Tag Archives: Malaysia

i renew my passport

5 Dec

london 12.46pm 13C cloudy wednesday 2018

i went today to the malaysian high commission to renew my passport. it is in belgrave square.

recently they have to move out temporarily, to get it renovated. but they are back now and i can see the place looks very nice, all new plaster and new paint, and the basement passport/visa area has been cleaned out and redesigned.

it is all very efficient now. you get a number from a small ticket machine in the outer waiting room, and when your number is called u go the booth and there everything is done without u needing to move.

in the past you have to go to a copying machine and get your own copy of the Identity card, (ID), and sometimes people forget to take the plastic cover off and have to re take the photostat copy wasting another 20p. not to mention if u dont have 20p coins you have to go round asking people to exchange .

now it is all done for you. there is no need even to fill in a form. i remember that form used to be in malay, and it was a bit of a panic trying to figure it all out, because my malay is non existent really.

even the photo is done by a camera at the side of the booth. you just swivel the chair u are sitting on to the right side and face the camera , take off your glasses and wait for the camera to blink a red light and it is done. however, if u want to look your best you might be out of luck. there are no mirrors or toilet for you to freshen up . i imagine it must be a bit off for the females, who might want to adjust their makeup and hair.

even the thumb print is done digitally, though they still require us to have a paper print of our right thumb, using black ink. so that messy bit  still have to be done.

and it all costs only £21.in the past we have to pay £5 for the photo, and all those 20p coins for the photostat of the ID, front and back sides. now we dont have to move elsewhere to get those done. i was asked if i have married or single. when i told her that i have got married to a man, she said it does not count, malaysia does not recognise it. well, i shrugged and said it does not matter, so she put me down as single. haha. i dont mind really. and it might have saved me having to come back with simon and all his documents and it will be a lot of bother. 

even the nasi lemak man who used to sit by a small room under the road have gone. when i asked about him, she said they are not allowing anyone to sell food now and told me of a roti place nearby.

the leaflet on the notice board tells me it is near victoria station. i have seen the entrance before, when i was at victoria…  but did not connect it to a eating centre inside that building. they dont advertise it at all, so that even me, who goes to victoria often did not know this place is opened. so when i got to victoria and the bus i was on stopped  there, i had mistaken the bus for the 36, when it is really the 38… i saw the entrance and went in to look.

the roti place is upstairs. it is all very pleasant like a food hall, with stalls lining the sides and eating and sitting places for all to share. 

added 7.12.18 friday. i found a article about it here

the food is pricey, the roti place’s cheapest food is about £7 for 2 roti chanai and curry . laksa is about £9. the other stalls cost about the same. there is a bao place, a kebab place, a udon place, taco place. i had hoped it would be about £5, but maybe nowadays £7 is the going rate for these street food. when u consider roti chanai is a cheap street food in malaysia, it takes a bit of getting used to it being like high end food here.

but wait why am i complaining of the cost. there is malaysia hall canteen where we malaysians can have all this for a fraction of the cost. all we have to show is our malaysian ID, to get in and eat allthose foods.

so really i was at first thinking that those who go to get their passport renewed will have to eat at this roti place, but hey for just one bus ride. in fact bus 36 will take them to porchester road, which is the nearest i think to malaysia hall, near queensway. there they can have allthe malaysian food they can eat for a fraction of the cost. it is a strange thing really but i dont go there often enough. even though it is the cheapest way for us to get malaysian foods. i must seriously question myself why i dont go more often..

added 5.20pm. i went back at about 3.30pm to collect the new passport and it was very quick to get it. no waiting for me. they only open 3-4pm for the passports issued today to be collected.

i got a receipt for Rm100, which was the £21 i paid. so the exchange rate was Rm4.76=£1. google says £1=Rm5.29 today. but of course the buying and selling rate are always either worse or better than that. so it seems if i were to go to malaysia , my £ would only get me Rm4.76.it is quite poor really. just as well i am not visiting malaysia. haha. 

added .6.41pm, i tried to go back my blog to see if i wrote anything when i renewed last time dec 2013, but strangely nothing came up. it is very strange, because i know i would have written something about it. i have to go back to 2008 , in a old website that i used before i used wordpress. and there i got reminded that i paid  £31 (Rm150) (Rm4.84=£1) and that was because it is a pensioner rate, if u are not over 60yrs old you will pay £62, and also it is for 32page passport. this one i got is 50pages. 

