Insomnia is a writer's
16, 1995 12:14
4:16 Kancil Guest House, Melaka (Malacca)-Malaysia ::
13 MAR 95
So, what do you do when it's 4AM and you can't sleep? Drag out
the computer and spew all the stuff running around in your groggy little
Managed to get connected in Mersing, at a little Inn called Omar's
Backpackers. Omar graciously allowed me access to the vein of modern society
(twice) for the price of $18 RM ($10 CDN). Hey, a fix is never cheap regardless
of the drug.
Damn! Mosquito coil just quit. Gotta find another one before
(slap) the blighters drive me nuts.
5:16 Kancil Guest House, Melaka-Malaysia :: 15 MAR 95
Well, it's two days later. I'm fighting off a bout of flu and
the 13th was the first major loss. I rested much of the day of the 13th,
even slept some, and then slept about 10 hours that night. On the 14th,
I slept alot and had a good start on a fine night's rest this evening,
until about 3:30 this morning. I'm still feeling that "flu hangover"
but I think I'm pretty much through the worst of it.
Everything I've heard about Melaka suggests it's an interesting
town, though I've yet to travel more than a couple blocks from the guest
house which is none to near the most historic areas of town. Hopefully
today I'll get a chance to change my ignorant condition.
Even if I was trying to get to sleep right now I'd probably have
a difficult time of it. The roosters are going full blare, any moment
now the amplifiers at the mosques will get turned up and somewhere in
the next building a local has been attempting to clear the phlegm in his
throat using that hacking we in the West were taught is too rude for anyone
over the age of 6. HachhhhhkkK, PTUI! Hacchhhhhhkk, haaacchhhhhkkkk. HaaccchchhhhkkKK!
PTUI! As this is not the first time I've heard such a display I can only
come to the conclusion that there's no prohibition here against hacking
up a wad of phlegm and letting it fly. However, it's apparently quite
rude to pick your nose in public. In fact, I've never seen anyone dab
their nose with a hanky. Then again, they're perhaps relieved of that
necessity by constantly choking back the mucus and PTUI!
20:19 Kancil Guest House, Melaka-Malaysia :: 15 MAR 95
Hey, just about over the damn cold. Also figured out I'm not
drinking near enough water. After walking through neat old Melaka
town for a couple hours in the mid-afternoon heat I was exhausted and
head-achy. Upon reaching the guest house I walked immediately to the fridge
and purchased 1.5 litters of water. It only took about 15 minutes to drain
it. I'm probably working on my fourth litter of the day by now. That leaves
my water allotment costing me as much per day as food!
It's about time I got around to the question of Islam. As I've
already stated, a sizable percentage of the Malaysian population is Muslim.
Every town I've been through seems to have at least one Mosque. Indeed,
while the majority of Malays are subject basically to British criminal
and civil law, the members of the Muslim community are subject to Islamic
law where civil/family matters are involved (e.g., marriage, divorce and
some moral questions) while they revert to British law for criminal matters.
On my first full day I was sitting at the food stalls in the
Central Market (Asians beat North America to the "Food Court"
idea quite some time ago-our only additions are KFC, McDonalds-which DELIVERS
here-and Pizza Hut. Coke plays second fiddle to soya drinks and sugar
waters while Pepsi has no presence whatsoever). So there I am typing away
at the keyboard, going "WOW!" and lots of other stuff. A couple
tables away sits a group of men in their late 20s or so who don't look
very local, but I could be wrong. I keep catching the eye of one, or he
mine, and pleasant smiles are exchanged each time. Eventually, he comes
over and joins me.
He's not a local. In fact, he's essentially a refugee from Algeria
where the military junta that overthrew the freely elected government
battles the "Islamic Fundamentalists" who wish to either re-install
that government or simply convert the country to Islamic law. You can
read all about it in the papers, or at least the Western Perspective of
what's going on there. The Democratic, Freedom Loving West, as is not
too unusual, backed and aided the use of force to dismantle a freely elected
government. Gee. What a surprise.
Anyway, Achiff [phonetic spelling] and I talked for probably
4 or 5 hours about a bunch of things. We talked about religion and the
relationship of Christianity/Judaism/Islam. We all worship the same god
and share many of the same "prophets" such as Moses. Islam recognises
Jesus as a prophet, though Mohammed, who came along later, is considered
the most important. We talked about the strife in Algeria and how the
political situation there for Achiff is less than ideal. We talked about
being a stranger in a strange land chased from their own country. In retrospect,
our discussions remind me of some great talks with Dejan Cvetkovic, a
Serb who worked with Microsoft while I was there who also left his home
and family in a troubled nation. Dejan's on the distribution list for
this journal, so Hi there Dejan!
