Friday, March 30, 2007

Why Do I Torture Myself?

Masochism = shopping for jeans in size sub zero land.

The women in Asia need to eat a burger. Or maybe I need to stop eating so many. One of those. I vote for feeding the tiny Asian women.

My calves will barely fit into some of these jeans. It's just plain wrong.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hong Kong (and Sanjaya McCrackhead)

I am off to Hong Kong tomorrow. Matt has a business trip there and so I'm going up there for the weekend with him. Luckily, I have a colleague who grew up in Hong Kong and sent me all kinds of great tips. Of course, I'm probably most excited about the dim sum. Again, I love the snacky food. I'll recap when I get back.

And on another note, I just saw American Idol. You've got to be shitting me. Does Sanjaya not realize that about a billion people see him acting like a karaoke singer on crack every week? I really think someone must be paying Sanjaya to act like an asshat. First, the horrendous rendition of "You Really Got Me" last week, and then this week we were treated to the banana clip mohawk look. Even Gwen Stefani couldn't say anything cool about this kid.

I think the pressure's finally gotten to him.

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I've been sort of gloomy and grumpy lately. It seems like these things come in cycles since we've moved. When we first got to KL, everything was so new and different that it was sort of a honeymoon phase. Then, after we'd been here a couple of months, things became more difficult. We had been here long enough to realize all of the little inconveniences and we would get more easily frustrated at being ripped off by a taxi driver, sweating all the time and maintenance taking two weeks to fix the leak in our bathroom.

But then we started to come out of it. I guess we just got used to the differences of everyday living here, and we wouldn't get bent out of shape by the little annoyances. But for the past week or two, I can feel myself sort of slipping back into the grumpies. I'm not sure what exactly is causing it; I could give you fifty different possibilities, but I know that's not the root of it. Maybe I'm still in the adjustment period...blah! I thought I was out of it!

Okay, that's my whine for the day.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

More on Censorship

I'm becoming more aware of the censorship that happens in Malaysia, not only in television and movies, but also books. I recently came across a list of recently "banned" books as well as "restricted" books.

For some interesting reading on how book banning works in Malaysia, please read:

The following books have recently been banned in Malaysia (meaning they have been officially banned by the Internal SecurityMinistry of Malaysia for disrupting peace and harmony) :

1. The Bargaining for Israel: In the Shadow of Armageddon authored by Mona Johulan and published by Bridge-Logos Publishers, United States (USA).
2. Islam (Mathew S Gordon, Oxford University Press)
3. Lifting the Veil (Trudie Crawford, Apple of Gold, United States)
4. A Fundamental Fear of Eurocentrism and the Emergence of Islamism (Bobby S Sayyid, Z
ed Books Ltd, United Kingdom)
5. Islam Revealed - A Christian Arab's View of Islam (Dr Anis A Shorrosh, Thomas Nelson Publishers, USA)
6. What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam (John L Esposito, OUP)
7. Mini Skirts Mothers & Muslims (Christine Mallouhi, publisher not available)
8. The Battle for God: Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam (Karen Armstrong, Harper Collins, UK)
9. Kundalini For Beginners (Ravindra Kumar, Health Harmony, B Jain Publishers (P) Ltd, India)10. Sacred Books of the East (Epiphanius Wilson, J-Jeiley Asian Educational Services, India)
11. Sharing Your Faith with A Muslim (Akbidayah Akbar Abdul-Haqq, Bethany House Publishers, USA)
12. Cults, World Religions and The Occult (Kenneth Bon, Chariot Victor Publishings, UK)
13. Petua dan Doa Pendinding, Penawar, Penyembuh Penyakit (Awang Mohd Yahya, Unsie Publisher, Kuala Lumpur)
14. Hakikat & Hikmah 7 Hari Dalam Seminggu (Abu Nashr Al-Hamdanly, Pustaka Ilmi, Batu Caves, Selangor)
15. Pemuda Bani Tamim Perintis Jalan Imam Mahdi (Abu Muhammad, Penerbit Giliran Timor)16. Kontroversi Hukum Hudud (Kassim Ahmad, Forum Iqra Berhad, Penang)
17. Risalah No.2 Dilema Umat Islam-Antara Hadis dan Quran (Kassim Ahmad, Forum Iqra Berhad, Penang)
18. Siri 7 Amalan-Amalan Bid'ah Pada Bulan Syaban (Ustaz Rasul bin Dahri, Percetakan Putrajaya Sdn Bhd)

