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Today’s Kindle Daily Deal — Tuesday, July 31 – Two Great Reads for Under $3 — Save 83 % on Noah Gordon’s Riveting Modern Classic The Physician, plus … Don’t miss Pardu Ponnapalli’s Just a Bunch of Crazy Ideas (Today’s Sponsor)

But first, a word from … Today’s Sponsor

Just a Bunch of Crazy Ideas

by Pardu Ponnapalli
4.8 stars – 42 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Don’t have a Kindle? Get yours here.

Here’s the set-up:

This book is about thoughts and ideas on a wide range of subjects. The topics include building a space elevator, new approaches to space travel, Star Trek reboot themes, ideas for energy conservation, what to do about our federal debt, modifying the game of chess and others. The following provides a quick overview of the chapters:

Chapter 1 Space Elevator
Chaper 2 Alternative Energies and Energy Conservation
Chapter 3 More Thoughts on Energy Conservation
Chapter 4 Gas Stations and filling up
Chapter 5 Luggage and Airplanes
Chapter 6 Thoughts on Chess
Chapter 7 Thoughts on Ice Hockey
Chapter 8 Thoughts on Cat Litter
Chapter 9 Our National Debt and Defecit
Chapter 10 I am overweight and so are most Americans
Chapter 11 Star Trek and Reboot
Chapter 12 Thoughts about Laptops
Chapter 13 Thoughts about Space Exploration
Chapter 14 Thoughts on the Stock Market
Chapter 15 Automatic Inform Systems for IT Workers
Chapter 16 Hikers who hurt themselves
Chapter 17 How to improve dishwashers

From the reviewers: 

“Pardu S. Ponnapalli, an IT specialist with a doctorate in physics, has devised ingenious and potentially world-changing ways to improve things. Many of Ponnapalli’s essays are intellectually challenging, short, well written and entertaining.” — Patty Sutherland, Foreword Clarion Review June 2011
Four Stars (out of Five)

“Ponnapalli’s crazy (impulsive, but fun and thought provoking) ideas cover some timely and popular topics; U.S debt and defecit, overweight, stock market, space exploration, alternative energies, cat litter and more. The book is easy to read.” — Recommended & Reviewed in The Mindquest Review of Books, by Lightword Publishing, August 2011

“The essays were well-written and mostly thought through. Based on his personal experience, they were enlightening and at times, laughable. More importantly, they make the reader take the time to think about our future, ponder on the problems, and look for the solutions we need.” — Teri Davis, BestSellersWorld.com, July, 2011

“Some of my fondest memories of university were those informal gab sessions in the common room. Just a Bunch of Crazy Ideas reminds me of those times.”Just a Bunch of Crazy Ideas presents some good ideas and some not so good ideas. Take them as you will. Laugh at them or be inspired by them.” — Tami Brady, TCM Reviews, July 22, 2011

“The act of brainstorming can result in new ideas and surprising results. The author ends each chapter with the words, “Discuss and enjoy!” That is exactly what the reader of this “bunch of crazy ideas” will do.” — Libby Grandy, The US Review of Books

From the author:

The purpose of this book is to share a bunch of “crazy” ideas. There is no claim that any careful research is done. It is more like a brainstorming session where any idea that comes to mind is presented. That is why you get a wide range of topics , from dealing with cat litter to exploring space.

You may wonder what the value of this is. Maybe the ideas are all not worth much in practical terms. Or perhaps there are some gems and some real bad ones. What’s the sense in me writing about these ideas?

Actually, I was wondering the same thing for many years. I have thought about writing this book for a lot of years , and never went through with it until recently.

I think we all start out when we are young thinking we are going to change the world. Especially in university, when I was studying physics, I had constant discussions with my colleagues about revolutionary ideas. As you get older, you settle down to a regular life that for the most part involves paying bills with the money you earn. Most of our energies start getting devoted to survival. Before you know it , you are wondering about managing retirement and you are left with a sense that somehow life passed you by.

The reason for this transformation from a wild eyed youngster with grand ideas to a well settled mortgage paying robot is fairly plain- most of us are just struggling to get by in life. Few of us have the luxury of picking and choosing what we do for a living. My own entry into the IT field was due to the inability of finding any physics related employment after doing a Ph.D. The job market was poor, and I looked around for a marketable job. I have done fairly well in my chosen profession, but I am constantly haunted by the thought that I was meant for something else. I suspect I have a lot of company in this regard.

It seems to me our sense of intellectual courage also wanes with age and seniority. We may have ideas that we think are worthwhile, but we dismiss them for the usual reasons:

People will think they are stupid (a perennial favorite).

I bet someone has thought of it already (yes, but they might not have voiced it ).

I want to stick to the safe stuff that’s in the realm of my expertise.

It all becomes a tedious cycle. We end up doing something by rote, or maybe finding just a few ideas in our chosen profession that are interesting, and being content to live out our lives without a sense of wonder or exploration.

So this book is my attempt to revive a sense of wonder and speculation.

Each day’s Kindle Daily Deal is sponsored by
one paid title on Kindle Nation. We encourage you to support our sponsors and thank you for considering them.

and now … Today’s Kindle Daily Deal!

The Physician (Cole)Kindle Daily Deal: The Physician
This riveting, modern classic follows young orphan Rob Cole’s exodus from the poverty and disease of 11th-century London. As he matures, Cole’s strange gift–an acute sensitivity to impending death–drives him to become a healer and travel to Persia’s Arab madrassas, home of the world’s only authentic medical schools.

Yesterday’s Price: $11.99
Today’s Discount: $10.00
Kindle Daily Deal Price: $1.99 (83% off)
Learn more

Kindle Nation Daily Historical Fiction Readers Alert! Travel To The Old West in Karen Baney’s A Dream Unfolding (Prescott Pioneers #1) – 4.6 Stars with over 35 Rave Reviews & Now Just $2.99

4.6 stars – 42 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

The promise of a new life and a chance to start over…

Hannah Anderson had the life she always wanted, married to the man of her dreams. When her husband’s brother gets in trouble with the law, the town turns against them, shattering her perfect life. Now they are left with only one choice–to head west to the Arizona Territory in the hopes of creating a new life. Will the journey be worth the cost?

Will Colter, after burying his father, is forced to leave the ranch he has called home for nearly thirty years. The journey is dangerous, challenging him and his men. Will he find the new life he was hoping for?

Or, is there a new dream quietly unfolding before their eyes?This Christian Historical Romance Fiction novel follows the journey of a couple, Drew and Hannah Anderson, as they travel from Cincinnati, Ohio to the newly created Arizona Territory in 1863. In their search for a new life, they encounter many dangers and joys along the way. They meet the governor of the territory and travel with his party, witnessing several historical events.

The story also follows Will Colter’s journey from Texas to the Arizona Territory when he is forced to leave his home. As this rancher drives his cattle across the wilderness, he and his men run into life-threatening situations. Throughout the move his dreams for his new ranch solidify.

Once the main characters arrive in the Arizona Territory, their paths cross and they must learn to adapt to wilderness living. Things are not exactly what they thought. Each character is challenged to rely on God to face dangers in a new, wild territory.

One Reviewer Notes

“Words can not convey how much I enjoyed Karen Baney’s debut novel. This book is based on the 1860’s and Karen’s writing style secure strong character development whilst also providing background on each. The further I read the more I desired to see the physicial and personal journey of each unfold. This book is a beautiful work of fiction that contains historical facts further bringing the story to life. It contains love, grief, friendships, and ultimately personal healing. I didn’t want the book to end, however, was very content with the ending. A beautiful book that I highly recommend.” – Amazon Reviewer, 5 Stars

About The Author

Karen Baney, in addition to writing Christian historical fiction and contemporary romance novels, works as a Software Engineer. Spending over twenty years as an avid fan of both genres, Karen loves writing stories set in Arizona.

Her faith plays an important role both in her life and in her writing. Karen and her husband make their home in Gilbert, Arizona, with their two dogs. She also holds a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University.

(This is a sponsored post.)

Like A Great Thriller? How About A Free Excerpt From This Week’s Thriller of The Week Gman: A Mormon Spy Story by Jason Jahns – 4.8 Stars With 6 out of 6 Rave Reviews

Just the other day we announced that Gman: A Mormon Spy Story by Jason Jahns is our Thriller of the Week and the sponsor of thousands of great bargains in the thriller, mystery, and suspense categories: over 200 free titles, over 600 quality 99-centers, and thousands more that you can read for free through the Kindle Lending Library if you have Amazon Prime!

Now we’re back to offer our weekly free Thriller excerpt:

Gman: a Mormon spy story

by Jason Jahns

4.8 stars – 6 Reviews
Or currently FREE for Amazon Prime Members Via the Kindle Lending Library
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

Nephi Stevensen is deeply compromised. A former Mormon missionary, he is now a student by day and a spy by night. Curious yet obedient, over-achieving Nephi strives to out-Bond James Bond even as his job is tearing him apart. With deep religious convictions and personal safety on the line, Nephi begins to question his commitment to his country. He works to extract himself from a blackmailed existence as a spy, even as he is rubbing shoulders with prime ministers, movie stars, and KGB agents. In Harvard Final Clubs, Mekong Swift Boats, Singaporean hawker centers, classrooms, ancient temples, and his girlfriend’s apartment, Nephi makes choices that bring him step by step closer to his final decision: embrace his inner-murderer or end it all…

Nephi’s story is told through the eyes of his 15-year-old son, Jake, who has never met his father. Jake is learning about Nephi for the first time while sitting in the basement sifting through a carefully arranged, hidden box of correspondence, diaries, and government documents. As son comes to know father, Jake also learns about himself – scared to death he may end up just like his dad.

