If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

March 6, 2007 at 12:33 pm (Health and safety, Monkeys)

Now I know you’ll all be very proud of me when I tell you I have been appointed a member of the health and safety committee at school. I attended my first meeting on Friday. This was slightly different to anything I have attended in the UK. Specifically the worries and action plans we needed to put into place regarding the Roaming Monkeys. There has been an attempt to humanely trap them but they work in packs (no really?) and they keep coming back. I understand its similar to mice in the UK, if you don’t release them far enough away they just keep finding their way home, but they are obviously a little larger and a little cheekier. There is a similar problem with dogs, except they can’t trap them as easily as they are unclean (unclean!) similar to pigs. They are a big no no in Muslim countries and so periodically when they get to be too much and little man comes out with a blow pipe and hunts them. ‘s not like Battersea here you know.

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Dear diary, I prefer to vent my private angst in cyberspace

March 6, 2007 at 12:20 pm (Bullying)

Confession, it’s good for the soul.

According to the Times, a survey of 1,019 teenagers suggests that almost half write blogs while fewer than one in ten keeps a traditional pen-and-paper diary. That’s no surprise really. Blogs aren’t anonymous, it’s a way of venting your spleen where the target of such may accidently stumble across it (sound familiar Jodie Marsh?)

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Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

March 2, 2007 at 2:29 pm (Mowgli)

I was being cuddled the other day by Mowgli (my very own jungle warrior) and he trailed his fingers down my back. Just as I was feeling romantic, he pointed out that what it feels like to have a snake crawl over you.
On reflection, I fear I may prefer my men with slightly less testosterone.

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“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation”

February 10, 2007 at 11:15 am (Humiliation, Pants)

So, like Amber says as a blogger, it’s sometimes a case of “no humiliation wasted.”

The comment about maintenance seeing my pants was after a rather unfortunate incident the other day. I had a visitor. He’d called round that evening and I had forgotten to lock the door after him.  When maintenance called round to do some minor repairs (on the flat, not on me ) the following morning and they didn’t get a response from knocking, they tried the front door, which was open. As was my bedroom door, which is opposite the front door.
Then there was a sudden look of comprehension dawned across the face of all three maintenance men while they twigged to why I hadn’t opened the door. Never mind the mind bleach, they went straight for the sharp sticks to poke their own eyes out. I can no longer look any of them in the eye. Or anywhere else.

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“I like these cold, gray winter days. Days like these let you savor a bad mood.”

February 9, 2007 at 4:49 pm (Cardigans, libraries, Pants)

Monsoon season has passed and there is now a distinct nip in the air (Is that politically correct to mention in South East Asia?) We are now down to the mid seventies. I have been reduced to wearing a cardigan and whining about the air conditioning. Luckily I have several cardigans (the uniform of librarians everywhere. It’s how we recognise each other) and  the maintenance men in school have been very understanding.

The temperature of the library is controlled centrally. I understand anyone reading this from the six inches of snow currently smothering the UK will have limited sympathy but even though the temperature outside here is in the high twenties, baby it’s cold inside. The air con is so high my nose is running.

After weeks of prolonged moaning, I got an e-mail from maintenance yesterday where they told me they “will be installing a temperature Control knob inside the Library within this week, so you can fiddle & adjust the temperature setting at your finger tip. Hope this will help a lot.”

I shouldn’t take the piss, after four months here I can still only say thank you in Bahasa Melayu (the local language) but I am loving the idea of having my own knob in the library that I can fiddle with. This appears to be killing two birds with one stone.

 I did hate to make a fuss about the air con but I’ll be buggered if I moved all the way to
Asia to still wear vests. Although I did stock up when I was back and have a rather nice selection being posted out to me. This will come as a welcome relief as the ones I had here were ironed by my amah. Who she thinks sees my vests is beyond me, well other than maintenance but that’s a whole other post completely.

Unfortunately along with ironing boards here which only have one setting which is knee height as standard (not as weird as it sounds, so are the Filipino amah’s) the irons only have one setting which is hot, hot, hot (in contrast to the washing machine which has one setting which is cold, cold, cold) Due to the fabric of my underwear and the heat of the iron they have now shrunk and they appear to be the right size for a Barbie doll.

