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March 11, 2015

Recovered! Now Back to Normal (I hope.)

Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Today is the end to the monsoon season! Boy, am I glad to see it go! We had a rough one this year with flooding, rivers spilling their banks and sick, sick people.


Suriani, Dzul and I had one flu attack after the other, and sometimes, all of us were ill at the same time. We don't know anyone who was not struck down by the disease that went through here. We can now open our windows to let the sunshine in and dry things out.


The season ends with the celebration of Chap Goh Mei. This is the 15th day after Chinese New Year and ends the holiday period. This celebration is marked by lanterns and fireworks. They are supposed to take the old self skyward and replaced it with a new self. We could see the illuminations at night as the sky lit up with the bursts of bunga api, fire flowers, in the Malay language. For the Chinese people, it meant a dinner at home followed by lighting off the bursts.


Well, the rainy season doesn't really end with Cap Goh Mei. It's like Memorial Day signals the first day of summer when it astrologically begins June 22. But, we can see the end coming.


On the research front, I have about three people left to interview. The first is a Bidyau man. His kampong, or village, was part of the trade in antimony. The early English people said they were slaves. I just can't get my head around how a bunch of head hunters were slaves. It just doesn't make sense to me, but to everyone else it does. It seems that if the early English said it, that settles it. The man is in Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia for the rest of the month. Doing what I don't know. He is an advocate for the Bidyau people.


The next person holds a PhD from the University of Malaya. Everybody tells me he is biased toward his people, but I haven't found that to be true at all. A researcher from Australia told me he hated white people. I haven't found that to be true either.


The third person I need to interview is a young lady from the University of Hawaii researching her doctorate on rock art in Sarawak. I have seen a lot of rock art and have tracked it back to a museum in Jakarta. There seems to be two theories. One is that the Indians came here, and the other is that the Javanese brought it. I am not quite sure which.


On the comic front, we had to redo part of the first issue to satisfy a possible, and I say possible, benefactor. Meanwhile, I am working on the third comic with hope we can publish soon. I am looking to April 15 as the send-off date. Keep your fingers crossed. I will expect you to buy one as soon as I can figure out how to get it you. :)


We will be entering a warmer, drier season with just a 20 minutes or so of shower each day. Better that the 24/7 deluge that has been happening. We are all healthy here.


...Life is good. . . . .


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