Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Harem Boy’s Saga (A Memoir by Young) **Blog Tour**

               Bernard Foong has a goal to reach with all of his books, The Harem Boy's Saga.

Note from the author:
Provide Tolerance to Sissy Boys by understanding parents/peers and the community.
Anderson Cooper 360 documentary on the devastating treatment of effeminate boys influenced me to tell my story.

A Harem Boy’s Saga
(A Memoir by Young)
Outline of the series:

This series of books is a provocative, true, coming-of-age story about a  Malaysian teenager nicknamed “Young” who, after being sent to a British boarding school for his formal studies, is willingly initiated into a secretive sexual society. From his UK boarding school, he is spirited to the Middle East, to prepare to serve elite, wealthy patrons in all male harems.

E.R.O.S. (Enlightened Royal Oracle Society) – the organization that operates this program out of the British boarding school provides Young, fellow students and his Valet named Andy, and active recruit rarified opportunities to experience other cultures so that they may continue to grow and develop beyond the regular curriculum afforded other students at this British boarding school. E.R.O.S. recruits are introduced to an arena of international influential players, celebrities and world-renowned movers and shakers of their day.

Matters became complicated when Young and Andy fall in love with one another, and must navigate their feelings, along with their commitment to serve the households to whom they have been assigned.

Book I

(1952 to Winter 1966)  Foong Sr., a wealthy Malaysian entrepreneur, has a mistress. Mrs. Foong travels abroad to be away from her marital problems, only to discover upon her return that she is with child. She desperately wants a girl to love and cherish, but she conceives an effeminate boy, Young, who grows up having a difficult relationship with his macho father. Foong Sr. desperately tries to “butch up” his artistic, sissy boy son, without success.
Young is dispatched to an elite British boarding school in England because of the advice of Mrs. Foong’s confidant, James R. Pinkerton, whom she met while on her world cruise aboard the famous RMS Queen Mary. Mr. Pinkerton acts as the boy’s surrogate father and guardian. Unbeknownst to Young, his assigned ‘big brother,’ Nikee, observes, tests and scrutinizes him for 9 months at the boarding school before approving him as one of eight short-listed candidates for a special student exchange program to the Middle East.
The adolescent is one of 5 boys specially selected to enter into this exchange program, which is actually an exclusive sexual clandestine society (Enlightened Royal Oracle Society – E.R.O.S.). The school’s headmaster, E.R.O.S. teachers and BBs explain the nature of the program to the recruits. Recruits make their own decisions to join or opt out of this voluntary program. Once a pledge of allegiance and oath of confidentiality are formalized by the selected students, they are spirited to a more exclusive Bahriji (Oasis) school in the Middle East, where they are educated in the arts of flirtation, health, grooming, sensuality and sexuality alongside their regular school subjects. Young, accompanied by and under the tutelage of his school’s allocated Valet, Andy, falls in love with him, and their relationship persists over their four-year participation in harem life.
As the boy’s guardian and mentor, Andy teaches the young man valuable lessons about unselfish love and living life fully. Initiation also documents the jet-setting adventures the 2 teenagers undertake in their first Arab Household (Kosk) harem services. They develop relationships with their wealthy and elite benefactor, Hadrah Hakim, his son, Ubaid, his grandson, Rizq, the boy’s private tutor, Ramiz, and Aziz (a household member and professional photographer). During their three-month stay, Young and Andy became an integral part of the Kosk’s household, and they improve the dysfunctional family’s dynamics. They travel extensively to Italy and France with members of the Kosk’s household and participate in Aziz’s controversial photography project, Sacred Sex in Sacred Places, both as the photographer’s assistants and as models. The boys’ experiences dispel many negative myths regarding 1960s harem life in the United Arab Emirates’ nouveau-riche oil states.
Initiation also documents Young’s introduction into the glamorous high fashion world. The young man’s rapport with the Kosk household women provides him with the opportunity to experience the artistic French Haute Couture, acting as the harem women’s fashion consultant during their bi-annual Paris shopping spree.
Hadrah Hakim, the Kosk’s patriarch, also gives Andy and Young his blessing to educate his adolescent grandson Rizq, both in his circumcision process and in the art of male-and-male love. The patriarch rewards the couple handsomely during and after their Kosk household service. As a gift for a job well done, Hakim happily loans the boys his private plane (the Simorgh) and yacht (the Kahyya’m) for their travels to the Greek islands during their summer vacation.
Book I also verifies the adolescent’s sexual relationship with another ‘big brother,’ Oscar. Young’s guilt, brought on by contemporary society’s expectation of selfish and jealous love, causes him to lie to his Valet instead of confessing the truth and being honest with his lover. The young man’s self-inflicted inner turmoil and distress causes a rift between him and his Valet. Andy, an enlightened person, understands that there is nothing wrong with loving two men simultaneously.

