Thoughts and Considerations

Nine years ago this week, Kim and I left Malaysia after a six-week visit. It had been my first time to Malaysia, and it was a most wonderful experience.

Not only did I get to see, for the first time, the country and city where my wife had been born and grew up, I got to meet, in person for the first time, the two daughters from her side of our blended family and our grandchildren. That was so special to me.

Since then, I have been back to Malaysia four more times, in 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020. Kim and I went for four weeks in 2015, in 2017 we flew over together with Kim staying four weeks and me for eleven. In 2019 I was back in Malaysia for eight weeks by myself. Kim and I traveled for six weeks in 2020 and were joined by daughter Anita and her husband Aaron for the first three weeks, allowing her to meet her sisters in person for the first time.

And then came Covid-19. And it came fast. We actually had to cut our visit short by ten days so that we could get home. Then we had to isolate for two weeks and then Kim got laid off. But that’s a story for another time.

It is now closing in on three years since we’ve been to Malaysia. And we really have no idea of when we’ll be there again. No idea of when we’ll see our daughters and grandchildren in person once more.

Now I started this blog post more than two weeks ago and walked away, leaving it uncompleted. Following that it just sat when my brain kinda went blah. Until today.

To be honest, I have been feeling great frustration within myself. I have things to do, why am I not doing them! I created this “Wee Internet Empire” thing so that I could keep myself involved in something. So what if few people seem to pay much attention.

In reality it’s more than that.

Yes, I want to be in Malaysia, see our daughters and grandkids, but even more I want Kim to get to be with them. She worries so much about them as they have struggled through Covid (most of them actually caught it at one time or another) and the economic turmoil the pandemic caused throughout Malaysia.

And still more than that.

Pre-Covid I had been placed on the list to have a complete hip replacement. As the medical system was stretched so thin during the pandemic it took quite a while to work my way through all the required tests and procedures to be ready for my surgery to be scheduled. At the end of 2021 it was. However, just prior I had developed a bit of an issue on my lower leg and the surgery was cancelled until it could be dealt with. Long story short, ten months later we are still dealing with it. Once dealt with, I’ll have to begin redoing some of the tests and procedures to prepare for surgery as they must be done within a certain time period pre-surgery.

Don’t get me wrong, all is not doom and gloom.

We have been out on the motorcycle over the summer (limited a bit by my leg condition) and have enjoyed traveling around in the Mercedes convertible. We often enjoy our regular dim sum and get together with fellow veterans on occasion. We see our daughter and husband here in Edmonton, my sister from Calgary, while our son from England and his wife came for a lovely visit.

I guess it kind of boils down to the lingering cloud of uncertainty. It seems to fluctuate between shades lighter and darker grey, never becoming black however white remains elusive.

We are trying to make some decisions. Do we hold off on traveling until all is complete, leg issues and surgery. Or do we call our travel lady and book a trip. Certainly something we are trying to work out.

Our future path remains to be seen. I am hoping though, that by sharing these thoughts with you, my readers, it will help me get back on track doing some of the other things which I should be working on.

Thanks so much for reading. Your feedback is always welcome, as is your support.

If you have not already done so, you can keep up with my “Wee Internet Empire” by subscribing to my newsletter, “Old Guy, New Tricks“.

Until next time, be well and take care of yourself.

Melaka Morning Memory

Today I am trying something just a bit different as I experiment more during the building of my wee Internet Empire. I am using this blog to show you a couple of videos and using the audio from them on my podcast. Both will be referenced in my newsletter. We’ll see how it goes.

Three years ago I traveled to our place in Melaka, Malaysia, this time for a three month stay. This morning, up popped one of my memories of awakening on my first day there. I had taken a couple of videos during my early morning coffee, and they were quite poignant considering how the world has been the last couple of years.

Of course, not being able to travel to Malaysia and spend time with our daughters, grandchildren and friends, due to Covid, provides the type of unhappiness that millions of people around the globe are feeling.

As well, another aspect of being at our place in Melaka is that I miss the mornings, having my coffee, watching the sun rise, and listening to the sounds.

That is the memory which I am highlighting today.

This first video is taken about 5:50am, it is still dark and you can hear the frogs, crickets and the praying at the local mosque. As a country boy at heart, I really enjoy these sounds.

Melaka Apartment Pre-Dawn

The second video is taken just after 7:30am, the sun is just above the horizon and you can hear the birds as their activities increase.

Melaka Apartment – Sun Rise

Thank you for allowing me to share these memories with you today. It is my hope that soon we will all be able to once again actually experience these types of moments instead of simply reviewing memories of them.

Want to follow me on my journey as I develop my wee Internet Empire? You can do so by subscribing to my newsletter, Old Guy, New Tricks, and be notified of new posts and updated on what’s happening. You will find the link to today’s podcast there.

Your comments are always welcome. Please have a safe and healthy day.

