July 1. Still in Malaysia.

Summer is well underway and we crash into a Malaysian July, about to leave the northern hemisphere and turn things around. My memory of this day is faded, but I think we have visited an huge cave complex, photographed the golden statue with restless pigeons swarming around it. And the stray monkeys clambering on the stairs and swinging their way between the lenses that try to capture them, especially the ones that carry a baby. Inside the cave it is dripping and humid. Yes, that must have been it: a visit to the Batu caves just outside Kuala Lumpur. Or did we visit the informal school for Myanmar refugees. That is an interesting story as well. The Malaysian government is not doing enough to support them, and even with UN refugee status, their lives are far from easy. We support a privite initiative by an amazing young woman with bright sapphire eyes. It’s either of these two things, or both, that I have done on august first.

July 1. Still in Malaysia.

Summer is well underway and we crash into a Malaysian July, about to leave the northern hemisphere and turn things around. My memory of this day is faded, but I think we have visited an huge cave complex, photographed the golden statue with restless pigeons swarming around it. And the stray monkeys clambering on the stairs and swinging their way between the lenses that try to capture them, especially the ones that carry a baby. Inside the cave it is dripping and humid. Yes, that must have been it: a visit to the Batu caves just outside Kuala Lumpur. Or did we visit the informal school for Myanmar refugees. That is an interesting story as well. The Malaysian government is not doing enough to support them, and even with UN refugee status, their lives are far from easy. We support a privite initiative by an amazing young woman with bright sapphire eyes. It’s either of these two things, or both, that I have done on august first.

June 30. Forest Voices.

Remember the day I shouted to the man, whose lean and clean English intimidated me so  much, because I mistakenly thought I had lost the ticket and he wouldn’t let me on the bus? It happened yesterday, it happened through my conscious mind, it keeps happening as temper is hard to overcome.

Meeting and dinner with Noah and Michael. We have a good conversation and I come up with the jolly idea to call my brother Caspar, who is a forest ecologist working in Sarawak. Since Noah is documenting indigenous knowledge of the people in Sarawak, I thought it would be a great idea to hook them up. I pull in my legs and listen to the skype conversation where Noah and my brother drop insider terms and I feel proud in a strange but pleasant way.

June 30. Forest Voices.

Remember the day I shouted to the man, whose lean and clean English intimidated me so  much, because I mistakenly thought I had lost the ticket and he wouldn’t let me on the bus? It happened yesterday, it happened through my conscious mind, it keeps happening as temper is hard to overcome.

Meeting and dinner with Noah and Michael. We have a good conversation and I come up with the jolly idea to call my brother Caspar, who is a forest ecologist working in Sarawak. Since Noah is documenting indigenous knowledge of the people in Sarawak, I thought it would be a great idea to hook them up. I pull in my legs and listen to the skype conversation where Noah and my brother drop insider terms and I feel proud in a strange but pleasant way.

June 29. Supporting Causes in Malaysia

I want to support something in Malaysia, my hands always start itching after a few days of idling. I don’t want to dive into the psychological complexities underlying my passion to help where help is needed, and I leave that to the “Nachwelt”, the judging generations after we have all perished. So where to look? We have our friends here, and they know of an event called “Green Drinks” we decide to attend. It is a meeting for professionals working in ecology and environment related organisations that takes place in a restaurant in the Petronas twin towers. We arrive early enough to chat with the organizer who is setting up a video screen to show a movie called “what rainforest” about the large-scale logging in Sarawak and how local commnities protest in vain.
We are encouraged to be “American” and approach people with a big smile and a stack of business cards. I walk around a little and shake hands with a German man who was just explaining the world cup to his Malaysian friends. I have to introduce our concept in two minutes but he seems to get it and like it. I decide to give his contacts to my brother.

Meanwhile, Yeon is talking to Noah, an American ecologist/anthropolist and the man behind “Forest Voices”, a project documenting the local knowledge of the people in the rainforest. We have an interesting conversation and decide to support them.
After the green people, we meet a friend of a volunteer we know from Cambodia (follow me) who is working here with Myanmar refugees. We promise to look into it – who knows it becomes a cause too.

June 29. Supporting Causes in Malaysia

I want to support something in Malaysia, my hands always start itching after a few days of idling. I don’t want to dive into the psychological complexities underlying my passion to help where help is needed, and I leave that to the “Nachwelt”, the judging generations after we have all perished. So where to look? We have our friends here, and they know of an event called “Green Drinks” we decide to attend. It is a meeting for professionals working in ecology and environment related organisations that takes place in a restaurant in the Petronas twin towers. We arrive early enough to chat with the organizer who is setting up a video screen to show a movie called “what rainforest” about the large-scale logging in Sarawak and how local commnities protest in vain.
We are encouraged to be “American” and approach people with a big smile and a stack of business cards. I walk around a little and shake hands with a German man who was just explaining the world cup to his Malaysian friends. I have to introduce our concept in two minutes but he seems to get it and like it. I decide to give his contacts to my brother.

Meanwhile, Yeon is talking to Noah, an American ecologist/anthropolist and the man behind “Forest Voices”, a project documenting the local knowledge of the people in the rainforest. We have an interesting conversation and decide to support them.
After the green people, we meet a friend of a volunteer we know from Cambodia (follow me) who is working here with Myanmar refugees. We promise to look into it – who knows it becomes a cause too.

June 28. Glasses are stolen.

My glasses are stolen. This is the right moment. Yes, it is, yes. It is the last item that I carry from the past. How much can I give in to my tendency to dramatize the event, to clay it with fatty fingers and make it into something with some sort of celestial essence. Right. In German a philosopher criticizing another philosopher would call it “hochstilisieren”. It happens after a nice football game between Argentina and Mexico, which we view on a big screen. But the mirthful nightly public viewing event quickly turns into a dark pit for thieves.

It is a long day. On our way to the mall, the “built-up” one, I pick up a pair of strong slippers that look like Kenyattas since I don’t want to step into a dirty abuser’s needle and die. What is a “built-up” place? We have had a lot of discussions about that starring me beating about the bush, reluctant to admit I mean Starbucks-Dubai Mall-Coffee Bean-Free wifi-Hilton lobby-shiny marble-steel ‘n glass kind of built-up. I am trying other adjectives to express my wish to sit down in a clean Westernized place every now and then, like “glossy”, “shiny”, “polished”, “Dubaiesk”.

In the Mall I find three months worth of contact lenses and very friendly staff explaining Astigmatism and Myopia, oxygen level and moisture, changed my dollars, and give me free cleansing fluid. I bow. We walk through the mall and sit down for a while in a coffee place to bring the first hours of dizziness behind me.
After that, we find a small hotel and with Yeon’s friend Mark. We have a nice streetside dinner together and meet some passionate Malaysians and a lovely French girl. Having introduced myself as Dutch, that is “Oranje”, we inevitably go and watch the game that is on. I can’t remember the opponent but the game was a bit boring and the outcome made everybody shruck despite the fact Holland made it further in the competition.