Book II

(Winter 1966 to late Spring 1967)  During the gay couple’s winter sojourn in Switzerland, Austria and Germany, Young confesses his affair with Oscar to his lover. The enlightened Valet suggests a ‘triplet’ relationship so that the three may love one another freely and unconditionally without friction. 
While they visit Andy’s parents in Germany during the Yuletide holiday, Andy’s father discovers his gay son and lover in their midst of lovemaking. In a fury, he throws the lovers out of his house and disowns his son. Andy’s understanding and accepting mother and siblings comfort the lovers before they return to serve in their 2nd Arab household, the Sekham.
In the previous book, Andy, Oscar and Young had agreed to become Aziz’s loyal apprentices and models for his international and controversial photography project, Sacred Sex in Sacred Places. The trio, with an entourage of male and female models, journeys to Venice, Rome, Vatican City, Las Vegas and Los Angeles on an extensive photography adventure. This photography project strengthens the trio’s loving bond and deepens their relationships with others whom they encounter on the tour.
At the Sekham (Aziz and his brother Thabit’s palatial mansion), the trio is asked by Thabit, the household patriarch, to educate his adolescent sons in the art of sensuality, sexuality and loving. The three lovers perform their tasks splendidly. Young also acts as the fashion consultant to the Sekham women as they journey to Rome and Florence to purchase clothing for the wedding of Jasim (Thabit’s adolescent son) to Ria (his 10-year-old first cousin).  The triplet lovers are rewarded handsomely for their accomplishments at the Sekham.
Their work with Aziz, Mario (a well-known fashion photographer and film consultant) and a host of models brings many varied spiritual and sexual adventures to the three young lovers, expanding their understanding of how the rich and famous around the world live, play and conduct their lives.
Oscar must soon depart for further studies in Vienna, leaving Andy to comfort and protect his young protégé. Young learns to deal with heartbreak and sadness. Benevolent Andy, the ‘rock’ of stability, again shelters his charge from too much melancholic distress. The pair’s unbounded love grows stronger and more resilient as months turn to years during their time together at the various household harems.