And here, for your reading pleasure, is our free excerpt:

 

G MAN
A Mormon Spy Story

by

Jason Jahns

 

GMAN. Copyright © 2012 by North Star Books. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America.  No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

For information:

North Star Books, PO Box 55870, Phoenix AZ 85078 USA.

 

 

This book is a work of fiction.  Names, characters, companies, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

FIRST EDITION

Jahns, Jason

Gman: a Mormon spy story / Jason Jahns.

ISBN-13: 978-0-9847491-3-3

 

JaAke’s Blog

JaAke’s Blog

Posted July 7, 2006 at 4:37 pm

I know you guys never met my dad.  Me neither.

But I found a box full of stuff in the basement and he did something bad. Really bad. He’s writing about doing something and afraid that people will find “the body.” You guyz read this and tell me if u think he’s talkin about his own or someone else’s.  I can’t tell. Maybe thatz why I never knew him.

I wouldn’t have found the box if I wasn’t down there snoopin for my birthday prez. Da Momz would kill me for snoopin around.  So no sayin nuthin about this except on this site.  No phone texting. Someone could see ur phone.  No phone calls. Someone could hear u. I got this blog totally secured with passwords.  No writing down the passwords, that’s why I called u both and said it over the phone.  Even if u r tortured, u can NOT tell.  If you do, I will kill u!

Maybe I am JUST like my dad. 🙂

Today only had time to scan one sheet. It was lying on top of the rest. All I got time for. Scanned on Da Momz machine.  Posted it here next.

When u see it, you’ll know why I’m freakin.

Don’t worry, Smas, I made sure to delete the file from Da Momz computer—don’t want any accidents like you had with ur mom

No more time to look in the basement til Da Momz is out of da house on Monday.

If my dad was this kinda guy, what does that make me?

 

THE SCAN:

Date: November 19, 1989

I’m going to do it.  I know I’m going to hell.  But I’m going to have to do it.  It is the hardest decision of my life, but now it is made.  I’m a different person today than I was yesterday.  I don’t know who I’ll be tomorrow.

Everyone around me is as miserable as I am.  Maybe this is the way I can make a difference:  take one unhappy person out of the mix. I hope we’ll all be in a happier place tomorrow. Today I can at least stop some of the suffering.

I keep trying to justify this in a million ways. None are probably good enough though.

But at least they can’t bother me after this—none of them.  I’ll be through with them and on to the next stage of existence.

I hope some poor innocent doesn’t find the body—no one needs that trauma. But it’s one part of the plan that I can’t do anything about.  Whoever finds it, finds it.

My “new life” starts tomorrow. God willing, it will be better.

 

–. — .- -.

 

[dot-matrix print on yellowed perforated computer paper]

September 26, 1989

To: 59302,40021@compuserve.com (Wade Baker)

From: 10930,10278@compuserve.com (Nephi Stevensen)

Hello from Singapore!  Finally!  Sorry it took so long to contact you.  Getting set up here took a while, I did find a knock-off PC for US$200, but I haven’t quite got the modem successfully talking to both the CPU and the telephone yet; maybe a translation problem? I’m at a friend’s house tonight (and that’s the story I need to tell you!). Because his PC and modem are already set up, I can reach you immediately.

You’ll see why speed is so important when you hear all that has happened in the last day.  And you, Wade, are the only one I can tell.  I can’t send a letter to my parents, because it would take forever to reach them. And calling would be even worse; they would truly freak out.  Then there is the cost of a long distance call and I am out of money.

I really don’t have anyone here in Singapore who can help, either.  The Rotary Club is a joke!  I’m supposed to have a sponsor, but he hasn’t made the time to talk to me once since I got here.  (I literally sat outside his office for 5 hours one day … he simply wouldn’t come out.  I know he was in there because at one point, I saw takeout food being hauled in by his secretary!!!!)

But I have to tell someone, and who better than an aspiring lawyer and former roommate.  My life kinda hangs in the balance right now.

Okay—brief strokes here because there is WAY too much to tell, but I need you to understand.

I’m renting a room with a Chinese family, the Tings—their daughter went off to college in Australia so they rented her room out!  I pay S$300 (US$150) a month for the room and S$40 (another US$20!) a month for half a shelf of storage space in the refrigerator where I keep bread, peanut butter, and jam  (damn capitalists!).  If I run the air conditioning (one of those tacky window units) for too long, I get a knock on the door. I have to share the bathroom and “shower” (a spigot over the toilet) with the family’s amah (maid)!  She doesn’t like the arrangement, so she often locks herself in the toilet in the morning, leaving me to do my ablutions in a public restroom at the school before class!!!  (Boy did I get off track … all that was to say that I have a room!)

This morning, there was a frantic knocking at the door and high-pitched screeching of my name. Honestly, it sounded like Chinese opera. “NeeeeeeeFahhhhhhhheeeeeee.”  Mrs. Ting made a true diva entrance to tell me I had visitors at the front door.  She was in rare form—even for her … which I suppose is why it’s called rare form.  I just assumed that she didn’t like her renters to have friends … after all, no one had visited me before.  But I was perplexed. I really don’t know anyone in this country yet.  And the few acquaintances I do have, certainly don’t know where I live.  Then there was the time of day: who could possibly be wanting to see me at 7am?

Down the stairs from my little room, I found two guys wearing suits and ties just on the other side of the front door bars—all homes in Singapore seem to have locked bars so the air can flow through, but the riff-raff can’t. I thought they might be missionaries. But they were a bit too old … and not sporting the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” plastic name tags.

As I walked up to the bars of the front door, the duo—in a fluid, almost-pre-rehearsed, choreographed motion—removed wallets from their breast pockets, flipped them open, and held them up against the bars.  The bronze badges were shiny … and intimidating. One intoned the words, “We’re from the CID.”

I’ve heard of the British CID—Criminal Investigation Division—so I assumed this must be Singapore’s version.

They asked me to get my passport.  I ran back up the stairs to my room, my heart was pounding. As I rounded the corner, I saw all three Ting children and their mom, the screeching diva, pull their heads back into their rooms.  Downstairs again, I passed my passport through the bars.  The scrawnier of the two started paging through it.  He pointed at one page and said, in a simple, curious tone “What is this?”  He was not holding it close enough to the bars for me to really see, so I opened the latch to step outside and get a closer look. As I peered at the stamp, the second beefier guy stepped quickly behind me and gathered my arms into a bundle.  I can tell you from experience now: handcuffs are not comfortable.

Twenty minutes later, I was in a tiny interrogation room—all white … not clean, freshly painted white … scuffed up white—with originally white metal chairs that have been nicked with use over time.  There was a stocky flat-faced Mongolian looking guy in the room with me … and another guy who might have been Malay—dark skin or just really tan.  (I don’t know. I haven’t been here long enough yet to have all the races sorted out.) So anyway, the big guy started berating me.  His accent was thick and I really didn’t understand at first.  I really thought he was speaking Chinese to me.  But I finally caught a word or two of English and started to piece it together.

Seems I’m illegal in Singapore!  They had no record that the Rotary Club ever sent my papers to Immigration, so I’ve only been on a tourist visa all this time—and that time has now run out.  They found me just three days after it expired!  (Now that is an impressive Immigration enforcement system … but then again, this is a pretty small island.)

Back in the stuffy little room, the big guy kept telling me that I was going to have to leave Singapore.  I kept telling him that I was GLAD to leave, but that the Rotary Club was going to have to buy the ticket (as per my “contract” with the Rotary Fellowship Program).  He kept saying that wasn’t going to happen because “you need to leave immediately.”  I kept telling him that I had no money to leave.  Our disagreement was no different from a lot of the “discussions” you see on the street in Boston. I’m sure our voices were rising. And this discussion was going nowhere.

I don’t remember deciding to stand, or to yell.  It was almost as if my body decided to do those things without consulting with the brain first. In retrospect, my body should not have acted on its own.

Especially the standing up part.

Or screeching, “Then arrest me and deport me already!”

That wasn’t good either.

Did I mention how small the room was? We were all so tightly packed in there that just my starting to rise pushed the little table up and away—toward the Mongol cop. He was slouching in his chair, so the table edge bumped him lightly at about sternum height. But then as I continued to stand…the table naturally continued to lift…and slid up toward his neck. Without meaning to, I was choking a CID officer with his own table.

It was all like slow motion to me.  I saw it happening, but couldn’t stop it. He gasped. The other guy called for help.  Next thing, I’m facedown on the floor with CID guys pouring through the door and onto my back.

The moral of the story: Never yell at a CID officer!

