Monday, 28 November 2011

Satu Malaysia

I had a magical 1Malaysia experience last night. 

My friend had her engagement ceremony at an Indian Temple. 

…many an Indian experience in recent weeks (deepavali fair & shopping, tamil school prize giving - don't ask - and this), such fun.

Especially the dressing up.

And the eating -  after the ceremony it was time for the number one Malaysian ritual - makan. 

The food was delish. 

As usual. 

And once no longer starving, I made an observation. 

I was seated at a full table of 8. 

The two guys to my right were chatting in Tamil. 

To my left, a Chinese couple were talking (erm…Mandarin? …Cantonese? One or the other :P )

And across the table, two other friends having a conversation in Bahasa Melayu. 

Which as I paused and watched the scene, like a movie, it warmed my heart. 

I mean, how many countries can you go to and not understand 3 whole conversations at once?!?!

Haha, for real, I love Malaysia!


Although this did leave me, failing to properly communicate in any of these languages, to have a silent, actions-only conversation with the final guest at the table. 

The 3 year old. 

Sounds about normal to me...

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Muff Jets. Part 2.


This is the sequel to Muff Jets

You think it can't get worse?

It can always get worse. 


Again, I was out for dinner and after lots of coke, it was time to use the facilities. 

There was only one toilet. 

And it was a squatty. 

Though I have to say, I don't mind them so much. 

They are arguably cleaner than the regular ones.

Especially if an auntie has just come and squatted her muddy feet on the seat. 


But I have observed one thing - I can't squat in the simple, effortless way that seems inherent to Asians. 

[seriously. how?]

Asians (as a general rule) can just squat down and your feet are flat to the ground and you're perfectly balanced. I see it all the time, it's like a comfortable thing. 

My legs don't work that way. 

They're like…wrongly proportioned or something. 

My feet will not sit flat and I can't balance?!

It's a seriously study-able phenomenon.


Anyway, so my solution is to hold onto something.

In this case I leaned slightly forward to rest my arm on the muff jet tap. 

Which was clearly not a good idea, but that didn't occur to me at the time. 

Instantly I heard that dreaded sound again - extreme, rushing water.

And as before, I panicked!!


WATER spitting all over the room!

Me getting wet!!


Can't see!! I didn't touch any handle?!?


Tak tauuuuu?!?!?!?!

By this point, unlike before, I was wet. 

My feet, my shirt, my hair…not cool. 

Why, you ask?

Squatting is rather disabling for a quick exit. 

Especially in jeans.

At last I realised that as I had leaned forward, arm on muff jet, it had turned on. Twisting forwards = on. So once again, I had unwillingly created a fountain.

Only this time I couldn't escape so fast and didn't figure out the turning off very quickly. 


It took a seriously strategic exit plan - think handbags and swift turns -  to leave without anyone seeing the wet patches this time. 


Thursday, 17 November 2011

Awkward Goodbyes

Note: This post is potentially controversial…maybe I shouldn't write these things down….meh! It was funny!

The Hello. 

And The Goodbye. 

With people you know, these daily interactions are relatively painless. 

With people you don't know, they can sit anywhere on the sliding scale between slightly awkward and horrendously embarrassing. 

On two occasions this week, I have misread the "extended, open hand" gesture. 

You know the one I mean? 

It looks like a handshake. 

And I automatically assume it means, shake my hand

[ that...shake your hand? I mean...or...over there..?]

In actual fact, it could also mean, pass me your keys, if you're with a mechanic, or please leave via this door, if you just had a meeting with your boss. 


The less said about that, the better. 

But during a goodbye, if the "extended open hand" is not extended, you're left with a bit of a linger. 


There's nothing else to say, but to just walk away seems a bit…unfinished?

Last night I witnessed this enjoyable scene :

Girl: Ok, bye. Nice to meet you.

Guy: Ya, nice to meet you too.

Unfinished Lingering…would hug but…we just met…but wants to let you know it was thought about...

Girl: I can't hug you 'cos you're a Malay...

Guy: O.o 

Girl: [sadly] Yeah...

Guy: What??

Girl: [factual] You're a Malay…you're not allowed to touch girls!


Sometimes it's ok not to say anything...

Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Return of the Cicak


I just // almost // had a cicak-episode-two moment. 

In my room, went to hang up my towel and got a FRIGHT:



There it was, in all its fat, translucent, tail-less glory, sitting exactly where I was about put my towel. 


I saw it just in time.

My heart skipped a few beats as I had a wild flashback - touching…wriggling…screaming…dropping things…jumping around…


(Sigh, what are you thinking about? I'm talking about this!)


Today was a lucky escape.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Holiday Baking

Bananas in this country go bad so fast. 

It's like…as soon as you bring them into the house, they turn brown.

I find this quite sad. 

But being from England, a country basically made of cake, I know a trick. 

Brown bananas are perfect for baking. 


So with my day off and brown bananas in hand, there was no other option : cake making time. 


Now I'm not a pro. But I can handle the basics pretty well. 

