Wednesday 4 December 2019

I cannot turn into a sweet little, old Malay lady.

Tomorrow I return to my spouse's kampung after spending nearly seven months in my kampung.  Our abode is in the Midlands, in Leicester where our very dear friends live though some have died.

He's a very lucky Scotsman, my spouse.   The land of his forefathers is still there,  intact and safe though that security did not come easy.

This line marks the pride of the Scottish: I have withstood the shock of England, of Denmark, of Rome and the world.

I so wish my Tanah Air  could have reclaimed her dignity and pride after the shock of  Portugal, of Holland, of Britain and the rest of the world claiming stakes and the resources of my Tanah Pusaka.

But this we have in common.  The people of Scotland can sing with pride :
The eyes of my sons , their bright swords are glancing.
Triumphantly riding through  ruin and death.

Our Police Force and our Armed Forces have done the same, like Lieutenant Adnan from the Malay Regiment who  sacrificed his life and that of his brave comrades in holding back the Japanese in Singapore in February 1942.

But the Scots were proud of their sons and celebrated and remembered their sacrifice :  Bold hearts and nodding plumes wave over their bloody tombs.
  Malaysia was also proud of our sons, who gave up their lives during the Communist Insurgency so that the future generation could live in peace and prosperity.  The nation remembers them each year , remembering those who did not come home :

Alas the Malaysian Rakyat of today, led chiefly by the 22.6 % cohort (see AsH's posting on 27 October 2019) of Malaysia's Anak and Bangsa Malaysia have decided to spit on their tombstones instead; when the ashes of  the "Great Leader" of the Communist Insurrection were brought back surreptitiously into Malaysia in defiance of the law and the heartbeat of the Nation.  While the Scots can sing with pride Scotland the Brave,   these Malaysians who come from all levels of society, including our Leadership should hang their heads in shame.  What cowards and ingrates!;postID= ;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=7;src=postn

In 1967, when I graduated from Singapore University,  my Abah advised me to  "balek" to Malaya to his and my Tanah Pusaka.  But I did not heed his counsel.  Finally, forty seven years later I realised where I really belonged.

But since 2009 when I finally received my Kad Pengenalan  (after 5 years of waiting)  almost everything that my Abah and I held dear in our Tanah Pusaka have been battered and torn by the shameful politicking and misguided  and self-serving politicisation of race and rights.

"Every nation gets the government it deserves" (Joseph de Maistre).

However the inhabitants and government of Malaysia do not deserve this generous and bountiful Tanah Pusaka .

Who will find the parang kontot and slay the burong hantu, shaitan and hantu jembalang?

In his inimitable way, P. Ramlee has brilliantly described the fate of this country.

Celaka punya penyamun, Sial!
Bikin rosak ana punya programme.

Buah amra masak bergetah,
Baharu na'mengkal gugor sendiri.
"Di pechah2 lalu perentah"
Itu - lah 'akal pena'alok negeri.        (From Kalong Bunga, Buku 1 oleh Za'ba)

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Something is rotten in the state of Malaysia Baru.

The title comes from William Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' when Marcellus said "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."

But in Malaysia Baru, putrefaction is a better word than rot.  The rot started with the previous government and putrefaction began to set in after GE 14.

The skin tissues refer to my Tanah Air.  The  anaerobic bacteria emanates from the present ruling regime.

Source : Wikipedia

And the product of their regime consists mainly of bucketsful of  bacterial gas.

One of the most pungent and toxic output of this squalid Alliance - of  Hope (?) is when certain quarters among the so-called  Anak Malaysia / Bangsa Malaysia slyly -  with the the support(?), connivance(?) and blessings of those in the know - arranged the import of the ashes of this traitor.    And on Malaysia Day of all days!

" Chin Peng  instructed Eu Chooi Yip, the chief CPM strategist running operations in Singapore from Jakarta to "sabotage" merger and Malaysia."  Above image is from

What do other other people and nations - I mean people who have sovereignty and pride in their own Motherland /Fatherland - do to collaborators and traitors?

