Archive for the ‘Malaysia’ Category

The first time I ever saw a red fox in the wild was after my Dad died two years ago.

I was with my brothers and we spent the day together-just the three of us- visiting the Cape. My father loved the Cape and so did we. We went to all the usual old haunts. Spent hours reminiscing, laughing and talking about Dad.

We were heading to the beach on the “other side” as we called it. My oldest brother saw it walking through the marshland in a residential area.

Dad and the boys would have seen a fox before because they spent a lot of time on golf courses. I was 50 years old and had never seen one in the wild.

I texted my sister-in-law who is into animal spirit sightings and symbolism. She said something like the fox is representing us as we navigate obstacles, decisions or difficulties. I no longer have the actual text or photo since my phone got swiped.

Found this in a google search.

You may be called to take action in a way that shows your adaptability and ability to move quickly through obstacles and resistance.

Well, that was true because we had a lot of things to take care of after Dad died. It was all new to us.

Why would I be thinking about a fox today?

Couple of evenings ago I was in a local Malaysian neighborhood on my way to visit someone who had just been released from the hospital. As I was walking to the house I saw a big cage with an animal in it on someone’s patio.

The people were just doing normal things one does in a patio. Watering plants, sweeping the ground, etc.

I approached these people and asked, “What’s that in the cage?”

The man said, “It’s a fox.”

I replied, “Really??”

Didn’t look like a fox to me.

He said, “Yes, it’s a fox.”

Okay then. It’s a fox.

I asked lots of questions.

Where did you get it? Kuantan.

Is it nice?  Like can you pet it? Well, it bites.

How old was it when you got it? Five days old.

Did it have siblings? Don’t know.

And on and on. LOL

fox1fox2fox3

I never saw a fox that looked like this guy. LOL. So I’m not totally buying it but I will surely take the sighting symbolism just the same.

You may be called to take action in a way that shows your adaptability and ability to move quickly through obstacles and resistance.

Sometimes it is hard for folks to move quickly when faced with things that are challenging.

If there are currently obstacles and resistance in your life I honestly wish you adaptability and the ability to move through them very quickly. Fox sighting or not!

 

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Many of us are already starting to feel sluggish from the many social events and holiday parties.

Here in Kuala Lumpur there is always something happening on the expat scene. It’s a lively and active social life. I’d say it’s because most of us don’t have our families around us so friends and neighbors sort of become substitute family members. Who tend to congregate with astonishing frequency and celebrate everything. Also a lot of us have extra time freed up for us which we wouldn’t have back home.

Since the second week of November I have attended numerous social events. Not all involved drinking (most) but all involved food.

There was a farewell brunch for a neighbor who was moving to Scotland. Then a 50th birthday party. Followed by book club later in the evening. Next night there was another 50th birthday bash. Different person. And then my monthly cultural club lunch. Had to beg off another monthly lunch gathering due to a conflict.

Then there was a lovely Thanksgiving dinner celebration with neighbors. Jazz night. Lunches with small groups of friends. Canadian Association coffee -and mimosas if one were so inclined. Christmas party with PTA. Holiday party next evening in the neighborhood. Book Club again. Couldn’t make my monthly culture club lunch this time. Unable to commit to an upcoming cookie exchange. Another goodbye gathering for neighbors moving to the U.S. took place last night.

I have one more event tomorrow. A Christmas luncheon with the Canadian and American Associations.

Then I am officially throwing in the towel.

It has totally been a blast. But quite exhausting. I’m feeling a bit sluggish. Need to recharge the batteries.

Here’s a recipe for those of you who have had enough already and want to get ahead of the game. And not wait until that pesky new year resolution ritual rolls around in January. Flush the toxins, suppress the appetite and possibly flatten the belly.

Flat Belly Water

Pour six cups of filtered water in a pitcher. Add one tablespoon of grated ginger. One sliced cucumber. One sliced lemon. Half cup of mint leaves. Let sit overnight in fridge.

Drink the next day.

I meant drink the water. LOL

Wishing you all loads of energy as you embrace the holiday season.

 

 

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I was watching a program a few days ago. It’s called “The Fall” and it is set in Belfast. I think it’s fab.

In one scene, the head of the police investigation said, “Always look up at a crime scene.”

I thought that was interesting because I always look up-crime scene or not. In admiration of the architecture on a soaring skyscraper. Or the clouds in the sky. Or the moon. So many reasons to look up.

I’ve even told my kids, “Don’t forget to look up!”

Here in Kuala Lumpur I am constantly looking up at the astonishing number of buildings being erected.