I was dragged into a holding cell.  They even took my belt and shoes.  I was given a phone call, but really didn’t know who to call. I mean, who do I know here????  I didn’t have any phone numbers with me. (Fat chance my land ”lady” would do anything!)  I knew a few people at church, but didn’t have their numbers with me.  Finally, I took a long shot and called the father of one of my newfound friends. My friend, Li Gong, is a student at the university and we got talking in the library at school one day.  He’s a big Stephen King fan.  Later that week, he invited me to dinner at his home.  Turns out, Li Gong’s dad is a Minister in the government, so I figured someone at the CID would have his office number.  Li Gong’s dad’s secretary took a message for the important man’s son, and issued a perfunctory “I will make sure the Minister sees your message.”  With that dismissal, I just knew I was a dead man; I was going to languish away the rest of my life in a Southeast Asian jail.  I asked if I was able to call the US embassy as well.  The still seething Mongolian informed me that I had used my one call.

I was screwed.

Less than half an hour later, both Li Gong and his father walked into my cell.  The Minister got the CID to release me to the Minister’s home for the night—his place is surrounded by surveillance cameras and bodyguards anyway, so it isn’t like I’m going anywhere without a fight.

So that’s where I am tonight, waiting for a hearing tomorrow about both my passport (not a problem; they put me on a plane and I’m out of here!) and the “assaulting an officer” charges (that one has me scared).

Anyway, I’m gonna stop here.  I need to write my parents a letter, just in case, and hope they don’t get it until after this whole thing is cleared up.  But if you don’t hear from me in a few days, contact the embassy here, will you?  Who knows how bad Singaporean prisons can be!!!!

N

–. — .- -.

 

 

 

[Handwritten on white notepaper with light blue lines]

September 26, 1989

Dear Mom and Dad,

By the time you get this letter, I may already be back in Utah with you.  Or I may still be in Singapore, with everything resolved. But if you haven’t heard from me by the time you get this, you probably need to contact the U.S. Embassy in Singapore to find out where I am. 

It really should be fine—it’s only a problem with paperwork—but just in case, here’s what is happening. Tomorrow I have to go into a hearing about whether I can stay in Singapore.  The Rotary Club never filed the necessary paperwork, so I was invited to talk to the immigration authorities this morning. For some reason they grilled me for hours. 

Fortunately one of my new friends here is the son of a government Minister.  The Minister was nice enough to convince the immigration people to let me stay at his house tonight rather than in detention.   So I have a chance to send this letter just in case.

I’ve decided not to call you on the telephone, because I think everything will work out just fine.  I know how bad Mom’s heart problems are, and I don’t want to stress either one of you unnecessarily.  I’ll never forget that time when I went up flying with my college friend (who just got his pilot’s license and, as you’ll no doubt remember, forgot he had to close his flight plan once he had landed).  That call from the FAA, announcing that I was missing, must have been a huge scare.   I’d never heard so much relief in Mom’s voice as when she called the dorm and I answered.  I never want to frighten you unnecessarily again, so I thought maybe I shouldn’t call you quite yet. 

I’ve notified the American Embassy about my situation and they promised to have someone at the hearing tomorrow. 

If everything goes well tomorrow, September 27th, you will have heard from me long before you get this letter.  If you haven’t heard from me by the time this letter comes, could you please contact Mr. Thompson at the US Embassy in Singapore.  His number is 011-65-55-5555.  I’ll give him your contact information as well.  (Don’t try to contact the Rotary Club, they’re useless!)

I am sure Heavenly Father will be watching over me and what happens here.

I love you both so much and hope you’re well.  You’re the best parents I could ever hope for.

Love, Nephi

–. — .- -.

[Handwritten in pen on cardstock slightly crumpled]

September 27, 1989

Dear Minister and Mrs. Kwai,

I can’t begin to thank you enough for your kindness to a foreign student you had really just met. I wish our second meeting hadn’t involved “house arrest.”  That was terribly embarrassing, but you were so kind and the meal last night was as wonderful as dinner had been a week early under more pleasant circumstances.  I’m not sure how this “hearing” today is going to work out.  But I’ll never forget your kindness and willingfulnes

–. — .- -.

[dot-matrix print on yellowed perforated computer paper]

September 27, 1989

To: LIGONG@NUSVM

From: 10930,10278@compuserve.com (Nephi Stevensen)

Li Gong,

I hope you don’t mind, I’m writing to you from your own computer while you’re off at school this morning.  I didn’t want to disturb you with all this before your test, but I thought that by the time you got back home and checked your email, the test would all be over.

I don’t know how to express my thanks to you. This note is nowhere close to enough, but I’m not sure I’ll ever see you again.  (I know, that sounds melodramatic, and your Dad believes this is all just procedure, but I’m scared to death.)

All these questions keep running through my head.  What if we had never met?  What if your Dad hadn’t been who he is?  What if you hadn’t been kind enough to have me over for dinner already, before all this happened? Li Gong, I feel so very lucky to have become your friend—not only because you and your family helped me out so much, but because you and I have so much in common.

No matter what happens, I’ll always be in debt to you. But I just want to say right here and now, our friendship means much more. If I’m not shipped home or imprisoned, I hope we can get a lot closer.  I’m feeling lots of emotions right now and some of them are probably totally messed up; but if you still want to hang out with a lawless American, just say the word.

I hope your exam went well today.  I’ll call or write—or, who knows, maybe I’ll be under arrest at your house again tonight. (a much more pleasant thought than my Ting family cell … or any other cell)

Neph

–. — .- -.

 

[Transcript of Interrogation on laser printed bond paper]

September 27, 1989

Case number 23985

Present: Nephi Lillywhite Stevensen, US Citizen, interrogatee; Mr. Ronald Thompson, US Embassy Consular Division; Captain Richard Chang and Detective Bo Chang Hwi, interrogators.

Chang: This is an interview of Nephi Lillywhite Stevensen. United States citizen. Passport number B—bravo – 7834509. Case number 23985.  Mr. Ronald Thompson is present as a courtesy to the US government.

Chang:  Mr. Stevensen, for the record what are you doing in Singapore?

Stevensen: We’ve been all through this yesterday. I’m here as a Rotary Scholar, studying Chinese Language at Nanyang Technical Institute.

Chang: And why is it that you do not have a visa?

Stevensen: I thought I did have a valid visa. I filled out all of the paperwork for a visa. I was admitted to the country. Naturally I assumed that my visa had been approved.  I didn’t realize that there was anything else I needed to do.

Chang: Your entry card says that you arrived from Los Angeles?

Stevensen: That’s correct.

Chang: And you flew in on Thai Airways?

Stevensen: Yes.

Chang: So you made stops in Tokyo and Bangkok on the way to Singapore?

Stevensen: I did.

Chang: How much time did you spend on the ground in Thailand?

Stevensen: Exactly what has this got to do with my visa?

 

Chang: Please answer the question.  How much time in Thailand?

Stevensen: My plane got in late, I had about a six hour layover before my early morning flight to Singapore.

Chang: And what did you do during those six hours?

Stevensen: I was going to sleep in the airport.  But saw an advertisement for a Comfort Inn near the airport, so I called them and found they had a really cheap room for the night.

Chang: So when you wrote on your visa that your last port of call was Los Angeles, that was untrue.  You stopped in Bangkok.

Stevensen: Yes, technically that is true.

Chang: You do have two stamps in your passport from Thailand, both on the 4th of September.  An entry and an exit stamp, on the same day.

Stevensen: So I’m in trouble now because I wrote down the wrong airport that I flew to Singapore from?  How could that possibly matter?  Would you like me to change the immigration card for you?

Chang: Did you interact with anyone while you were in Thailand?

Stevensen: Let’s see, I did say thank you to the Immigration Officer there.

Chang: Are you trying to be funny?

Stevensen: Unsuccessfully, I guess.

Chang: Let’s try this again.  Did you talk to anyone in Thailand?

Stevensen: The hotel clerk and the immigration officer.  That’s all.

Chang: Where has the money been coming from that you’ve been living on?

Stevensen: I only have about 200 US dollars left.  I brought that money with me.

Chang: You live in a pretty nice place.  For the record, I’m referring to his condominium at 46 Carlton Rd in Buona Vista.

Stevensen: I only rent one small bedroom there.

Chang: Still the rent in a place like that must be 300 Sing a month.  Your nest egg will run out soon.  What will you do for money then?

Stevensen:   I’m supposed to be getting US$800 a month in stipend from the Rotary Club, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Chang: How much money did you bring in with you?

Stevensen: I cashed a check for US$600 at a Citibank branch right after I arrived.  That’s what I’ve been living on.

Chang: If the Rotary Scholarship money never came through, what would you do?

Stevensen: Go home, I guess.

Chang: How would you buy a ticket with only US$200?

Stevensen: I’d get my dad to wire some money.

Chang: You don’t have any other contingency plans?

Stevensen: No.  Not really. (long pause)  Are you trying to harass me here?  Is this because I accidentally knocked the table into the officer yesterday?

Chang:  That really is the least of your troubles.  Do you make a habit of attaching your personal belongings to the underside of desk drawers, Mr. Stevensen?

Stevensen: Huh? What desk drawer?

Chang: The one in your room at the Ting residence.

Stevensen: You’ve been in my room?

Chang: This was taped to the underside of a drawer on your desk. (placing a plastic bag on the table)

Stevensen: It looks like a piece of paper that was tossed in the garbage.  I certainly didn’t tape anything to the bottom of my desk drawer. How could that be important?

