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Tom McLaughlin

November 8, 2017
Bringing Family Up to Date
Tom McLaughlin

Dear Mary and Cody,


I hope this finds you well. I understand that the calves go to auction today after a spring and summer of very hard work. I hope the prices are high and your endeavours have been well worth it. Now for a winter of feeding and for resting the pregnant cows for another spring.


November 1, 2017
Fantasy and Reality Clash
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – I have had to accept two worlds. The seen and the unseen. The seen world is one that everybody in this area knows about: blue skies, muddy rivers, green trees and thunderstorms. People and children laughing and playing and going to work or school.

October 25, 2017
“Hats Off! The Flag is passing by”
Tom McLaughlin

I stand when the National Anthem of the USA is played. I stand while the flag is being raised with a hand over my heart. I stand when the flag is passing by.

October 18, 2017
An International Spectacle
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – I honestly did not know who he was. I honestly had never heard of him unless it slipped my mind. I am talking about Harvey Weinstein.

October 11, 2017
Ali Research and Visitors
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – My son Dzul is about ready to finish up his first grade year. Here, we start in January and end at the end of October. He has finally had a couple of growth spurts which makes him almost as tall as the other kids.

September 20, 2017
Ancient Book Reveals Some Malay History
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – I bought a book. A big brown book with many pages. I purchased it from the Dukun, a Malay-Indonesian shaman, who has a table between the shop houses and the road down the street. Remember, he is the one who connects this world with the unseen world.

September 13, 2017
A Small Step to Immortality for Ali
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – We finally met the Chief Minister of Sarawak. (See my picture on Facebook) The story is long and involved. If you are ready, here goes.

September 6, 2017
The Search for the Gardens of the Sultan
Tom McLaughlin

Santubong, Malaysian Borneo – The gardens of the Sultan were supposed to be a place where we could see plants planted around 1600 for the Sultan to enjoy. There were going to be flowering plants and fruit trees planted long ago.

August 30, 2017
The Riches of Immigration
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – August 31 is Malaysia's National Day. It was then in 1957 that they earned their independence from Great Britain. Down came the England's flag and up went striking USA look-alike of the Malaysian Flag.

August 23, 2017
…and so it begins…
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – I have started my research into the Chinese of Borneo. It will be a massive undertaking and will probably take two or more years. But it will be fun!

August 16, 2017
Researching the Chinese in Borneo
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – As most of you who read this column know, I have finished my two major writing projects – the History of the Sarawak River Valley, and  on Ali of Alfred Wallace fame.

August 9, 2017
Old Habits Become Expensive
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – I have gotten back into stamp collecting. I had put my book on Malayan stamps away for about 20 years and decided, during my last illness, to attack and bring it up to date.

August 2, 2017
The Entailed Cat and Silas Mariner
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – I had spent 10 years on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. This does not count the three years I had spent taking take of my parents after moving to Frederick, Maryland USA.

July 26, 2017
And the search continues…..
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Have you ever wondered where you came from? I have. I am Scotch-Irish on my father's side and Irish on my mothers.

July 19, 2017
A Chip off the Old Block?
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Dzul is number one in his class. After half a year, his report card showed he was the best. This has good and bad results.


July 12, 2017
Comic Book Rising Like the Phoenix
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – "Borneo Boys'" is back from the dead. Like Lazarus, it has been revived! I thought it was long buried, gone and forgotten.


July 5, 2017
End of Ramadan Festivities
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Hari Raya, the days celebrating the end of the fasting month (EID), was fantastic. Suriani worked at her parents' house on Saturday in the Kampong preparing the food and cleaning for the guests to arrive.

June 28, 2017
Renewal, Shopping and A Surprise
Tom McLaughlin

Pontianak, Indonesia – I have to leave Malaysia every three months to renew my tourist visa even though I have lived here for eight years. I just like getting out and exploring.

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!

June 16, 2017
Prayers, the Birds and Trees
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – It is now past the cycle of the full moon and the month of Ramadan (fasting month) will be coming to end when the new moon is sighted in less than two weeks.

June 7, 2017
The Comforts of “Home” Arrive
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – How things have changed! For the first six years of our marriage, we would walk downtown to the small kedai's (shops) and bring back our produce and other goods we need for cooking the weeks’ meal. It was an arduous task because we ended up carrying a lot of groceries back to our home.

May 31, 2017
Jared, Jared, Jared, Tsk...Tsk...Tsk
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – I wrote a few months ago that you would be the savings grace of the Trump Administration. You come from a Democratic family and you are highly educated. The President listens to you.

May 24, 2017
Ramadan and Fasting
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Ramadan starts on Friday. It really doesn't affect me or my wife because I need to take medication and water during the day. This exempts me from fasting.

May 17, 2017
Back in the Classroom….for a Day
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – I was asked by somebody if wanted to teach again. They meant English as a Second language and not my beloved subject, biology.

May 3, 2017
“Tell me, Daddy, what color is God’s skin?”
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Probably one of the more interesting facets of the Malay world, which I married into, was the subject of skin color. I really didn't pay much attention to the fact that the Malay skin ranged from almost white to a deep chocolate color.

April 26, 2017
Fossils and Borneo Bargaining
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – As one wanders around the downtown area, indeed, the only place I do wander, there are usually tables set up between the sidewalk and the curb that sell either cake lapis or what I call jungle Viagra.

April 19, 2017
Schools, Studies and Progress
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – My son Dzul is now about one quarter of the way through Primary One, first grade for the Americans. He’s still very short for his age group, but I am very proud of the extraordinary progress he has made in his studies.

April 12, 2017
Goodies from the States
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Many people here ask me what I bring back from the States and why. My first reply is shoes like Nike, Puma and other brands. "Why should you bring those back when they are made over there" is the reply. Well, it's not that simple.

April 5, 2017
Seatmates and 24-Hour Flights
Tom McLaughlin

I boarded a flight back to Borneo from Seattle to Dubai aboard Emirates Air. The attendant asked if I would like an exit seat. This meant I could stretch my legs as far out as they would go.

March 22, 2017
Tribulations of Calf Birthing on the Plains
Tom McLaughlin