mundane things

27 Aug

london 18C dry bank holiday monday 2018

i just had a thought, just now. i was thinking if i were in malaysia now, i would be thinking of going out to eat, and deciding which of the many hawker centres that i can go and maybe even thinking of calling some buddies to see if they will join me. but here i am in london, and i was wondering what places will be open on this bank holiday monday and cannot think of any except the chain restaurants like kfc, or macdonalds, or pizza places like pizza hut, pizza express. but the choice will be limited . as for calling friends to join me, forget it. here if u dont make an appointment days in advance, no one seem able to just join you on the spur of the moment… you could say it is because most of us here will have plans allready made, unlike most malaysians who are not so organised, nor want their days planned so well, so they can allow for friends calling them up on the spur, or even they themselves doing it. that i notice is the difference between people in s.e.asia, and over here. perhaps life has changed for people in malaysia now, and that kind of impromptu calling up and meeting up is no more. but i dont think so, somehow i have a feeling that people are more people orientated in the east. we like the face to face meetup i think. or at least that is what i think i would do if i were ever to find myself living there.

its possible that people like to meet up because  the tv programs in malaysia are awful, so that is another reason not to stay at home. here, it is not so, the tv guide does throw up some interesting films or programs that i find i would stay in for.

also i think in malaysia, people are not so tied to a fixed tv schedule. they can watch films on demand, or buy dvds. in other words they can stop and view at a time of their choosing. here we can do it too if we subscribe. but spur of the moment phone calls to meet up are not encouraged here. at least in my experience.

one thing i suspect might affect meeting up in malaysia, is if it is rainy season, when it is too wet to be going to the late night hawker stalls and drinking teh tarik and gossip.

but i wonder if that is a vision that i have that dont exist anymore in malaysia, and people there are just like here… keeping isolated and surfing the internet for porn and finding sexual contacts to fill their leisure time. haha. 

added 9.33pm hmm, i am seeing a tv program on bbc2 by adrian chiles about his drinking. i dont drink, but i can see how most people here will be like him, socialising in the pub with friends and drinking heavily. or rather, drinking normally, because if he were not questioning it all, he would have considered he is normal and have no drinking problem. because the old idea of alcoholism, is some one waking up in the gutter and not knowing what happened. during the program they were drinking 7pints in the pub. each. how anyone can drink that much water is beyond me… the trouble is , even on his high drinking, his liver function is normal… only on scanning do they find his liver has fibrosis, and fat. so i can see why others watching this might say all those scientist saying only allowed 14units a week, may not be correct. and it seems different countries advocate different limits. which suggest no one knows really what is the optimum limit. (some of us might say no alcohol is the only limit to say to people. that alcohol has no health benefits at all.) but i can see the socialising is all centred round pubs, and if u stop drinking, your social life may die, just like that.

28.8.18 added here is a review of that program.

thaipusam tomorrow

23 Jan

london saturday 2016 11.34am 10.6C sunny , its warming up.

i was browsing my wordpress reader and saw a post by tropical expat who commented on the dengue fever vaccine in malaysia being only 47% effective and may be dangerous to children under 9, which begs the question why it is used at all… he gave a link to the sun newspaper in malaysia, and that was where i found out that thaipusam is tomorrow. it is a public holiday in malaysia, but here in uk, we dont hear of it. no one is holding a celebration in trafalgar square for it.

it is a hindu festival celebrated by tamils, according to wikipedia. i guess there are not enough tamils here who would bring a bit of colour to london by walking about near naked with a kavadi. a bit cold for it now.

i remember now that it is well known for the devotees skewering themselves seemingly without suffering any pain. or if there is pain, they are able to suppress it. it’s a very strange custom. and for the tremendous crowds in batu caves, in malaysia. and the breaking of coconuts. 

 

Why 2015 is a good year for durians – BBC News

6 Jul

Why 2015 is a good year for durians – BBC News.

if anything makes me want to go visit malaysia it is this news, that there is a bumper durian harvest this year. i am very partial to kampong durian, the wild durian, rather than the cultivated hybrids. the headline says singapore, and i was rather surprised because singapore is good at a lot of things, but there is not enough land there for durian cultivation to make a harvest , let alone a bumper one. haha. it is only when u read the text that u see it is because malaysia is expected to have a bumper durian harvest, and naturally a lot of that will be sent to singapore to be sold there as the profits will be higher. it will mean it will be even cheaper in malaysia.

london was like south of france yesterday, malaysia today.

