Does home have to be a country or a city? … Or is home this house or that? We have been fortunate…We seemed always to have been home.
Wang Gungwu, historian of grand themes and broad perspectives, has held positions in universities around the world, from London and Cambridge to Kuala Lumpur, Canberra, Hong Kong and Singapore. This second volume of his memoirs, written with his wife Margaret, continues the very personal story begun in Home is Not Here.
Wang’s account of his years at the University of Malaya, captures the excitement, the ambition ― and the naïveté ― of young English-educated elites being prepared for leadership by the departing colonial power. He introduces us to some outstanding personalities of this founding generation of two nations, including young medical student Mahathir Mohamad.
We also see these years from Margaret’s perspective, her own fascinating family story, and her impressions of this young bearded poet. The exploration of the emotional and intellectual journey towards the formation of an identity, treasured by readers of Home is Not Here, extends in this volume into an appreciation of love, family life, and the life of the mind.
Wise and moving, this is a fascinating reflection on identity and belonging, and on the ability of the individual to find a place amidst the historical currents that have shaped Asia and the world.