Video Night in Kathmandu: And Other Reports from the Not-so-far East
by Pico Iyer
When Pico Iyer began his travels, he wanted to know how Rambo conquered Asia. Why did Dire Straits blast out over Hiroshima, Bruce Springsteen over ... Show synopsis When Pico Iyer began his travels, he wanted to know how Rambo conquered Asia. Why did Dire Straits blast out over Hiroshima, Bruce Springsteen over Bali and Madonna over all? If he was eager to learn where East meets West, how pop-culture and imperialism penetrated through the world's most ancient civilizations, then the truths he began to uncover were more startling, more subtle, more complex than he ever anticipated. Who was hustling whom? When did this pursuit of illusions and vested interests, with its curious mixture of innocence and calculation, turn from confrontation into mating dance? Iyer travelled to Bali where, despite its notoriously spoiling tourism, he realized that Paradise might not be lost after all. China, trumpeting its first case of AIDS, was throwing open doors of trade with breathless courtesy. The ragged population of the Philippines at the end of the Marcos era sang along to "We are the World" in sight of US military installations. Burma, in its efforts to lock out the modern world, had locked in the Raj, and in Hong Kong a crowded new multinational empire of industrial Yuppies was poised to rule the future. In the land where movies and politics respond to the same need for mythical figures, the movie star had become a god and Rajiv Gandhi a celluloid hero. The Japanese were in the midst of a baseball craze, but only in order to demonstrate that, as with Western technology, the game can be played more efficiently in the land of the Rising Yen. Iyer introduces a wide variety of individuals and the reader discovers the seductions and ironies of today's Asian culture - and of our own.