1 Jul

london 2.14pm wednesday 2015 33.8C

today felt like i was in malaysia. i was walking back from the library and the overcast cloudy sky and muggy air felt so much like i was in malaysia. isn’t it wonderful? to experience all these weather effects whilst still remaining in london. i felt like i have been on holiday allready. haha.

yesterday i felt like i was in the south of france. it was about 30C but the sun was shining and the sky was blue with not a cloud and it did not feel humid at all, even though according to my weather website yesterday’s humidity was the same as today’s. 66%.

today felt humid, which was what made me think of malaysia;  though not as humid as in malaysia, which makes it even nicer, because i can have all the feelings of being in malaysia without actually being in malaysia, if u know what i mean.

if i were in malaysia, it would be not as nice. in that the air would be muggier, and i would be sweating like a pig. and there would be more of the smell of drains. haha. as it is, i only had a whiff of drain smells when i passed the hilton hotel near victoria… hang on, the hotel did not smell, but there were some workmen working on a hole in the pavement, the entry to the sewers i think, if the smell coming from it is any indication. two ladies who were at the hotel entrance i overheard make a comment on it.

yesterday with its really cloudless blue sky is much nicer than today, even though today is much hotter. yesterday if there were bougainvilla hanging about i could really imagine i was in the south of france.

i have been chatting via a gay website with a guy in montpellier. he had advertised wanting to make chat with a guy here in london to practise his english on, as well as exchange hospitality with as he wanted to come visit london to improve his english for the weekend, in september and october. and that was what made me think of the south of france yesterday.

he told me he would cycle to the seaside , it was 20 kilometers round trip. we were conducting a chat via google translate, which he uses so sometimes the translation comes out all funny.

haha. a one way 10km trip would be how long? about 3miles? my trusty google say 6.3miles. how quickly can u cycle that length? it is too far to cycle i think. i would take the bus. 

 i have only been briefly to montpellier, it was the airport we fly into on our way to capdadge the naturist town. cant say i think much of it, it seems rather a modern town not many very historic buildings, and i remember it for the subway lunch we had bought, and not really getting a good selection as subway expects u to tell the servers what to put in it, and our french was non existent so we did not get anything worthwhile… mumbling oui at everything she said haha. and getting nothing much. ( she most probably asked if we want ketchup or mustard and our saying oui is not much help haha.)

i had asked him how long he takes to cycle to the sea. and how long it is to get there by bus or train, just to get some idea of how far montpellier is from the sea. have not received his reply yet.

some friends of mine i met at a naturist party recently told me they are going there to visit a friend who lives in sete. they are there now as i speak. but what surprised me was their comment that there are no naturist beaches around that area, the only one being in capdagde. they could walk along the beach to capdagde and avoid paying the entrance fee which you have to pay if u enter via the gates if u come from the road.

that is surprising, that u have to go all the way to capdagde to be naked. when there is all this vast stretch of beaches all the way up northwards to and beyond sete to marseille and toulon and on to Nice and the famous cote d’azur. and no naked beaches along the way. there is the naked island, il du levant, though. but dont u think it strange that there is no naked beach anywhere?

i used to like going to these naked holidays, but i seem to have lost interest nowadays. its getting more expensive to get to these places. more than £100 rtn. i am spoilt in the past when it used to be £30 rtn. 

added just now. i got a reply from him, my chap in montpellier. i copy it here and u can see his quaint english via google translate.

he says …. I make the trip quiet, so it takes me two hours to go to the beach.

I go to the “petit travers” is a range between Palavas and the Grande
Motte.

Of course, there are many naturist beach beach …

the beach wher i go is not naturist but it is a gay beach.

By train, we must 20 minutes to go in September

google mangles the translation a lot doesn’t it? haha. and he said there are many naturist beaches, so my friends must be ignorant of their whereabouts; i guess u dont know where things are  if you are not french.  their friend in sete is english , one of the expats who have settled there, so he might be just as ignorant.

that is why it pays to have a local french guy to take u round and show u the secret places. haha. it helps if u know french too…because it seems not many french guys know english… unless my friend knows how to speak english and just needs practise to get fluent … 

i found this

By road : Take the beach road from the Antigone district leadership Carnon, La Grande Motte. Exit at Petit through about 12 kms from Montpellier. By Tram & Bus: T3 tram towards Pérols to the terminal (station Pond gold) then bus 131 to Palavas, then bus 132 to the beach Petit Travers

its no wonder he prefers to cycle there. but 2hrs is a long ride.

living in london pt 10

26 May

london

I woke up this morning at 5am and opened the curtains and saw the street wet , suggesting it had rained overnight. and went back to sleep and half an hour later woke up yearning for a malaysian or singapore kopitiam breakfast. 

