Roger Uren's book, "To Eastern Lands", received an Australian launch.
ROGER UREN was born in Melbourne in 1947. After secondary school he worked for almost a year in India, and then undertook a Law/Arts course at MelbourneUniversity, which included Indonesian, Mandarin Chinese, Asian history and a course at the Mandarin Training Centre in Taipei. He joined the Australian Foreign Service in 1974 and had diplomatic postings toKuala Lumpur,Beijing andWashington.
In Washingtonhe wrote a biography of Kang Sheng, the key figure in the creation of the Communist Chinese intelligence service. While searching for material about Kang Sheng he met Sheri Yan, who had been a reporter on China National Radio and was then studying English in Washington. They subsequently married and she inspired some of the later verse in "To Eastern Lands", the first book of his published under his own name.
In 1993 he transferred to head the Asia Branch at the Office of National Assessments, the Australian agency analyzing international affairs. He left government service in 2001 and joined Hong Kong-based Phoenix Satellite Television, the world's major broadcaster of international news in Chinese.
TO EASTERN LANDS features prose, photographs and verse from the 1960s onwards about a Melbourne boy who became increasingly involved in Asia. The prose introduction sets out the social, cultural and intellectual context in which this young Melbournian matured and developed from grammar school student to diplomat and author.
The verse reflects an array of issues. The early verse describes the pleasures of time at the sea and the philosophical questions that confront a grammar school student. The later verse captures the impressions formed by time spent inIndia, Malaysia, China, Japanand other Asian countries. The focus expands from personal and romantic relationships through to diplomatic incidents and international politics, including satirical views of the often cliché-laced language of politicians and academics.
The photographs of people and places are contemporary with the prose and verse and illustrate them.
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