Troubador Of Dancing Lights

Interview with Brad Aldridge on 5AA Radio

Released: 28/07/2017

ISBN: 9781788033060

Format: Paperback

Review this Book

Of Dancing Lights


This graphic memoir follows Eddie Ng’s life, spanning 60 years, with settings in Hong Kong, Canada and Australia. The story begins with the history of his clan, and then weaves through his childhood and early adulthood in the burgeoning post-war British colony of Hong Kong. This memoir demonstrate Eddie’s strength to rise above difficulty and his determination to make a life in the wider world. Of Dancing Lights takes an in-depth look at Chinese culture in post-war British Hong Kong, referencing Chinese traditions and religious beliefs. It is one of few books that describe Hong Kong immediately after the Second World War, explaining how people lived and why they chose to migrate away from the city. Eddie also makes reference to modern China’s global influence and explores how this has affected his life in Australia. Of Dancing Lights offers a unique look at how the global role of China has changed so that the country has become a global influencer. Written with rich descriptions and an irrepressible sense of humour, Of Dancing Lights will appeal to a wide range of readers. It contains a unique perspective of post-war period in Hong Kong that historians will find fascinating. The book also has a feel-good factor with Eddie’s love of life and will be enjoyed by readers who enjoy a happy ending.

The quirky writing style is off-putting at first but if you persevere with the book you will be well rewarded.

‘Of Dancing Lights’ tells us about the author’s comparatively privileged early years in Hong Kong culminating with his graduation from HK University. The mood darkens at times, especially when the Cultural Revolution in China sparks street riots in Hong Kong. And it is above all this event that leads the author to decide that life would be much better for him in the West, ultimately moving permanently to Australia.

The book is well worth reading for its graphic account of how the author’s life unfolds. But its even greater fascination is the view that it gives us into his mind and, probably, the minds of most who have similarly moved from the Far East to the West. Unlike refugees, he and the others were not fleeing for their lives and, after a while in their new “utopia”, many soon began to hanker after various things they now missed. Some found the pull so great that they returned home. Others, the author included, have stayed put but still need to keep repeating to themselves the reasons why they made the move in the first place.

Anyone in the West with a neighbour, friend, colleague or client who emigrated from the Far East really should read this book.

by Tom Delbridge

An absolutely fascinating story about a very interesting man,gives an excellent insight into the post war growth of Hong Kong, its people and their relationship with mainland China.
The migration to Australia from Hong Kong is a great insight as to how the two cultures differ greatly and how he made the made the transition makes it extremely interesting.
Thoroughly recommended.

by John Parkin

Of Dancing Lights is the first book written by my dentist Eddie Ng, and it is simply full of romance, humour and intrigue. Eddie has been my dentist for many years and he is superb in that role, now I have discovered he is a great author as well. The book commences with Eddie being born in Hong Kong in 1951, and surprisingly he can recall being in his cot, sucking on sweet formula, and gazing at the mobile above him which was revolving and chiming. His parent's were affluent, and thus a privileged life was to be expected. He had a Nanny to look after him, and Eddie clearly was devoted to her as she was to him. He believes that she was the person who influenced and moulded his personality to the person he is today. Eddie takes us on his journey, throughout his early years, his education, travelling to Canada, and finally coming to South Australia where he graduated in 1977 at the University of Adelaide. Eddie is a man with so many talents apart from being an excellent Dentist. His many hobbies & interests include photography, cooking, fishing, fine dining, gardenings (with his array of orchids), travelling, his felines, and of course most importantly his first and only grandchild George who lives with his parents in the U.S.A. I personally enjoyed learning more about Chinese culture, and I also loved the way Eddie writes about his beautiful wife Shui Lin, his Angel on earth. A very interesting and amusing story from beginning to end.

by Pamela Skurray

I just finished your book last night, and have been deeply and genuinely impressed.
Your depth of knowledge about Hong Kong and China - the history and culture is extensive, and you have conveyed much of it effortlessly, relating it well to personal and family history and experience.
Your memory is prodigious and I am astonished at the further research that you must have undertaken.
Also coming through your avowed optimism is an undercurrent and hints of difficult times. You have been very brave in revealing so much about yourself.
You are right to thank Tom Delbridge for ruthless editing - I fully understand your "humour" might have been a bit off the rail at times. And Sandra for helping you with a structure which makes it so coherent and easy to read.
Anne Simpson - retired Associate Professor in English Literature, University of South Australia, Australia.

by Anne Simpson

A delightful read that evokes many fond recollections of life in Hong Kong, a British colony at the time. Adding up little things in life, one gets the big picture history. The author’s relation with his nanny tugs at readers’ hearts. Trivial mundanities prove to be the best way to nurture a caring relations, not material extravagance or money. Author was equally frank in his relationship with his parents and the detrimental effect of corporal punishment.

We learn of the author’s impressive list of talents: Music, photography, orchids (a collection into the thousands), poetry writing, culinary art, etc. In addition, he managed to build a successful dental practice and nurture a loving family.

His choice to emigrate, experience of having to adjust to an unfamiliar culture, and how he grew to love his adopted country resonate in the minds of all those in our generation who went through similar experience. It serves as a good read for the younger generation.

by Bookaholic

I recently finished reading Eddie Ng's book titled ‘Of Dancing Lights’. While declaring that Eddie is both my dentist and friend I found his book a compelling and genuinely interesting story. It provides a vivid reflection of Eddie’s life from his birth in Hong Kong, through to his tertiary studies in Canada and then to Australia where he eventually settled in the 1970’s. While light and humorous in places it also delves deeply into his family background along with the rich history of the development of HK and China. Like so many who have come to settle into a new country their observations and contributions adds much to having a better understanding of ourselves and indeed our place in the world. This is an eloquently written book that readily holds the attention of the reader with each written word, paragraph and chapter. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Of Dancing Lights and readily recommend it to those who enjoy reading autobiographies that go beyond a lighthearted treatment of their life story.

by Kevin Scott

This book is grand! Although it is Eddie's journey through life, it isn't an ordinary memoir. Through skilful depiction of the interplay of his inner and outer worlds, the readers are taken back to the scenes to sample not just the intensity of his emotions but the nuance of the eras. There are moments that make me cry, others make me laugh, and mostly feel warm in the heart. The silky yet wicked play-of-words alone demands the book to be savoured over and over again and therefore highly recommended.

by Angie Han

What a lovely book, with wonderful descriptive text, I could envisage everything through the authors eyes - It should be used for teaching. It is written with such passion and love, the feelings radiated through me as I read it, sometimes tears of happiness or sadness and sometimes a giggle or two. If we had half the passion and love for life as Eddie, we would all be far more successful in anything we attempted. Hope you are inspired to write more in the future.

Pamela Parkin

by Pamela Parkin

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