Also, the Home Ministry or Kementarian Dalam Negeri (KDN) has the power to ban books that it feels are "detrimental to public order" or may "contribute to immorality". These are the "restricted" books. My understanding is that these can be arbitrarily confiscated by a customs agent if they feel that the book is not suitable for Malaysian readers. This happens on the spot when book shipments pass through customs.

Books Restricted by KND Johor Bahru - List 1 ISBN
1 1840282509 Well Woman's Sourcebook (Hardcover)
2 9812320822 Beauty of Yixing Teapots (Hardcover)
3 1903816378 The Heart of Tantric Sex (Paperback)
4 9813056223 The missing page (Paperback)
5 9813056703 No Money, No Honey! A Candid Look at Sex-for-Sale in Singapore
6 9813056096 The SPG Rides Again
7 0375756469 Women (Paperback)
8 0811845737 Fashion Illustration Next (Paperback)
9 981305655x "Ransom" by Douglas Chua
10 0312873077 Knife of Dreams (Wheel of Time (Hardcover)) - Robert Jordan
11 1853755605 Things a Woman Should Know About Seduction (Paperback)
12 9813056606 Revenge of the Sarong Party Girl by Jim Aitchison
13 0099648814 The Private Life of Chairman Mao (Paperback)
14 0521609763 Company to Company Teacher's Book (Paperback)
15 0785378103 Poems & Prayers for Children (Hardcover)
16 0785368760 Read-Aloud Children's Classics
17 1840189096 1001 Nights Without Sex: The Curse of the Single Girl (Paperback)
18 1843401703 Composition (The Photographer's Guide To...) (Paperback)
19 1840725222 Seduce: 100 Tips to Arouse (Hardcover)
20 0749325003 Taking Chances (Paperback)
21 1844425762 "Vogue" Make-up (Paperback)
22 1844422968 Sexual Intelligence (Hardcover)
23 0099591111 Filth (Paperback) - Irwing Welsh
24 1850436665 Al-Qaeda: Casting a Shadow of Terror (Paperback)
25 0716757230 Practice of Business Statistics (Hardcover)
26 0099273675 A History of God (Paperback)
27 0304357278 E-tales: The Best (and Worst) of Internet Humour (Hardcover)
28 1844422968 Sexual Intelligence (Hardcover)
29 9813056363 The Official Guide to the Sarong Party Girl
30 0224077643 Memories of My Melancholy Whores (Hardcover)
31 1412735467 Sea Sale: SpongeBob Squarepants
32 1412733820 Counting Adventures Sound Activity Book, by Disney
33 1412731755 Dora's Fiesta Adventure ActivePoint Book Set! [ILLUSTRATED] (Hardcover) 34 1412735297 MUSIC FOR SLEEPY BABIES
35 1412731747 Count On Me (Spongebob Square Pants)
36 1412735610 The Wiggles Shop Wiggly Jukebox
37 0719566762 Mao: A Life
38 0572028806 Anatomy for the Artist: They Dynamics of Human Form (Paperback)
39 009189753X Feel: Robbie Williams (Hardcover)
40 0744586828 Bits, Boobs and Blobs (Paperback)
41 0679463356 Shalimar the Clown (Hardcover)
42 0099283360 Atomised (Paperback)
43 0224060066 Clubland (Paperback)
44 0091795346 The Dirty Girls Social Club (Paperback)
45 0099437880 Platform (Paperback)
46 0749932155 Carolina Moon (Paperback)
47 1844541320 Being Jordan (Paperback)
48 0521539064 An Introduction to Islam (Introduction to Religion) (Paperback)
49 1853755540 Sex Lives of the Famous Gays (Paperback)
50 1844425703 The Dirty Girl's Joke Book 2: Provocative Puns and Laugh-a-minute Gags: Bk.2 (Paperback)
51 0285635549 10 Commandments of Pleasure: Erotic Keys to a Healthy Sexual Life (Paperback)
52 1582380570 How to Talk to Your Child About Sex: It's Best to Start Early, But It's Never Too Late : a Step-by-Step Guide for Every Age (Paperback)
53 1844425991 "FHM" True Stories 2 (Paperback)