We talked about Islamic Fundamentalism and Islamic Jihad, which
in the Arab world are not considered equivalent. Although the discussion
in general was informative and often confirmed my suspicions contrary
to popular (mis)understandings about Islam and North Africa, the discussion
around Jihad and fundamentalism really stirred up my juices.
First, Islamic Jihad is not, as Peter Jennings et. al. would
have us believe a "terrorist" or "fundamentalist"
group. Some terrorist might claim responsibility on behalf of Jihad,
much like George Bush claimed responsibility for invading Panama on behalf
of "Democracy", but saying, "Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility
today for the bombing of . . ." is kind of like saying "Western
Democracy today claimed responsibility for the overthrow of the Algerian
government." That is, Islamic Jihad refers more to a political ideal,
or a series of inevitable events, not a small group of individuals planning
acts of terrorism. Western Democracy may well be responsible, in a manner
of speaking, for the overthrow of the Algerian government, but it's ridiculous
to say that someone "representing the imperialist group Western Democracy"
claimed responsibility for any kind of event.
What "Islamic Jihad" means, literally, to Muslims is
something like "Special War". By "War" the Muslims
do not necessarily mean guns and soldiers, though they will revert to
such when necessary, but something more like what feminists call "The
Gender War." That is, it's a struggle to attain certain goals. As
dissatisfaction with the West in general and Western forms of government
and economy in specific grows in the Arab world, the words "Islamic
Jihad" find themselves on more and more Muslim lips, much like expressions
such as "The Women's Movement" became popular with Women (and
men) in the sixties and seventies.
22:44 Kancil Guest House, Melaka-Malaysia :: 15 MAR 95
As an example of Islamic law in practice, this just in:
New Straits Times
Thursday, March 9, 1995
Prosecutor: Man and 10 wives not true Shi'ites
Johor Baru (Malaysia) Wed.-Religious teacher Abdul
Talib Harun and his 10 Singaporean wives are not genuine Shi'ites but
merely claimed to be Shi'ites to justify their marriages, the Syariah
Court was told today. In his submission before judge Zainuddin Munajat,
prosecutor Abdul Karim Yusof said Abdul Talib and his wives had claimed
to be Shi'ites in their respective cautioned statements. "However,
Sabariah Abu (Abdul Talib's third wife), in her cautioned statement, had
also said that in terms of their religious practices, they were 'just
like other people'," he said. "By 'other people', I take it
that she was referring to the followers of Sunnah Wal-Jamaah," he
Abdul Karim said that in Islam, a person's religious
practices stemmed from his beliefs, adding that in their testimonies,
none of the accused had either said they were followers of a sect whose
beliefs allowed contractual marriages or 'nikah mutaah', or claimed that
their parents were followers of such a sect. "This clearly shows
that they fabricated the fact that they were Shi'ites, to justify their
contractual marriages," he said.
Abdul Karim was giving his submission in the case involving
Abdul Talib's wives who face several charges under the Johor Islamic Administration
Enactment. Four of his wives-Jamaliah Kartimon, 26, Aslindah Seepon, 25,
Sabariah Abu, 28, and Ummu Syafiqah Abdullah, 27,-are jointly charged
with violating Syariah law by conspiring with Abdul Talib to enable him
to have more than four wives at a time. The other wives-Salibiah Othman,
25, Norine Mohamad, 24, Khatimah Mokhtar, 24, Noor Afizah Baba, 25, Misiah
Parnin, 27, and Suziyani Sumsuddin, 24-face a joint charge of breaching
Islamic law by marrying Abdul Talib who already had four wives. They also
face two charges each of engaging in illicit sex with Abdul Talib when
he was not their lawful husband, and of living with him as husband and
wife without being legally married to him.
Abdul Karim said that at least one prosecution witness-
Abdul Talib's former neighbor, businessman Ahmad Muttakhari- testified
that he was aware of the marital arrangements of the accused persons.
