Posts Tagged ‘Kuala Lumpur’

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.

 

 

Read Full Post »

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

I love dawn. Yes, the dawn of a new day. Who doesn’t?

But also the liquid dish soap. With a capital D.

I rarely find it in Kuala Lumpur and get a huge thrill when I do.

I do not just use it for dirty dishes. I also use it for my dirty laundry.  To treat grease stains before washing.

My mom’s friend Phyllis knew someone in the laundry business who passed along that wonderful tidbit. So, it’s been a laundry supply staple of ours for years and years.

Was at an East Side hair salon last week.

My daughter asked the stylist how to remove hair color.

The reply?

Dawn.

A few days before that we had plumbing issues at Mom’s house. Guys came in and took care of the problem. But we got to talking and I was asking one of them different questions.

One was about sluggish bathroom sinks and tubs. I told him I’ve always had problems because of my daughters’ hair.

He said,”It’s not hair that blocks drains.”

What??????

Continuing, “Everyone thinks that. But it’s actually soap scum that blocks everyone’s drains. Then hair and other stuff gets stuck on the built up scum.”

I told him that I use Drano to clear it. Although I never really thought that Drano or Liquid Plumber was probably the best thing for the environment. It’s not cheap either.

He said, “Look, you never have to use Drano again.”

Asked me to get some Dawn. Poured some down the drain. Not much at all. Maybe a quarter of a cup. Then he flushed with hot water from the tap. Only for a few minutes.

It worked! I was quite impressed.

Apparently Dawn is the miracle soap and can be used for many things.

Google away.

You’re welcome.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

Yesterday, I was driving home from the grocery store and passing an area called Ulu Kelang. I call the roadway, on which I was traveling, by the same name.

I’m driven crazy by the fact that it is spelled three different ways. Hulu Kelang, Ulu Kelang and Ulu Klang. But I adapt. Sometimes I’m working hard at pronouncing the “H”sound. Or drawing out the word “keelang.” Other times I don’t work hard at all.

Back to yesterday.

I happened to notice something on the road just outside the high speed lane. Sort of pushed up against the barrier.

Roadkill is not uncommon here. It happens. Just like it happens everywhere.

Bodies of cats, dogs and monitor lizards are often left on the road, in this lovely equatorial heat, for a few days. Me no like. I do not want to be driving down a street, day after day, and see a form get flatter and flatter. Or smaller and smaller. Especially if they’re puppies.

This unfortunate victim was a monkey.

I have been known to question many things. Usually not rocket science puzzles. But the things that really make me curious.

Like why do we spell refrigerator one way and fridge another? Why did the “d” appear?

Why have I never, ever seen a baby squirrel? Our backyard was loaded with squirrels, the huge maple tree being a safe haven, when I was a kid. Never saw a baby.

I’ve also often wondered, since living here in Malaysia, about the monkeys. I’d never seen a dead monkey. Even though there are bunches of them. Not that I wanted to see one! I just wondered.

Where do monkeys die? Do they go deep in the jungle? Do they die of old age? Does the clan take a dead body and bury it somewhere?

Unless a person is a city dweller most folks are probably living pretty close to the jungle.

But I never heard anyone ever saying that they saw a dead monkey.

Well, I don’t have to wonder anymore. Some of my questions were answered.

And then I started thinking.

It’s sort of sad that a monkey gets hit by a car on a highway.

A lot of people here do not like the monkeys. They can be cheeky. Sometimes scary.

monkey.jpg

I personally steer clear of their groups near the golf course and mostly watch their antics from the safety of my car.

I’ve heard the stories of them entering houses. Going in the fridge. Doing this. Doing that.

Why wouldn’t they?

My friend recently looked up to see one in her kitchen. Her scream sent him scampering upstairs to escape. She then found the second one sitting on her son’s bed opening a bottle of moisturizer.

It’s still sad that a monkey should be on a busy roadway. And die as a result.

monkey2

It’s a jungle out there.

 

Read Full Post »

Sometimes things are exactly as they appear to be. But not always.