54 1841612146 Men ... the Insufferable Sex (Paperback) 55 0091878438 The New Book of Massage (Paperback)
56 0330411500 Divine Secrets of the Ya-ya Sisterhood (Paperback)
57 0752845985 Lip Kisses (Paperback)
58 0749931671 Lip Service (Paperback)
59 0091880688 Little Book of the Kama Sutra (Paperback)
60 0099648814 The Private Life of Chairman Mao (Paperback)
61 1400054788 The Probability of God: A Simple Calculation That Proves the Ultimate Truth (Paperback)
62 0521425387 Life on Earth: And Other Pieces (New Cambridge English Course) (Paperback) 63 1853755540 Sex Lives of the Famous Gays (Paperback)
64 0091815290 Mars and Venus in the Bedroom: A Guide to Lasting Romance and Passion (Paperback)
65 0744586836 Snogs, Sex and Soulmates (Paperback)
66 0749395923 The Malayan Trilogy: "Time for a Tiger", "Enemy in the Blanket", "Beds in the East" (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
67 1896597777 Scrapbook (Paperback)
68 0969670117 Playboy (Paperback)
69 0340752114 Sex Etiquette (Paperback)
70 0969670141 The Best of "Drawn and Quarterly" (Paperback)
71 1896597440 The Poor Bastard (Paperback)
72 189659770X It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken: A Picture Novella (Paperback)
73 1896597416 Vernacular Drawings (Hardcover)
74 1896597831 My New York Diary (Paperback)
75 189659784X Clyde Fans: Bk.1 (Hardcover)
76 071532067X Bra: A Thousand Years of Style, Support and Seduction (Hardcover)
77 0099429780 Peoplewatching: The Desmond Morris Guide to Body Language (Paperback)
78 0679463348 Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002 (Hardcover)
79 1844424065 "Vogue" Beauty (Paperback)
80 1843308940 Sex,Lies and Stereotypes: Challenging Views of Women, Men, and Relationships (Paperback)
81 0375701958 Breastfeeding Your Baby: Revised Edition (Paperback)
82 1846091586 Addicted to Love: The Kate Moss Story (Paperback)
83 0812577566 Knife of Dreams (Wheel of Time (Paperback)) (Mass Market Paperback)
84 0761535810 Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War On America (Paperback)
85 0330433059 Dining with Terrorists (Paperback)
86 0375756981 The Vagina Monologues (Paperback)
87 0812976533 Midnight's Children (Paperback)
88 0805053115 The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey (Paperback)
89 1857152174 Midnight's Children (Everyman's Library Classics) (Hardcover)
90 0099421860 Fury (Paperback)
91 0224061593 Fury (Hardcover)
92 0099443384 Fury (Paperback)
93 0679783504 Fury (Modern Library) (Paperback)
94 0375759603 Fury. (Paperback)
95 0312422784 The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey (Paperback)
96 0812969030 Midnight's Children (Modern Library (Paperback)) (Paperback)
97 0099578611 Shame (Paperback)
98 0312270933 Shame (Paperback)
99 0099421879 Step Across This Line (Paperback)
100 0333490207 Salman Rushdie and the Third World: Myths of the Nation (Hardcover)
101 0224061615 Shalimar the Clown (Hardcover)
102 0224061607 Step Across This Line: Collected Non-fiction 1992-2002 (Hardcover)
103 0679783490 Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002 (Modern Library (Paperback)) (Paperback)
104 0099578514 Midnight's Children (Paperback)
105 0099268132 The Swimming-pool Library (Paperback) 106 1844421791 The Best Sex Positions Ever (Hardcover)
107 1843171961 Sex in Every City: How to Talk Dirty in Every Language (Paperback)
108 9812040978 Bali Style (Hardcover)
109 0393061221 Making Globalization Work (Hardcover)