Chang: You know exactly what it is.   Let me take it out for you so you can see it better. (removing the paper from the bag with gloves)

Stevensen: Okay.  I see it now. But I’ve never seen it before now. Maybe it belongs to the Tings? To the Ting daughter who was in the room before me.

Chang: Why would the Ting daughter have a printed list of Thai escorts? Is this how you were planning to stay employed in Singapore?

Stevensen: Me? Escorts? I’m Mormon!

Chang: I should inform you that, in the Republic of Singapore, human trafficking is a capital offense.

Thompson: I need to advise Mr. Stevensen at this point that he should avail himself of the services of a lawyer.

Stevensen:  I don’t want a lawyer.  I’ve done nothing wrong.

Thompson: Mr. Stevensen, as this accusation is a serious offense in Singapore—at least a deportable one and possibly worse—I suggest that you be quiet at this point.  I can get you a list of legal professionals who help American citizens accused of criminal violations here.  I need to excuse myself now. I thought I was here for an immigration violation.  I will make arrangements with the proper staff members at the US Embassy to contact you.

Chang: Do you have anything more to say, Mr. Stevensen?

Stevensen: I guess not. But either I was set up or this is the Ting’s daughter’s list.  I think you’ve gone after me because I yelled at the officers yesterday.

Thompson: Mr. Stevensen….

Stevensen: Nothing more to say.

Nephi L. Stevensen was escorted from the room to a detention cell.

–. — .- -.

 

TELEGRAM

TO: Willard Stevensen

FROM: Nephi Stevensen

DATE: 9-27-89

Dad, please disregard my letter sent last week.  Everything fine.  Visa issues cleared.  Will call soon.  Love to you and Mom.  Nephi

–. — .- -.

September 27, 1989

To: 59302,40021@compuserve.com (Wade Baker)

From: 10930,10278@compuserve.com (Nephi Stevensen)

Wade,

I’m a free man!  Well, I’m still in Singapore so I’m not totally free, but not in prison, either.  I was returned to my little room at the Ting’s house this afternoon. Have spent most of the time since getting email to work on this cheap PC clone.  The Tings seem to be going out of their way to keep their distance. As you can imagine that’s fine by me.

The CID had searched my room while I was away, so there was quite a mess that I had to clean up. Good thing I haven’t been here long enough to accumulate much stuff for them to go through.

It was a close call.  But the US Embassy people here helped me out a lot.  I don’t know what I would have done if it hadn’t been for the US government.  Wow… if you thought I was a patriot before, watch out.  As our hockey-playing friends would eloquently put it: they saved my ass!

Do you remember Charles Dow from school at all?  I guess he’s in Asia now.  I just happened to run into him today.  It was weird to see him here in Singapore—it all seemed very out of context.

I just wanted to let you know that you can disregard the email from yesterday since everything is solved.  Please write back so that I know you got this.  I’m sorry if I scared you—and grateful you were there for me to rely on.  Speaking of scared: I sent a TELEX to my parents from the embassy to let them know everything is okay.  But I think I’d better bite the bullet and call them later too.

I’ll look for your email soon.

Nephi

–. — .- -.

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT RESULTS

From: XXXXXXX (RoK)

To: XXXXXX (HQ)

Date: September 27, 1989

Subject: Enlistment meeting report, subject Nephi Stevensen

Approached subject at HQ Singapore CID.  Assured him of our ability to extract him from current situation.  Reminded him of his particular interests.  Noted how useful those can be to us in South East Asia.  Conveyed our understanding of need for discretion.  Standard employment contract signed.  New asset to receive bulk of salary in offshore bank account at XXXXXXX Bank.  Small monthly portion will be routed through Rotary Club account in Singapore.  Cleared communication to be via email; specified computers USIA Singapore.  Secure communication face-to-face.  Training ad hoc.

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT RESULTS

From: XXXXXX (HQ)

To: XXXXXXX (RoK)

Date: September 26, 1989

Subject: Re: Enlistment meeting report, subject Nephi Stevensen

Assess and report Asset’s strengths and weaknesses.  Particularly weaknesses.  Cannot afford surprises on this assignment.

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT RESULTS

From: XXXXXXX (RoK)

To: XXXXX (HQ)

Date: September 27, 1989

Subject: Asset Weaknesses and Strengths

Direct observation over several years consistently revealed Asset’s core strength: remarkable ability to ignore opposing forces and views.  Singapore CID transcripts show this trait still present.  Asset very strongly assured of his view. Deeply believes there is only right and wrong, and that his side is always right. Tendency enables Asset to stay on task despite high risks and formidable resistance.

This ability key to success of current mission.

Same self-assurance potentially a weakness—can lead to unrealistic plans and compromising positions. Yet current situation demonstrates this weakness can also be used to manage Asset.

–. — .- -.

[On dot-matrix printer paper—hand-ripped on top and bottom]

September 27, 1989

To: 10930,10278@compuserve.com (Nephi Stevensen)

From: 59302,40021@compuserve.com (Wade Baker)

Neph,

WHAT HAPPENED?  You’ve been the talk of everyone we know.  We were ready to set up a defense fund.  But you’re out and safe and that is all that really matters.

I must admit, I’m glad I don’t have to call your parents.  They are wonderful, I’m sure, but that would be one uncomfortable call.

I do remember Charles Dow.  He was always a bit mysterious to me.  I remember he wore bow ties to Biology…puzzling. And then there was that accent, constantly fluctuating from Maine to the Midwest.  But you always said that he looked out for you at the Club.  So he can’t be all bad.  Small world, that you’d run into him in Singapore of all places.

Everything here is just the same.  Law school is a real grind. And this is only the first week!  It is nice to still be in Cambridge though.  The poor 1Ls who haven’t lived here before are dealing with new place anxiety, law school overload, and the whole “can I make it at Harvard?” thing all at once.

I still see lots of familiar faces around town.  Amazing how many people from the College stick around for graduate torture!

Tell me more when you can.

Your man in Cambridge,

Wade

–. — .- -.

[On an off-white card with a simple “I’m Sorry” in silver ink cursive script on the front]

September 30th

Anna,

Thank you so much for the kind note.  It is nice to have a “friend so far from home.”  And I am sorry that I didn’t contact you during the ordeal last week.  As you said, I am very lucky to have Li Gong as a friend.  But really I called him because I hoped that his father might be able to help out. After he did, and I got out of that holding cell, I just wanted to be left alone… but you’re right, I should have called you. 

Anna, I just want to say how important your friendship is to me already.  It feels like we’ve known each other more than just a couple of weeks. And I look forward to getting to know you even better during this coming year. Here we are, two American Mormons, from pretty unusual colleges, both spending a year in Singapore.  Who knows where this could all go! 

Yours, Nephi

–. — .- -.

[On corporate letterhead]

October 2, 1989

Dear Mr. Stevensen,

I hope you will allow me to apologize profusely for the missteps by the Rotary Club in Singapore.  I am deeply sorry for the mistakes that we made resulting in your difficulties last week.  We have now resolved the visa issues as well as the stipend issues.  Expect a monthly deposit to your account at United Overseas Bank.

As a graduate student, I was treated very kindly by the people of Boulder, Colorado and by the Rotary Club there.  Even after all these years, I have not forgotten their kindness. While I can never repay them, I do hope that in some small way, I shall be able to make your graduate experience in Singapore and with Singaporeans as positive as mine was in the USA and with Americans.

I will contact you by phone shortly to arrange a time for a luncheon with you.  It will be my pleasure to meet you monthly, if possible, and make sure that you are well accommodated and happy during your sojourn in our Republic.

Humbly yours,

Rajeed Venkatesan, Ph.D.

President

Scandar Holdings

–. — .- -.

[On dot-matrix printout]

October 3rd

Mother and Father,

I hope that you’re doing well.  I got your letter the other day.  I’m really concerned about Sister Taylor!  Does it look like she’s going to be okay?  Please let me know what is going on in your next letter.

Forgive me for typing this, but it is so much easier for me and, I’m sure, easier for you to read as well.

On my side, it is a relief to be back in school after the mess with the Rotary Club and the immigration department.  It feels like my life is returning to normal now.  But because I missed two days of classes last week, I’m a bit behind on vocabulary.  Some of my classmates have helped me out, though.

I’ve never told you much about the makeup of my class, but it is really interesting (and strange).   There is only one other American in my class; a guy named Loren.  I don’t know his last name. We all go by first names right now, usually Chinese-ified somehow.  My name is Nifa and sounds pretty close to Nephi, but some of the other students have translations of their names that make it hard to know what the original name was.

Most of my class is young guys from the Soviet Union. They all work for various government agencies. I guess under Communism, everyone does. They are studying Chinese in Singapore because no other Mandarin-speaking nation will take Russians in their programs.  They don’t seem to be evil. But I have very little to do with them.  They arrive in minivans—Soviets in a Dodge!—every day from their apartment building and they leave immediately after class is over.  A couple of our teachers have suggested that it would be good for their language study if they stayed around the school until lunch is over and practiced their Chinese a little bit.  They don’t speak English and noone else in the class speaks Russian, so they’d have to practice their Chinese to talk to any of us over lunch.  (My guess is that as soon as they get into the Dodge, they only speak in Russian and so aren’t getting as much Mandarin practice as the rest of us.)

