24 July, 2008


Us young(er) 'uns enjoyed the whole kampung hut experience, but I must admit the collective response of the older generations was that it reminded them of the early months of the Japanese occupation when everyone fled to the villages - only with aircon and wireless internet.

Went to see the office ladies for lunch today. They were talking about a charity fun run that the office organised last year - the route went along Jalan Bukit Bintang and Jalan Ipoh, with the result that half the participants trailed off halfway to have breakfast dimsum. This year, they have rerouted the walk to Lake Gardens and Kenny Hills, where there are not so many culinary distractions.

21 July, 2008


I love this resort - it has free wireless internet everywhere! At last I can make like one of those people in the adverts who sit by the pool with their laptops, glamorously checking how far London property prices have slid in the past five minutes.

It rained torrentially yesterday, but cleared up enough for us to make a trip into town in the afternoon. The weather report for today was merely for "heavy rain" but in fact it has been beautiful all day. We went down to Tanjung Rhu beach and enjoyed the same beach and the same sea as the Four Seasons people further down the beach, for the princely sum of no dollars. Although we were charged one ringgit for a rinse off at a standpipe behind the coffeeshop where I bought a bunch of rambutan for a dollar fifty.

Went to Mo's favourite Thai restaurant in a mangrove swamp for lunch, but it has gone sadly downhill since the last time we were in Langkawi, so ended up in a pizza place. Afternoon spent lounging by the pool. Ahhhh!

18 July, 2008


Saw the new Bond trailer. Daniel Craig seems to have tripled in attractiveness since the last round. How can I last till November?

15 July, 2008

Movie Roundup

The Emirates entertainment facilities are the best I've seen so far - loads of movies, TV, music and games, and all at your choice, fast forwardable etc. Watched on the plane - 5 episodes of 30 Rock, which I'm really liking, White Heat (we love Jimmy Cagney), the musical sequences from Chicago (we love Catherine Zeta Jones), some movie which has completely evaporated from my brain, and half of a soppy movie with Michelle Pfeiffer and Paul Rudd. I said to Larry re Michelle Pfeiffer, Do you realise that woman is in her 50s? Doesn't she look stunning? She said, That's amazing, she looks more like your age. Or even younger. I hit her.

Just got back from Journey to the Centre of the Earth (Brendan Fraser). Exactly as expected. Tomorrow Kungfu Panda. The day after that, Wanted. The day after that, Red Cliffs (John Woo).

I love the holidays.

11 July, 2008

The Story So Far

Many months ago I bought some marigold tea, in the mistaken internet-sourced belief, that it would help alleviate my mystery itching. It did not work. What did work was Boots heavy-duty antihistamines. I could not find any marigold tea in the Balham Therapy Rooms, so I ended up buying it off the internet and when it arrived it turned out to be a wholesale-sized package. I have been drinking this weird-tasting tea for months now and it never seems to get any less and there is still a huge tupperware of it stashed in our larder. So I give up – even though it means that I am – gasp! – wasting money, I have finally taken the big step and thrown it away. The way things were going, I could see that two years from now, I would still be thinking a cup of the horrible stuff every day at work, and I don’t even like it.

I’ve just finished reading that Danny Wallace book where he looks up 12 old friends from his childhood. If I were to do that, they would be:

Adlina Manaf
Shirani Oorjitham
Chin Jen Yee
Maznah Hashim
Ronald Khoo and his sister Su Ming – but I have never really lost touch with them, so they probably do not count
Leong Ket Ti – actually I have seen her relatively recently too, her husband is a hotshot lawyer in KL
Sau Kim
Anne Edwards – married with kids and living somewhere in Surrey? Or Kent?
Matanat Mohsin – actually lives in London but thinks she’s too smart for me
Tanya Boyd-Meester – also living somewhere in London, but I tried to get in touch when we got back to the UK and no reply. Huh.
Holly Gillcash – American exchange student. Was going to Georgetown University. Was a lot more sophisticated than us.