Although in the UK, some of the traitors and collaborators of the Second World War escaped punishment because of their connections and class.  It would seem that Lim Chin Peng, the Secretary-General of the Malayan Communist Party also had strings to pull from the members of his tong pau (people of the same womb) - together with some Malay and non-Malay "sympathisers".

From Wikipaedia

Notice the pecking order of the label  for the Communist Party of Malaya - English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil.  Exactly the same as in Singapore - though they do have a majority of 70+% Chinese.

" Lu olang Bulayu Malaysia jangan bising bising.  Gua ata tulis dalam Jawi."  

Isn't it wonderful!  In today's Malaysia Baru, we are not allowed to learn Jawi in our schools!!

What more lu olang mau?

Taukeh  we want our  .......

Negara ku, Tanah tumpahnya darahku.

And this was also the oath taken by  Sgt Chee Sze Hsien(rtd)  when he responded to Taukeh Koon Yew Yin's demand that members of our Defence Force should be shunted to take the place of foreign workers in Felda estates.     Something similar to Koon's suggestion took place during China's Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) when Communist China's intellectuals were transferred to labour on  the farms as part of the "Down to the Countryside Movement".  But being an enterprising, canny tycoon, Taukeh Koon YY picks on the Askar-Askar (as most of them are Malays) not the shiftless young urban elites.

But then a brave and loyal Malaysian challenged this arrogance of Koon YY from Ipoh.

The Malaysian Armed Forces "did what we did because we want our children and your children to live in a better Malaysia."  Without "peace and stability " there would be no GAMUDA for Taukeh Koon YY and all his enterprising cronies who now make up the Financial Warlords of Malaysia.

I chose Sgt Chee's bold statement because it would, in the eyes of Taukeh Koon (and Taukeh LKS) carry more weight than a "lazy, unreliable, untrustworthy" (adjectives used by the PM of Malaysia Baru) lowly Askar Melayu.

And now we are told that the ashes of the leader of the CPM, a man who led a bloody insurrection which killed and maimed our civilians and young men in the Armed Forces and the Police Force - and a man who lived to the ripe old age of 90 - has been smuggled in by collaborators known only to the "Elite".

Oh Malaysians (some, not all).  You have no shame.

You can construct a mega-shrine, a humongous to'kong for LCP on Genting Highlands and cart his ashes and sprinkle them all over Gunung Tahan, but it doesn't make an iota of difference to the Malaysians who matter. A terrorist remains a terrorist wherever his ashes are scattered.

But think about it: what a fitting little scenario........  that the remains of this "Great  Leader" had to be surreptitiously smuggled into the Semenanjung like packets of amphetamines and sabu. 

Long Live Malaysia Baru!  Long Live the Reformasi!   This will certainly boost your chances in GE15.


Saturday 23 November 2019

Jackie and Julia - Episode 3

Dear Leicester Ladies, my heartfelt apologies for the long, long delay in concluding the episode on the rise and fall, and fall of Jackie and Julia.  Since you left we have had no end of visitors from Japan, New York, Tung Shin Hospital, Putrajaya, Petaling Jaya and UM - and the mandatory meals.

By now I hope you have been fully rehabilitated into your cultural and culinary milieu.  We expect to see the ole familiar J and J when we get back in a few weeks' time.

Let me now recall your adventures just for the record and perhaps after this you can submit the whole series for publication in our Leicester Mercury.

I do hope the following revelations about the two of you will not be too salacious for some of the conservative folks in the East Midlands - though I do believe these little stories will not jeopardise your standing in the NHS (for Julia) and in Animal Rescue (for Jackie).    Well, at least we hope so.

Taking the water :  During the 18th and 19th century the Brits would  partake of the waters in the spas of cities like Bath.  It was supposed to detoxify the body from all the nasty effects of a rich and lazy lifestyle - to improve the circulation, so to speak.

Well, when Jackie and Julia came to the Tropics they made sure they took to the water - this time in Pulau Kapas.

