A quandary …

What do you do when your guide on a walking tour turns out to be an obsessive nose-picker – – and then, when you get to a steep step down onto a narrow path between two rice paddies – – he offers you his hand? Do you … a) say breezily, ‘no thank you, I’m…

Published
Categorised as Indonesia

The Triangle of Life

I’ve seen The Lion King, so I’m up to speed on the Circle of Life but, never having lived in an earthquake zone, the Triangle of Life was new to me.  Luckily my hotel room in Yogyakarta, Java last weekend had a very helpful guide – Unfortunately there was no large chair or sofa in…

Published
Categorised as Indonesia

East is East …

Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet … … Well, Rudyard Kipling had obviously never been to Malaysia, is all I can say. One of the things I shall miss most – OK, the one thing that I will miss the most – when I leave KL is…

Published
Categorised as Malaysia

On a journey to enlightenment, also involving chicken feet

One astonishing fact about Malaysia is that there’s only one place in the whole country where it’s legal to gamble.  It’s astonishing because this is a country with 6.6 million Chinese inhabitants, and the Chinese love to gamble.  So why the government isn’t cashing in on this and setting up casinos in every town, I…

Published
Categorised as Malaysia

A week of firsts …

After a while, once you get used to your new surroundings, even somewhere as different as Malaysia can seem a bit same-old, same-old.  So it was very exciting last week to do a whole host of new things. For starters, I went into Chinatown and had my first ever frog porridge – I have to…

Published
Categorised as Malaysia

Updates from the chalkface

And another riveting English lesson gets under way … I was rather disappointed that my new pupil, Gladys, didn’t turn up for class on Saturday.  I pictured her with her hair in rollers and a mop in her hand, looking rather out of place amongst the eight-year-olds in the class. And then she didn’t even…

Published
Categorised as Malaysia

A handbag?

Mahathir, Malaysia’s new prime minister, turned 93 this week, while his wife is a sprightly 92. But his impending century has not lessened his determination to expose the corruption of his predecessor, Najib, and Najib’s extremely unpopular wife, Rosmah. The whole country has been agog at the details emerging during the search of their home.…

Published
Categorised as Malaysia

Shopping … Malaysian-style

Shopping in Malaysia can be a frustrating experience; customer service is an unknown concept, and it’s not unusual to be ignored in a shop while the many, many assistants all stand around glued to their phones.  I’m afraid that this attitude brings out the Mem Sahib in me, and I march up to one of…

Published
Categorised as Malaysia

Happy Birthday to me …

I had a jolly spiffing birthday yesterday – Although there was one rather strange moment at work where we all sang Happy Birthday and had cake. What’s so strange about that? Well, it wasn’t for me, it was for some other people at work … whose birthdays were four weeks ago – So I found…

Published
Categorised as Malaysia

Showers of Owls

Yesterday was an extraordinary day in Malaysia; the ruling party was finally toppled after running the country for 61 years, ever since it became an independent country.  The corrupt Prime Minister, who recently rejigged all the electoral boundaries to try to ensure another victory, has been ousted. I woke to a text from our head…

Published
Categorised as Malaysia