First let me say, I am completely against censorship in any form. However, aside from that, I guess I can sort of see why some of the more obviously sexually graphic novels make the list. But other than that, I figure it's pointless to try to figure out the logic here. Far be it from me to want to learn the latest makeup styles, how to breastfeed my baby, or what Michael Jordan's childhood was like. Furthermore, I guess wanting to teach my child about sex education (horror!), put music on to help my baby sleep and then dig into a nice business statistics book is detrimental to public order.

But alas! - Not all books are banned in Malaysia. Next time you are in the KL airport, you can pick up an English edition of Hitler's "Mein Kampf", right at the front of the store. Now, I don't think this book should be banned either. But given the list above, can someone tell me why this one didn't make the cut when SpongeBob is such an obvious threat?

So, read on, America! Maybe you can tell me how Dora's Fiesta Adventure ends!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My New Addictions

Flickr rocks! Flickr is a photo sharing website, and Matt and I have a great time posting photos and comments on it. And now they have geotags, which are the coolest thing ever. Curious to see what Jackson Hole, Wyoming looks like? Go to geotags and and someone who has taken photos there will post them. What about Bali? Or Amsterdam? Or Dubai? Tons of geotagged photos there. It's combined with GoogleEarth, so you can zoom in and check out the world as your little heart desires. I have discovered I have quite the passion for travel, so this is my one of my favorite sites.

I love this site too. Lonely Planet and Virtual Tourist are good as well, but the reviews and the forums on Trip Advisor can't be beat. I love to check out all the different places to travel to and being able to share my opinion of some of the places Matt and I have been. Love. It.

Since Matt's been traveling a bit these past couple of weeks, I have been spending countless hours surfing these sites. Ain't the internet great?

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Dinner, Malaysian Style

We have just discovered hawker cuisine! Hawkers are essentially small food stalls set up alongside the road or near markets. Many times, you will find hawker stands in groups, with little tables and chairs set up in the sidewalk or street for diners. These groups of hawkers give you the chance to sample all sorts of authentic Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisine, all in one setting.

Now, I remember a time when Matt and I saw hawkers and thought, "Oh, we are never eating there" and of course, you do need to be a bit smart about it (i.e., bugs on the food = don't eat it), but we went to Jalan Alor on Saturday night and really enjoyed the whole experience! So, again, it's all about perception. And the food is actually very good - and cheap! We had satay for 7 ringgits, which is about $2 USD. And it kicked ass! Peanut sauce goes with everything.

I just think the whole concept is great. Lots of food choices, cooked right there, and a big group of people all relaxing, eating, talking. It's much more casual than a restaurant, and a pretty cool experience.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

This is American Idol?

I know I'm a couple of days behind, but they don't show American Idol until the following night in Malaysia. That being said....What the hell? What are American Idol voters thinking? I can't believe Sanjaya is STILL in the running! We probably have to thank for that. I find him unnervingly creepy, not to mention he just can't sing...Oh well, I guess I'll stay tuned just to see what he does with his hair next week.