in those days u can order a kopi kau, (meaning the first straining  of local coffee from the cloth filter, so that it is strong) and then from the steaming tower of bamboo baskets chose your dimsum. usually there are not as extensive a choice as u would get in a restaurant at lunchtime, but there will always be har kau, siew mai, or pau, (char siew pau, or pork pau, or black sweet black bean paste pau). and that is filling enough. 

or you would take one of the nasi lemak banana leaf wraps that will be lying around on the table and eat the fragrant offerings inside, usually minimal ingredients with a sambal of anchovies,a slice of cucumber,  and very fragrant coconut rice. they are all very cheap. in those days. not sure nowadays. or even if they are available any more. 

or u might ask for a bread toast of kaya jam, and a soft boiled egg. 

or u might ask for porridge. 

mostly i would go for the dim sum. it is so nice to just sit and sip the coffee , in a thick lipped porcelain cup and saucer, which invariably will have spilt coffee in it, which you wont waste and tip it back to the cup.

i know some old guys would cool the coffee by pouring it onto the saucer and then sip the saucer . A bit gross but you kind of got used to seeing it haha. (though now i come to think of it, i wonder why i consider that gross. it sounds entirely logical.)

and enjoy the cool of the day, as mornings are the only times when the air feels so fresh and clean and cool, and so quiet before people crowd in and things get busy. 

these are the little things that come to me now and then, now that i live in london, memories of my days and childhood in malaysia. and i am filled with nostalgia when it happens. the happy days of yore. 

And i still dream of my working days as a dentist, and just now i got a new dream about my days as a multilevel marketeer. they are pleasant dreams, for eg one where i expertly and swiftly took out a wisdom tooth and feeling good about it. i wonder if people dream of their working days when they retire? I enjoy my working life, mainly because i can take long holidays away from it, so it never gets stale. i never feel overworked and stressed about it, i know when and how to balance it with life… but it seems strange that i still dream about it, now i am not working anymore and happy not to be working. 

these memories are nice but i realise there is no going back to those days. The long lazy evenings chatting about nothing with friends in the mamak stalls drinking teh tarik, for example. Even if i go now to malaysia and singapore and go to a kopi tiam , it wont be the same. i have changed, if the place have not.

I think this post reminds me of my days in singapore and malaysia. 

Now I live in london and breakfast is bacon and eggs , fried tomatoes , baked beans, toast with butter and jam, the traditional breakfast which brings along with it memories too. nowadays i seldom eat it, preferring just to have porridge with a sprinkling of sultanas everyday. though when simon breaks open a pack of bacon, and i have fresh tomatoes, i will have it and bring back memories.

I was in soho yesterday, where they had  street stalls set up as a market. there was one stall selling leather knapsacks and brief cases, from £90. in the old days i would be tempted to buy the leather knapsacks. they are lovely. but i love my gym style nylon bag i use now so i doubt i shall want to go back to using a leather one.

just as well, i was thinking, it saves me spending £90 haha.

It was pleasant walking the street in sunshine, and sitting in soho square looking at people, and reminds me of the old days when i would hang about soho, sitting outside cafe nero, or the long gone old compton st cafe(open 24hrs),  and soho square; and meet and greet friends as invariably they too will be hanging about there. now i dont know anyone. i wonder if i shall wake up dreaming of it years later if i live long enough. 

 

goings on in london

19 Sep

London
The evening standard today is giving away a voucher for a free pint at young’s pub. You don’t even have to get the evening standard today as u can print the voucher online
There is a branch near me, across the river in Vauxhall, in the st george high rise block of flats beside the river. It is valid from 19-22sept2013.
I might go there on my way back from seeing the Battersea power station open house on Saturday. It is that time of year again when you can visit and look inside buildings in London free.
It is the only chance to see inside that power station before they close the whole area to make flats.

That is the nice thing apart from anything else about living in London. You get quite a lot of freebies.

And you can get free tea from royal albert , the bone china makers, as they do their annual free tea parties around London. This year they are not doing so many venues, and I only heard of it today. The London venue in Bloomsbury is over, but u can catch them at parson green. I have gone to them last few years, but this year I will miss it as I don’t fancy going to parson’s green.
It is not central London.

And of course u can get a free coffee at waitrose with your waitrose card.

