Thursday, 22 October 2015

Haze Daze......

Haze....there is no doubt that this is a terrible thing and has in essence ruined our time to date in Malaysia it is as I write still here, if Cuba was doing this to the United states it would be tantamount to a declaration of war because the toxins in the air this year are horrendous and stronger nations would DO something.

Malaysia is weak and pathetic in its innocence and it does not want to fight its own economy by challenging the Malaysian companies that are doing the burning all the talk is just rhetoric sold to the simpletons of the masses, nothing is really getting done and back handers in this world of corruption must be part of the cause.

There is no point in me going into to much detail a quick look on-line would explain everything you need to know what it does to us on a daily basis and how it makes you feel is what I will discuss here.

We left a clean fresh air country to come here with a promise of Ipoh being actually famous for its clear air quality and exceptional water quality, what a lie, and we have been lied to ever since, the Malaysians are very good at lying I could say bending the truth, they make big claims and never ever deliver, they fail on nearly ever promise they make, they don't do it out of malice its just that there as thick as shit, and they live in a world of promotion without substance, like in India and its frustrates all western educated people it feels like your being duped on a daily basis by a very kind smiley face....but its all just smoke and mirrors, and in this cause serious amounts of smoke.

The Haze stops you from seeing the horizon, it stops you from seeing that tall being building that was there yesterday only 500m away, it reduces visibility like thick sea fog but smell of acrid peat carbon. The Haze makes you feel terrible and finds its way through car aircon units and your own home aircon units it is full of dangerous levels of carbon dioxide and Methane and you can taste it in your throat if out too long, you can feel it stinging your eyes and making you feel slightly light headed and dizzy, and we are not even in the worst area, some places have yellow air, it looks yellow, some cities in Indonesia have been evacuated. The Haze stops in its track all outdoor activities, its stops you keeping fit because to breath heavy would not be a good idea, it stops you swimming as again your breathing heavy, its stops everything enjoyable to me and traps you in your home.

No one told us about this at interview, no one explained how bad it could get, no one mentioned it at all fuckers...!!

The school is trying not to close but the government being hopelessly incompetent, changes its policy daily as to what to tell the schools and its people of whom some are dying, some days they close it but ask the teachers to go in, they have to date not provided face masks or oxygen in rooms in case of issues with asthma etc.

All en sundry is shouting the same story its never this bad it wasn't like this last year it lasted a week or two but this year oh yeh its bad it sounds like a yearly BS call as if orchestrated for all the newbies coming hoping they just accept it least for another year. I would say that all employees that work here and experience this haze leave because of it but they are requested not to tell it as the reason for there departure, so they make up some waffle as they depart as if it was never the country the haze or the school that made them leave its must have been some external issue that forced them away from this innocent beautiful country of lies and deceit.

You can tell I am pretty pissed off eh, and so would you be if you could see it and live in it. we are only 8 weeks in to the contract and we are already talking about leaving and looking elsewhere for opportunities.

What are the positives, well not many except I know a few people I do trust who would have no reason or motive to lie to us and they swear blind that it was never this bad before in previous years, these peeps have been here for about 4 years and are not linked to the school. This is good news I suppose.

Malaysia is a country of stunning beauty but is being destroyed by its own greedy stupid and innocently uneducated stupid but lovely people. Our challenge is to find the nuggets of beauty before it all gets wrecked and leave for a more sanitised kind of paradise should that exist.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Driving in Malaysia....and motor bikes!!!!

Driving, well if you can call it that, has lets say a rustic natural law feel to it, you can do what ever you like it seems, as long as you don't crash into somebody else doing what ever they want to do....this although sounds terrifying actually works, basically because of the very painful price of cars for rich foreigners or poor locals no-one can afford to crash, so car prices alone may dictate driver awareness and safety.

