08.02.2010 32 °C
Wildlife related crimes and punishments - cruelty to animals = RM200 fine and 6 months imprisonment.
Do fish count? If they do, I think I am in trouble. I thought I did all the right things; de-chlorinated the water, gave them food and a lovely plant to swim around. But not only did 10 of my 15 new friends sink to the bottom after only ONE DAY, the other 5 were so happy with their new owner that they jumped on the floor. I have come to the conclusion that they must have been suffering from schizophrenia, just like every other person I have met this week.
I won't go through all the orientation and my introduction to the psych ward and GP clinic, there will be plenty of that to come. But I will say English is useless here because none of the patients speak it. Actually I lie, there was one. But all she wanted to do was sell me her baby. She mistook me for someone with money. Only 5000 ringgit though! Cheap yes, but I don't think it would fit in my fish tank. So lets fast forward to the weekend and my new friend Chua, much more interesting.
Last week I actually searched this city for a sports bar so I could watch the Australian Open tennis final. After much searching, I used my new found white-man powers of persuasion to turn a bar with a TV into a sports bar. Luckily I was spared from the boredom of Federer winning by a very drunk man named Chua and his friend Wesley. The Chinese New Year is fast approaching and there are lots of end-of-year functions and drunk Chinese people around, and they gave me a magical bottomless beer. So of course they were now my friends too. We were all so drunk by the time we exchanged phone numbers, that I expected them to wake up and wonder why they had a Sam in their phone. So I was suprised when I got a phonecall a few days later. I didn't fully understand what was going on on the other end of the phone, so I just said yes. Yes to what? Yes to this....
- door step pick up in a BMW 4WD (very, very expensive here)
- driven one hour to a jungle paradise in Kulai
- went on a run with the Hash House Harriers club. I still don't know what that is. All I know is that we had to run through the monsoon deluged jungle trying to follow bits of paper that were either washed away or hidden for 12KMS! 12KMS! It was dark by the time I got back.
- a shower at his house where he had a fish tank with Nemo and that blue forgetful fish too. They looked healthy and made me feel really bad. Also had a completely impractical Hummer in the driveway.
- a seat at a company annual dinner with a 10 course banquet
- a magical bottomless glass of Cordon Bleu cognac
- I acquired the affectionate name "guai low" which is actually cantonese for white ghost
- they tried to get me drunk with a gambling dice game in the pub. Fortunately the game was brought here by Carlsberg and I was addicted to it when I was in Denmark. Suckers.
The story goes on, but you get the idea. I actually didn't realise until the next day that they were all driving around drunk which is obviously quite normal here. But they safely dropped me off at my doorstep with cobwebs in my wallet. I'm not sure why I have been gifted such a great introduction to the Malaysian Chinese New Year, but I will take it with both hands.
So, beside Chua and his cronies, I have made quite a few friends here already. Been playing soccer and unfortunately the study has started. With force. Seen about 20 patients already and I hear my Australian counterparts are spending orientation week on the beach! But there are benefits to be had here. My Malay is coming along nicely, and thanks to my new Chinese friends, I think learning some basic Mandarin is even a possibility in a year. And this place is pirate capital of the world. Not only can I buy top quality DVDs for $1.50 but I can get text books photocopied and bound at almost original quality for $10. And the food is really good. LRH cafeteria could learn a lot from this hospital.
I actually get a week off next week because the Chinese New Year is too big a holiday to ignore here. I will be bussing my way up the east coast for a week. I have been warned off it because it is so quiet and also the monsoon season. But I have been warned off everything fun here, so I have learned to ignore these very loud people who I call the safety brigade.
I have had a bit of trouble squeezing this blog in with all the annual dinners and stuff. Hope you enjoy it anyway and thanks for visiting. By the way, I actually gave someone my camera so I could be in that photo up the top. He got my hand in... putz.
Things are looking up, Guai Low.