A dilemma …

What do you do when you’re out for the evening and you bump into a chap from work and he’s clearly wearing eyeliner and lipstick? … Go and watch him in his panto, of course! It was my first experience of expat amateur dramatics and there were the usual cheesy jokes, songs and topical references…

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On a foodie tour of Malacca

On a trip to Malacca last week I rekindled my love affair with the Peranakan culture.  The Peranakans were also known as the Straits Chinese, and were the first wave of Chinese immigrants from the 14th Century onwards; wealthy merchants who traded in Malacca and intermarried with the local Malays. They had their own culture,…

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Ahead of the curve … yet again

I see in the UK press that Nigella is predicting that the next hip ingredient – essential for every foodie refrigerator and food-related hipster conversation – will be pandan. Well – sorry, Nigella, but I’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt to prove it … or the photos, at least. Here is Mr Toad…

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Phew, what a scorcher!

The temperature in Malaysia doesn’t seem to stray far from 32 degrees, with humidity around 70%.  It’s usually sunny in the morning, and there’s often rain later in the day – but this week has been an exception. Last Tuesday we went to the Helilounge to celebrate Julia’s birthday.  It’s a helipad by day and…

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The oldest Viking in town

This week one of my pupils asked how old I was when the Vikings invaded Britain. I like to think that this is because my description of the Anglo-Saxons standing on the cliffs watching the long boats heading for the shore was so vivid that she  thought I was actually there myself – rather than…

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The High Life

There’s an intriguing sign on the wall in the swanky Royal Selangor Club in KL – Since the club – all mock Tudor and with a waiting list as long as your average Malaysian spitting cobra – is a bastion of male chauvinism, I assumed that the wacky-baccy boudoir would be strictly men only, so…

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A week of firsts

In first place of all the firsts, I have to announce that I am no longer a durian virgin. I have almost bought durian so many times, and then lost my nerve at the last minute – but Lauren was with me and determined to try it, so this time there was no going back. …

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Just before I get the sack …

It was student review and reflection time again this week – one of my least favourite times of the term – where pupils reflect on their progress, fill in a form, and then take it home for their parents to sign.  I don’t like it because, in my experience, young children are incapable of reflecting…

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A boy called no one …

  Names in Malaysia are an endless source of confusion and/or amusement. Could anyone blame me for constantly confusing the two girls in the same class call Ya Jing and Ja Ying?  Or for not realising that a child with two names is usually known by both of them and not just one?  Do they…

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Hubris

After writing my rather smug little blog post yesterday about how easy it is to pick up Bahasa, I noticed that I had received a Facebook message from my local area’s Facebook page.  Glancing at it, I saw the name of my condo – Villa Flora – so I read it more closely. Now, I…

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Natural Born Killers

Have gone native and been living in the jungle for a few days. Directions to find our particular patch of jungle were along the lines of … turn left at the stream – cross the waterfall – Then turn right at the fourth passionfruit tree – and suddenly we’d arrived. Our hut is just behind…

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Singapore Zoo

To be honest, I thought this tiger looked a bit faded … possibly due to all the hot tropical sun, I mused –  – turns out it’s an incredibly rare white tiger … shows how much I know about nature. Was very taken with these furry little chaps Particularly when they walked off with their…

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Celebrate … or else!

Next week is Independence Day in Malaysia, and the flags have been appearing all week. There was an article in the newspaper saying that any business not displaying a flag will not have its licence renewed next year – hence the zealous hoisting of flags all over the country. I was glad to see that…

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A week of firsts …

The new KL metro line has just opened, and we can now get a train directly into the city centre, which is very good news as the traffic can be appalling, particularly at rush hour.  So I went on my inaugural ride this week, to spend an evening in town. There are very helpful notices,…

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