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June 21, 2017

The End and New Beginnings

Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Wow! All the world’s troubles seemed to come together last week. The building in London, the shooting in Alexandria, Virginia and the Trump and Company problems which seem to multiply. CNN sure was busy!


Here in Kuching, (capital of Malaysian Borneo) things have become more festive as the holiday season approaches. Eid al-Fitr will be here next Sunday, and my wife has purchased new clothes for all of us.


I have a dark blue baju Melayu (Malay suit) with a bamboo songkot (Malay hat) and some new slippers. I have not seen my new sarong yet. I don't know what my son Dzul will wear. Next Sunday, watch my Facebook page for the unveiling. We will go over to the kampong to visit the parents and the rest of the family. Probably 30-40 people will be there. The food and company will be excellent.


Fireworks have been increasing each night. They certainly have found some big bangers. The displays over the kampongs have been multi-colored bursting high in the sky and then raining down, poofing just before they hit ground. The azan (place where they announce the call to prayer) has been very busy with people reciting longer and longer verses of the Qu'ran. I don't understand any of it as it's in Arabic, but that's okay, nobody else does either.


I went to a talk on Wednesday night about architecture and the environment. I didn't understand a word of it. The lady spoke in architectural terminology which I didn't know there was such a language. The tops of buildings looking down to the floor looked like kaleidoscope images. Remember those toys you looked into when you were a kid and turned the barrel and the image changed? Those.


There were two fire engine red chairs facing away from each other with a tight circular staircase or DNA molecule coming down the side, set in a garden. It was also bright red. It was hard for these tired old eyes to look at. There other architectural stuff there, but I didn't see and relationship to nature except to the nature I saw in my graduate school days after many puffs of marijuana.


After the lecture, we went to a native restaurant. The food here was mainly Chinese and Malay. The Chinese food you have is like in the restaurants in the States but about 1,000% better. The Malay food are curries with many different types of veggies. All of it delicious.


The main problem with native food is that most of it is based on wild boar which run wild in the forests (jungle). I cannot eat the pork because it is against my religion, so that limited me in the restaurant.


I ordered chicken soup, which was served in a bamboo mug with bits of chicken leg chopped up. There were a few floating pieces of veggies. The broth tasted like, and probably was, melted chicken cubes. I also ate sour chicken soup with eggplant, a totally revolting dish. There was barely fired rice with green stuff on it. My friends enjoyed the roasted pork which looked absolutely delicious. Boy, do I miss bacon!


Eight years ago, I promised my wife I wouldn't eat pork but, good lord, the temptation was high that night!


...Life is good. . . . .


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