Taking to the lovely warm tropical waters of Pulau Kapas

Indeed, the experience improved their circulation and more!   (The spouse says it improved the circulation of the sharks too - he saw half a dozen circling the two ladies!)

The subsequent events were almost like watching the transformation of Eliza Doolitle  ( My Fair Lady) in reverse: from high society lady to a Cockney flower seller!

Cor Blimey.....they started eating with their hands!  They threw caution and their cutlery to the winds and tucked into Malay food, lock stock and barrel using their hands.

Tucking into Terengganu fish, fish and more fish under the tutelage of Nulan.

Wot! no teapot? no cups and saucers! And wot's that rainbow drink?  I think it's Terengganu ABC Margharita - J & J could not resist it.

Besides that, they became quite adept in disembarking from a ferry, Terengganu style.  No jetties, just a step ladder - but still clutching on to a  Leicester CO-OP shopping bag.  You can take Julia out of Leicester but you cannot take the CO-OP out of Julia.

Barefooted belles from Linden Drive, Leicester

By now, J & J are familiar with the habit of taking off shoes when entering a Malaysian house.  And they naturally did it when Nulan took us to a heritage kampung house at Pulau Duyung (see the above image on the right).

There was a lot to learn (and appreciate) from this visit to Kota Lama Duyung.

A synopsis of Kota Lama Duyung.
From top right clockwise:  the bedroom, the well and the kolam, the para or kitchen and the front of Kota Lama Duyung.

Again on Pulau Duyung, we discovered almost by chance a traditional Terengganu boatmaking yard under the bridge linking Pulau Duyung to the mainland.  As a contrast there was Terengganu's version of what the locals describe as Tower Bridge of London.  We reckon the former is far more formidable than the latter.

But now, as a caption to the pictures below: Just a little worrying prophecy from Ash for what she reckons is the last bastion of  a truly Malay landscape, Malay economy and Malay lifestyle in a Tanah Melayu.

 Top left : an abandoned local welfare organisation (Pertubuhan Kebajikan Pulau Duyung).  Hopefully this organisation has been moved to  another/better building.
Lower left :  An unloved kampung house next door to Kota Lama Duyung.  Top Right : a wakaf needing a bit of TLC.  Lower Right :  On the road from Marang to Terengganu; just look at them thar hills - a yummy site for developers to rush in and construct gated housing estates and condominiums along this prime and beautiful East Coast Road.

Sorry.  It's just AsH being a cynical old git!!

Our last day in Terengganu was spent driving all the way back to the Muddy Estuary (KL).  On the way Nulan stopped at a beach with an amazing rocky outcrop.  Iain and I tried to recollect our lessons in geology from decades ago to figure out the rock structure but to no avail.  Still, it's a beautiful formation.

Most interesting are the two lower images which show the symbiosis(?) or struggle(?) between vegetation and an eroding top soil.

While the beach looked spectacular we were a bit perplexed.  Why did Nulan make this stopover? Uh huh, is there some mischief afoot?  Is our guide and leader finding us too much of a handful - three women who never stop talking in the car and won't allow him to switch on the radio.  As for the other male, all he does is fiddle about with the aircon knobs in the car and says a lot of "yes dear", "no dear" . Oh dear!!!

1.  It was Julia (top left) who felt the first inkling of concern.
2.  She then directed Iain to climb up the rock and be the look out man(top right).
3.  Then he saw Nulan sitting and talking to a few men resting at the wakaf (lower left). Two of them had very heavily laden bicycles with them.  Should we worry?
4.  Never fear, Jackie,  our intrepid SRN (State Registered Nurse) caught sight of a tour bus on the main road (lower right).  We have our escape route!!!!

But all was well.  Nulan was just chatting to two middle aged men from Kedah who were cycling in the Semenanjung in preparation for their journey on the Hajj - by bicycle - next year!  We had a chat with them and were quite overwhelmed by the dedication and tenacity of these two ordinary and brave men from Kedah.  May Allah keep them safe.