But I was thinking soon after I arrived here and met my classmates that maybe my coming to Singapore and being given no alternative but to enter this program was part of some larger Plan from our Heavenly Father.  I don’t think it is often that younger Russians get to travel abroad and they certainly don’t get the chance to interact with Mormons.  In one of the first classes, my teacher asked me in Chinese what kind of beer I like.  I told him I didn’t drink because of my religion.  I realized that I didn’t even know the Chinese word for “Mormon,” but the teacher seemed to know a little about the church and taught me the Chinese word for Mormon in front of the whole class.  I explained in really simple Chinese that what is most important in our religion is not our doctrine on drinking, but rather our focus on love.  Raising children in loving families who learn how to communicate that love throughout the world is what matters.  I think everyone in the class appreciated that.  Even the Soviets looked pretty sympathetic. We have a section of the textbook later in the semester that is supposed to be on religion, which will mostly be Buddhist terms, but I’m sure the issue will come up again.  It would be such a blessing to help others learn about the Gospel.

So I believe that the Rotary Club sending me to Singapore to learn Chinese was probably pre-designed.  I’m hoping that nothing but good will come from this whole experience.

There are some very nice people in the Branch here as well.  I’ll tell you more about them as I get to know them better.

Say hi to everyone in the Stevensen clan. I need to write more letters to everyone else.  But when you talk to them, please let them know that they are all in my prayers.

Love, Nephi

–. — .- -.

[Small card with “Get Well Soon” in script on the first front]

October 3rd

Anna,

I hope you get better soon.  I couldn’t find a decent card.  This is about all they had there—I hope it helps you to feel a little bit better!

Are you getting over your cold?  I was really sorry to hear that you’ve been sniffly (sp?) all week.  I really look forward to seeing you this weekend; Li Gong told me about a great restaurant that just opened near Orchard Road, so if you’re up for dinner and a movie, I’d love that as well.

Sincerely, Nephi

–. — .- -.

JaAke’s Blog

Posted July 11, 2006 at 3:12 pm

Samantha, thanx 4 telling me about encryption software.  Hadn’t thought about that or keystroke detectors on my computer.  Spent yesterday reading and installing freeware.  I actually found an old spy program on my PC.  Log said it hadn’t run for a long time, so I think da silly Momz put it on there and forgot about it.  I think everything is safe now.  Ready to report.

Okay, so my Dad’s name was Nephi. I think maybe I’ve told u guyz that before but I’ve only even heard the name a few times in my whole life.   The stuff in the box is from a time he was in Singapore and did something wrong and was arrested for human trafficking!!!!!!  How wild is that? But then got free!!!!!!  But being free worries him.  Which is strange, but there’s some government documents with words blacked out, just like in the movies.  Pretty KUUUL, huh? Is that why he killed someone or got killed?

That’s as far as I got today.

Comments:

Smasma (7-11-06 3:25pm): OMG!!!!  For so long, you didn’t have a dad at all.  Now you find out that your dad was a really bad guy.  I’m so sorry, Jake. :’-(  He was selling people?  :-@ More detail please?? How does this make u feel?  :-#  Maybe I can come over sometime when no one is there—I gotta see this.

Jaake (3:28pm): Not a chance.  You know you’ll never get over here when da Momz b away.  I’d b so massacred. But I’ll keep u both in touch. And I’m ok with it all.  Don’t know my dad anyway.  If he was bad, that’s him not me.

Mattz (4:14pm): Lipz R Zipd – human traffik! diz iz RADCOOL!  Jaake, I like u bettr now

Mattz (4:15pm): did he kill doz peeps he wuz selling?  r those da “bodies” he talked about in dat first scan?

Jaake: (4:18pm) Dunno.  He only talked about 1 body.  And that scan was from months later – read the dates at the top or u’ll be totally lost, Mattz.

Smasma (5:24pm): Can you scan what you’re reading? I want to read too! *\o/* (new emoticon I found: cheerleader!) 🙂

Jaake (5:43pm): Too much stuff. Our scanner is Dark Agez. But I can scan the best stuff.

–. — .- -.

[Laser printer print out]

October 5, 1989 (Thursday)

To: 59302,40021@compuserve.com (Wade Baker)

From: 10930,10278@compuserve.com (Nephi Stevensen)

Wade,

Sorry!  It took me forever to write back.  Actually, I wrote some of this a couple of days ago, but my landlord family is very jittery about me using their telephone line.  Imagine—ever since armed men ransacked my room in their house, they’re strangely uncomfortable with me using their part of the house. To get a phone line to my room (and to the modem on my computer) I have to string a cord from their living room down the hall to my room.  I find it is easier on all of us to do this when no one is home—which isn’t often.  But you’ll know when they’re away because you’ll get my emails—maybe a stack of them all at once.

You know I was supposed to be in a Master’s program in Asian Studies at the university here, but when I arrived they informed me that I couldn’t be admitted to that program, because I was missing a prerequisite. (I don’t believe I am, but they would not budge on their decision.)  Turns out that the only program available for my year in Singapore was Chinese language.  I was planning to take courses in Mandarin while here anyway, but now that has become my whole focus.  I’m a Chinese-learning fool.

I started writing a short description of my class at school, but because it took so long to get online, the description has kinda ballooned.  It is REALLY long now, so read it if you like… if not skim through it.  (Sounds like as busy as you are, you may not get a chance to read much until Winter Break!!!)

So on Monday I went to Hao Lao Shi’s course on Chinese Economics.  This class is only one of the four that I have each week, but it is the only class I really remember.  Partly because Hao has a personality bigger than life, but mostly because he can be such a buffoon.  Hao is his family name and Lao Shi means “old man”—but in Chinese that connotes “teacher” and is a term of great respect.  Still, it’s hard not to smile when I realize I’m literally saying to him “I don’t know the answer, Old Man!”  Might be handy in those Socratic-method classes at the law school….

Hao only speaks to us in Mandarin, but he’s got such a Singaporean twang to his Chinese, it is very hard for me to understand.  Beijing Mandarin truly sounds beautiful, at least to me.  What they do to Mandarin here in Singapore, by contrast, is a bit of a crime. Still, it’s not nearly the felony committed by anyone speaking Cantonese, where even a heartfelt “I love you” sounds like a threat of prolonged and painful torture.

The title of our text book for Hao’s class is—I swear this is a direct and clinically accurate translation—Our Work is for the Benefit of Socialism and the Party.  Everything in the book is “comrade” this or “commune” that.  Remember, this is a course on Economics.  There is no “supply and demand,” no “money supply.”  We’ve been at this for three weeks and haven’t learned the word for “profit” yet.  I doubt that Hao Lao Shi even knows these words in Chinese; I am quite sure he isn’t interested in discussing these capitalistic concepts in class.  But we did learn all about the Triumph of the Farmers and Labor Rights.  And even though Hao Lao Shi fled mainland China with his family as a school boy, he loves the ideals of the Communist Party.

The only other American in the class is Wu Li Ren.  That’s what he goes by at school; I think his English first name is Loren.  He is one of the oldest students, yet has learned nothing past rudimentary Chinese greetings. He simply has no ear for Chinese. A fellow American from another class told me that Loren’s overbearing mom has moved him from school to school and told him that if he fails out of this program, the jig is up.

Li Ren may be literally tone deaf.  Not good for learning a tonal language like Chinese.  He continues to use intonation for emphasis—just as any “gud re’blooded ‘merucan” would.   So when he wants to emphasize a word, he says it a pitch or two higher than the words in the sentence surrounding it.  Early this semester, he wanted to say:  I like to ride horses—and he emphasized the word “horses.”  But that emphasis changed the meaning of the word, so that his sentence was: “I like to ride mother.” Wrong, in so many ways.

So back to this Monday’s class.  Loren got the tones wrong and screwed up the word “benefit.”  Hao winces a lot when Wu Li Ren is talking.  The rest of us may not even notice the errors much, but I guess a real professor type can only wince so many times before he has to stop Wu Li Ren to point out the blunders.  None of us knew the meaning of the word that Li Ren managed to substitute for “benefit,” Old Man Hao was trying to explain it, mostly through mime.  He kept putting a pencil on Wu Li Ren’s desk…then he’d walk away…then seconds later he’d turn, lunge forward, and grab the pencil.  (This elicited gasps from the Japanese women every time; Hao may be an Old man, but he is not a Small one.) I heard someone say “grab or pull” in Japanese, then in English.  That seemed reasonable, but Teacher Hao shook his head.  Then he tried a different strategy.  He gave Wu Li Ren the pencil this time.  Then he asked for it.  Loren gave up the pencil gladly.  One of the Russians announced (because they never ask a question, they only announce) in Chinese “Means ‘to ask’!”

Teacher Hao boomed “Not right” in English and wrote the characters for the offending pronunciation on the board.  And because Chinese and Japanese characters have all the same meanings, immediately the Japanese students nodded in understanding and the one who speaks the best English turned to Loren and said, “It means to ‘take back’ or ‘retract.’”

