The magic of the East has fascinated westerners for centuries, no doubt to the bafflement of some local people struggling to make their living in often arduous circumstances. In Merdeka Martin Robson states:
"You know that there are days and nights when I have to pinch myself to remind me that I am being paid to live in such a lovely place. They say, you know, that that you don't choose the East, rather the East chooses you. The climate, the smells, the people, the land......... something catches you and then you have it forever.'
In his evocative book The Soul of Malaya (first published in English in 1931) Henri Fauconnier writes:
'These Malays are interesting. So is the jungle. Trees, nothing but trees. A monotonous country. One enters it... and finds the enchanted forest.'
If you don't live there, there is only one way to find out how you feel about it..... get on a plane!