Book III

          (Summer 1967 to early Spring 1968)  The Hadrah (Young’s first household ‘Master’) loans his private yacht and plane to the boys for a week-long vacation to the Greek islands. The lovers learn about ancient Grecian life as they journey to Pelops (Sparta), Athens, Mykonos and Lesbos with their model companions, whom Oscar had invited along on their cruise.
          Young misses Oscar even before he must leave for Vienna. During their Greek island sojourn, the boys liaise with an artist, Vittorio, and an internationally known transsexual model, Bryanna, who later assists Young’s fashion career by introducing the young man to well-known clothing and accessory designers. Under Andy’s loving tutelage, the boy’s service at his 3rd Arab household, the Quwah (Sheikh ‘P’s palatial home) is a reflection of the classical Greek erastes and eromenos model of man/boy love, considered a perfect model of idealized love in many ancient cultures.
          Sheikh P’s political and social standing allows him and his entourage to visit many exotic locales, especially the South of France and the Mediterranean regions of Europe, where the adolescent witnesses His Highness’ many social and aristocratic endeavors.
Sheikh P is an erratic, eccentric, spontaneous and spur-of-the-moment character.  During the boys’ service at the prince’s household, they must mind their steps around the unpredictable patriarch. It is a dangerous game that only serves to dramatize Andy and Young’s ever-changing young lives and heighten their undying love for one another. They watch each other’s backs at every turn so they can avoid falling prey to disastrous situations. Their time spent in the company of His Highness is an explosive mine field in and of itself.
At times, the boys are loaned to Aziz and Count Mario (the photographers mentioned in Books I and II) to continue work on Sacred Sex in Sacred Places; they end up in France, Spain, and Portugal, both as models and assistants to these two international photographers.
          Throughout their Quwah service, Andy harbored hopes that his protégé would agree to become his life partner in New Zealand after their duties at the various households and E.R.O.S. ended. Unfortunately for Andy, Young had already made up his mind to pursue a fashion career in London, which does not entail following his lover to New Zealand (where his Valet was accepted into engineering school at Trinity College, Christchurch). Young stays at Daltonbury Hall and the Bahriji (Oasis) school for another year and three months after his 6th household service. He assists the next generation of freshmen as a BB and Valet, just like his BBs/Valets Nikee, Oscar and Andy had done. E.R.O.S. alumni often participated in this programme voluntarily to give back to the secret society and groom the next generation of E.R.O.S. members.
          Young and Andy, soul mates, reluctantly separate after four years of inseparable devotion to each other. Young is accepted into the Belfast College of Art and Technology, N. Ireland to pursue a diploma in fashion design. A year later, he moves to London to attend the Harrow College of Art and Technology. Finally, he obtains his Master degree in design at the Royal College of Art, London, and he goes on to forge a successful fashion career, both as a global fashion design professor and a known fashion designer.
          Foong Sr. loses most of his financial asserts during his final years of worldly existence due to poor investment choices. He dies a pauper at age 53 from a heart attack after years of stress, heavy drinking and chain smoking. The gratuities Young earned during his 4 years of Harem services help him pay for his graduate and post-graduate fashion schooling.
          Andy comes to terms with their alienation. He, too, suffers tremendously in the process. Eventually after a series of unfulfilled sexual relationships, he graduates with honors in engineering (specializing in bridge building) from Trinity College, New Zealand. The two men did not communicate again until Young began writing A Harem Boy’s Saga – II - Unbridled in early 2012. After much urging from Walter (Young’s life partner of 16 years), they finally reconnect.

Book IV

(1968 flirts back and forth to present day)  The fourth book in A Harem Boy’s Saga – IV - Metanoia is co-authored by Andy and Young after their reconnection 42 years later. Young and his ex-Valet provide personal points of view about their Arab household experiences. This joint memoir is an account of the authors’ journeys back to reality from their years spent in the surreal bubble of the E.R.O.S. educational program and protection.
Book IV documents the authors’ lives after their self-imposed estrangement.  It is a story of the couples’ heartaches, pains and adversities as well as their desperate attempts to locate a life partner/partners who could compare with what they had shared together. Metanoia documents the way Andy and Young’s self-imposed severance threw both men into years of heartache and bedlam. Both men plunged into unsavory relationships, using sex as an escape from heartache. Young often visited underground sex clubs, searching for love in all the wrong places. Years of unsatisfactory and self-destructive sexual liaisons with a variety of strangers preceded their recent reconnection.
It is a story of joy, love and ultimate surrender to nature’s unforeseen tyranny before finding consolation and solace in their past and current life partners. Unfortunately, Andy’s spouse of 8 years passed from AIDs-related illnesses a year and a half ago. Young’s beloved partner, Walter, continues to cherish his betrothed with unconditional love and encouragement throughout the process of writing his memoirs and in locating his beloved, long-lost ex-Valet.
Metanoia is a journey of the authors’ spiritual transformation and an examination of Andy, Young and Walter’s lives as the three entities traverse into the unknown future.  This book depicts another human learning curve in the art of loving.