Wu Li Ren looked back at the sentence in the book to try to figure out why Hao had been so offended by his mis-intonation of this particular sentence.  Finally his face showed a glimmer of understanding.  He had not said “We work for the benefit of Socialism and the Party.”  He had said “We work to take away (or retract) Socialism and the Party.”  This obviously did not sit well with the Old Man.

We had just gotten through all that; it looked like peace was finally at hand. Then Loren, in an ill-fated attempt to make restitution, blurted: “Wo zuo ai mousey dung.”

Everyone in the class has different recollections of the moment.  Without really hearing the first words of the sentence (in fact I was still trying to work out the ‘benefit’ versus ‘retract’ conundrum), I did perk up at the end of the sentence to notice that Li Ren had said something about mouse poop.

A male Japanese student sucked air through his teeth.  The Soviets with good Chinese skills fell into nervous, almost silent red-faced laughter—one literally threw his head back so hard that his butt dislodged from the seat. He ultimately slid halfway to the ground with his chest wedged between his chair and the attached writing table.

But it was the Old Man’s reaction that was most impressive.  He turned on point like an oversized ballerina and launched himself into the air, eventually landing (quite delicately, I might add) in front of Li Ren.  He took one step toward Loren and drew his arm back for a roundhouse, or maybe an open-handed slap.  But instead of striking, Hao made a graceful 90-degree turn (closely resembling those dancing hippos in Disney’s Fantasia) and then practically skipped out of the classroom.

There was total silence.  We were all so shocked, even the quiet Russian sniggering ended. No one moved.

Poor Loren looked completely confused.  As the only other American, I thought I should try to help.  I twisted in my desk-chair to face Wu Li Ren and ask the obvious question: “What WERE you trying to say?”

“I have the greatest love for Maow Sey Dung,” he said.

“Do you mean the founder of Chinese communism?”

Loren nodded like “Who else?”

“Then it is pronounced Mao Zedong.” As I said this (with what I thought was the proper Chinese pronunciation) two Japanese women finally understood what he was trying to say; they gasped, then started to giggle, their hands covering their mouths.  Another Russian snorted and turned red in the face—finally fully understanding what Loren had said.   Loren was still lost.

Since I hadn’t heard the whole sentence, all I knew was that he had said something about Chairman Mao.  “So what exactly did you say in Chinese?”

“Wo zuo ai,” he paused to set up the correct intonation, “Mao Zedong.”

I gasped inadvertently. “Loren, you just said you make love to Chairman Mao!”

Loren’s expression didn’t change.

“’’Make love’ as in ‘have sex with’…” I explained.

Loren’s face fell.  “I…I…. I….” he stammered. “I was just trying to say ‘have the most love’ or ‘have a lot of’ like zuo xihuan. ‘I like a lot’”

I said, “you mean ‘zui xihuan.’”

“Yeah, that’s what I said.”

“No, Loren, you didn’t said that!”

We all finally got it. He hadn’t missed the tone this time.  He’d said an entirely wrong word: “zuo” instead of “zui”…thus saying “make” instead of “the most”…thus telling our giant Chinese communist instructor, in effect, “I screw Chairman Mao!”

By the end, when I looked around the room, everyone was laughing—except one Russian student, SaXia.  He was looking at Loren with the softest look in his eyes.  If his eyes could talk, they would have been saying: “I’m so sorry that happened to you.  That is really too bad.”  I didn’t expect that from a Soviet. I guess there are anomalies in any culture.

Okay—that story took WAY too long.  I’m going to hit send now.  I look forward to more news of autumnal bliss in New England.  I could use a crisp, cool Cambridge breeze here right about now, but I know that will never be coming.

I’ll write again soon when I get the phone line to my room.

Neph

–. — .- -.

October 5, 1989

To: 10930,10278@compuserve.com (Nephi Stevensen)

From: 59302,40021@compuserve.com (Wade Baker)

Great story—loved it.  You have Soviets in your class?  What are they doing there?

–. — .- -.

October 5, 1989

To: 59302,40021@compuserve.com (Wade Baker)

From: 10930,10278@compuserve.com (Nephi Stevensen)

There are 15 Russians at the school.  Six of them are in my classroom. Five are in their late twenties; the sixth is obviously not a real student. He is older and seems to be their baby-sitter. He literally never speaks; we don’t even know his name. We’ve gone to just calling him Karl.  (I think Loren started this—cleverest thing he’s come up with—the poor Russian really does have Karl Malden’s nose.)

We’re pretty sure they are all KGB.  They’ve graduated from the best universities in the Soviet Union and been assigned to various government ministries.  Every morning, they arrive in two minivans from their apartments on the other side of the island.  It is like 15 drably dressed circus clowns pouring out of vehicles way too small for that many people of that size. None of the other students has ever been invited to see their apartments. The Russkies don’t even fraternize at school.  And they are never assigned to a classroom alone, always three or more at a time.

I told you about SaXia—the Soviet who wasn’t laughing at Loren.  He’s relatively young—maybe a little older than us—and much more Western than the other Russians.  His name is actually Sasha, but written SaXia in Chinese. He has light brown, nearly blond, hair that is almost crew cut, a bit too long to be called that, but a similar effect.  His hair seems to grow vertically out of his head and keep going straight up much farther than it should without bending back over to his scalp.  SaXia has native-sounding Chinese skills.  And he can repeat back anything that anyone says to him almost immediately.  So on the rapid-fire exercises, SaXia is very good.  The Japanese women in the class giggle and swoon every day when SaXia walks into the room.   One goes pink as soon as she sees him and it doesn’t wear off for minutes.  I’m sure they’re impressed by SaXia’s Chinese abilities, but that’s not the main cause of their swooning—SaXia could easily be a Hollywood star

.–. — .- -.

JaAke’s Blog

Posted July 12, 2006 at 4:21 pm

This just gets better.  Nephi’s in classes with KGB agents—the Russian CIA.  They’re all taking Chinese together. Having spies would make class way more interesting! There’s one Russian who just sits there and watches the rest all day long—he’s not there to learn at all, just keepin the others in line. Cash 4 grades seems like a stupid motivation system compared to a KGB agent. Matt, you need someone like that in ur classes with a gun to ur head. You might learn something!

Comments:

Mattz (7-12-06 4:25pm): every1 knowz what da KGB is idiot!  Im not da only 1 whod do bettr w KGB treatmnt – I knw 2 otherz who need it 2 – I won’t name namez

Smasma (4:51pm): Paying attention at school is not my problem. Quite the opposite. 🙁  If a KGB dude in the class could help me 2 relax, my mom might hire me one.  But reading this history of your long-lost father must be so weird for you, Jake. :~(

Jaake (7:52pm): Just feels like a fiction story now.  But, since I’m finally learning about my dad, I’m sure a lot more interested than I’d normally be.

 

–. — .- -.

[Three ring binder paper, thin-blue lines, red margin line, multiple fold lines as if it had been folded over and over again into a small square]

October 8, 1989 – Sunday

I’ve been warned not to write any of this down.  But I can’t quit. I’ve been putting my deepest feelings on paper since my Mission. Most missionaries ended up spending an inordinate amount of time getting lost in their journals.  We were all away from family and lifelong friends for the first time. None of us could talk about what we were really
feeling—especially the negative thoughts. So journals bore the brunt; hours of brunt.  After confiding to a notebook for months, you find yourself hooked.  My writing habit stayed with me all through college.  When I left Boston for this adventure, I had a stack of notebooks no one had ever seen besides me.  The night before I got on the plane, I burned the whole lot.

I never started a journal when I first got to Singapore—I was too busy and stressed.  And then, with the whole “visa problem,” I was afraid to start.  But I find myself in the middle of a class composing a journal passage in my head and know that I just have to do this—even if it gets me in a lot of trouble.  I’ll try to be discreet, but I’ve just got to write.  In freshman sociology, we read a book called Asylums.  The author pointed out that everyone needs to have his privacy.  In prisons, asylums, and other lock ups internees are always creating little “stashes” for themselves so that they can preserve some iota of privacy.  I guess that is what this is for me.  I need it, even if I get into a jam because of it.

That may even be a reason to write it down—I’m worried.  I’m not sure that any of this is what they say it is.  I have no proof of anything.  This may get me in trouble, but it may save me some day too.  All I know is that at church they are constantly telling us to write journals and diaries.  There must be something good about it—I’ll accept that on faith.

My whole life I’ve had an issue that I could share only with my journal.  But now I have more than one secret to protect; I have a whole new life to keep hidden.  This isn’t just about concealing things from friends and family. This is total deception, about everything. Sure, parts of it I can write to Charles now.  But most of it—my fears, my mistakes, my misgivings, and even most of my actions—I can only tell my journal.  I completely understand why the Prophet Spencer Kimball was so insistent that a journal should be an integral part of everyone’s life. 

It takes a lot of effort to keep everything consistent.  I’m having to come up with excuses to cover my excuses.  During the first weeks I was in Singapore, it wouldn’t have been any trouble at all, but now that I’m getting closer with Anna, I have to bow out on her at kinda weird moments.  My guess is that she just thinks I’m a bit eccentric right now.  I wish she didn’t have to think that.  She seems so put together and I’m just acting odd half the time… sheesh!

