Feng Shui Detective says ciao

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 April, 2006, 12:00am

Things are going like a prayer for writer and satirist Nury Vittachi. The first of his novels in The Feng Shui Detective series has just been translated into Italian and is about to be published in Rome next week.

The book is already circulating in French, German, Portuguese and Malay, while Spanish and Dutch versions of the crime-solving geomancer are in the works. But according to Vittachi, who also goes by the pseudonym Mr Sam Jam on his website www.jam100.com, all translators lose the plot at a certain passage.

'Halfway through the first volume, the feng shui master describes his female assistant as 'bei-chin-kwong', a Putonghua phrase which literally translates as 'waste money merchandise' and is used to describe an inveterate shopper,' he says. 'Amusingly, the translators all get stuck at this point.'

Ever the joker in describing the international appeal of his detective novel, Vittachi adds with a straight face: 'It's got nothing to do with my writing skill. It is entirely due to the fact that my desk faces southwest.'