Book V, VI and VII
(As yet untitled)
          (1968 to 1970)   These three books in the final series of A Harem Boy’s Saga have yet to be formulated cohesively. The books’ contents and details will manifest as Young continues to document his experiences within his other harem households and his life after E.R.O.S. The unfolding of Young’s epic journey continues to haunt and teach the readers about the fragility and strength of one man’s dreams and aspirations. Young’s delineation is to describe the angst of finding “The Andy” in his previously failed relationships. He struggled in relationships until Walter, his current spouse, sailed into his life 16 years ago, bringing ease, laughter and joy back into his life. Their spiritual and sexual union can provide hope and inspiration to soul mates searching for their long-lost companions. The resurgence of Andy, Young’s long lost lover, will undoubtedly spear new chapters in the three men’s lives.

Chapter sample:

Chapter 18
No Distance between Us

Tolkien Brotherhood
I was accepted into the Tolkien Brotherhood because my resume stressed my interest in art and design. Mother and Father provided an impressive background on my ballet dance and dance choreography work at the Griffin Inn shows. Father’s discreet failure to mention that he was the owner of the nightclub probably helped. I was accepted on the merit of my creative talents.
My parent also provided Daltonbury Hall with impressive letters of recommendations from Mrs. Koo, my former art teacher, who informed Daltonbury that I had won Junior Art competitions while under her tutelage and that I excelled in painting. I also had a glowing letter from Uncle James, an alumnus of Yates Fraternity. He wrote a personal letter to the school’s Headmaster, with whom he was friends, giving him an excellent account of my behavior and character.
My grades from The Methodist Boys’ School were more than satisfactory. My whole-hearted involvement in the organization and participation of the boys’ fashion shows and the variety show dance performances were sufficient for me to be considered for acceptance into the school. The school had vacancies to be filled in the performing art dormitory when I applied. I was lucky to be given the opportunity to enroll in this prestigious institution.
During the Victorian era many artists came to the Isle of Wight to capture the scenic beauty of the island. Daltonbury Hall acted as host to many well-known artists of that period, particularly artists from the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Painters such as John William Waterhouse, Arthur Hughes, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, together with a host of other famous Victorian painters, had been artists stationed at Daltonbury Hall. By the turn of the 20th century, the Tolkien Brotherhood had already established an artistic educational institute for boys who were aspiring artists, painters, sculptors, and designers. Many well-known artists, photographers and designers of the 20th and 21st century were alumni of the Tolkien Brotherhood at Daltonbury Hall.

Tolkien Culinary Society
The Culinary Society at the Tolkien Brotherhood would organize special events to educate students in the Art of Fine Dining. Since the majority of students came from wealthy, established families, this extracurricular course of study was considered part of the finishing school education for society boys. We were educated in gentlemanly etiquette in preparation for our emerging roles as society's leaders, movers and shakers. Naturally, etiquette and proper manners would be required in our social and business duties.

Formal Dress
A week before school closed for the Christmas holidays, Nikee suggested we attend the school's end-of-term culinary evening organized by the Culinary Society to celebrate the advent of Christmas. It was held at the Assembly Hall on a Saturday evening. Young ladies from our sister school were invited, together with staff, faculty members and their spouses. Ever since the day Uncle James and mother took me to the River Restaurant at the Savoy, I was hooked on the “Art of Fine Dining.” A sucker for British and European pomp and circumstance as well as society's dining etiquette and manners, I was glad to have the opportunity to dress up for an evening of gourmet cuisine and great dancing.
I liked the fact that Nikee and I were attending a Ball together! I had seen photos of formal functions and the attending guests’ attire, but I'd never attended a Ball and knew absolutely nothing about dressing for such an occasion.
Uncle James knew there would be formal occasions at Daltonbury Hall during annual festive seasons, and the task of suiting me up fell into his hands. When I was in London, he took me to Saville Row to have me fitted for a dinner suit. Mother knew next to nothing about bespoke tailoring, and it was pointless for her to come with us. We went to Geives & Hawkes, where James had his suits made.
As soon as we entered the shop, I was struck by the degree of English snobbery. A mature gentleman greeted Uncle James and me with an Edwardian air. He gave me a cursory glance, and then ignored my presence until Uncle James formally introduced us. James was a regular customer at Geives & Hawkes. The man soon understood that I was a potential client and it would be advisable for him to be polite. If I had ventured into the shop by myself, "Old Smith" would not have given me the time of day. Race and class prejudices were very much alive in England, in the sixties. I had stepped further back in time, in that shop, entering the era of the Gilded Age.
With assistance and advice from Uncle James, I selected an appropriate black wool gabardine fabric for the suit. I wanted something a little trendy, yet classical in cut. We also ordered a custom-made white dress shirt, especially crafted to fit my thirteen-year-old frame. Since my favorite color is pink, Uncle James picked out a black and pink striped satin bowtie to match my ensemble. We also selected a pair of formal black patent lace-up shoes. Before I left for the Isle of Wight, I had a fitting at the shop. The clothes and shoes were hand delivered to Daltonbury Hall by Geives & Hawkes. It arrived in an elegant black box, with my full name embossed in scripted gold letters on the box cover. Inside, were soft white tissues, with Geives & Hawkes’ logo, printed in gold. The Ball was the perfect opportunity for me to shine in my gorgeous attire.

