I've only read one of the titles on Sampson's list, I'm glad to say (because it means I've got all the others to look forward to):
The Quiet American by Graham GreeneRead about Number One on Sampson's list.
When I visited Saigon several years ago, this book was photocopied and sold on stalls throughout the city. A mystery and so much more - this is a classic tale of a romantic triangle, violent politics and murder. Many of the books on this list have been written by Asians who have left Asia, at least for a while. Several of the books by non-Asian's, like this one and HRF Keating's take an expatriate community as their focus. As a writer who is not Asian but dares to write about Asia, I think it can be done. But there are few non-Asian writers who manage to make Asia, and one searing point in history, so utterly alive as Graham Greene.