Through a heavy rainstorm along the Karak Highway, Nulan drove us safely home to Kuala Lumpur.

Before the ladies flew home to Leicester, Din (the man who facilitated our holiday in Terengganu) arranged a reunion of the Magnificient Five  and a meeting with Nulan's family.  It was good because we got a chance to thank his lovely wife and daughter for 'lending' him to us so that we could have a safe and wonderful holiday in Terengganu.

What a lovely Finale.

Back in KL we left them on their own to do the usual tourist trips to Batu Caves, Pulau Ketam, Twin Towers, jumping on the hop-on and hop-off buses.   (A disclaimer:  We are not responsible for what they got up to during this time!)

But, just to be on the safe side, Iain wrote them a warning note when they got back home.

"How are the folks at LAR (Leicester Animal Rescue)?  Do give them our love, and we shall see them at the Christmas do - unless you manage to twist arms  and have us banned.  If you do, we shall tell them all about your clubbing nights in downtown KL.  I know you don't remember, but it was really difficult carrying you both from the taxi at 4 am.  And not just one night!"

They flew home to their cat Minx and their lovely garden on 5 October.

It was not easy to say good-bye.

Taraa me duck!

We've grown accustomed to their ....

Monday 4 November 2019

Mr Kempson Wong - The Reunion

On September the 9th, I was ridden with regret.

Then on the 10th I was over the moon.

But by October 29 my cup runneth over - because finally I met my former Primary School teacher, Mr Kempson Wong from Pasir Panjang English School, Singapore - face to face.  He was my class teacher from 64 years ago (1955) when I was just 11 years old.    It was not the last time I saw him - I met him briefly in 1968, by which time I was a young adult, a teacher, just like him.

He was a fantastic, unforgettable teacher, and in 2012 - having not seen him for 44 years - I wrote a posting for him.

Seven years later, the fates were kind to me.    I met up with Mr Kempson Wong once again - and this time I met his lovely wife Catherine too.

Catherine and Maznoor in their kitchen.

She not only gave me a bottle of her absolutely divine Almond Florentine biscuits.  I also took home with me the recipe and the special Florentine flour.    Iain and I are still squabbling over who has had more Florentines than the other.  Thank you so much Catherine.

My ex-teacher is so lucky (and so happy) to have Catherine as his soul mate - a finer couple would be very hard to find.  When I got back to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore I wrote him a message;
"When Iain and I grow up we want to be just like you!"

Because of "circumstances beyond his control" Iain was unable to enter Singapore to meet my former teacher.  In his place I passed on a gift of his book  "Fatimah's Kampung" to this exceptional teacher of mine.

Here's something I managed to cobble together to celebrate my reunion with Mr Kempson Wong - something for our family album.

Left: Maznoor and Iain Buchanan.    Right:  Catherine and Kempson Wong 
 At 85 years of age, Mr Kempson Wong still plays tennis twice a week.  His voice is just as strong as it was in 1955.  His walk is just as straight and sturdy.   And there is still that twinkle in his eye.

He was my teacher 64 long years ago - but I remember his classes like they were yesterday.    He is indeed hard to live up to.   They just don't make people like him any more.

But I discovered something new about him.  He plays the piano - and he does it so beautifully.  It was something he decided to learn when he retired from his profession.   I shall never forget my ex-teacher's serenade to celebrate our meeting.

I asked him to play for me "The Ash Grove" .  Then he followed it with this.

I wished I could have recorded his version but I guess the original song will have to do.

After he had ended the repertoire, he stood up, looked at me and smiled and sang :

"My memories of love will be of you."

What else could  I do but collapse in tears.  Thank you Sir.  I always knew you were special.  I shall treasure this morning  to the end of  my  days.

Long, long ago in 1955 :

Mr Kempson Wong (red square),  Maznoor (red circle).

