26 August 2013

I will not lose, ever

Cresting the hill leading up to Nottingham outside of Broga, the sun streaming through the palm trees, the hum of the motorbike underneath me: if this is not a return to the original promise and joy of Malaysia, I'm not sure what is. I got on my bike this morning out of convenience, not courage: I have to go to the bank and Yoko needs the car, so I couldn't take the bus. Still, getting back on the bike, the feeling of riding out of Taman Sri Minang, past the pack of feral dogs and one of our Chinese Uncles waving at me, was a kind of performance of hope.

This weekend, we went to the Pearl Avenue apartments, a new apartment block being built in Kajang. For RM1300, you can have everything you would want: swimming pool, club house, aircon, stunning views of the city. I stood on the balcony looking out, the wilderness suddenly fading behind me. The kids loved it, and the agent and I talked about how much it would be to move it: what we would need to do.
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’
Malaysia has taught me this in the last month: if you can't say 'never mind' to anything you encounter, you can't make it here. Fat white men don't say, 'Never mind' to the same things Malaysians say 'Never mind' to, and we think that this difference means we are morally superior. Fat white men do not throw away aluminium cans in bins.

Never mind: crouching down, coaxing a fire of grass clippings while the Isha call to prayer rang out, I connected again. My knees and hands were dirty: Mia wouldn't sleep. I sat on the sofa, drinking whiskey and watching TV. Yoko was there; we were just sitting, the door to the house open. I walked out to check the lock at the gate before going to bed.