Melaka Home – High Waters

As I spoke about in my podcast earlier this evening (link here), our second home is in Melaka, Malaysia. I am retired and my wife is close to retirement, but still, since 2015 we have been spending part of each winter there, except for the last two years (thanks to Covid). With children and grandchildren in Malaysia, it is a natural place for us to go, not to mention all our friends, and oh yes, the food. This photo is a selfie of me standing on our balcony in 2020. Behind you can see the small farm I talked about and in the distance are the buildings of downtown Melaka.

Recently, Melaka, along with much of Malaysia, has been receiving a great deal of rain, very much more than they have seen for many years, particularly when one considers that January is typically one of the driest months of the year, whereas November can be one of the wettest.

What I have done here is to provide you with a number of photos taken around Melaka and posted on the Melaka Facebook Page, so that you can see the impact that the flooding has had.

While many in Canada or the US would typically experience vicious storm conditions associated with flooding, that is not always the case here. The flooding comes from a large amount of rain, causing the rivers to overflow their banks. As well, Melaka is a coastal community, hence ocean tides can have an impact also. The lunar new year is approaching, and generally this is the time of the year’s highest tides.

Regardless of whether the water comes from a storm surge or constantly rising levels, it manages to do a considerable amount of damage and create many issues. The photos in the gallery below will certainly give you an idea of that.

I know a number of the areas shown very well, and am hopeful that our family and friends will not be greatly affected.

With Covid still playing it’s games, we have no idea when we will be able to return to our second home, however we have been assured by our daughter that all is well there up to this point.

Thanks for reading this blog post. I do appreciate any thoughts or comments you may have, so please do share them. I also invite you to visit my web page and check out some to the other sites that I share.

A Home From Home

There is a British expression I very much like. It is “a home from home”. To me it feels much more inclusive than the American equivalent “a home away from home”.

My “home from home” is 12,980 kilometres from my usual residence, in the city of Malacca, Malaysia, on the southwest coast of the Malay Peninsula.

Originally founded in 1396, Malacca became a prominent location for traders from across Asia, notably India, Arabia and China. In 1511, Malacca was conquered by the Portuguese who ruled until the city was captured by the Dutch in 1641. They were not that interested in developing the area and ceded it to the British in 1824. Under the British the city became a Crown Colony, which was dissolved in 1946 as Malacca and Penang became part of the Malayan Union, then the Federation of Malaya in 1948, and transitioning to an independent Malaya in 1957. Finally, in 1963, Malaysia was formed with the merger of Malaya with Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore.

A colourful history indeed. So much so that Malacca was declared a historical city in 1989, and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. Located in Malacca are three significant religious facilities. The Kampung Kling Mosque is close to the oldest functioning mosque in Malaysia, the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is the oldest functioning Buddhist temple in Malaysia, and St Peter’s Church is the oldest functioning Catholic Church in Malaysia. One last item of interest. The Bukit China Cemetery in Malacca is reputedly the oldest, and largest, remaining traditional Chinese burial ground outside China with over 12,500 graves.

Today, Malacca (often referred to as Melaka, the name of the state) is a city of just under 875,000, located midway between Kuala Lumpur (160 km to the north) and Johor Bahru (210 km to the south). The city is 2.2 degrees (244 km) north of the equator, with typical temperatures in the area of 24C at night and 33C during the day, and typically has 6-9 days of rain per month. The sun rises at 7:24am and sets at 7:24pm (within a couple of minutes) each day.

So why Malacca, for that matter, why Malaysia. A number of reasons actually. Malacca is where Kim grew up, where she lived most of her life. Currently we have two daughters and seven grandchildren living there, to say nothing about other extended family members and a great many friends. Some other main considerations are the economy, which is very advantageous to those of us from Canada; the people, who are so very friendly pretty much right across the board; the ease of travel, not only throughout Malaysia but across Asia as well; the history, so many interesting places to visit; and oh yes, the climate.

Okay, now back to the “home from home”. So what prompted me to begin this blog post anyway. Last year I spent three months at our place in Malacca, and for various reasons, am not able to do the same thing this year so I have been feeling a bit down in the dumps and depressed about that. A temporary situation for sure and I know I’ll be back there within the next year.

Our place in Malacca is not fancy, not on the beach, not on the 47th floor, not in a rich area of town. It is a comfortable three bedroom apartment/condo on the fourth floor of a fairly large, very diverse, complex with regular working class neighbours. It is in the middle of the city, however it has a country view which I absolutely love. We have a 2017-04-04 07.40.13small clam-shell balcony, facing east, upon which one or two can stand, but none can sit (it is good for drying clothes though).

 

My routine, pretty much every morning when in Malacca, is that I get up sometime between 5am and 6am, get my cup of coffee, and sit in the living room watching, listening, and enjoying as the world wakes up outside and the sun rises. Here are two videos, both taken the same day from our balcony, the first about 5:00am and the second at 7:30am. In the first you can hear the crickets and frogs, so loud they even overpowered the praying from the local mosque. In the second, the birds have taken over along with the occasional human and traffic noise.

To me, the photo and videos above illustrate a big part of my attachment to our “home from home”. There are many other things which contribute as well of course, and I will share many of these with you in the future.

For now, thanks for reading. I would appreciate any comments you may have, feedback is always welcome.