The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth.  (Dan Rather)

Sunday 27 October 2019

On the daun Kaduk

Last week, we were presented with a 'request' by the DAP MP Prabakaran for a Tamil University, just like UiTM for the Bumiputra:

Let's picture this scenario:

Under the auspices of, and underpinned, by British Imperialism, Malays make up 6.7 % of the population of Tamil Nadu (i.e., the same share as the Indians in Malaysia).    After nearly 100 years of working, residing and prospering, they suddenly demand  their own University - after decades of having their own Malay language school maintained by the Government  (just like Tamil Schools in Malaysia).     What would be the reaction of the majority Tamils?  And, for that matter, the reaction of the Adivasis - India's notoriously oppressed indigenous tribal groups?

Just for comparison, and if this may help to mollify the expectations of Mr Prabakaran and his comrades, Malays (the Bumiputera) in Singapore make up 13.6%  (twice that of Indians in Malaysia) of the population.  As yet we have not heard of any cry, much less a demand for a Malay University or even their own Malay language school!

So 13.6 % of the population in a neighbouring country have no choice but to suppress their socio-educational desires, while Malaysia's 6.7 % in Malaysia Baru are strutting their arrogations and pushing back the goalposts.

Our datuk-nenek from long ago would describe this as Kaduk Naik Junjung.   In Malaysia Baru we seem to find this propensity thriving and shoving from the nation's Mr 6.7% and Mr 22.6%!

Kaduk naik Junjung in my backyard

We may wake up one morning and discover  MALAYSIA BARU/BOLEH has turned into MALAYSIA BOLIAU (no more, finished) and MALAYSIA ILEK.

This country has troubles enough.  Too many people have forgotten where they came from and how they got to be where they are in Malaysia.  They take their well-being and safety for granted.  As for their wealth and material comfort, they never seem to have enough.

Aiyaah, you so lucky one - CHIAK BUAY LIAO (eat until cannot finish).

To compound this, many people (and especially our urban elites) seem to be increasingly infected by a virus from the West - a virus called Victimitis and MeTooism.       It's become a global phenomenon amongst the already comfortable: everybody is now a victim.  Nobody wants to talk about their blessings or their responsibilities - only their self-entitlement and the ethos of "beggar thy neighbour". 

Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Jackie and Julia. Episode 2 : The Magnificent Seven coasting along on the East Coast of Semenanjung Malaysia.

Do you remember the movie "The Magnificent  Seven"?    Well, it was recreated in the adventures of the characters below.

The Magnificent Seven in Terengganu.

I know,I know, I can count only up to six on my ten fingers.  There's a good explanation for the miscount.

On the far left is Iain, the aircon engineer who fiddled around with the car's cooling system and left us ladies at the rear fuming with perspiration.  (Ladies perspire, only horses sweat!).  But he is a fantastic beverage manager.  During his stint he must have made loads of mugs of tea - maybe 24 mugs a day.

Next to him is his batty wife (somewhat like Nora Batty in "The Last of the Summer Wine" series).  She  runs a tight ship.  She takes charge of the comestibles while they're on the move and also manages to keep a tight leash on her man - ever watchful whenever his hand touches the aircon controls.

Sitting all by himself in the middle, is Nulan.  He is the youngest in the group.  As he is just a sprightly forty-niner you can guess that the others are all way over the hill, but not so with Jackie and Julia.  Some of my former students are much older than them.

Nulan is the epitome of Magnificent - he holds the rank of two (plus) characters and thus turns this motley crowd of six into seven.   He is the pilot, the window engineer (his pieces of tape were always very handy), the travel guide, the gourmet and food chaperone - and he also works part- time as a tutor in the art of unconstrained mental and physical exercise. Here is his recommended gymnastic approach to relaxing after driving around in a car full of an elderly bunch of 1 Mat Salleh, 2 Minah Sallehs and one MOG (Malay/Miserable ole git).

The Two-in-One Magnificent Leader of the Pack repairing his nerves in a hammock.