I'm just not sure what this fragile little thing will do if he stays in. He'll crack under the pressure. Come on, America, for the viewer's sake, for music's sake, for Sanjaya's sake....send him home already.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Weekend Recap

On Friday night, we ventured out to Bangsar. Bangsar is an expat neighborhood on the outskirts of KL. Lots of nightclubs, restaurants, etc. A part of the neighborhood is set up like a grid, so window shopping (okay, bar hopping) is relatively easy. We had never been there at night, so we thought we'd give it a try. We waited until around 7 for the traffic to die down, but alas, it didn't. So...after a very hungry taxi ride of almost an hour, we finally arrived. (Note to self: Trying to venture to the KL 'burbs on a Friday night is like trying to get out of Houston on a Friday night. Never again.) We went to La Bodega, since the tapas we had had there on my salon excursion a few weeks ago were yummy, and one can never have too many tapas, right? I do love the chance to sample all sorts of yummy foods in one sitting and not have to unbutton my pants. Anyhoo, the tapas were tasty, the wine was tasty, and then we decided to check out some other nightspots.

Finnegan's in Bangsar - a bit of a disappointment. We much prefer the one on Jalan Sultan Ismail. More people watching opportunity. Then onto The Lockup or something like that, where all the waitstaff wear black and white jail ensembles. We sat outside, but again, not much to look at. Everyone looked like us! Plus, the waitstaff gave us the feeling that they didn't really want us there, so we headed across the street to what looked like a Latin bar. Wrong. After about 45 minutes of Indian dance music (which is fine, just not our cup of tea) we went home. Oh, on the way home we picked up Season 1 of Six Feet Under, my favorite show of all time.

Saturday was all about sleeping in, grocery shopping at Isetan, looking for patio furniture (so our patio doesn't look at white trash as it currently does, what with the camping chairs and folding card table) and watching SFU. Oh, and we made some yummy fish tacos.

Sunday we organized the gym a little, watched SFU and then attempted some shrimp cakes from Matt's new cookbook. He's definitely the chef, I'm the sous chef, following behind him, cleaning up, putting things in bowls, etc. It works. Anything for Matt to get to use his new knifes. Well, the only shrimp that we could find that were already shelled, deveined, etc., were at Isetan. I mean, after peeling shrimp, de-pooping them, pulling off their little legs (and heads!), I am just not all that keen on actually eating them. So, we got these baby shrimp. Mistake #1: They were frozen, and rather than dethawing them (which we forgot to do), we just Magic Bullet-ed them right up. Makes for a watery cake, which we then had to put in a muffin tin to chill for them to hold their shape, and then sop up the extra water from the top. Yum. So after all that work, we were ready to cook those bad boys up. We pan fry them, and Matt takes a bite. Okay, here's where we get to Mistake #2: At Isetan, some of the labels on the meat, produce, etc. are not in English. So we saw shrimp, and we picked up shrimp. Now, something on the label must have said Packed in Brine, but we didn't see that. So the shrimp cakes were so unbelievably salty we had to throw them out. Good thing for the frozen pizza we had in the freezer. We ate that with our artichokes and the yummy mango-avocado salsa we had made for the shrimp cakes. It was pretty good, actually.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Changing Impressions

Recently, Matt and I started talking about how much our impression of KL, Asia, and just other cultures in general have changed over the past several months. For example, when we first came to KL, we drove through Bangsar, Ampang, the city center area, etc. and everything seemed so...foreign. So very different than what we were used to. A hodge podge of storefronts, new buildings, buildings that looked like they should be condemned, scooters, hawker stands, and the like. Now, keep in mind that that was our perception then. Neither one of us had ever lived outside of the US, had never even visited Southeast Asia, and both grew up in small towns. The closest that I had ever been to living in a big city were the occasional pub crawls in Sundance Square in Fort Worth, Greenville Avenue in Dallas and some brief outings in downtown Houston. But now we are realizing that all the things that had changed about our lives, that were once scary, foreign, intimidating, are starting to become more comfortable, familiar, and more appreciated. As we venture through Chinatown, or bar hop along Sultan Ismail, or even take a simple grocery trip, things that were once so "foreign" and different to us, what strikes us is how much our impression of it has changed. Now, I find a comfort in it being somewhat familiar, but still new enough that I am eager to experience more. I find tiny victories in habitually looking to my right first when I cross the street, in knowing the best place to find the best lunchmeat (quite a challenge at times), or even hailing a cab without getting ripped off.

