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Showing posts from March, 2008

Fine By Me

"One Form 2 girl, she make the sex."

Sarah was made privy to this great little bit of gossip the other day and I'm both surprised and eager to pass it on. We really didn't think they knew about sex here. We were mistaken. Apparently the youngin' made the sex with an 18 year old boy, which as she was 14, is illegal in most states and countries, Muslim or otherwise. While the Koran does mention a fairly severe punishment (up to 100 lashes), pre-marital sex is much less of a big deal than adultery, an act that's generally frowned upon. I have been told, however, that lashing has been replaced by a 300 Ringgit fine in this situation. Naturally, this leads to many interesting and troubling questions:

1. Is the fine per sex? Or per relationship? Or perhaps even per partner? Do you get a discount if you don't enjoy it that much? Is it 300 Ringgit for the couple so that the partners can split it as they see fit? Is the guy expected to pay more, or do the…

I Can't Believe It's Not Reality!

Last weekend Sarah and I escaped once again to the Perhentian Islands and soaked up some sunburn in the presence of some fellow ETAs and a lot more restless youth types with little need for clothing or sobriety. The moto of one of the boat companies on our island was "It's not reality, it's paradise." While the whole quote might apply to the Perhentians, the first part is definitely appropriate for the experience in Malaysia on the whole. It's not reality. The problems come when you make the mistake of thinking that it is. Let me give you an example of this unreality of mine:

I've been meaning to tell you that Sarah and I got a car a week and a half ago. It's a maroon Honda with 500,000 kilometers on it and I love it. But as you may or may not know, there are a few things that you're generally supposed to avoid doing while owning a car. At the top of such a list of things it would be fair to put "lose your keys" and "hit somethin…

Super Punch

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Today I came to my desk to find that my chair was missing. When one of the other teachers saw that it was missing and that some students were using it he offered to "super punch" them for me. I was pretty tempted, but I figured I'd save the super punches for for the real criminals, like the ones my mother warned me about.

Other things of note: a few days ago I was given some "fermented taro root" to try. While it was very tasty, it was also decidely alcoholic in flavor. It's not a big deal for me, but I was surprised that it could fly for the Muslims that offered me some. These were not deviants either. These were the kind of people Super Pious Man would be proud to hang out with. But if I were to doubt the potency of the root, they told me that it could not be taken with medicine. So yeah. That was weird.

Also bizarre, in so much as that no one notices it or cares, was the brand of tissues that are featured at the school's cafe. They're cal…

The One Your Mother Warned You About

The other day, I was riding home on my moto as I often do once I've finished my scholastic duties at Imtiaz or exhausted the Internet... I think it was both in this case. Anyway I was riding home and on the moto in front of me was a man, a woman, and a baby (in the middle). I've seen this happen once or twice before, so the three-on-a-moto was not newsworthy on its own. However, the woman was wearing a t-shirt, the back of which I could just barely make out when the wind blew her tudung around. It said:

I'm the one your mother warned you about.

Now the only things that I remember my mom warning me about were Republicans and smoking. So obviously my next conclusion was that I was tailgating the tobacco lobby and should proceed with caution.

But then I saw the little baby draped over the woman's left shoulder. That baby was grasping at me... possibly grasping for me. Suddenly I realized what was really going on. That woman's shirt wasn't directed towards me…

Deporting Sex

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Good news! I finally found out what happened to all the sex that Malaysia wasn't using. It got deported to Thailand. Taken together, the two countries are like Descartes' mind-body dualism, where Malaysia takes care of the spirit and Thailand takes care of the body. And does it ever.

Of course now might be a good time to talk about the limited sample sizes I'm working with here. I'm really just comparing Terengganu with the beautiful and touristy island of Phuket (to my profound disappointment, pronounced pooh-KET).

It was bizarre walking down the street at Kata Beach with Sarah, Julia, and Kiyomi (friends of Sarah's and mine from way back in high school). Everyone we passed wanted to either touch my body, clothe my body, feed my body, get my body drunk, have my body stay in their hotel, or take my body on a boat ride. And I'll be honest, it felt good to be wanted. You see, people here in Malaysia don't objectify my body, they just objectify my abilit…

Too Soon

This post has been slow in coming because I've come to the conclusion that while war can sometimes be funny (we actually did get to see Good Morning, Vietnam in the morning while in Vietnam), I can safely say that it's not usually funny. As South Park has taught us, it usually takes 22.3 years for something tragic to be funny. The humor in something tragic also increases exponentially as the tragedy gets further and further away. As Monty Python proved, the Black Plague is now fair game.

So even though almost 33 years has passed since the fall of Saigon (known as the Day of Losing the nation by the Republic of Vietnam supporters), I still can't quiet joke about it nearly as much as I'd like to. And why? Why can't there be a Agent OrangeJulius stand in Ho Chi Minh City? It's because even though it's been over three decades since any American soldier stepped foot on Vietnamese soil, there hasn't been a day between then and now when the legacy of war …

Welcome to Nam

I wanted to let you know that the title of this website is currently a lie, as I am in no way "in Malaysia" right now. In fact, Malaysia was two countries ago. Lemme give you a quick run down of what's happened since we left our little academic cocoon.

Thursday night: took 11 hour bus to Singapore. Little known fact: bus drivers fall asleep and crash if the temperature ever gets warmer than freezing. It was cold. Since I didn't think I'd need a sweater during my travels, I was forced to use the only other clothing I had in abundance for warmth. I had pants wrapped around my neck and was wearing another pair as arm and chest warmers. The downside of my poor packing came when we crossed the Malaysian border, where my first official act in the new country was to commit the fashion faux pas of wearing socks with Tevas. But it was either that or lose my pinky toes to frost bite. May the fashion gods forgive me.

In Singapore, 6 things happened of note:
1. Posters for &quo…

Bastardized English Prevail!

Today was the Sultan of Terennganu's birthday/coronation depending on who you ask... and if you ask the internet it's the anniversary of his installment. This means that Sarah's teachers have a better grasp on the English language or that mine just want to feed me misinformation. Either way since Sarah was right, I should buy her a Coke or something. Or a gift certificate to Dr. Fish. I'll think of something. So to celebrate the sultanic installment, Sarah and I took the moto to Kuala Terengganu and since we took a shortcut we got to play the exciting game of dodge the cow mine. While I had been previously been warned (twice) to watch out for the cows on the road, cow deposits had not been mentioned. They should've been. When you hit a cow patty in a car the only danger is that you might spray the car behind you. But hit one on a moto and... well, let's just say I don't know what happens and I didn't really want to find out on my first Sultan-d…

The Doctor Fish Will See You Now

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KualaLumpur: city of commerce, city of progress, city of medically licensed fish. Sarah and I returned to KL for the weekend and this time, our eyes were wide open. First, and arguably most importantly, I was able to sustain several hundred fish on the dead skin on my feet and legs alone. I payed 38 Ringgit ($12) for this honor and would've gladly shelled out double. The experience of tiny fish nibbling at my skin ranged from hilarious, to surreal, to ticklish, to creepy, and finally to therapeutic. Those fish totally knew what they were doing. Sarah and I then proceeded to a Sushi bar, but out of respect for the great service that their healing brethren had given me, I abstained from fish, instead eating only soft shell crab and shrimp, neither of which had ever effectively treated any of my numerous topical ailments. Should've stayed in school, guys, I thought to myself as I chewed slowly. You could've been doctors.

Arguably even more bizarre than my encounters wi…