The Ball
Nickee looked stunningly suave! If John had been present he would have looked spiffy, too, in formal black-tie attire. Unfortunately, he left for the Middle East shortly after a month at Daltonbury Hall.  
The Assembly Hall was transformed into an elegant dining room for this festive occasion. The table settings were artistic and tasteful. A beautiful Christmas tree filled with Victorian antique ornaments and fairy lights was placed on the side of the entrance. It reminded me of the Singapore Raffles Hotel Christmas Party to which Mother took me when I was six years old. This venue really was an actual 19th century Victorian ballroom built in that era. The spacious domed dining hall, with its ornately painted ceilings, glowed in the soft candle light, carrying me back to an era of English aristocracy, when society's gentlewomen and gentlemen danced the Viennese Waltz. 
Music students from the Tolkien Brotherhood's Music Society formed an eight piece stringed orchestra, playing melodic classical music while guests, students and staff sat enjoying their dinner.
Before Nikee and I entered the Hall, our names were announced to the guests who were already in the room. Although alcohol, wine and beer were served to staff and seniors over eighteen, juniors like me knew better than to try to sneak a sip of alcohol under the watchful eyes of our Big Brothers, professors, teaching staff, and their spouses. It would be a punishable offense if we were caught. The prefects send offenders to scrub toilets and shower areas after school, or on Sundays.
Long tables with place cards for each guest were beside the dessert silverware. Males and females were seated opposite each other and side by side. I was seated opposite a young lady by the name of Amelia and my immediate left and right were occupied by two other charming ladies, Georgina and Carol. They were students at Hattonfield Abbey School for Girls, our sister school on the Isle of Wight. On the left of Amelia was Nikee and to her right was a male senior student by the name of Aris, from the Yates Fraternity. This formal arrangement provided the boys with an opportunity for social conversation with the ladies, and vice-verse.
In the middle of the large rectangular dining hall was a dance floor where waltz music played after desert was served. Male students had a chance to invite the females sitting next to or opposite them to dance without leaving any ladies to be wallflowers. It was un-gentlemanly to leave a lady sitting on her own; proper etiquette dictated inviting her to the floor, even if for only one dance. The Tolkien Brotherhood Dance Society had offered extracurricular ballroom dance classes for students who wanted to learn the Art of Ballroom Dancing,” which Nikee and I had participated in prior to this evening's festivities. It was relatively easy for me to master ballroom dancing, since I already had studied ballet. I had learned the basic dance steps and took to the floor with ease and grace. Nikee also had previous experience in social dances. It was not a surprise that many female students wanted to be waltzing in Nikee's arms. With his handsome looks and charismatic personality, he had no problem finding dance partners throughout the course of the evening. 
 Traditional Christmas formal black-tie affair or not, the Teddy Bares, an all guys band of five students from the Yates Fraternity, took center stage when the stringed orchestra retired for the evening. Popular dance music of that era (1964) was bound to make an appearance in one form or another! It was truly a delightful Christmas Ball at Daltonbury Hall.
 For further information please visit or contact:
Bernard Foong (a.k.a. Young)

Available on Amazon

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