Like the time I was in my Texas home, heading up the stairs at dusk and I spy something dark on the carpet. I pick it up. Not sure why because I’ve been known to ignore things and just walk on by. Was a big old wasp and he was not happy. Gave me a good sting to show his displeasure and to teach me a lesson.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed some almonds sitting on a plate in the kitchen. Yes, it was getting dark and I was hungry so I grabbed one and shoved it in my mouth. Nearly broke a tooth on the damn olive pit!

Few months ago I was picking up donations at a friend’s condominium. There are tons of them here in Kuala Lumpur. The Oval. The Pearl. The Dua. And a billion more.

I had been there before so I knew where I was going. Knew where to park and how to navigate my way. The guards didn’t seem to understand me this time. I kept giving the name and told them she was expecting me. They went back and forth with each other. And me. I was getting a little frustrated because I had to pick up my daughter. I might have even been getting a little snarky with the guards. Finally, I said that I needed to go.

And then a light bulb went off in my head. Wrong condo building! I peeled out of there like a bat out of Hell. That was a tad embarrassing.

Oh my goodness. So, now my memory is gone. And my eyes are starting to make Mr. Magoo look like he has 20/20 vision!

Today, I was making an egg brunch casserole. Once I popped it into the oven I grabbed a can of Diet Coke from the fridge. I was sweating and looking forward to the cool jolt down the throat. Took a gulp and was quite surprised that it did not taste like Diet Coke at all! Do they go bad???? I looked at the silver can with red on it and it was a Heineken! Usually Heinies are all green. But these particular cans have silver with a red star on them. And the way it was positioned I just saw silver.

My daughter came downstairs and I said, “Just sitting here drinking beer on a Sunday afternoon.”

She asked, “Why?”

I told her the story. Said that I thought it was soda but it was beer! She said, “Yep, I get it. Happens to me all the time, too.”

I swatted her in the head and told her, “Go on with your bad self!”

It was a good laugh. The egg brunch casserole turned out fine. Apparently I put in all the right ingredients.

4 eggs

2 cups of milk

2 cups of croutons

1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 tsp prepared mustard

1/2 tsp onion powder

dash of pepper 

In a 13×9 greased pan, layer croutons and cheese. Mix eggs and other ingredients. Pour over croutons.

Bake at 325 for 55 minutes or until eggs settle. 

Can garnish with bacon or add vegetables. 

Read Full Post »

Last November, I was on a phone call with my mother.

We were always in email contact- but I always made regular phone calls since the old man wasn’t “on email” or on “the machine.”

Usually I  spoke with Mom first and then she would let Dad know I was on the line. As if if he didn’t already know.

Always preempting it with, “Pat, pick up! It’s your favorite daughter!”

This call was different. There was something in her voice.

I immediately asked, “What’s wrong?  Are my brothers ok? Is it Dad?”

She said,”No, it’s me. I have breast cancer.”

Okay.

My Mom.

She proceeded to tell me the details and sounded very positive.

I was able to relay something I heard at an American Fundraiser here in Kuala Lumpur the previous month, “There are more women living with breast cancer than dying from it.”

I’m glad I had this in my grab bag because I am not sure how I would have handled it.

It’s my mom.

Do you know how excruciating it is to be so far away?

Dad gets on the phone.

I said, “Mom shared with me.”

He says, “I didn’t want her to tell you kids. I didn’t wan’t you to worry.”

I said, “Dad, I get that. But what if she needed a woman to talk to about it? Someone besides you??”

There was a sigh on the other end of the line. He hadn’t considered that.

Glad I shocked him into that.

I get that. I’m the same. We all want to protect our kids. We don’t want them to worry. Ever.

But that’s not always fair.

The funny thing is that my mother is probably the first person I would call if I was sick or needed help. Maybe I am just a baby and selfish. Or maybe that’s how it goes.

Our lives would soon change. Not due to Mom’s breast cancer and then a lung cancer diagnosis three months later. But because my Dad faded away in the midst of it all.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »