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Dennis Bloodworth (b. 24 May 1919, London, England - d. 14 June 2005, Singapore) was a veteran journalist and writer who wrote extensively on the political developments in Southeast Asia and China.
Bloodworth was educated at Birchington House Preparatory School and Sevenoaks. He left school at 17 years of age and held a series of jobs including a pig food analyst, a junior reporter, a press photographer and managing a sheet-metal plant in Peckham. He subsequently served in World War II and rose through the ranks of the Intelligence Corps to become a Captain.
In 1949, he joined The Observer as an assistant to the chief Paris correspondent. In 1954, Bloodworth was posted to Saigon where he covered events in the Indochinese states. Two years later, he moved to Singapore as chief Far East correspondent of The Observer, a position he held until 1981. During his time in Singapore, Bloodworth covered regional developments, which included the civil war in Indonesia, the communist insurrection in Malaya as well as political developments in China and Indochina.
Besides journalistic writing, Bloodworth also wrote fiction and non-fiction works on the Asian region. His first literary work, Chinese Looking Glass, was published in 1967 and aimed to provide an insight into the history, culture and development of China and its people. He wrote the book not for a China expert but the "ordinary" reader who had not visited China or knew nothing about the Chinese. Drawing on analogies from Chinese history and literature, Bloodworth expresses vividly that the everyday behaviour of the Chinese people is deeply rooted in their past.
Bloodworth co-wrote his subsequent book, Heirs Apparent (1973), with his wife. It looks at developments in China after Mao Zedong died, linking historical events in China, such as the Long March, the bloody massacre in Shanghai (1927) and the Cultural Revolution, to the overarching question of who will succeed Mao and the effect of his death on the world.
In 1986, Bloodworth published The Tiger and the Trojan Horse, which presents Singapore's struggle against anti-colonialism as a battle between the People's Action Party and the Communist United Front.
An Eye for the Dragon: Southeast Asia Observed, 1954-1986 was published in 1987 and it explores the turbulent political developments in post-war Southeast Asia. Bloodworth's anti-colonial and anti-communist beliefs allowed him to get along well with the founders of the People's Action Party. The government of Singapore had at one time suggested that Bloodworth be appointed as High Commissioner to Britain, to which Bloodworth and his wife declined.
Bloodworth married Liang Ching Ping in 1957. Liang was born in Beijing and brought up in a strict Confucian family. She was nicknamed "Zhu-Di" by her mother, meaning "tomboy of the Pearl River" and this eventually led to her English name, Judy, as she was later popularly known. Despite family objections on both sides, the couple reconciled their cultural differences and tied the knot. The couple co-authored I Married a Barbarian (2000), a highly witty account of their relationship.
The couple adopted the three orphaned sons of Liang Ping's sister (who committed suicide during the Cultural Revolution) and raised them in Singapore, having a home in an estate off Upper Thomson Road.
Bloodworth died in 2005 from lung complications while recovering from thigh surgery at Mount Alvernia Hospital.
Wife: Liang Ching Ping.
Adopted Sons: Bosco, John, Dominic (passed away in 1996).
Any Number can Play (1972)
Clients of Omega (1975)
Have a Nice Day (1992)
Chinese Looking Glass (1967)
Heirs Apparent (1973)
The Chinese Machiavelli: 3,000 Years of Chinese Statecraft (1976)
Messiah and the Mandarins: the Paradox of Mao's China (1982)
The Tiger and the Trojan Horse (1986)
An Eye for the Dragon: Southeast Asia Observed, 1954-1986 (1987)
The Reporters Notebook (1988)
The Risks and Rewards of Investing in China: The Profile of an Opportunity (1995)
I Married A Barbarian (2000)
Bloodworth, Dennis. (1988). The Reporters Notebook. Singapore: Times Books International.
(Call no.: English 070.924 BLO)
Bloodworth, Dennis & Liang, Ching Ping. (2000). I Married a Barbarian (p. 8-16). Singapore: Times Books.
(Call no.: English 920.7 BLO)
Dennis Bloodworth: His Life and Works. (n.d.). Retrieved February 2, 2009 from http://www.lib.nus.edu.sg/bib/bw/bloodworth.html
Frankland, Mark (2005, June 21). Dennis Bloodworth: Far Eastern Correspondent of The Observer, The Independent. Retrieved October 25, 2008, from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/dennis-bloodworth-495967.html
Lee, Kuan Yew. (1998). The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew. Singapore: The Straits Times Press.
(Call no.: English 959.57 LEE)
The information in this article is valid as at 2009 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the library for further reading materials on the topic.