News in the standard about the flats in the Olympic village being advertised for sale in kuala lumpur,Malaysia,this weekend;  £320,000 for 2bdroom flats; specially mentioning there wont be any social housing in the block. Newham council have allowed them to build the social housing in other areas. Rents in those Olympic flats will be £310 a week, for a 1bd room , £370 a week for a 2bdroom.£475 for 3bdroom, £515 for 4bdrm. Still rather expensive I think. but then maybe that will be the rent when the flats are built in 2yrs time. those may be the rates they quote for the Malaysian buyers as many will be buying to invest. i read somewhere that the flats are tiny, being meant only to provide bedrooms for the sports people, with no kitchen. it depands on how they configure the rooms. And can they knock two rooms into one to make a lounge? i daresay they must have thought there is a big demand in malaysia for such flats, seeing that the battersea powerstation first phase was oversubscribed. and those flats were more expensive than these. 
Advert for new homes sparks ‘no riff raff’ row
The picture of the block of flats accompanying the article are not that great to look at, quite ugly in fact. dont u agree? it looks like council flats or they look like post war buildings. no wonder they have to paste a notice on it saying no social housing in there. haha. 


 Added. 22.9.13 i just had a thought. the st george’s high rise tower in vauxhall had flats on the lower floors selling for around this price a few years ago. also, remember to slot in the service charges, that can be quite high in these high rise buildings.

money is not what it used to be, in that the £ has dropped a lot in value. that is why a labour mp can come up with the statement that £60,000 a year income is not rich. at first u think that is a silly statement, but it is really a true one. after tax it will be about £40,000 and when u consider what u can buy nowadays that is really not that much.

han suyin

8 Nov

London

Amidst all the news about obama winning the 2nd term as president of the usa, I find I am more moved by reading in the guardian obituaryabout han suyin’s death at 96yrs in Lausanne, Switzerland.

She wrote ‘a many-splendoured thing’ about her real life affair between a Eurasian and a married white man in 1950 Hongkong.

We will be more familiar with the story via the film and song ‘love is a many splendoured thing.’

Actually, when I read the obituary, I thought she had died long ago and was surprised that she had died now. The song was very old, and I don’t know where I heard it, but I did remember singing along and singing alone as a child. The lyrics are easy to remember. So it must have been on the radio during my childhood.

I don’t remember seeing the film, because in Malaysia, where I grew up, my family don’t see films that much.

But we do listen to the radio a lot.

And the radio plays many songs that are featured in films, hence this one.

The idea of a Eurasian marrying a foreigner , a white man, is a bit of a taboo in Malaysia too. The locals kind of look down on such a marriage.

That view is then, not sure if that holds nowadays. i have not been back to malaysia for 10yrs, and even before that i dont really have that many friends there and all of those are gay and so marriage never came up as a topic of conversation.

from what i read in the local papers, there seem to be more fuss about the religion of the potential mate. i dont think there are a lot of interreligion marriages.  

The Eurasian do not belong to either camp. Neither white, nor asian, and is viewed with suspicion by both.

The song moved me, even though I did not know much about love or that it was between a man and a mixed race woman.

It is strange how songs and the lyrics can bring back memories when I don’t really know what the words mean, nor what they allude to. Without me knowing the background story that prompted those songs I used my imagination to build up the story. Maybe that is why I am so moved. Haha. My story about it is so much more poignant I think.

For eg, for years I have been singing the songs from the ‘flower drum song’, without ever seeing the film nor the musical.

I was so familiar with the songs and created my own imagination of what they are like. i think it is because I was constantly played it at home when i was a kid. my parents have got the longplaying record of the musical. 

Much later, years later when I saw it on tv in London, I saw the film and was rather surprised at how it was so different from how I imagined it. I prefer my vision of it.

 I tend to romanticise things, and most of us would think her affair is a romantic fairy tale of lost love, and forbidden love.

But if u see it from the wife’s point of view, u can well sympathise with the wife. would u like it if some female steals your husband at a point in his life when he is alone and abroad, a time when he is most vulnerable.

 

A many splendoured thing, is a story that reinforced the view of wives about lone females and mixed race ones at that… that they are predatory females out to steal their husbands. 

the reality sometimes is not as clear cut and black and white as we would like to think.

 now that i have reached this stage of my life, i can see  both sides of the coin. that may explain why i have lost that romantic yearnings.

I think it is a good thing. fairy tales are for a time when u are a kid, when u dont really want to know what real life is like. but to carry that on when u are an adult is not going to make u live an adult life well.

u will be forever waiting for your handsome prince, or beautiful princess to come and make your life happily ever after. it wont happen. haha.