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Interview with Philip George

Philip is a swashbuckling, catch-the-moment, ride-with-the-waves character.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself that not many people know.
When I’m gone I want my ashes to be spread on my beloved dog George’s grave overlooks the Apuan and the Appenine mountains from my garden.

Q.2 What inspired you to share your story with the world?
I wanted to share the colors of my life.

Q.3 According to you, what’s the essence of Racket Boy: Where’s My Country?
Take it to the limit.

Q.4 How do you describe your writing experience with Geetha K? If you have any different opinion on a particular situation, how did you resolve it?
We struck it off straightaway and the synergy was perfect so there were no ripples whatsoever. Nothing that couldn’t be resolved with a simple discussion. Like I say in my book Geetha was gift-wrapped and sent from heaven.

Q.5 What do you want readers to take away from your book?
Discipline and hard work when put into something that you’re good at can never fail to take you to where you want to go. There’s just one of you, just go out and do it.

Q.6 What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given to you?
Go for it lad, but take your time and go easy on it - Geoffrey Knowles.

Q.7 What were your feelings when you first saw the cover page of your book?
Nothing really. The excitement and fulfillment were with the journey of the book.

Q.8 Throughout your memoir, you detail your experiences in various countries and cultures. How do you believe these experiences have shaped your identity and perspective on life?
There’s beauty and goodness in every country. England gave me confidence and was the making of me; something that can never be taken away from me. Italy stirs my soul spiritually. Malaysia will always be my foundation stone.

Q.9 The theme of resilience shines through your narrative. Can you elaborate on some of the challenges you faced in life and how you overcame them?
I sought reprieve by running while training to be a psychiatric nurse in a grim, gloomy hospital environment. It became a constant in my life and I do it to date, come rain or snow. I faced deportation from England within 30 days and that was when I discovered the value of my many English friends who came to my rescue because I wholeheartedly gave my all to England and became one of them.

Q.10 Badminton serves as a recurring motif in your memoir. How did your passion for the sport influence your life trajectory?
It was the tool that gave me confidence as I was so good at it. In a country where sports is regarded as very important, badminton opened doors for me to enter the inner sanctum of English society at a time when there were very few non-white people in middle England where I lived for more than four decades. The racket led me to my mentor Geoffrey Knowles and to law.

Q.11 Reflecting on your experiences, what advice would you offer to immigrants or individuals navigating cultural identity and belonging?
Drop your fears, open your mouth, and be prepared to assimilate not just mixing. Don’t just focus on excelling in education or business or “being successful”.

Q.12 How does being a brown in white dominant world feel?
Not easy. All the more reason for your voice to be heard.

Q.13 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
Yes. As much as I enjoy positive feedback, I also appreciate negative reviews as being a civil litigator I always play devil’s advocate so it’s important for me to understand differing views.

Q.14 Who designed your book cover? What was the selection process?
I did it with Geetha. The photo was taken in a small studio in my village in Italy. I wanted it to reflect my simple yet elegant style.

Q.15 If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your memoir?
It’s an honest book and my story as is. I won’t do it any differently. I have embraced every challenge and adventure that came my way, seizing opportunities for growth and exploration, and I am happy to be where I am because of those good and bad turns in my life.

Q.16 Do you believe in writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with it?
I don’t. I treat my body and my mind like my temples and am always alert. Don’t suffer from blocks.

Q.17 Do you have any quirky or interesting writing habits?
When I get an idea I have to get it out straightaway otherwise I lose that moment, so even if I’m driving I’d pull over and make notes.

Q.18 How do your friends or family feel about your book or writing venture in general?
Most of my English friends have not taken to the book that much as they feel I have been “unkind to England”.

Q.19 What are your favorite books from other authors and why?
A. William Wilberforce’s The Life of the Great Anti-slave Campaigner
. It’s a book about humanity written by one of the greatest orators in history.

Q.20 Share the experience of your writing journey so far?
Very positive that I’ve begun work on my second book to be called Routa 40 at 72 after my recent 3-month solo trip around Argentina.

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