But we spent a really nice afternoon together after church meetings today.  The speaker was from the High Council, an Indian guy and really hard to understand—the parts I did understand were boring.  Anna and I kept catching each other’s eyes (not literally, of course, although that doesn’t sound so crazy now that I’ve started living the life of a spy in Singapore—jolly good entertainment, Bond might say, flogging and eye-catching!). Then the perplexed look on each others’ faces would just crack us up.  The one word that he really slowed down to say was “purgatory.”  It is not a word we usually hear a lot in Mormon meetings in the US, so it was strange that he seemed to use it every few sentences.  I guess that the fear of Purgatory is his own personal reason for continuing to pay tithing!  For me, ten percent of my income is the least of my worries.

Anna and I had a laugh today about Funny Underwear, too.  Most of the Saints in Singapore don’t wear them, because most here have never been through the Temple.  The closest Temple is in the Philippines.  But you can tell which ones in the congregation are wearing the Garment—not only by the telltale neckline under their shirt or blouse, but also by the use of the photocopied meeting program as a fan.  Anna and I did a little survey together; sure enough, those fanning themselves are almost all Garment wearers.  I’m sure that extra layer drives up your body temperature by at least a degree or two.

When Heavenly Father told early Church leaders to wear the Garment, He was talking to a bunch of Northern Europeans in a fairly cool climate.   Yeah, summers in Utah can get toasty, but not humid.  How do Members in the rest of the world cope?

I know that the Garment, when worn next to the skin, is supposed to protect.  There are great faith-promoting-rumors about people scraped, cut or burned all over their bodies except where the Garment protected the body.  The Garment protection would be a bit superfluous, though, if you were in a real conflagration, as it doesn’t cover the head or limbs.  Nice to a have torso unscathed, but nicer to have your head, perhaps? Maybe Mormons should have adopted those scarves, like Muslim women.  

I have my first trip next weekend.  I have to lie to everyone about it.  No one who I love or care for will know where I am or why I’m there.  I’m going somewhere that Americans aren’t supposed to go.  This is just too weird for me.  But I can’t get out of it. Can I?

I don’t dare stash this in my room.  I’m going to have to find another place… until then, I guess I’ll just keep it folded up in my pocket.  (Is that safe though?)

[At the bottom of the page in a different color pen, but same handwriting]

I guess it was!

 

Continued….

Click on the title below to download the entire book and keep reading

Gman: A Mormon Spy Story by Jason Jahns >>>>

Download & Get Hooked to The Mystery Thriller The God App by David Chacko – 5.0 Stars and Just $2.99 on Kindle

THE GOD APP

by David Chacko

5.0 stars – 3 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

When Greg Louden is called in to investigate a theft of intellectual property at a software firm, he has no idea what is at stake. He never dreams that lines of code are things people will kill and die for. But after he stumbles upon a brutal murder in the past that links to the present he starts to believe it.

Who invented this program that calculates the future with godlike precision? How can it do what it does?

It won’t take Louden long to see that the man who knows what will happen tomorrow can take what he likes from today. If he happens to be a legendary figure on Wall Street with an obscure past, he can have it all as soon–as he eliminates the one man who stands in his way.

One Reviewer Notes
“Greg Louden, the narrator, finally has to harness the power of the Internet with the promise of redemption to force the violent conclusion of the novel. It’s a shocker, but one that fans of David Chacko–the author of twenty-some novels–will be expecting.”

About The Author

David Chacko has written twenty-one novels. Many are in the espionage and mystery genres with occasional outbreaks into common sense. He can usually be found in Istanbul or New York. The consistent factor here is that both places have good food, beautiful women, and memorable views of the sea.

(This is a sponsored post.)

Five Brand New Kindle Freebies – Download Now While Still Free: Mainak Dhar’s Alice In Deadland, Kate Mathis’s Living Lies, Lorijo Metz’s Wheels, Julie S. Ross’ How To Survive As A Woman and Nadia Scrieva’s Paramount

With hundreds of new books turning up free each day now in the Kindle Store, it can be tough to hone in on books that you will actually want to read. And almost of the new free books will be free for just a day or two at a time, so we are working hard to make sure that you do not miss the ones you want!

Here are a few books that have just gone free by authors who have already proven to be  favorites with Kindle Nation readers. Please grab them now if they looks interesting to you, because they probably won’t stay free for long!

Important Note: This post is dated Monday, July 30, 2012, and the titles mentioned here may remain free only until midnight PST tonight.

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*  *  *

Alice in Deadland

by Mainak Dhar

3.6 stars – 303 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

he sensational Amazon.com bestseller. #1 Science Fiction and Horror bestseller. More than 50,000 copies sold in less than three months.

NOW AVAILABLE- THROUGH THE KILLING GLASS: ALICE IN DEADLAND BOOK II.

Civilization as we know it ended more than fifteen years ago, leaving as it’s legacy barren wastelands called the Deadland and a new terror for the humans who survived- hordes of undead Biters.

Fifteen year-old Alice has spent her entire life in the Deadland, her education consisting of how best to use guns and knives in the ongoing war for survival against the Biters. One day, Alice spots a Biter disappearing into a hole in the ground and follows it, in search of fabled underground Biter bases.

What Alice discovers there propels her into an action-packed adventure that changes her life and that of all humans in the Deadland forever. An adventure where she learns the terrible conspiracy behind the ruin of humanity, the truth behind the origin of the Biters, and the prophecy the mysterious Biter Queen believes Alice is destined to fulfill.

A prophecy based on the charred remains of the last book in the Deadland- a book called Alice in Wonderland.

*  *  *

4.1 stars – 34 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

N AMAZON BEST SELLER*

Living Lies by Kate Mathis – Book 1 of the Agent Melanie Ward Novels
Agent Melanie Ward is a female spy, who discovers it’s easier living a life of Espionage and danger then it is living at home with her funny quirky mother.
A contemporary fiction with Action & Adventure, Romance, Mystery and Humor.
Meet secret agent Melanie Ward, who quits the spy game, after 10 years, when a justly earned promotion is snatched away by her nemesis, the arrogant and smug, Son-of-a-Senator, Agent Finn Parker.
Melanie moves back home with her parents in La Jolla, where her mom, with the help of Melanie’s collage roommates, sets her up on a marathon of comical blind dates (is there another kind?).  Romance finally finds Melanie when she meets Adam, the tall dark and mysterious chef. She falls in love, but life once again becomes unstable when Melanie decides to return to the Agency.
WARNING: This tenacious spy is a serious threat to ruthless people, who will stop at nothing to have her eliminated. Which leads this tale of intrigue and love to a climatic ending that will leave you wanting more…

*  *  *

WHEELS

by Lorijo Metz

4.9 stars – 8 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

McKenzie Wu doesn’t know her great-great grandmother married an alien or that her great-great-great uncle is alive and systematically eliminating a race of beings on a tiny planet light years away—she has enough to worry about. Molecules keep rearranging themselves to suit her slightest wish, but only at the most inconvenient times. If that weren’t enough, she’s been dreaming about an accident; one she’s had no memory of until now and, if true, means McKenzie is responsible for her mother’s death.

When McKenzie stumbles upon a portal, transporting her and her friend Hayes to the tiny planet of Circanthos, she learns the inhabitants believe she is the “One” destined to save them from H.G. Wells, a name that sounds strangely familiar, and his Tsendi warriors. But while her newfound ability might give her superhero status back on Earth, halfway across the galaxy it’s commonplace—all Circanthians can particle-weave—and if they can’t stop H.G. Wells, what can she hope to do?

With the portal closed and no idea how to get home, McKenzie must learn to use a power she does not want and accept her mysterious past, or risk losing everything—her father’s love, her new alien friends and the boy.

WHEELS is a sci-fi adventure filled with mystery and romance—a coming-of-age tale that proves it takes more than super powers to save a planet.

*  *  *

How To Survive As A Woman

by Julie S. Ross

Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Don’t have a Kindle? Get yours here.
Here’s the set-up:
“Survive As A Woman” is a collection of experiences of women from all over the world. All these experiences and research of thirty years have been put together in this book to benefit us and enrich us all. It is a Survival guide for women of this generation.
You will identify the meaning of your existence. Learn how to know yourself better. Know who you are as a woman and identify your task on this earth.
Know about men and his purpose. Who are they and what is the meaning of their existence.
You will get familiar with their “tools” and your “values” to successfully build your home in perfect harmony and peace.
We follow with extraordinary subjects like: How to Think Like a Man, How to Survive a Breakup, How to Keep The Romance Going and Dating Advise.
A fantastic and life changing chapter “Growing Old with Grace and Power” based on 100 plus interviews with elderly people all over the world.
The grand finale…“How to Build a Lifetime of Happiness” Yes, with a little help it can be found!
When you read this book, not only you will learn “How to Survive as a Woman”, but you will become a woman of; Success, Value, Respect, and Wisdom.
Women will praise you and men will adore you! JR.

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5.0 stars – 4 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

A goddess hell-bent on revenge…

Pax Burnson is the descendant of devas. She has vowed to live her life without practicing her powers, but recent events have overturned her entire existence. Thorn Kalgren has been the love of her life since she was fourteen — he helped her to heal after the loss of her parents. As a close family friend, he is one of a select few who understand and share her unique heritage. His recent betrayal has released a violence within her that she cannot restrain.