In a weird sense not having many laws and (revenue collectors - police around) mean that a kind of natural unwritten law seems to work for most of the time as well as the fact that most roads are on a grid system, so your normally just going straight until you need to turn, there are roundabouts but not very many and no one knows how to use the bloody things anyway....Lanes well yes like roundabouts they do have them but are utterly disrespected and ignored by most, and most of the markings are fading, come night time you just stay in the middle as they have NO PATHS and big drains along the side to fall into.

More on there are so many, you can enter roads that have 3/4/5 lanes, and you'll be cruising along nicely and suddenly your fucking lane disappears (this could a left lane or right lane) causing you to make a dodgy swing into the traffic on your right or left....or on another occasion you'll be going along and someone will join the road to your right, very un common in the UK and they may also join you from the left.....mirror, signal manoeuvre albeit lost on the locals here is your life saver at times.

Luckily though most not all but most cars are automatic, which gives the traffic a slow meandering feel, it just flows like a small twig in water going down a relaxed stream, it is rare although possible to see cars racing and reving and beeping, its too bloody hot everyone is just chilling at lower speeds, lower than in the UK and so we all just roll along peacefully and slowly, even when someone makes a blinder of a move across 3 lanes of rush hour traffic...peeps just wait and carry stress at all.

Motorbikes...scooters....!!!!! fercking nutters all of them, although I have to say here we are trying to get one off a local at the moment, these bikes do race, all the time at every possible opportunity and at every light stop, they all pile in front of the cars at lights and go early, sometimes too early. they can be seen weaving in and out of traffic, they can be seen jumping red lights as they know the light pattern and lane movements in advance, they can be driven by 10 year olds with younger siblings on the back seat, babies can be seen in between riders legs, youngsters can be seen holding on the handle bars whilst daddy or mummy drives, this can also be very common in the cars as well. It is fascinating to see and I cant wait to join them in the race off the lights....brum brum...

Some bikes riders are carrying way too much stuff and on occasion bail on the side of the road, and you see them trying to upright there stock as well there bike, its a sad sight for sure, some have their whole stall attached somehow to the sides and with the days stock to sell search for a space where they can cook for passers by.

Motorbike riders dont wear leathers, they wear flip flops and shorts and t shirts, bless them I have to admit they do now wear helmets but apparently this is a new trend, they carry gas canisters on the fuel tank as they ride, tie bags of tea or Kopi 'o' on their handle bars and have a slurp at the lights, they have really cool helmets with massive mirrored sun visors which cover there whole face (I want one of these).

Most of these scooters and bikes are old Hondas from back in the day and most are 70cc, or 90cc, and peeps with some more money buy the 125cc ones. they cruise at about 50mph and they cost 2nd hand between MR1600 - 3000, they cost MR7 to fill the tank that's 78p to you and me, and the toll roads are free to bikes and they DO drive them along the motorway, they also drive the wrong way up the side of the road your on to save themselves the huge hassle of having to carry on up the road to find the correct junction further away and no one seems to mind this, even me come to think of it?...and last but not least ..... I WANT ONE......ha ha ha..

pictures soon, you have to see it to believe it, and all of this is going on amoungst lorries, trucks buses and cars....brilliant.

Our different is it compared to the UK?......

The place we live in is called Meru Golf and country Club, Ipoh. It is essentially a golf course or two to be exact nestled in against the edge of the jungle on one side of the valley that is Perak in Malaysia. the official website is here -

In between the holes on the course they have homes of various styles and sizes, that includes condos and apartment blocks and they are even building more, you can also buy a plot of land on the edge of a fairway and build your own house as many millionaires do (there's not many plots left). The cost of the unit we are in is about 400,000 MR to buy new, that works out at about £60,000. But as a foreigner your not allowed to buy anything under 1,000,000 MR (£150,000) the reason for this is up for discussion and for another day but they have their reasons I guess.