Now if only I could arrange for my body to do the same I would no longer have to suffer the humiliation of going into a shop and asking the shop assistant if they have *anything* in my size? Giggle, giggle, stop dead, sad shake of head, no ma’am being the standard response.
Damn you tiny Asian women.

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“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.”

February 9, 2007 at 4:14 pm (librarians, libraries)

So coming up to six months in sunny South East Asia and I have started to notice now that the things I thought were odd, like curry for breakfast without having been on a bender the night before all appear perfectly normal now and not worthy of note any more. How quickly the novelty wears off. Work is work, I am still a school librarian in a country where books are inaccessible and for the most part unwanted. I’m working hard against the culture but I’m not sure I’m actually achieving anything.

I fear the repeated banging of my head against the brick wall but on the plus side I am eager to find out how good it feels when it all stops.

On Wednesday, the books I ordered in October turned up . See, it’s perfectly normal here to order something, pay in advance and then not see sight nor sound of it for the best part of four months. The best bit about that is it might be with the company you’ve ordered it from alternatively it might be in the big empty room in school that maintenance store their parcels in. I’m not sure why they store them there rather that just (whacked out idea ahead) delivering them to the right room, but when ever you mention this to someone who has been here longer than a month, they just shake there head sadly and sigh “Yes Ma’am”.

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Committed to Libraries

February 1, 2007 at 3:02 pm (librarians, libraries)

As Simon Heffer, in the Telegraph writes,

I am a committed libertarian. It is why I write here, week in, week out about the need for the small state, low taxation, the diminution of welfarism and the promotion of individual responsibility.

 That was much more relevant when I thought he was a librarian.

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Oh, I loved your hair long.

February 1, 2007 at 9:09 am (Hairdressers)

I’ve had my hair cut. Doesn’t it look pretty? I have also learnt two life lessons. These would be, never trust a hairdress er who looks like they may have been pulled out of a hedge backwards and always use a hairdresser that speaks the same language.  

Hairdressers are a whole genre I have never quite understood. I fear them, far more than I could ever fear a dentist. It’s all the small talk. Especially the *So are you going out anywhere exciting tonight?*

No fucktard. It’s Wednesday.

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I have a fantasy, he says, of a librarian.

January 28, 2007 at 1:19 am (librarians, libraries)

I was wandering through glitter for brains this morning when I stumbled across this post.

“Japanese tourists. Why on Earth do they feel the need to catalogue every moment of their trip? I have seen them videoing menu cards. I have seen them photographing toilets. Why? Why the need for such excruciating detail? I have a theory that the Japanese were put on this world to catalogue every possible detail. Possibly in case the world should end. And possibly because they want to put in an insurance claim”

I suspect it is possibly because they are frustrated librarians. They feel the need catalogue, then archive.

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A hard fall means a high bounce… if you’re made of the right material.

January 28, 2007 at 1:00 am (Relocation)

I’ve often thought there is a very valid business proposition in witness relocation. Not necessarily because you’re a target of the mob, perhaps more because you’re bored. Sick of the daily grind. Sick of getting up in the middle of January and facing the sleet and ice to fight your way onto a steaming tube, to spend eight hours in the office with people we don’t like. What if there was someone you could ring who would whisk you away from that. What would you make of the opportunity?

Working abroad was my opportunity. Obviously as a witness reaction it would have failed miserably, partially because I hadn’t witnessed a crime (unless you’re counting watching my council tax and my local amenities got worse and worse) but secondly because I seem to have brought so much of my old life with me.

I’ve had that fresh start, I’ve been offered it but now, six months in, how fresh is it?
I appear to have packed my resentments, bad temperand petty insecurities. And my phobia’s.

I was at a birthday party today, an adult birthday party and they had hired a bouncy castle. It’s amazing the things you’ll do when you don’t have the option of just meeting people at the pub. I watched everyone bouncing with gay abandon, then I watched the hose come out and the washing up liquid and the thought of getting on and joining in left me paralyzed with fear. It wasn’t the thought of being in close contact with people although I’ll be honest, the idea of being that close to humanity does fill me with revulsion, it’s more the whole bouncing thing I think. 

Why can’t I have a normal phobia? Like a fear of clowns.

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