I usually follow with, “Where are they going to find all these people to live and work in these buildings?? Especially in this economy.”

And when I’m driving in the city, where there are loads of construction sites near popular malls and restaurants, I look up and think, “Uh oh! I hope that crane/machine doesn’t come too close to me!”

Last week a young woman was sitting in her car during typical rush hour traffic on a city street called Jalan Raja Chulan.  Near the Pavilion Mall. Not moving because of the usual congestion. She was coming from her office.

Maybe she would go home and vent to her family about the traffic. Like we all might.

But she was not afforded that opportunity. Because a part of a crane (the hook) fell on her car and killed her instantly. She was twenty three years old. The hook weighed almost a ton. She never had a chance.

Apparently the crane operator fled the scene. He could be one of the many foreign workers from Bangladesh, Indonesia, etc. Nothing would get built in this city without them. Maybe he ran because he was undocumented. I really don’t know.

Who knows?

What I do know is that this tragedy should never have happened. I really do hope that there will be a full and real investigation that takes place. That someone takes responsibility for the death of this young woman who was just beginning her life.

There are plenty of “Safety” signs all over the city. But safety procedures actually have to be in place and adhered to in order to be effective. Workers must be skilled.

There are currently six hundred construction sites. That’s worrisome.

Because even if you look up there might not be a darn thing you can do about it.

 

 

 

 

 

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When I first arrived in Malaysia I wasn’t able to drive right away. My husband’s company required that a safety course be completed before getting behind the wheel.

It was an all day class. About the dos and don’ts. The rules.

Statistics.

Some interactive sessions.

Driving with an instructor.

The finale was a long video with horrible, horrible accident scenes. Set to weird music.

Lady with baby in pram walking across road. Boom! Car hits them. 

Truck filled with logs that become untethered. Causing chaos all over the road.

One gory image after another. Seemed to go on forever.

A woman I know said she attended the course and decided that there was no way she was going to drive after seeing all of that.

Horrible video aside, I learned a couple of things that day.

One was about the position of hands on the wheel to avoid broken arms in a collision.

The other thing was that it is really important to look ahead while on the road. Not just what’s in front of you.

We tend to keep an eye on the car directly in front of us. Checking the brake lights so we don’t slam into it if the car suddenly stops.

But we sometimes forget to look ahead.

I am now very conscious of this.

Also thinking that this could apply to life.

We look at each day. Each situation. And that’s good. Live each day to the fullest and all that.

But we also need to look ahead. Plan ahead.

Not just at the lights directly in front of us.

 

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So funny that my last posting was about some items being unintentionally donated.

I received an email from a gal at the school office Tuesday afternoon.

“Mary, I think there might be two or three vacuum attachments in one of the bags I left for you today. I just sold the vacuum. Could you please check?”

Sure enough, there they were. Got them back to her the next morning so the attachments and vacuum could be reunited.

Made me remember another vacuum story.

Last year, on a Friday evening, I was having a glass of wine at my neighbor’s house on her front patio.

Along comes another neighbor to visit. Probably had a glass or two of something before he arrived but certainly did not seem impaired in any way.

His wife had already left the  country with their children. He was staying in the nearly empty house while finishing up his last days of work in Malaysia.

We chatted about this and that. What we would be doing on the weekend. I mentioned that we were having a huge garage sale with the proceeds benefitting the refugee center.

He asked if I’d like a vacuum cleaner. Said it was a good one and he’d like to donate it. I told him that would be fabulous and he was welcome to leave it on my patio before 6:30am the next day.

I bid them both a good night and went home to get a decent sleep.

When I woke up the next morning the vacuum was by the front door. So very nice and generous of him.

It was one of the first things to sell that day. Yay!

Couple of days later this guy sends out a message to a group of neighbors. Something like, “This might sound like a weird question. But does anyone know where my vacuum is?”

LOL.

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Many generous people in our community drop off donated items at my home. Don’t even always know who is doing the dropping. Could be clothes, household decor, toys or linens.

They do this because it helps them clear out their homes. And they also want to help others in the process.

My friends and I will send the donations to the refugee center. Or we will sell the items at our frequent garage sales with the proceeds supporting the refugee center and its programs.

It’s not always junk. Just things people no longer need or want.

Sometimes I receive things and I’m not even sure what they are.

There was the time my friend and I put aside a “camera lens” to see if her friend’s son would be interested in buying it. He was a photography buff.

We handled the lens more than once. I said to her, “It just seems so light.”

She agreed.

I think it was my daughter who finally set us straight. It wasn’t a lens but a coffee cup designed to look like a camera lens. LOL. You can google images.