Things I Had Never Done Before Moving to KL:
1. Hailed a cab
2. Walked on the left side of everything!
3. Paid for pork at a separate counter
4. Bargained for anything
5. Not owned a car
6. Worried about shoe choice for comfort as opposed to fashion
7. Questioned whether or not a sleeveless shirt was appropriate attire
8. Heard call to prayer
9. Watched Al Jazeera
10. Smelled durian
11. Learned how to pick a mango
12. Seen whole squid in a market
13. Owned six umbrellas
14. Ate jellyfish
14. Been catcalled from a construction site

Now, I know we haven't ventured as far off the beaten path as I'm sure we will at some point, and some of the things above aren't necessarily culturally significant (although some of them are), but the overall lifestyle change hasn't been minor, to say the least. A local that might read this might find it amusing that I ever thought that a simple trip to the grocery store could be kind of fascinating, but it's all about perception, you know? I never knew anything other than what I had grown up with. I think that's something that Americans, generally, miss out on. There's a whole world out there that unfortunately, many people don't get to see or might not even be interested in. To each their own - everyone has to do what's best for them, but I feel amazingly lucky to be able to experience all that living overseas has had to offer. I think we are finally starting to get the hang of this...

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Friday, March 9, 2007

Street Harassment Rant

I just got back from a quick jaunt to the office and once again, I was harassed on the way to work and then on the way to home. About 80% of the time, something happens when I walk by myself on the streets of KL. Many times, it's construction workers whistling and catcalling from the buildings that they are working on, but a lot of the time it's also from passing cars, trucks and scooters. I am so disgusted by it! Usually, the f*ckers that do it from a car or a scooter just either whistle or go "hellooo", but I would actually be less offended if they just grabbed their crotch or at least just said what was on their minds, because they ain't just saying hello when they are saying hello - they know it and I know it. Snively little perverts "pretend" to be nice by saying hello, but how many people just randomly say "hello" from a car to a stranger on the street? And it's not "hello" as in "hello, how are you?" but "heellloooo", all singsong-like. What do they think, that I will give them a big smile, a big wave and say, "Hi! How y'all doin'? Sure, I'd love to take a ride on the back of your scooter!! You know, I'm not from around here..." A woman just knows what they are getting at, you know? The least they could do is have the balls to just say it.

Today it was even better. On the way to work, I had a guy intentionally scare me from a truck parked on the side of the road. He made a loud noise when I walked by, and it made me think someone had snuck up behind me on the sidewalk. I was between a construction and a line of trucks on the road, so I was spooked, not because I thought I would be hurt, but I'm usually more worried about someone snatching my bag. He wasn't sneezing, or coughing, or talking on his mobile phone, he just grunted REALLY loud when I walked by. Fucker.

Then on the way home, I was coming up against a couple of construction workers on the sidewalk who were coming back from lunch. I was so preoccupied with the fact that they were going to say something to me (which they didn't, by the way) , that I didn't even notice, at first, the guy leaning out of his van window going "Heelloooo? Hellloooo? How are youuuu?"

Now, let me just say that this is not all men KL, not by any means. I have met countless nice, polite, chivalrous men here. But it's these few that are on my last nerve.

Now, I never really feel threatened or in harm's way when these things happen, I'm just totally disgusted and insulted with their insidious ways. Do they think I am such an idiot that I am fooled by their false politeness? It's just creepy to me. I hope they don't pull that one day when I am in the wrong mood, or else I will beat them about the head with my umbrella.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Wonderful Sabah

First of all, this would have been posted a couple of weeks ago, but I just now learned how to upload photos to my blog - yes, really.

Matt and I had the opportunity for a a wonderful three day weekend in Kota Kinabalu a couple of weekends ago. Kota Kinabalu in in the Malaysian state of Sabah, on the island of Borneo. Matt had a business trip to Labuan on Thursday, so we decided to make it a weekend break of sorts.