Jackie is to the left of Nulan.  She is our Resident Polyanna, ever so positive and lively and has a wonderful habit of clearing up the untidy mess that the others leave behind, all done with a lot of smile and good cheer.  On her first sight of a beach on the East Coast (somewhere near Kuantan), and on dipping her feet into the water; .....

Two pairs of very happy Leicester feet soaking in the stimulating, salty waters of a Malaysian sea.

...... she exclaimed  "The water's warm, it's lovely and warm"!  Well, this almost turned that sunny disposition to sultry hot.

Som is the sixth member of this Magnificent mob.  He is our good friend and our frequent lunch-companion in Kuala Lumpur.  He is also the Squire of this beautiful beach house, Che Beach House (CBH), located at Marang, just south of Kuala Terengganu.  Jackie and Julia were impressed by the images of CBH on the website and they were not disappointed with what they got on the ground.

Clockwise: CBH, The Wakaf, Morning Glory basking on the sand and Sunrise on the East Coast!

Magnificent belle number seven is Julia.  She has taken on the task of being the lookout lass for cows (an animal she's very familiar with because of her farming background), monkeys, monitor lizards, creepy crawlies and sharks/whales.  Also because she's very handy with tractors on the farm she's very interested in Nulan's mechanical and DIY skills.

Julia and Jackie were very, very happy that they could get so close to the monkeys at Teluk Chempedak.  The chicken taking a morning stroll at CBH reminded Julia of her feathered friends on her farm.  But when the kampung goats wandered on to the beach of CBH they, ( the two Leicester ladies, not the goats) went almost berserk.  Goats on the beach!  But Som muttered, " They also eat up my shrubs and the plants in my herbal garden". 

But this I could not resist.

Indeed we should, Julia!  But these two colourful homo sapien cousins of the primate simians are actually quite civilized and friendly. 

But Julia did not give up on her search for the local non-homo sapiens.

Top Right - With her plucky camera woman, they are seen scouting for creepy crawlies on the beach on a lovely sunny morning at CBH.

Bottom Right - Then at Teluk Chempedak we saw this blob (circled in the picture) that seemed to be moving.  We gasped!  Could it be .....?  Shall we call on Nulan to give us his expert opinion.   But he was too deeply engrossed  chin-wagging  with his air-con engineer .......

The new generation Brit and Malay discussing ways of redressing the effects of the 1874 Pangkor Treaty ?!?  Or trying to compare  the delicate flavour of teh tarik served in a mug or English tea in cup-and-saucer.

Lucky for us he was otherwise occupied.  What we observed was just a small rock sitting in the sea with the waves lapping around it. Ooooh we must have turned red in the face - actually only Jackie and Julia.  AsH's brown face cannot turn red - just darker brown.

Bottom Left - What 's this?  A little Malaysian panther?  No, you ninnies - that's Jackie's and Julia's Minx, their beloved cat left behind in a Leicester cattery.

Top Left - At last!!  Julia the farmer's daughter and ex-farmer got to see her cows - in Terengganu. They were grazing at the front gate of CBH.  According to Julia, one looked almost Friesian.  Jackie had to dash across the road just to capture this snap - she's a really dashing photographer.  In fact most of the photos in this posting came from her collection.  After this jubilant experience there were no more laments of  "Where are the cows"?

Well, that's a pretty informative introduction to The Magnificent Seven in Terengganu.  The sequel will follow in Episode 3.

Episode 3 will explain and elaborate on the background of these next two pictures.

These photos were taken by AsH - who has an eye for  really good scoops.

Tuesday 8 October 2019

Jackie and Julia. Episode 1 - Forays into Setiawangsa and Melaka

Jacqueline Newman and Julia Thistlethwaite are two of our best friends in Leicester. We had nagged and cajoled them to come to our abode in Kuala Lumpur and enjoy our company (yeh?) and our world here before we became too old and decrepit.   Much younger than us, they are both nurses, one retired and the other still working it out with the famed and 'de-famed' National Health Service in Leicester.

