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April 1, 2017

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“Like everyone else I am what I am: an individual, unique and different… a history of dreams, desires, and of special experiences, all of which I am the sum total.” So wrote Charles Spencer Chaplin (1889–1977), or Charlie Chaplin, the affable Tramp as the world knows him, in his autobiography. The inimitable actor, producer and director of the silent film era was so enamoured of the Orient that he visited Singapore three times between 1932 and 1961. Chaplin’s visits in 1932 and 1936 are little-known trivia that might have disappeared with the tide of time if not for Raphaël Millet’s meticulously researched essay – a work of historical reclamation, as it were. “Reclamation and Reincarnation” is the theme of this issue of BiblioAsia – reclamation in both the literal and figurative sense − as we look at historical and cultural legacies as well as human interventions that have shaped the…