Tag Archives: John Duigan

Asia hands

In the early-nineties, I lived for several years in Vientiane, the sun bleached, run down capital of one of the more remote countries in Asia, Laos. One of my acquaintances in the small expatriate community was a man who’d fled Australia after being accused of embezzling money from several companies.

He spent most nights drinking with a pack of other Australians and their mostly Lao girlfriends at a bar that circled a large fountain in the city’s centre. Drunk he exhibited an air of menace; otherwise he could be entertaining company. He knew a lot about Laos. Obviously, he also had contacts in government that enabled him to stay despite being wanted back in Australia.

He was the first, but by no means last, person I met in the six years I spent in Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand who could be given the title ‘Asia hand’.

The Asia hand has usually been a minor character Western crime films set in Asia, the drunken Westerner propping up the bar in some seedy hotel or proffering false information or documents. Two films that explore in more detail the themes embodied in the persona of the Asia hand are Peter Bogdanovich’s 1979 Saint Jack, based on the Paul Theroux novel of the same name, and the little known 1982 Australian thriller, Far East.… Read more

Crime Factory issue 6 is now live


Issue six of the on-line zine Crime Factory is out and available here.

Yeah, I know, it’s been a while but let me assure all of you the wait has definitely been worth it.

In addition to the usual avalanche of short crime fiction, issue six has some great features, including one from my partner in crime, Angela Savage, who takes us behind the scene in the writing of her latest novel, The Half Child.

There’s also my regular column on crime fiction and film from or about Asia, Setting Sun. I look at two little known films that explore the persona of the Asia Hand, Peter Bogdanovich’s 1979 picture, Saint Jack, and the 1982 Australian film by John Duigan, Far East, starring local action icon Bryan Brown and Helen Morse.

And while you’re here let me pull on your coat about something. The overworked folks at Crime Factory have brought in some extra labour to help out around the place, including yours truly, who is now reviews editor. If you’ve got a book or e-book you want reviewed, drop me at line at crimefactoryreviews<at>gmail<dot>com.

I’m also interested in getting some more bodies to review film and books. Again, if you’re keen drop me a line. … Read more