Intrepid travellers; they have (like most Brits) travelled all over Europe.  They toured Sri Lanka, Bangkok and Australia.  We do admire their stamina and guts when they travel. They (mainly Jackie because Julia's shoulder gave up the ghost) drove in Arizona to see the Grand Canyon etc, and spent an autumn in New England and a winter in New York

We witnessed that same stamina - and an enormous enthusiasm for the environment, the people and the culture they met - when they arrived here on September the 22nd.

We two septuagenarians have not been in the best of health since we came back in June.  I brought home with me a nasty infection after a visit to Singapore in mid-August.  And we so looked forward to J & J's arrival.  They were like a breath of fresh air and a ray of healing sunlight- just what the nurses ordered!

Hardly ten hours into their arrival, they were up and about 'exploring' our little slice of  "kampung Setiawangsa"

A photo to kill for - AsH snapped the shot that almost lopped off their heads - taken at the end of our side road.
Jackie (left) and Julia and a dried up coconut frond.

Clockwise :  bananas, coconut, turmeric leaf, serai all of which can be found in Leicester shops;  growing by the wayside near our street.   (Photos taken by Jackie - Ash cannot be trusted with the job after that first debacle!)
J & J are very, very keen gardeners  and between them they have a full time job looking after their high maintenance garden in Leicester - with its lawn, its vegetable garden, its fruit trees, its shrubbery, its nursery, and its many floral borders.  Of course we had to show off our wild senduduk bush (mainly for feeding the birds), our date palm from 6 Ramadans ago, out skinny lanky (like the spouse) frangipani, our serai wangi (citronella) that suffered a lot of pummelling from a stray, randy tom cat and pots of infected chili plants that need a high dose of plant antibiotics.   Hardly a grand garden, and hardly high-maintenance - but we love it first thing in the morning!

They took quite a nice picture of our garden.  Taken from the right angle, our wee garden does look quite presentable.  But I must be fair - they too have a lovely garden.  They must be as proud of their gardening skills as we are of ours(?).  See below and compare.

East and West -the twain shall meet.

On the very next day they left for Melaka - on their own, by Express bus.  The outward journey was fine, but the return trip was a harrowing experience - of a driver speeding on the highway, weaving in and out of the hard shoulder while talking on his mobile phone.  Sometimes he drove hands free while his attention was taken up by someting else more important than the rules of the highway code and the safety of his passengers!!  Julia had to be on the alert all the time as a kind of self-defence tactic on a Malaysian road.  I had to assure them that what they experienced is quite normal for Malaysian drivers and driving.

Melaka at least did not fail to capture their attention and interest.  We got them a nice hotel at Jonker Street, a good base for capturing the sights and sounds and food of Melaka.  They spent about one hour and a half  in the vicinity of an an empty restaurant, sheltering from a heavy downpour but it was all taken in good humour as another experience to be chalked up.  Nothing like a torrential tropical rain to energize the spirit of two dauntless Brits from Leicester. EYUP me duck!

Here are some photos of their walkabout in Melaka.

Something I've never seen before :  Melaka, a World Heritage City.

Symbols of Melaka's heritage.  The X is something Malay (other than the Istana of the Melaka Sultanate) I have to find out by visiting Melaka Baru (post-1960s) one day, InsyaAllah.  

For our two dear ladies from Leicester, Melaka was a new and wonderful experience - as we hoped it would be.    And they made the most of their short time there, taking a river trip, tasting the food, walking for hours, and enjoying the kindness of Melaka taxi drivers, coffee shops, and a nice little hotel.

Of course, Jackie and Julia would have no way of knowing this.... but as I belong to the dinosaur generation of "locals" (and proudly so!), I much prefer the Melaka of the 1960s.  As I've mentioned many times before, the present does not impress me at all.    Those were the days - just look at those empty streets!

Melaka - 1966.  Photos by courtesy of Iain Buchanan.

Episode 2 of Jackie and Julia's venture to the East Coast will be next.  It is full of thrills and spills and food and sun and sand and snorkelling.