1. Add butter and sugar.
I just bought butter the day before. And I even left it out so it was soft. Genius. Caster sugar running low…actually, not enough. Rummage. Find a small jam jar with more! Hurrah, so prepared! Mix together.

2. Add eggs. 
Also bought yesterday. 

3. Add flour. 
At this point I will include the fact that my weighing scales are so cheap, I'm really not sure how accurate they are…but I've made this cake SO many times, I'm quite confident I know what it should look like at each step. And I must say, it's looking rather good at this point. 

[yum! though is perhaps more accurate than brown...]

Better than usual, I'm surprised by my own skills. 

*proud face*

And this is basically it, done. 

All you have to do now is add anything else you want - bananas, chocolate chips, nuts…etc, and then put in the oven. 


But you know that cake mix tastes better than the actual cake, right?

And even of you're a pro, you gotta test it just to make sure it tastes better than it looks. 

So I did. 

…but it tasted a bit weird…

…not like a cake…

…not sweet…

…in fact, disgusting, what went wrong???

*gag, gag, spitting in sink!!!!!*


The jam jar of sugar. 

Not sugar. 


Half of the sugar was actually salt. 

Even animals wouldn't eat that. 


Sunday, 6 November 2011

Babe Asleep?

There is a new game in my life. 

It's called, "Guess the Caller"

The battery for my phone has as good as died. 

But so far I've been too lazy to go buy a new one. 

And my friend offered his old phone as a temporary replacement. 


In a moment of questionable decision making, I chose not to transfer all my numbers to his phone. Because then I'd have to delete them all later, right? Why bother. 

Which means that every time I get a text or a call…I have no idea who it is!!

Hence the game. 

[ooooooh it's you - hi!]

I answer every phone call like a stranger. You'll be surprised how much people have gotten used to caller ID. 

They are confused that I'm confused.

Texting is a bit different though - you have time to guess. 

Some people are easy:

Hi Claire. Flight booked. Just sent you an email. Love Dad.

Others can be guessed based on references to previous conversations:

Hey, what's the plan for Friday?

Seeing as only one plan was made, this simple. 

By this method I have now learned the regular texters - identified by the last 3 digits of their number. 

But then you get the occasional curve ball:

I haven't seen a further confirmation. Will let you know when I do. 

Well. I'm not sure who you are or what you're referring to. But as no action is required on my part, never mind. 

In due course, you will reveal yourself.


But on some occasions, finding the author is a rather more urgent:

Babe asleep?


…who is this??

You know that face that animals do when they hear an unusual noise? I did that. 

Ears pricked up.

My girlfriends don't call me babe.

*raised eyebrows*

How to find out!?!

Resurrect the old phone. 

Sim card back in. 

Plug in charger. 

Switch on. 



I have THINGS to discover!!

Ok, done. 


Simplest method I can think of is to call the number and hang up before it rings - if I have the number saved, it will show the name, right?

So I did. 

And it worked. 

Guess who : my landlord. 


Such a disappointment. 

I should have known. He actually does call me "babe" or "bunny" or other similarly inappropriate names on a regular basis. 

Me: No. Why?

Landlord: The cleaners are coming tomorrow.


Thursday, 3 November 2011

Terrifying Toddlers

Random Person: Do you like children?

Me: …from a distance.

I had this conversation quite a long time ago…but it's still basically true.

I do like some children. 

In small quantities. 


And despite this lukewarm attitude, I somehow find myself on the toddlers rota at church. 

This is not just hanging out with toddlers. But trying to teach them things. 

And teaching less-than-4-year-olds is a serious skill. 

*Salute to nursery/kindergarten teachers*

Their attention span is approximately 22 seconds and every activity I can plan still leaves me ending waaaay earlier than the rest of the church. 


So it was that time again, me and the small ones. 

But this time, I had a plan.

I brought along my primary school teaching friend!

We were doing the story of David and Goliath.

And what better way to entertain kids than to act out the story, right??

So we did. 

I'm David, my friend is Goliath. 

I'm looking after my sheep, chasing away lions. 

Goliath is putting on his armour, being a scary giant.

Then we get to the part with the rock and the killing.

I take out my scarf/sling shot and as the story goes, one rock to the forehead, Goliath falls down dead. 

[it wasn't this bad...]

Accompanied by a devastated yell from the audience and floods of tears. 


We both pause our performance. 

Look at each other - who's crying?

Then at the kids - and why?

It's our youngest boy. Won't stop crying!

Friend: [to small boy] Aww, why are you crying?

Small Boy: [cries some more]

Me: [to father of small boy] Was that 'cos of this?

Dad: [nods and comforts small boy]


We have traumatised a toddler!


Apparently a fan of giants. 

A quick switch to the rather tamer activity of colouring in cut outs of David, sheep and lions.


I go to sleep than night feeling slightly guilty for scaring a small child. 

But then guess what happened?

I had a nightmare that a fierce lion was chasing me and I had to run away cos it was trying to eat me!! 

Clearly not only the child was affected by our violent storytelling...