The witness also testified that whenever Abdul Talib's parents unexpectedly
visited their (Abdul Talib's) house, Salibiah, Norine, Khatimah, Noor
Afizah, Misiah and Suziyani would run out of the house with their children
by the back door to Mutthakhari's house. "The accused women never
challenged or denied Mutthakhari's testimony. If their marriages were
truly above board, why would they feel the need to hide it from Abdul
Talib's parents?" asked Abdul Karim.
He said that centuries ago, the early Muslims had practiced
the concept of contractual marriages. However, this practice was later
banned by Prophet Muhammad. "Therefore, contractual marriages are
illegal from the point of view of Islam." Abdul Karim added that
under section 73 (1) of the Johor Islamic Administration Enactment 1978,
under the chapter on the 'Syahadah wal Bainat', it was stated that even
the testimony of non-Muslims could be accepted by the Syariah Court (under
certain circumstances) for some cases. "As such, it was not necessary
for four reliable and neutral male Muslim witnesses to actually witness
the offenses." he said.
The hearing was adjourned to next Tuesday.
Now, I don't claim to have all this stuff worked out-suffice
it to say that legalese in Islamic law is no easier to understand than
legalese in any other variety of law. But, you kind of get some gist of
the variety of transgressions that are punishable under the laws of Islam.
A couple of important questions I don't have the answer to: has Abdul
Talib, the husband, been charged with any wrong doing? and what punishments
are likely to be levied if the women are found guilty (a verdict that
this report seems to support)?
Now back to our regular program already in progress.
So Islamic Jihad, "Special War", refers to a grass-roots
movement bent on a "special" purpose. This purpose is the eventual
reinstatement of Islamic Law and governmental forms to the nations of
Islam-all of them. The nations of Islam include such places as Algeria,
Morocco, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Turkey, Spain. . . To be specific,
the purpose of Islamic Jihad is to bring any nation that has ever been
ruled under Islamic Law back to Islam. Ashiff assured me that Malaysia
was safe because, "Malaysia never Islamic Law", however, I've
since learned that early in its history at least part of what eventually
became Malaysia came under the 'jurisdiction of Islam'. Ashiff seemed
to mean, though, that Jihad was only interested in current nations that
had once been Islamic in their entirety.
A pretty scary thought when one thinks of what's going on in
Iran, or rather, when one thinks on what Western Media deigns to tell
us about what's going on in Iran. But that's another story altogether.
Iran is a bona-fide Islamic Fundamentalist nation but it receives
little or no support from the majority of the Arab world, nor the Muslim
world for that matter. Much like those familiar Christian Fundamentalists
back home, Muslim Fundamentalists are perceived by most Muslims as 'going
a bit too far', 'misinterpreting religious teachings' or, worse yet, particularly
in Islamic theology, changing the wording of the Koran. Iran, for example,
expelled all Jews from the country under its "Islamic Law" but
nothing in the Koran states that Jews and Christians are not welcome in
an Islamic country. Infidels are unwelcome but Jews and Christians, according
to the Koran, are not infidels since God, Jehovah and Allah are all the
same omnipotent being; even if they've gotten the facts somewhat screwed
up, at least Jews and Christians are worshipping the right guy.
Not only is Iran unsupported by most Muslims, it is, paradoxically-if
you've been listening too closely to Peter Jennings-considered one of
the targets of Islamic Jihad.
Under Islamic Law, Jews and Christians may peacefully coexist
with Muslims while living within their own legal systems within the Islamic
nation. That is, they're not considered under the jurisdiction of Islamic
Law, though they should be careful to be "Islamically Correct"
in their behaviour: public drunkenness or lasciviousness will not be looked
upon too, too kindly. Buddhists, Atheists, Pagans-anyone not Muslim, Jew
or Christian-is not welcome within Islam, so there won't be any Hari Krishnas
in Muslim airports.
Ashiff offered this advice: when entering Arabic countries such
as Syria or Jordan, if asked about religious beliefs, it's probably unwise
to say anything but Muslim, Jew or Christian, even though these countries
are not under Islamic Law. Unless you actually are one of the other two,
it's probably best to say Christian.
Oh, one more surprise. After having just been in Australia where
the Aboriginal population speaks some 200 distinct languages and 400 odd
dialects, I was amazed to find that all Arabia speaks a common tongue.
As Johnny Carson would say, "I did not know that."
Here's another article concerning Islam. It's fun to read between
the lines here.
