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Thingamabobblejig

This is me writing from KL. As with all things I love, I have an allergy to the city that gave birth to and raised me. Overnight, I am pink-eyed and sniffling. On the other hand, it only takes being in Malaysian airspace for everything to feel nice. The energy here is different. Much different than Perth ever will or could be. I could feel it from above Putrajaya. Kuala Lumpur has that amazing feeling of being alone in a crowd. I feed off this energy very well, and I thrive best in it. It's like being online -- a feeling of being connected to everything, but still being very much alone.

This is still the only city in the world I know where the trains flash the latest British, MTV, Chinese, Indian and Malay music charts in the same sitting. The world news is a solid half hour of world news -- not some hackneyed "only the parts of the world where our name can appear in the report" news, but a good little bit of everything. The airport's express train and the news both show the latest results from the British, Spanish, South American, French and German football leagues, as well as the newest F1 gossip. Very little cricket and especially no Australian-rules football. The TV is in so many languages all at once, the channels seem to fuse together. The streets are alive. I can't begin to say what this is like on the ground. The streets are alive. I am a part of this huge single city, and here I am, a wandering blood clot happily floating along.

The flight over was good. I had a window seat and an empty chair beside me clear to the aisle. The immediate feeling was one of great inner peace. I don't often feel this way. I think the wisdom of my parents is hidden. It was their idea I should go on a "holiday", and while the timing is still not great in terms of work, not having to look over my shoulder all the time is good.

The apartment was a wreck. I lived here for 10 years. It's now a storage space for people in transit. Cleaning isn't one of my best skills, but I've just wiped the floor for most of this house with my hands. It's still slightly dusty, and I still have to do all the counters and tabletops. I took a Zyrtec for this one.

The city is good. It's still surreal being in such a familiar place and not quite being familiar with it as well. I'm still so tuned out I'm making small mistakes in strange places. Had to go send out a registered letter this morning. Took my registration sticker from the cashier and filled in the Sender's name with the receiver's name and the Receiver's signature and the Receiver's ID No. with my details. The post office attendant laughed. I couldn't figure out what I did till I translated the words on the sticker to myself later.

People still stare a bit at girls with reasonably bare shoulders. It's not that we don't have girls who wear spaghetti straps or off-shoulder clothes here. It's not so bad around the KLCC and Star Hill areas -- but it never was that way in those areas. I used to not notice this at all until a friend once pointed it out. Incidentally, also during Ramadhan. I have an odd habit of wearing sleeveless clothing at the wrong times. The friend was Hindu. Not at all in my defense, my idea of clothing is often a sleeveless top and jeans. If we really need to dress up, I could live with a sleeveless top, jeans and a nice jacket. Otherwise, I just look overdressed.

The girls are still pretty. Miles and miles of pretty girls in nice clothes coexist in Kuala Lumpur. Wandering around KLCC most often reminds me of this. Perth doesn't have nearly enough pretty girls. I mean that. Spent most of the afternoon with my father in a camera shop there -- got a couple of really nice cameras, one of which was a new Sanyo Xacti that's rather small and far too cool for something so small. I like watching my father manipulate cameras. It's his hobby, which he hasn't had time for in decades. I want to see him calm down and live a bit more quietly. He's like me. The city helps him think too.

I had grand plans to type up a lot of work tonight. My fingers are raw. It's tender to hit keys with. It's not as though I'm running out of work to do, in a timely fashion. Finches IV is running through my head, and I'd like to bottle it for future use, A Foreigner's View of the River is waiting to be done with, and I have a poem I need to finish editing for someone else. If I do not do them at night, I will have no time to do anything during the day, when my time belongs to other people. At least one thing has not changed since Perth.

Tomorrow, I need to see my father's side of the family, which always makes me feel more awkward than usual. This is the side of the family we wanted to see the least of by moving to Perth. They'll be fasting. We won't be. I'll need to wear something with sleeves. The wretchedness of relatives is like the wall that never went away between the culture we practiced at home and the culture we showed the rest of KL. Ramadhan brings out the worst of this. It's a very old game of pretend. Tomorrow, I'll also be applying for the new microchipped ID card -- the one with "Muslim" clearly printed in its veins. Other people get "Others". I can't. There's a lot I wanted to say about my name and how it relates to this, but that's all moot. Suffice to say, I already live in times where I can go around and tell people I'm Malaysian, rather than pink or checkered. Sooner or later, the people will catch up.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
eekers
Sep. 25th, 2006 05:33 pm (UTC)
Glad to see you have got their safely my little blood clot :) As ever... you writing on KL and that which surrounds you is fascinating... Sorry to lap it up so tourist-like. :)
vampyrichamster
Sep. 26th, 2006 04:56 pm (UTC)
Is that like a clot of cream? On top of a scone? I am grateful for the reading, as always, y'know that! :)
countlibras
Sep. 25th, 2006 06:19 pm (UTC)
You should take photos with the new camera so that your readers can take part in the atmosphere. :)

Interesting to hear about the ID cards. It makes me wonder how many other countries make religious classifactions so.

Sorry to hear your fingers feel raw. I bet it's akin to practicing on the cello too long. I hope they feel better soon.

Out of all of the places you've lived, is Kuala Lumpur where you like best?
vampyrichamster
Sep. 26th, 2006 04:53 pm (UTC)
We have been taking some photos and short vids -- I'll try to extract something if I can. :)

The religious classification is as much a sensible extension of the law hereabouts as it is a reason for a lot of bullying. Because my country acknowledges religion as a part of its democratic state, and not the separation of church and state, there are things that happen here that, however much I disagree with them, do make sense to the majority.

Thanks about the fingers. Kuala Lumpur is the place I like best. It's why I've stubbornly stuck with my location as mentioned in my LJ profile in spite of technically living in Perth these days. :)
mokie
Sep. 30th, 2006 07:49 pm (UTC)
vampyrichamster
Oct. 1st, 2006 01:24 am (UTC)
Hamsters have no religion. :P
mokie
Oct. 1st, 2006 10:01 pm (UTC)
I dunno. Lois has a whole mouthful of religion right there.
vampyrichamster
Oct. 2nd, 2006 04:29 am (UTC)
I shall now reinterpret this photograph as, "The mass consumption of religion by prey species."

It makes my brain curdle with laughter.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )