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April 27, 2016

Weather, Temples, Swimming and Cannon Fire

Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – The weather has been crazy! The peninsula (western shore to you Maryland Eastern Shoremen) has been suffering massive drought and high temperatures. Here in Kuching, it has been rainy and cool, not all day rains, but thunderstorms. It does keep us quite cool, well below 30 C (86 F). Nice.


I explored a Chinese temple yesterday. I had walked passed it for about a month and decided to take it in on a Sunday morning and walked in. Everything was in Chinese, so I did not understand anything. There were many people standing in a ceramic ocean on one altar. On another, a person with the head of a goat. On another some had black beards, difficult for the Chinese to grow. I will put them on Facebook and try to get somebody to explain them to me.


Across the road was another temple about waist high and had a couple of figures in it. One was a Malay man dressed in a sarong and Malay hat. I can't believe that Chinese would worship a Malay man. My wife said it was a Chinese man who converted to Islam. Still, why would the Chinese worship him?


There is a big mosque directly across the river from us. It has one big dome and three smaller ones. The mosque has a light blue roof color, unusual for here when everything is yellow or green. The government is going to build housing and then move the people to new housing. The houses are shacks and I don't see any historical value in them. They will then build a boardwalk.


It's election time here in Sarawak. I don't understand any of it. They somehow nominate people then have an election on May 7. The Chief Minister sings at most functions. He is running for re-election. He has made all toll roads free, provided money for Chinese schools and has tried to stop the logging.


People complain about palm oil. There is so much vacant land here it would be better to plant it in oil trees than to leave it fallow. Much better for the environment. They have to leave the virgin forest alone, however. But, it is not my country, so I have keep quiet about it.


I take Dzul (my five-year-old son) down to the pool for about two hours each Saturday and Sunday afternoons. We enjoy ourselves and he is becoming quite a swimmer. There are usually a few Danish guys who are taking courses in business and marketing. They are on holiday to Bali. Another group, in engineering, had to stay here and study. They will be here for only one semester. Some kind of exchange program. They are all tall, blond and obviously work out in the gym.


We travelled across the river via regularly sampan and talked to some old people. They informed us about Panglima Seaman, a local hero. Seems like they shot him out of a cannon in 1857, which scared the rebels so bad they retreated to Bau.


Well, ’til next time!


...Life is good. . . . .


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