I’ve had a few chuckles sifting through the boxes over the years. Like the time my friend, Lone, sent over some bags. She was donating a beach towel of mine!

My other friend received bags from two different families and found two shirts of her son’s and one of hers.

We’ve gotten valuable gold jewelry donated by mistake.

The sorting of it all can be overwhelming at times but it’s needed. Definitely needed.

One time I found a hand-written note. The donations were from a friend who was helping out a lady clear out her late husband’s belongings. I can’t remember if it was an expression of gratitude or what but I was glad I could return the note.

Or the photograph of my Australian friend and her daughter, who was a toddler at the time, taken when they lived in India.

Yesterday, a friend dropped off a bunch of bags in preparation for her move back to the U.S.

I sent her a text thanking her.

I also had to add, “And thanks for your son’s wallet loaded with Malaysian money as well as U.S. bills!”

You never know what you will discover.

This is where I veer off topic a bit.

I would later find out that while I came across this wallet my daughter had lost hers at school.

Called me from school to let me know. Was upset. The wallet had been our Christmas gift to her. So that bothered her but it was more about the contents. Which included her grandfather’s funeral card, a note from her Dad and photos of her loved ones.

We are pretty sure it’s been located so that’s good news. Waiting for confirmation.

But isn’t it strange that I found a wallet and my daughter lost hers at the very same time?

Weird.

Back to topic.

If you are donating items don’t forget to check those pockets. The pages. The bags. The everything.

Off topic.

If you do lose something-even if you aren’t Catholic-a prayer to St. Anthony won’t kill you.

When my daughter called to tell me about the wallet I said, “Say the prayer.”

She replied, “I will.”

I asked, “Do you know it? Say it out loud to me now.”

She said, “St. Anthony, St. Anthony, please come down. Something has been lost and must be found.”

I then let her off the hook. The telephone that is.

Hope you all find everything you are looking for this week!

JBM

 

 

 

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This weekend I was at the mall shopping for a prom dress.

Not for me. I am fifty one years old. Been a long time since I had a need for shopping OR a prom dress. The last prom I attended was in a dress borrowed from my friend Linda McCoart. 1980s.

Received a call from a friend. Asking if I had heard of a couple-parents from our school-having an accident in a popular tourist area outside of Kuala Lumpur.

My heart dropped but I said that I hadn’t heard a thing.

She said, “It was a couple from Pakistan and I saw you (and your husband) talking to them at the International Fest at school.”

Everyone knows my memory stinks. And everyone knows I talk to everybody.

I said, “I don’t remember.”

She said, “They both work at your husband’s company.”

Oh gosh.

She told me the name of the woman. It didn’t ring any bells. I asked if she knew the name of the husband. She didn’t.

Because she really didn’t know this couple. But she is also Pakistani.

I went home and checked the directory at the school by putting in the woman’s first name. Then when I found her surname I typed that in and got all people with that last name.

And it was someone I knew. The guy had taken over my husband’s team when my husband left for a new position in India.

I remembered the last time I was with him-partying at a rooftop bar overlooking the city.

I texted a friend who works at my husband’s company asking if anyone in the office had an accident.

He confirmed what/who I thought. It’s a small community.

I told him how I came upon the information.

He said that the Pakistani network is very strong. When he went to help the wife Friday night the global Pakistani network was in full force on her phone.

He also said,”I guess like many of the national groups.”

I called my friend. She didn’t answer.

She called back in a bit. Said she was on the phone with the wife. And was going to the hospital that evening to be with her.

This is what happened.

Family goes away for the weekend. Dad, Mom and two little ones. They stop at a waterfall on the way to the tea plantations. Dad slips and falls, quite a drop, and takes blow to the head. Thought he was dead. Locals rescue him from drowning. Although the fall into the water probably saved him from death. Wife takes husband to hospital a half hour away.

He has a head injury, broken ribs and arm. From what I am told he should be okay and is now recovering in a hospital here in Kuala Lumpur.

Thank God he will recover.

I was amazed (not really) at the response of a community looking out for their own.

Honestly. It is really hard when these things occur.

When you are in your hometown family and friends will flock to your (or your family’s) side.

When you are hundreds of miles away who do you have?

You have your community.

I know if something happened to me I would have the support of my friends who hail from Canada, Scotland, England, Ireland, Denmark, Trinidad, Lebanon, New Zealand, Australia etc.

But I also know that my American friends would be pushing, rallying and rapping at the door. And Americans who I might not even know.

That is what makes living away from home just a little bit easier.

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