The Sun (Malaysia)
Monday, March 13, 1995
EU split over aid for Maghreb
European Union countries that border the Mediterranean
have long complained that the EU is facing the wrong way. They claim that
while it focuses its attention on Eastern Europe, a much greater threat
looms to the south. Now the EU's Mediterranean members have their big
chance, writes Ian Mather.
During the 18-month period from January, France, Spain
and Italy will occupy the presidency of the EU in turn. Though it is officially
supposed to be neutral, the presidency provides an opportunity for countries
to push their own agendas. Moreover, countries that hold the presidency
in succession can join forces to produce a joint programme.
But will the southern governments succeed in persuading
their northern EU partners to allocate more EU resources to the troubled
Muslim nations of the Maghreb-Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Tunisia-across
the new fault line that has replaced the Iron Curtain? Their aim is to
persuade the EU to provide aid to develop industries in the Maghreb countries
so that growing prosperity will reduce both emigration to Europe and support
for fundamentalism. If they do succeed, it will be the biggest change
in priorities since the collapse of eastern Europe in 1989 and the decision
to give enormous political and economic help to the new governments of
The campaign is already underway. Spain, which takes
over the EU presidency in July, has begun to make its pitch for an EU
cash programme for the Maghreb. It hosted a conference in Barcelona early
last month that was clearly seen by the Spanish government as an opportunity
to set out the Mediterranean agenda and prepare the grounds for a grandiose
summit of EU and Mediterranean countries that will take place in the city
Javier Solana, the Spanish foreign minister, told the
conference: "Look at the disparity in incomes between north and south,
combine that with population growth and you have the ingredients for the
conflict between Islam and Europe that has made up so much of the unhappy
history of the Mediterranean." Because of their history and their
proximity to north Africa, France, Spain and Italy have a more intimate
knowledge of the Mahgreb countries than the northern EU states. All three
have vital energy and other economic interests, both as consumers and
investors. All are aware of the growing economic gulf across the Mediterranean.
But while the southern Europeans may be in the political
driving seat within the EU, it is the northerners who call the tune. With
the arrival of Finland, Sweden and Austria the centre of gravity of the
EU has shifted northwards. Germany and Britain are the biggest net contributors
to the budget. They, together with the Netherlands and the new Scandinavian
members, who are also net contributors, see things differently when they
Instead of Islamic fundamentalism, the threat of conflict
and refugee flows, they tend to see mainly the eastern Mediterranean,
the Middle East peace process and oil.
Both Germany and Britain oppose any plans that would
dramatically increase EU spending in the south. For Germany, eastern Europe
remains an imperative because Germany is at the eastern frontier of the
union and cannot contemplate the possibility of instability in the region.
Though Bonn accepts the need for an EU strategy for the Maghreb, it remains
wedded to its drive to bring the ex-communist states into the EU by the
year 2000. The Germans also insist they have reached their financial limit
with the help they are giving to Russia and eastern Europe, far more than
that of all other EU states together.
The British, too, say their resources are over-stretched,
and that any extra aid for the Maghreb would have to be at the expense
of bilateral British aid projects, especially in former colonies in sub-Saharan
A similar split is apparent over security policy towards
the Maghreb. NATO has just decided to divert some attention to the security
risks on the alliance's southern flank by opening a dialogue with Israel
and four north African countries: Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Mauritania.
The decision, which follows sustained pressure from the French and Spanish
governments, represents a shift of emphasis away from NATO's traditional
concerns to the east. NATO secretary general Willy Claes even told the
Germans that fundamentalism now poses as serious a threat to NATO as communism
But while talks are to be held with the four Muslim
nations (plus Israel at the insistence of the United States), Claes' view
is not widely held in Germany or Britain. London is luke-warm. It accepted
the initiative only on condition that it remains at the level of informal
consultation and does not lead to any new military or political commitments.
"NATO is an east-west organization. To start a dialogue with the
Maghreb is a new direction," said one British diplomat.
In general, any extra money for the Maghreb would have
to be found by taking it away from existing programmes for eastern Europe
or by breaching the EU's budget. But constraints on aid are the norm for
the industrial world, and any EU government making an effort to curb its
domestic budget deficit to achieve the criteria for economic and monetary
union set out at Maastricht is bound to be in a budget squeeze.
There is an alternative to more aid for the Maghreb.
