

The actor was nominated for academy awards three times.

The actor was nominated but did not win for one of the roles in the riddle.

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Monday, January 03, 2005
A riddle from The Sonkrai Tribunal and the movies

(I don't expect an complete answer right away, although I have sent this to two friends who are movie trivia experts to see if they can guess.)

One actor played three different characters from my book, in three different movies.

One character was based on the life of one man, two other characters were composites where the real-life character from The Sonkrai Tribunal is the core.

All three movies won multiple Oscars.

Who was the actor?

What were the three movies?

Who were the real life characters in my book?

You'll probably have to wait until it's published.
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I write in a renovated garret in my house in a part of Toronto, Canada, called "The Pocket." The blog is named for a tree can be seen outside the window of my garret.

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Name: Robin Rowland
Location: Toronto, Canada

I'm a Toronto-based writer, photographer, web producer, television producer, journalist and teacher. I'm author of five books, the latest A River Kwai Story: The Sonkrai Tribunal. The Garret tree is my blog on the writing life including my progress on my next book (which will be announced here some time in the coming months) My second blog, the Wampo, Nieke and Sonkrai follows the slow progress of my freelanced model railway based on my research on the Burma Thailand Railway (which is why it isn't updated that often) The Creative Guide to Research, based on my book published in 2000 is basically an archive of news, information and hints for both the online and the shoe-leather" researcher. (Google has taken over everything but there are still good hints there)

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