Our rent for a 2nd floor 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom, front and back balcony's (in a 4 floor low density block) Is 2000 MR which is £300 per month, bills are about 200MR per month for electric (£30) that's due to the Aircon how much you use this is crucial to your bill, we hardly have ours on unless its a really sticky in the afternoon or before bed briefly. water bills are nothing basically and you dont have a heating bill....if your cold you just wander outside, that sorts you out immediately....

Balcony view over looking tee shot on the 18th hole

Basic Kitchen but unusual for MY we get an oven (un-yet used) its boiling...
Lounge and dinning area. left balcony and patio doors to the right enclosed music room. 
Dining area.

Front door area we have plants and a table and chair here.

So that's what you get for your money, now if you choose to live outside of a guarded protected monitored gated community then you will pay for the same size property or even larger about 500MR - 1000MR
( £75 - 100) per month, but they claim you would be targeted and robbed being white and having an assumed better salary, whether this is actually true is up for debate, but since being here a penthouse suite in our actual precinct was robbed so I guess it happens, but its normally an inside job as the guards are in on it. Our gaurd, yes we have one sits in his little guard house just down form our condo, so its unlikely well get robbed as he sits there all day and night.

For that rental money we get our stairs cleaned and moped and also all the grass is cut and all the greenery is trimmed with the precinct everyday, so yes i can say with absolute certainty that we all in this precinct anyway have perfectly trimmed bushes. There are no other payments no rates as it were, no council tax at all (the landlord pays those not us). Also we have a swimming pool, although I do have access to two pools one of them is never frequented and so is all mine, the best pool however is at the club a short walk away.

The pictures above are very sanitised and show the apartment as it came when we signed our lives away, but since our crate has arrived from the UK which it did in good time and in perfect condition we have decorated the flat and it looks much more homely and well its us but in Malaysia, we took a lot of pictures from the UK, don't ask why but in retrospect they are the things that are making it look so nice as well as the throws and rugs etc. I even have the hammock set up on the balcony....lush.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Malaysian Internet.....!!! At last.....

My last post was in August, and this is the first post since because things in Malaysia happen very slowly indeed, and it has taken 5 weeks to get online over here. Just for the record we have gone with Unifi (TM) and it costs out here for unlimited internet a land line phone and a small TV package (No English channels) 210MR a month, which equates to £31 a month so very much a UK price.

The issue is that in the last 5 weeks a lot has happen we have experienced a great deal and to play catch could be a timely process, where do I start...where do I start.....mmmmmm

The Streets when out and about....

 The streets look scummy at first glance due to the deep and unmanaged drainage system, it just looks dirty and full of disease etc, and god knows what creatures and bugs may be lurking in there, these are are 2 ft wide 5 ft deep street drains to cope with rain water run off. Behind all the streets where the real people and restaurant owners throw their rubbish out and clean their equipment and store all kinds of junk, the back yards essentially are filthy, they look terrible and make you wonder what it is you’re eating at the front when the back looks so bad. Some areas where hawker stalls are about you really do wonder if you will survive eating there. But I have not been ill yet. Maybe we have been too sanitized in the UK to the point of ridicule. When I worked as a chef years ago food hygiene was very important and rules dictated what and how you did things to make sure you kept your customers safe and well. But this is the weird thing, these hawker stalls would be unfrequented if anyone got ill and the rumour got out, they’d go bust, one of the rules I always stick to anywhere in the world is if it’s busy its probably ok and this seems to have worked out here to date.

Image result for hawker food markets ipoh

As the night gets busy at Hawker stall areas they just pile up the plastic plates, cups etc and all of the food scrapings just get dumped on the street, in massive piles just a few yards away from tables. It is very hard to say to your British safe self that it’s ok, the food will be fine, it is after all a third world country that wants to be a first world one, but it has a long way to go – fix the sanitation and drainage and we’ll talk…But as said not been ill yet, so maybe we are over the top in the UK. But it does test your trust to be fair esp i this heat and humidity. 