We stayed at the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru resort (, which was a really nice hotel. We arrived on Friday afternoon, and since Expedia had messed up our reservation (yet again...why do we even still use Expedia?), they upgraded us to a renovated suite on the top floor. We quickly went up to the room, then down to the Horizon Club (which was also included in our upgrade) for drinks. Being that it was going to be a laid back weekend, Matt didn't bring any slacks. Unfortunately, shorts on men aren't allowed during the happy hour. But...all was not lost; they gave Matt a lovely sarong to wear over his shorts! Truly though, the service at the hotel was very good the entire time we were there and Matt looked cute in his plaid sarong. Below is a view from our table:

The next morning, we got up and played tennis. Yes, I actually played tennis and I did better than I thought I would. But we forgot one important element of playing the 11am. Sunscreen. Mistake. We are still paying for that one. After tennis we lounged by the pool for a while, and then back to the bar for drinks. Then we rounded out the night by playing cards on our balcony.

The next day we decided to go island hopping, as there are five islands that are just a quick ferry ride away. First we went to Manukan Island, where we went on a nature walk and then snorkeled. The snorkeling was great! However, we did learn about the sneaky little bastard known as the trigger fish. Trigger fish are very aggressive fish who really don't like it when you swim too close to their nest. That little discovery was made when one of them charged at Matt. Now, they are not really big or anything, but still. So Matt went to swim away and about three or four came at him and BIT him! We're talking, drew blood and everything. They were small bites, but when a fish actually bites you, it kind of freaks you out, no matter how small they are. So, after that, we opted to check out another island :) So we hopped back on the ferry and went to Manikan Island, which was just as pretty and a little more laid back. We rounded out the day with another visit to the Horizon Club and more lounging on our balcony.

Sorry that this sounded so much like a travel review, but we were so pleasantly surprised at how great everything was. We really, really love Sabah and can't wait to go back and try something a little more adventurous, like maybe a jungle trek, or white water rafting, or even climbing Mount Kinabalu!

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Monday, March 5, 2007

Say What???

The Husband and I were watching TV this weekend, and we always get such a kick out of studying what is censored and what doesn't make the cut. It's the same puzzlement I have when I see a local Malaysian woman in her traditional dress answering her mobile phone, the ringtone of which is Akon's "Smack That". Something just doesn't quite add up.

Anyway, so we watched Wedding Crashers and kept track of which words were censored and which weren't. I won't bore you with the entire list, but a few comparisons would be: Censored="teet", Not Censored="prick". Oh, and apparently "hooters" is okay to say, as well as several slang terms for homosexuality. However, "sheet" was censored, I guess because it sounds very similar to "sh*t". We just find the whole censorship thing kind of interesting. I've never lived in a place where I just really didn't have the choice on what I did or didn't hear. Given the choice, I typically go for all the colorful words...

Oh, another interesting example...this weekend, we took the ferry from Labuan to Kota Kinabalu (more on that later) and I was absolutely astounded at the movie they showed. Now, this is a country where we get a censored version of Wedding Crashers on HBO, but lo and behold, we saw a completely uncensored version of "Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny", which is the new Jack Black comedy. For those of you who are familiar with Jack Black's band Tenacious D, then you understand why I am amazed they showed that movie. There were women on the ferry that were covering their eyes, parts of it were so offensive.

But the best (or at least, the most interesting) example of censorship I've seen thus far was this morning when we watched The Aviator. During the scene where Howard Hughes and Ava Gardner are getting their car smashed by the other chick (Hughes' girlfriend), Howard tries to appease her by using the term of endearment "Pork Chop". Now, Malaysia is predominantly Muslim, and so pork is forbidden. I certainly respect their religious practices, but I did think it was interesting that the term "Pork chop" was censored and in it's place was... "Chicken". Doesn't have the same ring to it, does it?....

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