Growing up in an idyllic hamlet in the 1960s much time was spent roaming in my grandpa’s library in a four-story post-Colonial shop house in Pudu, KL. The books were left behind or donated by the previous tenants.

Starting with detective stories such as The Three Investigators, The Famous Five and Hardy Boys in my primary school years and moving on in my lower secondary school years to Ian Fleming ‘s James Bond, novels by Wilbur Smith, Alistair Maclean, Robert Ludlum and Eric Van Lustbader, the adventures of Biggles, western novels by Zane Grey, naval stories of Hornblower and Ramage, and Tales of Tarzan borrowed from public libraries , these were the pleasures of my formative years together with a passion for chess.

As I progressed in my career and years, I find myself gravitating towards non-fiction genres such as biography, history, culture and arts, and a penchant for the simple life that is best epitomised by the Japanese wabi-sabi philosophy and Haiku tradition.

Haiku emerged in ancient Japan. It is an unrhymed poem of 17 syllables arranged in three lines of 5,7, and 5 syllables. The Old Pond by Matsuo Basho is the best-known Haiku in English translation

Furuike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto
– Basho, circa 1686 – 1691

The old pond–
a frog jumps in,
sound of water.

The Old Pond FB and Blog are a Homage to the spirit of Haiku. I shall share reviews of the books I have read, and some musings on chess. I wish to encourage more people to rediscover the joy of reading.