Dennis Bloodworth



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.1

Early life

Bloodworth was educated at Birchington House Preparatory School for Boys and Sevenoaks, both located in Kent, England.2 After leaving school at the age of 17, he took on a series of jobs including being a pig food analyst, a junior reporter and a press photographer. He had also managed a sheet-metal plant in Peckham.3 Bloodworth subsequently served in World War II, and rose through the ranks of the Intelligence Corps to become a captain.4


Career

Bloodworth joined The Observer in 1949 and was duky posted to Paris where he assisted “the Chief Correspondent”.5 In 1954, he was posted to Saigon where he covered events in Indochina. Two years later, he moved to Singapore as The Observer’s chief Far East correspondent 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.6


Besides journalistic writing, Bloodworth also penned fiction and non-fiction works inspired by Asia. He was the first British journalist allowed to visit communist China in 1955. His first literary work, Chinese Looking Glass, was published in 1967, after extensive travel and study of China’s language and culture. The book used the Chinese past to shed light on the Communist present and it became a best-seller in the West.  It was even reported that US President Richard Nixon brought this book with him when he visited China in 1972.7

Bloodworth co-wrote two books, Heirs Apparent (1973) and The Chinese Machiavelli (1976), with his wife, Ching Ping.8 The first was about what would happen if Mao Zedong, founder of the People’s Republic of China, died. The second focused on military and political traditions in China.9

In 1986, Bloodworth published The Tiger and the Trojan Horse, which presented Singapore’s struggle against anti-colonialism as a battle between the People’s Action Party and the Communist United Front.10 An Eye for the Dragon: Southeast Asia Observed, 1954–1986 was published in 1987, and it documented his observations of Southeast Asia during that period.11

Bloodworth’s anti-colonial and anti-communist beliefs allowed him to get along well with the founders of the People’s Action Party. Bloodworth also reviewed the drafts of  the first volume of Singapore’s founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew’s memoirs, The Singapore Story.12 The government of Singapore had at one time suggested that Bloodworth be appointed as High Commissioner to Britain, a request that was declined by Bloodworth and his wife.13 Bloodworth’s adventures as a Far East correspondent and journalist were captured in a series of essays in his book, The Reporter’s Notebook (1988).14


Family
Bloodworth married Liang Ching Ping in 1957. Born in Beijing, Liang was brought up in a strict and influential Confucian family. She was nicknamed “Zhu-Di” (which means “tomboy of the Pearl River” in Chinese) by her mother, and this eventually led to her anglicised name, Judy, as she was later popularly known. Despite family objections on both sides, Bloodworth and Liang reconciled their cultural differences and tied the knot.15 The couple adopted the three orphaned sons of Liang’s sister (who committed suicide during the Cultural Revolution), and raised them in Singapore.16 They also co-authored I Married a Barbarian (2000), a highly witty account of their relationship.17
Wife: Liang Ching Ping

Adopted sons: Bosco, John Dominic (passed away in 1996).18

Death

Bloodworth died in 2005 from lung complications while recovering from a thigh surgery at Mount Alvernia Hospital.19

Literary works20
Fiction
Any Number can Play (1972)

Clients of Omega (1975)
Trapdoor (1980)
Have a Nice Day (1992)

Non-fiction
21
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 Reporter’s Notebook (1988)
The Risks and Rewards of Investing in China: The Profile of an Opportunity (1995)
I Married A Barbarian (2000)



Author
Dinesh Sathisan




References
1. Frankland, M. (2005, June 20). Dennis Bloodworth: Far Eastern correspondent of ‘The Observer’. Retrieved 2016, September 26 from The Independent website: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/dennis-bloodworth-495967.html
2. Bloodworth, D. (2000). The reporter’s notebook. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 1, 17. (Call no.: RSING 070.92 BLO)
3. Frankland, M. (2005, June 20). Dennis Bloodworth: Far Eastern correspondent of ‘The Observer’. Retrieved 2016, September 26 from The Independent website: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/dennis-bloodworth-495967.html
4. Chua, R. (1986, May 10). Eyewitness to an era. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Frankland, M. (2005, June 20). Dennis Bloodworth: Far Eastern correspondent of ‘The Observer’. Retrieved 2016, September 26 from The Independent website: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/dennis-bloodworth-495967.html
5. Bloodworth, D. (2000). The reporter’s notebook. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 6. (Call no.: RSING 070.92 BLO)
6. Bloodworth, D. (2000). The reporter’s notebook. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 27–28. (Call no.: RSING 070.92 BLO); Frankland, M. (2005, June 20). Dennis Bloodworth: Far
Eastern correspondent of ‘The Observer’
. Retrieved 2016, September 26 from The Independent website: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/dennis-bloodworth-495967.html
7. Frankland, M. (2005, June 20). Dennis Bloodworth: Far Eastern correspondent of ‘The Observer’. Retrieved 2016, September 26 from The Independent website: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/dennis-bloodworth-495967.html
8. Frankland, M. (2005, June 20). Dennis Bloodworth: Far Eastern correspondent of ‘The Observer’. Retrieved 2016, September 26 from The Independent website: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/dennis-bloodworth-495967.html
9. Chua, R. (1986, May 10). Eyewitness to an era. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; BBC. (2014). History – Mao Zedong (1893 – 1976). Retrieved 2017, June 28 from BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/mao_zedong.shtml
10. Chua, R. (1986, May 10). Eyewitness to an era. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Asad Latif. (2005, June 16). Tributes paid to ‘Very old friend of S’pore’. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Asad Latif. (2005, June 16). Tributes paid to ‘Very old friend of S’pore’. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Frankland, M. (2005, June 20). Dennis Bloodworth: Far Eastern correspondent of ‘The Observer’. Retrieved 2016, September 26 from The Independent website: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/dennis-bloodworth-495967.html
14. Bloodworth, D. (2000). The reporter’s notebook. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions. (Call no.: RSING 070.92 BLO)
15. Bloodworth, D., & Liang, C. P. (2010). I married a barbarian. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 39. (Call no.: RSING 920.7 BLO)
16. Frankland, M. (2005, June 20). Dennis Bloodworth: Far Eastern correspondent of ‘The Observer’. Retrieved 2016, September 26 from The Independent website: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/dennis-bloodworth-495967.html
17. Bloodworth, D., & Liang, C. P. (2010). I married a barbarian. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 39. (Call no.: RSING 920.7 BLO)
18. Asad Latif. (2005, June 16). Tributes paid to ‘Very old friend of S’pore’. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Asad Latif. (2005, June 16). Tributes paid to ‘Very old friend of S’pore’. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Goodreads Inc. (2016). Books by Dennis Bloodworth (Author of Chinese Looking Glass). Retrieved 2016, October 9 from Goodreads.com website: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3627.Dennis_Bloodworth
21. Chua, R. (1986, May 10). Eyewitness to an era. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



Further resources
Lee, K. Y. (2015). The Singapore story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, Straits Times Press.
(Call no.: RSING 959.5705092 LEE-[HIS])

Vasuki, S. N. (1992, July 18). Observer in residence. The Business Times, p. 23. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 2016 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.
 

Subject
Expatriate authors--Singapore--Biography
History>>Asia>>Southeast Asia
Bloodworth, Dennis
Writers
Journalists--Singapore--Biography
Personalities>>Biographies>>Authors