J.R. Robertson is a good friend of mine. I usually call him John. He often travels to Laos since 2002. Recently he autographed and gifted me his book, "The Journey of Two Lao Students". I managed catching up with him on few questions.
Ivan: What is this book all about?
John: Well, it started out as a magazine article and then I was persuaded to make it into book, which was a bit difficult at first. But when I put the book together, it seemed to me that it was mostly is about the education of disadvantaged young people from remote villages in Laos.
Ivan: What was the biggest challenge in writing this book?
John: Getting it to hang together as a coherent narrative.
Ivan: What do you intent to do with the proceeds of the book?
John: Luckily the book has already been paid for. What I want is donations for the Buddhist temple school in Luang Prabang where these two students where taught when they were novice monks. Any money from this book will go straight to the them, not to me. If you are looking for a guideline, a donation of RM20 will be a nice sum. But more will be welcome. All will be carefully accouned for and reciepts will be obtained from the Buddhist monastery school in Luang Prabang.
Ivan: Do the students still need assistance and sponsorship for further education?
John: Yes, very much so. And there are still many students who won't be able to progress to high school or higher education without sponsorship from an outsider. I hope the sale for this book will help them.
Ivan: Any plans for your next book?
John: Yes. I have been asked to write a book about a naval battle which took place in Penang 100 years ago. I was approached by the Penang Heritage Trust who are building up the Penang heritage image, since it became a UNESCO world heritage site. It is one of the famous international incidents that occurred in Penang. Therefore it should be interesting for foreign tourists from many different countries who were actually involved there. That includes Russia, France, Britain, Japan, Germany, Netherlands and even Singapore.
If you are interested on this book, you can contact the publisher, Trafalgar Publishing House. Alternatively, they can contact the author through me. He is hoping that in future, the book will be listed with Amazon. it has an ISBN number, 978-983-43245-3-7. Then you can get it online.