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January 4, 2017

Christmas in Sarawak

Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Happy New Year! Christmas was special. I had planned to go out a few days before the Christmas rush to buy the gifts.


Actually, here in Borneo, there were very few people in the malls and stores, so shopping was a breeze. No lines anywhere and the weather was in the mid-80s with pop-up showers. I wonder where the monsoon season is.


There is a Toys-R-Us here, and that's where we purchase most items for our son Dzul. The reason is for safety as we know those products have been screened. They are very expensive, but I feel the added cost will make and keep Dzul safe.


We kept telling Dzul that Santa was coming, but I don't think he believed us. He would look at us quizzically, and I think he finally thought that Santa wasn't coming. We put him in the big king sized bed with me, and he watched You Tubes on germs for about the fifth time. He finally nodded off and started to snore.


Meanwhile, Suriani and Siti were busy wrapping presents in the other bedroom. It was Siti's first Christmas (see pictures on my Facebook page), and she and my wife were chattering happily in Sarawak Malay. She wanted to put all the small gifts in one package, but I had to tell her we wrapped individually. They were having a good ole time.


I went back in the bedroom and continued to watch the 9th season of "Big Bang Theory." Yes, we finally got Netflix and iFlix here, and I have been catching up on my American television.


I awoke early the next morning and got the newspaper and my coffee. I sat on the deck joyfully awaiting the others to awake. Finally 8:30 rolled around and Dzul got up. I asked if Santa came last night, he looked around and said “no.” (The tree and presents were in the other room.) I told him to go look in the dining room and his eyes widened and a huge smile spread across his face. The presents were piled under the small artificial tree.


He retrieved each gift and opened each one carefully. He handed the ones for my wife, Siti and myself with great aplomb. He received a robot dog, and a robot airplane. There were also a lot of other smaller gifts. Suriani got a bracelet, Siti a pair of shoes and a leather sling bag for me.


Christmas is for children, and I feel very lucky to have a six-year-old at this late stage of life where I have many more yesterdays than tomorrows.


I feel so lucky and blessed to have two Islamic ladies celebrating with me.


I feel so fortunate to live in a paradise where the river runs at my front door and Mt. Santubong is about 24 km away, a perfect view from my front balcony.


And, of course, there is my wife Suriani. And I have my health, well, most of it anyway, to enjoy it all. And, of course, you dear readers, with whom I can share it all.


...Life is good. . . . .


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