The EU could open its markets to north African goods, particularly agricultural
produce and textile goods. But this solution is unacceptable to the southern
European states themselves. Their workers would face direct competition
if north African farm products, such as olive oil and citrus fruits, were
to be allowed in.
Throughout this conflict of interest over north Africa,
the role of France is crucial. France has a foot in both EU camps. It
has interests both in the Mediterranean and to the north where it has
a close and enduring strategic partnership with Germany. It is also a
net contributor to the EU.
However, France is in an extremely uncomfortable position.
Of all the Maghreb countries, by far the most urgent
case requiring attention is Algeria, where the military governments and
Islamic fundamentalists are locked in civil conflict as gruesome as that
in Bosnia. The war in Algeria threatens to unleash a wave of refugees
if the Islamists succeed in overthrowing the military regime, as they
well might. Yet France is traumatised by events in Algeria. It looks on
helplessly as the nightmare unfolds in the country it controlled for 132
French policy is to prevent a collapse of the Algerian
regime and the spread of the conflict to France and would dearly love
to "Europeanise" the problem. It is seeking to persuade other
EU leaders to increase aid to Algeria. Ministers believe that the dangers
of the Algerian war are too great for it alone to handle.
In the end, there may not be time for the lobbying by
the southern European governments. Even before the Barcelona summit a
violent collapse could have ensued in Algeria. The "domino theory"
of the spread of fundamentalist rule in north Africa will be put to the
test. If that happens, there will be no question of whether north Africa
would be at the top of Europe's agenda.
© The European/Fikiran Syndicate
4:02 Kancil Guest House, Melaka-Malaysia :: 16 MAR 95
Yep. That's 4:02 AM. It's pretty muggy tonight; the moon's almost
full and the mosquitoes are pretty ferocious and unheedful of the mosquito
coil burning in the corner of the room.
Enough of Islam for the moment. Instead, a trickle of observations.
Cats here are plentiful, uniformly short-haired, typically not
much larger than a six-month old kitten, and seem to commonly share the
genetic defects of a crooked and unusually short tail. Other than that,
they're just like cats. One of the two residing at this guest house sports
personality to spare.
Food is an ongoing treat here, and often packs a surprise. Among
the pleasures is learning to say "I'll take one of those" rather
than to quietly wonder what it is. Most food items rarely cost more than
$3 RM so it's financially a low-risk gamble.
Katrin's much better picking up the language, at least the words
likely to appear on a menu, so we're able to order the regular fare without
much difficulty. Unless we're in Chinatown 'restorans' which post their
menus in Mandarin or other places where servers don't speak English and
we're interested in something out of the ordinary. When this happens we'll
occasionally just look at the meals being eaten around us and point at
one that looks interesting.
There's all manner of strange, exotic fruits. The mangoes aren't
as sweet or fully flavoured as those I had in Oz, but these are the most
mundane of fruits here, anyway. The papaya is very large, very cheap,
reddish and sweetish when ripe. Apples and citrus are expensive. Pineapple's
very good, and cheap. The bananas are small (The Australians call them
'lady fingers') but better tasting than any Chiquita you'll ever buy.
There are several variations on the Lychee theme, all quite tasty and
cheap. We've yet to brave durian, which the locals apparently love but
which apparently releases an horrific stench when opened up. Could it
really be worse than the streets?
You can get many of these as fresh-squeezed juices fairly cheaply,
but they're heavily watered down.
Some restorans have items on their breakfast menu that others
serve only as dinners. However, a meal at any time of the day generally
has the same menu options as any other time; there seems no differentiation
between breakfast, lunch and dinner.
If you walk down any given street at several different times
of the day, you're likely to experience a different street each time.
Shops and restorans open at various times and hours of operation seem
to vary as much. Often a shop will close and a street vendor will set
up shop in the space in front of it.
The Malaysian language borrows many English words, and spells
them in a unique phonetic style: farmasi, teksi, restoran, ekspress, bas
In KL I saw only one bicycle. Here, there are hundreds. One of
the favoured occupations of old men: operating a bicycle with an open
'sidecar' and retractable sunshade seating two paying customers. I haven't
seen anyone under about 50 plying this trade. Or maybe the toil has just
made them all look old.