While her first instinct is to escape and forget, her aimless road trip is interrupted by a childhood friend in need. An idea strikes Pax as she sees her own pain reflected in Thorn’s sister, Amara Kalgren. She is suddenly filled with a new, all-consuming purpose: vengeance. She believes there is nothing else left.

Using ancient magick and enlisting Amara’s help, Pax orchestrates a complex, drawn-out plan to deceive and emotionally destroy her former lover. The friendship and loyalty between the two girls becomes fortified and unshakable as they venture down a dark and twisted path together, encountering formidable roadblocks and demons.

It soon becomes clear to Pax that everything she has been led to believe about her powers and her past was shaped by blatant lies. When she discovers that Thorn’s infidelity is closely linked with her mother’s death, she is forced to make a life-altering decision…

(This is sponsored post.)

Kindle Free Book Alert for Monday, July 30: 395 brand new Freebies in the last 24 hours added to Our 4,100+ Free Titles sorted by Category, Date Added, Bestselling or Review Rating! plus … Julia Buckley’s The Ghosts of Lovely Women (Today’s Sponsor – $5.99)

Powered by our magical Kindle free book tool, here are this morning’s latest additions to our 4,100+ Kindle Free Book listings. Occasionally a title will continue to appear on this list for a short time after it is no longer free on Kindle. ALWAYS check the price on Amazon before making a purchase, please! If a book is free, you should see the following: Kindle Price: $0.00
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Great characters and complex and engaging plot. With strong psychological plot and feminist themes that intertwine and leave you with lots to think about even after you've finished the book.
The Ghosts of Lovely Women (The Teddy Thurber Mysteries)
by Julia Buckley
4.8 stars - 5 reviews
Currently FREE for Amazon Prime Members
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here's the set-up:
Who killed Jessica Halliday?  She was a nineteen-year-old college student with a bright future before her. No one at her former high school can imagine who would want to murder this charismatic young woman; but Teddy Thurber, Jessica's former teacher, thinks the answer might lie in a book that Jessica had given her months before.

Teddy begins to try to follow the trail of clues Jessica left behind in order to find the truth about her former student's death; in the process she must delve into the literature that Jessica loved best, and what she finds reveals unsavory details about other students, teachers, and even Jessica's family.

Helping Teddy is the new history and psychology teacher, Derek Jonas, who ends up having secrets of his own . . . . As her search for Jessica intensifies, she must also deal with the unwelcome advances of an old boyfriend, complicating her life even further.

Teddy's persistence puts her and the ones she loves in danger; but she can do no less than try to avenge the murder of a promising young woman whose future success had been assured.

At her side throughout this mystery is her faithful beagle, P.G.
One Reviewer Notes:
...Ghosts of Lovely Women, by Julia Buckley, is a book of merit, not only for its entertainment value but for its thought-provoking theme. It strikes a point that young people really do care. That they can be independent thinkers and solve complicated riddles of adult life. The light romance that intertwines this book is wonderfully created. Teddy's beagle dog, P.G., adds touches of home-like humor, and, if you are a reader like me, the many references to great literature, from Shakespeare to Dostoyevsky's 'Crime and Punishment' is an added welcome bonus!
Allene
About the Author
I I'm a Chicago area writer who debuted in 2006 with THE DARK BACKWARD. Since then, I've started two mystery series on Kindle: The MADELINE MANN mysteries and the TEDDY THURBER mysteries. Madeline Mann's third mystery, ONE FOOL AT LEAST, just debuted on Kindle. I am a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Romance Writers of America. I blog each week on Poe's Deadly Daughters and on my own blog, Mysterious Musings. Like Teddy Thurber, I am a bibliophile who teaches high school English. I live with my husband, two teenage sons, an aging beagle named Simon and three distant cats named Pibby, Mr. Mulliner, and Rose.
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The Ghosts of Lovely Women (The Teddy Thurber Mysteries)
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600 Plant Based Recipes for Delicious & Gorgeous Meals!Do you want to & live a life full of energy, yet enjoying mouthwatering and easy to prepare meals? Do you want to lose weight once and for all, while still enjoying your favorite vegan dishes? Well, if the answer is yes, then that's why...
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All my life people have told me I have lived a very interesting life and should write it. I am a writer and inspired to tell part of my journey. Here is my ten pivotal years in life and please share, leave feedback and comments....
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Bare My Soul: My Twenties
By: Deandre Dean
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A fast-paced, absolutely gripping page-turner for those who like psychological thrillers - such as those by Mark Edwards, Rachel Abbott, K.L. Slater, William Rose - but who are now looking for something fresh and new, with a thrilling twist.[Please note: this book was originally published in two...
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#1 in Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction, #1 in Women's Adventure Fiction, #1 in U.S. Horror FictionX-Men meets The Walking Dead in this super-human survival story, fraught with Crazies (not Zombies), beautifully broken characters, and bursting with raw emotion you can feel deep in your bones. The...
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"5 stars. Brilliant and amazing. One of the great novels I have read this year. My top 10." - Readers' Favorite LET THE CHASE BEGIN . . .Six years ago, with the financial collapse of her country and the death of her parents, Carrie Ashworth swore to protect her siblings. She has fought to build a...
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The Pursuit (Citizens of Logan Pond Book 3)
By: Rebecca Belliston
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"Fans of Janet Evanovich will be glad to see that you don't always have to go to the burgh for mirthful murder and mayhem."- BooklistWhat do you call a blonde skeleton in the closet?Last year's hide-'n'-seek champ.It's autumn in the heartland, where football rules, homecoming royalty reigns, and...
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This children's picture songbook is a medley of two songs, one for Christmas, and the other for New Year's Day. Both of these Holiday Songs are in the Public Domain....
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A condemned apartment building means I’m stuck sleeping in my car. My carefully planned future—gone. It’s just bad business to admit to being homeless when you’re the top selling real estate agent in the county. So when a fellow evictee, Nola, comes up with a solution to my homeless...
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Blindfolded speed dating for shifters, what could go wrong?I spent years fighting alongside some of the best males I've ever known. One mission went wrong and I watched as my twin brother died in my arms. Now, I've settled into a less dangerous job developing new sonar technology for the...
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Guard has lived a secret past. His present is Satan's Pride, but his future includes Ava. He needs to convince her that she fits into his lifestyle, and he'll do whatever it takes to make that happen.Ava needs to let go of the past to make room for her future. She's a young widow with a brand-new...
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Kindle Free Book Alert for Monday, July 30: 395 brand new Freebies in the last 24 hours added to Our 4,100+ Free Titles sorted by Category, Date Added, Bestselling or Review Rating! plus … Julia Buckley’s The Ghosts of Lovely Women (Today’s Sponsor – $5.99)

Sreejit Poole’s Of Mind or Matter is Our eBook of the Day with 4.9 Stars on 8 out of 8 rave reviews and now just 99 Cents, or Currently Free Via the Kindle Lending Library, and Here’s a Free Sample

Here’s the set-up for Sreejit Poole’s Of Mind or Matter, just 99 Cents on Kindle, or Currently Free Via the Kindle Lending Library:

Trapped in a life he can no longer embrace, Ballard Davies decides to take drastic measures. He decides to begin again.

Leaving everything behind, he gets in his car and sets out to become the person he feels he was born to be, forgetting the man he had let himself become.

It is a journey that will force him to reexamine who he is, and what he has to offer to a world that he hasn’t even begun to understand.

From the reviewers:

Enjoyable and though provoking.  The author did a good job of blending an engaging story with philosophical and eastern spiritual principles. I loved the way he described each of his characters and enjoyed not knowing what was around the next corner as his story evolved. The book reminded me that we all have our insecurities and our yearnings; our eccentricities and our stories  –  Shirley

Refreshingly earnest examination of life’s biggest questions.  This book is a breath of fresh air in a world where literature so often seems about literary sleight-of-hand and cheap parlour tricks. The author shows the courage to address life’s biggest questions with heart-wrenching sincerity. You come away admiring his gutsiness, and feeling a stirring within your own heart to look up at the stars and find your own way.  –  Dan

Faulkner Meets Camus Meets Kerouac Meets Ellison. Haunted by his failures as a human being, the protagonist sets off on an existentialist fugue journey, wandering along the dusty roads of Self-examination. Calls to mind the journeys of Faulkner’s Joe Christmas, that of Ralph Ellison’s unnamed protagonist in Invisible Man, as well as the wanderings of Kerouac and the reflective despair of Camus.  –  Lance Murdock

I enjoyed the fast pace and originality of the novel as well as its gritty description of life.  –  Al

 

Visit Amazon’s Sreejit Poole Page

Philosopher, poet, musician, cook, Sreejit Poole’s writing reflects his quest for meaning in an ever changing world. Living in the ashrams of revered saint Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma), for the past 20 years, he has learned the power of service to humanity at the feet of one of the world’s great humanitarians.

In his most recent work, Of Mind Or Matter, Sreejit takes us on the journey of humility through the knowledge that we all have a purpose greater than ourselves.

And here, in the comfort of your own browser, is your free sample of OF MIND OR MATTER by Sreejit Poole: