Archive | January 2016

Petak Sembilan comic sketch of yours truly…

So last week I was in Petak Sembilan in Glodok, one of the oldest parts of Jakarta and the location of the Chinatown of old Batavia–and one of my favorite places in Southeast Asia!

With me was Sheila, a very talented Indonesian comic book artist and part of the team that is working on a comic book adaptation of my novel Singapore Black, part of my hard-boiled Malaya trilogy published by Monsoon Books.

Sheila made this quick sketch of me in one of the alleyways, eating noodles and sipping sweet white tea.

My phone’s in my hand because I was getting updates on the Jakarta terror attack which happened just south of us.

This gives you some idea of the awesome illustrations you can expect from the comic adaption of my novels. I’m working with a great team!

Learn more about my novels and buys copies, visit my website:


Publication in PHILAO

I’m very pleased and proud that an article I co-authored with my pal Dr. Paul Bruthiaux is now published in PHILAO. It’s an overview of the articles assigned to Alfred Raquez in the journal Revue Indochinoise from 1902 to 1906 in three different period bibliographies. The sources and our article are in French…bien sûr….but I’m working on a peer-reviewed journal article that will appear in English…some day…maybe….


Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 12.00.51 PM

I’ve got the microfilm for the years in question (expensive; sent from Harvard) the next step is reading all these articles and writing up little annotations.

To do this,  I’m jerry-rigging a microfilm reader/copier at home with a lightbox, Canon DSLR, and a macro lens.


Vers l’avant!

Micro Film 1

Alfred Raquez real name revealed!

Alfred Raquez’s real name is a secret no more!

As part of my on-going research into Alfred Raquez, I stumbled upoon an article that reveals his true name.

It has long been known that “Alfred Raquez” was a pseudonym, but the man’s true identity, and the reason for his using a pseudonym, have been persistent mysteries.

This article, from La Croix newspaper of 27 June, 1907, reveals that his name was “Gervais.” Here is an image of that article. The full issue of the newspaper can be downloaded from here.

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 9.59.55 AM


A fairly rough translation reads:



You probably have heard that Raquez, the explorer of Laos who died a few months ago in Marseille, where he had gone, on behalf of the government, to represent this part of the Indochinese Union in the Exhibition [of 1906]. NB: Raquez died on 10 January, 1907.

 But now we can say that Raquez was named Gervais, sentenced ten years ago, in absentia, for theft of twenty thousand francs the Catholic Circle North.

 Raquez was first went to China , and then he came to Tonkin and traveled across Laos. The Indochinese press is unanimous in blaming the act of ex-deputy Chaudey who found nothing better than to disclose Raquez’s true name in Le Courrier d’Haïphong. Guilty, Gervais was; but Raquez by ten years of work and struggle to the credit of France, he has not paid the fault of Gervais?


While research is on-going, there are a few candidates for this Gervais, most likely a Joseph Gervais who lived in Lille and was active in the Catholic community organizations there. Much like Raquez, who was identified as an doctor of law and “avocat” in later documents in Saigon, this Gervais is also an “avocat” and seems to disapper from local records in 1897. Raquez first surfaces in Indochine in 1898.

I’m working on a biographical/bibliographical article on Raquez for peer-review, so if anyone has any imput into this exciting new information, please let me know.







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