Since leaving KL we haven't been asked once to have our picture
taken. Still, the people here are overtly friendly with easy smiles and
this attitude seems one as much of genuine good-will as of active curiosity
Seemingly contrary to all the pushing and jockeying for position
involved in getting a seat on a packed city bus, the people are gentle
natured. Even in the wildest seeming bus-fray, you'll notice no anger
or ill-temper, even from the bus-driver as he struggles to get off the
bus while everyone else crams past him. Such scenes are simply a fact
of every-day life.
There are no female bus drivers.
There are remarkably few panhandlers.
Street musicians play a pretty stirring rendition of Clapton's
'unplugged' rethinking of Layla.
Except for the growing number of western style shopping malls,
commercial districts tend to consist of long stretches of connected, self-contained
units, each about 5 meters in width, though newer structures are often
twice as wide. The ground floor is a retail or service shop of some sort
with a roll-down metal door. The upper floors, of which there are up to
three, overhang the lower floor, forming cover for the usually narrow
sidewalk. These floors contain living space, office/service/retail space
or rooms for hire. Office/service/retail space is accessed through a staircase
at sidewalk level. Private living space seems most often to be accessed
through the shop, or the alley.
Back at street level, just beyond the overhang is the storm drain,
really a deep concrete ditch, which usually separates street from sidewalk.
In the Kancil guest house, all sinks and showers empty into the storm
drains. The toilets, thankfully, do not. Still, the contents of these
drains, particularly after long dry spells, can be quite foul. Malaysians
are not particularly choosy about where they drop their litter and much
of it ends up here on its way to the river. Debris sometimes stacks up
forming blockages that damn up the already rank flow. These damns provide
an opportunity for the drainage to stagnate and become really ripe.
I'm not sure if Melaka smells as badly as either KL or Mersing,
but it doesn't seem to. The advantage of stuffed sinuses here is freedom
from smell. The disadvantage of stuffed sinuses is the free-flow that
occurs whenever you eat the spicy food or nice hot soup. We're going through
tissues at an amazing rate. Since it's impossible to get serviettes from
food stalls-they simply don't stock them-it's important to bring your
own supply, especially when you're experiencing sinus troubles.
11:14 Kancil Guest House, Melaka-Malaysia :: 16 MAR 95
The preferred method of bathing for the Chinese, if you've seen
the film "The Scent of Green Papaya" you'll already know this,
is to squat beside a large bucket and ladle water from the bucket over
oneself with a large dipper. Pretty much every guest house, hostel or
hotel we've been in, except for the western hotels, provides the bucket
and dipper in every shower stall.
No bathtubs so far. <sigh>
Bring your own toilet paper. I've told you about the Asian squat
toilets and that wonderful wash hose. Well even when there are western
toilets the room with the toilet doubles as a shower. Toilet paper is
not often stocked since the stuff, when made soggy by bathers, just doesn't
work too well. To make matters more difficult, if the toilet's western
style, so is the shower head, meaning fixed at head height to the wall,
making it a trifle difficult to rinse those sensitive spots without thoroughly
If traveling by bus, do yourself a favour and carry an audio
cassette of some inoffensive music that the locals will appreciate and
you can listen to over and over again. The 5 hour trip from Mersing to
Melaka was sound-tracked by a tape consisting of two songs, played continuously
through most of the trip. Both songs were fairly innocuous, the first
20 times we heard them. After that, the vapidity became nauseating. A
couple of brief breaks came first in the form of a cassette supplied by
a group of wealthy Mandarins (you can tell by the length of their fingernails,
an indication of their class in that they obviously don't have to work),
an experiment that ended when the tape deck tried to devour the tape,
and then later when the same group powered up their own ghetto-blaster
and played amplifier wars with the bus' sound system.
Most of the bus companies use the word Ekspress in their names-e.g..
Batik Ekspress. Passengers should not confuse these names with the idea
of express bus service. Going about 50km/hr on side-roads we criss-crossed
a nice big expressway going straight to Melaka for about 2 hours without
once getting on it.
The five-hour trip from Mersing to Melaka cost $11.60 RM . .
. about $6.80 CDN. However, the 3.5 hour flight from KL to Kuching in
East Malaysia (formerly, Borneo) cost more than $470 RM. That is, buses
are exceedingly cheap and air travel is not.
Patrick. -- Responses Sought --
A boy will toil up hill with a toboggan for the sake
of a few brief moments of bliss during the descent; no one has to urge
him to be industrious, and however he may puff and pant he is still happy.
But if in-stead the immediate reward you promised him an old-age pension
at seventy, his energy would flag very quickly.