Hotspots And Dodgy Places: Travel Through North Korea, Sudan And Distant Places


Tan Wee Cheng, Singapore

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Obtainable online from the following sources:

Direct from the publisher, Marshall Cavendish Asia

Among Singaporean travellers, Tan Wee Cheng has been to the most number of countries, according to the Singapore Book of Records 2008. His country/territory count is 180 to-date. In his second collection of travel stories, entitled “From Orchard Road To Pyongyang And Khartoum – Tales from Hot Spots and Nasty Places”, Wee Cheng brings the readers to hot spots that they read in news headlines. 

He begins his journey visiting the Dear Leader’s bizarre flower show in Pyongyang and attempting to understand the isolated communist kingdom that is North Korea; then crossing recent battlefields and a confusing array of religious and ethnic fault lines in Lebanon and the Balkans (including Albania and the former Yugoslav states of Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Republika Srpska, Croatia, Montenegro and Kosovo); having tea with friendly locals in the neighbourhood of Osama bin Laden’s Yemeni ancestral home village; exploring prehistoric cave paintings with Tuareg tribesmen in the Libyan Sahara as well as the revolutionary rhetoric of Libyan leader Gaddafi; playing Indiana Jones among ancient Nubian pyramids and tombs merely a few days after a Darfuri rebel attack on the Sudanese capital of Khartoum; and visiting the bewildering exuberance and contradictions of ancient, classical and modern-day Iran.

Equally at home with hardcore backpacking, mid-range independent travel and comfortable business tripping, Wee Cheng has been able to meet a diverse range of personalities and experience unusual encounters and events that we can only imagine.

Wee Cheng had been an auditor, a London-based investment banker, a financial regulator and chief financial officer of a listed company. He is currently an adjunct associate professor at the National University of Singapore. 

As a history enthusiast and a keen observer of politics and economics who have worked in cross-border business and finance, Wee Cheng has incorporated in the book his thoughts and conversations with ordinary people he met during his journeys - about the history, politics, business and social-economic conditions of the countries he visited. 

Through long-forgotten characters and bizarre coincidences of history, as well as the personal stories of present-day individuals that he encountered in his journeys, Wee Cheng turns these faraway lands alive, and convinces the reader that these nations are more than just places in the news.

Wee Cheng’s first book, The Greenland Seal Hunter, published by Marshall Cavendish in 2004, was a collection of his travel stories from countries such as Greenland, Iceland, Siberia, Madagascar, Comoros, Mongolia and Colombia.