I suppose the thing that holds me back from contacting any of them is the fear that we would have nothing in common any more, if we ever did. There would be none of that warmth and recovery of the past that Danny Wallace rejoices in. If anything, I would go away feeling that what I thought I had in the past wasn’t real.

What else has been going on? The Food Upfront woman came round and dropped off compost. LSS has spent the past couple of weeks crooning over it: There’s nothing yet. There’s still nothing. It’s been days and there’s nothing. You’d think by now there’d be something. We have a shoot! We have another shoot! We have nine shoots! But the first one is my favourite.

We are flying out to KL tomorrow for two weeks. Who is going to water our shoots? When we get back, we will not have shoots – we will just have a row of shrivelled dead things.

Having tussled fruitlessly with the NHS for a year(!), I have finally given up and booked an appointment for Mo at Dr Kewley’s ADHD clinic in Sussex. I am fedup with the NHS. In my opinion the best thing they could do is abolish it and make everybody get private health insurance. It is clearly not a sustainable institution.

Curly has been assessed with a reading age of 9 and is going to spend an hour a day with the Y2’s next year. She has taken this with her usual aplomb. Larry got AA’s for everything except PE and Mental Maths in her report card. Ah, I says to her, we must work on your Mental Maths (discarding the PE as fighting against her destiny – I was hopeless at PE, she can be hopeless at PE). LSS accused me of doing the traditional Chinese parent thing – what only 99%? What happened to the last 1%? Hey, if it was good enough for my sisters and me, it’s good enough for my kids! It got me to where I am today – a broken-down unfulfilled wreck, doing a job I hate, fruitlessly striving to propitiate unappeasable imaginary gods.

Accepted an offer on our flat. The guy works for First Direct so at least he should have no problem getting a mortgage. Anyway, I am not holding my breath.

Had first session with the teacher I am coaching for TeachFirst. It was really good! How unexpected.

Working on third draft of my novel. Bracing myself for inevitable rejections, by starting prep work on the sequel.

LSS finally passed his driving test after a saga that made me wonder whether I should not also be making an appointment for him at Dr Kewley’s clinic. First, he never got round to booking the test until it was so late that he would only have one shot at it before his international driving licence wore out. Then he didn’t read the instructions properly so he didn’t realise that he needed to show them the new photocard licence, instead of the old paper licence and passport, so he couldn’t take the test (and forfeited the £56 fee). Then he got home from the aborted test and realised that he actually does have a new photocard licence and it was in his wallet all the time, so he could have taken the test. Then he had to take the kids to school on public transport (gasp!) for a week because his international licence had expired. Then he made us all get up at dawn to get to the driving test centre on time on Wednesday, only to find out when we got there (and had been sitting waiting for half an hour for the test centre to open), that in fact the test was on Thursday.

Anyway, thank heavens, he has passed at last! Cheaper motor insurance – hooray! I realise this is not much of a thing to get excited about, but when you are 44 you have to take your opportunities for euphoria where you can.

Have to start sorting out senior schools for Larry. Someone remind me, if I haven’t done anything about it in a month.

LSS and the kids got on to Southwest Trains for Clapham Junction some time last week (during the whole driving test saga) on a rainy day when the train was jampacked. Larry was moaning: “It’s too crowded. It’s too hot. I’m wet. I’m bored. I want to get off!” She was clearly channelling the thoughts of every single person in the carriage, as everyone laughed. Curly (from the level of everyone’s knees) pipes up: “Why am I down here? It’s all different down here!” Cue for more merriment. Yes, they were the life and soul of the morning commute that day!

Went round to Little Squish’s last weekend to help her clear stuff. I have been longing to clear stuff out of her flat for years. Took the stuff down to Lambeth dump off the Walworth Road. It’s not as good as Wandsworth’s! She fed us extremely authentic Fukien mien, although I did not get any of the little crunchy bits. Came away with VHS videos of the entire Buffy series 1-9, and my old Felix the Cat tin box. LSS replaced her broken toilet seat and reaffirmed his manly credentials.

We went to a PYO two weeks ago and LSS has made 4 jars of raspberry jam and 4 jars of what can only be described as strawberry splot. If anyone needs any strawberry splot, please let me know.