I went to an Indian place once; open air no Aircon, asked the boy how to order, he gave me some chicken so and so and some rice and put some sauce on it for me and sat me down on the bench, I jumped in as I was starving and my first shock was that the meat is always on the bone, its not a nice chicken fillet from ASDA diced perfectly for you, when they cut a chicken up here they just lay the chicken down and hack the crap out of it just breaking it into smaller pieces, and sell every part of it and I mean every part of it, we’ve been to markets and watched them do it. So when they cook it they just cook it as it came…on the bone.

Image result for indians eating with hands

I looked around me at everyone staring at me and noticed they were all using their hands and so I did, this made it easier to get the meat off the bone but got me covered in curry sauce and I was wearing a white shirt too, the serviettes they give you run at the first sight of water and wimper and give up post first wipe…I needed a shower after that meal or a whole roll of kitchen roll may of sufficed… Eating with your hands is vey much a natural thing to be honest and I rather liked it very manly really. It was tasty so when finished I did my best with the water fearing serviettes  and went to pay, the guy would not take my now red dyed money from my now red dyed fingers and directed me to the next stage of the process the open air sink across the road to wash my hands before I paid, this sink was on the other side of the street…across from the restaurant? … after a washing and being grateful for it ( a shower would have been better if honest) I returned to pay 9MR (£1.40) for rice meat sauce and a drink (coke) … not bad…I ask to use the toilet but that’s another story….for another day......

The night markets for food are a boon and so much fun, and its where you meet the real people of Malaysia and get the best deals and can haggle and talk with them all, they are very curious of us, it is only the young who are less so, you get a lot of smiles and when your near people they start talking in English as if to show off that they can speak it, its cute and most peeps are very friendly, smiles abound and everyone tries to explain things to you when your asking questions. The markets are full of life and colour and crazy in a sense, I have a fold up plastic plate I carry with me so I can try food on the hoof...I also carry my own fork...

Rich and Poor side by side. 

There are of course millionaires here lots of them made obvious by the homes on show, we live in a very wealthy area a quick 1 minute drive up the gated and secure park we live in and I am outside millionaires homes, of which are under guard 24 hours and managed by a team of maids when they are not in residence, a million miles away from the back streets of down town and old town (which has more life and character to be fair).

But here’s the thing the diversity and clear as crystal split between the have’s and have not’s is stunning, go down nearly any street and they can be found rubbing shoulder with each other next door literally….making it all constantly interesting.

There are housing estates that to me look like modern futuristic coronation street type streets, these new housing projects look clinical and cold and the houses are huge too huge to be honest, they have been thrown up and look at first glance really swish, but stop and take a little more time over the viewing and you start to see the poor workmanship and finishing and you start to wonder. And devoid of greenery they look terrible In contrast to older buildings surrounded by jungle greenery.

The streets really are where its at as always I guess, so much life is going on it is a head spin sometimes and you have to just simply stop and take stock, let it in, let it wash it over you like a wave, trying to compare it to the UK will ruin your experience, its simply not home, but then home was getting rather boring wasn’t it.

Shop houses as they are called, are rows and rows of small units a few quirky things I have noticed is that most not all but most have buzzers, you have to be let in, you cant just walk in. They are very security wary, also this means that prior to going in you try to stare into the premises through the glass because your curious and nosey and want a look before walking in, but the glass is more often than not tinted due to the sun here and so you don’t see much if anything, but when you get inside you realise how much of a twat you looked staring in over someone’s dinner party right by the window, and they could see you squinting in….not looking your best. I now just walk in after buzzing.

From the outside a lot of these units are shabby and left un cared for, but when you walk in some of them, are like boom…swish contemporary modernity awaits, fitted out really nicely it takes you back for a moment as you expect them all to be shabby…but no and some of the malls are excellent very modern indeed and very airy as its so hot.

To sum up the streets is hard, but they are fascinating places full of life and contradictions but demand your attention and have a romantic old worldly feel to them, I hope they never change.