Taiping, Monday 10th January 2005
Behind Bukit Larut the tropical sun rises. A faint light reaches me through the curtains, gaining strength rapidly. My day of work starts.

Get up

I usually wake up with some new ideas. I put back the sheet, get up and work on the ideas so I won't have a chance to forget them. Enough of fresh air during the night, so the windows close. The air co starts it's work rambling. Silent air conditioners seem non existent in Asia.

The bathroom has two showers. The first one has cold water only and the other one... has cold water only too. The second one was designed to give hot water, but I have yet to master the way it operates. It looks like an Irish shower. The nightly sweat flushes down my body.


It is nice and cool just after sunrise. It is a pleasure to see how the day begins in Malaysia. At the greens in front of the hotel Chinese are practicing Tai Chi. The moves are familiar, yet I suppress the urge to join in. A bit further up the tennis court is quite busy already. At the hill groups of Malaysians are doing their exercises. It is funny to see how the different ethnic group differ. The Chinese walk and practice Tai Chi. The Malay are busy doing gymnastics and the Indians are busy running around.

The nearest restaurant is at the other side of the hill. Families are enjoying breakfast, have selected some delicacy from the buffet. My regular breakfast is a cup of tea with roti canai, a kind of pancake with curry.


After breakfast I stroll back. The Netherlands are still asleep. Here it is still cool, but it won't last long. The morning is the best time to work, solving puzzles while things are quiet. From the water tub in the bathroom I get a bottle of cool mineral water. That tub serve as my fridge. It takes several bottles every day, many litres daily. If it is cool enough I take the laptop outside to the terrace. Otherwise I stick to the now cool room.

I really enjoy to work here in all tranquility. January is not a busy month for me in the Netherlands. Just before departure I talked to several new customers, but it will take until February before their 2005 IT budget is approved. Back in Holland everybody now focuses on new year's receptions and holiday stories. So, I do not expect any response from Dutch customers for some time to come. January is the perfect time to escape Dutch darkness and catch a bit of sun.

The Flemish Sara Borremans is busy doing the graphical make over of the SUMit homepage. It is a difficult process for me. To adjudicate graphical work is far outside my comfort zone. So I find it tough to comment the various sketches. Kamariah, the front desk manager of the hotel assists in the adjudication process. She is far more knowledgeable about colour combinations than I am.

There is another nice puzzle to solve here: extending SUMit's roster software to have multiple activities per shift of an employee. The HTML prototype is progressing. Next week the programming phase should start and end.

Cyber Cafe

I work till lunch and take a walk to the Fajar (Malay for sunrise) supermarket downtown, to get some new bottles of water. It is now hot. I wear my Australian hat, the perfect gear for keeping my head in the shade while allowing the wind to blow through my hair. The day starts in the Netherlands, a fine moment to answer some e-mail in the cyber cafe.

My accountant has the SUMit Q4 VAT totals. Long live submitting your tax electronically and hip hip hurray for e-banking. I do not have to be in the Netherlands anymore for my tax forms. It is a bit odd to pay my VAT in shorts via Internet, but well, no complaints. It's almost fun and quite easy.

My head is too hot. Next to the cyber cafe is a Chinese hair saloon, up the stairs and see where you end up. I never understood how all these hair saloons can survive. They are usually empty when I get in. What I like best about a Chinese hair cut is the massage of neck and shoulders. I spend too much time behind a laptop. So it is a very good idea to get things loosened up a bit.


When it is not too hot yet, I wander through town for a bit of shopping. I have everything I need now, my nutmeg oil, mosquito coils, laundry soap, razors and shaving cream. I like those small bottles of shaving cream. Why don't they sell them in the Netherlands?

My favourite lunch is a mee soup, to refill lost fluids. It is available everywhere in Malaysia. Mee soup is a special meal:

I have a book to finish in the local library. Last year I started a novel there. I saved the final chapter for the day of departure, but the library was closed. So, I'll go for a rebound coming week.

Casuarina Inn

The air co did a good job in keeping the hotel room cool. I do not catch a lot of sun, but the bit I do get was enough to colour my skin.

Casuarina Inn

Spacious rooms with air co and private bathroom.

1 Jalan Sultan Mansor Shah, Taman Tasek
34000 Taiping, Malaysia
Tel +60-5-8041339 & 8041340
fax +60-5-8041337

The mirror shows a white "swimsuit". I flush the sweat of my body, get into a fresh shirt, do a bit of laundry and leave it out in the sun to dry. This type of working days are my style, nice and relaxed in a pleasant environment. The Taiping Casuarina Inn is a good place to work.


At night I take a short stroll downtown, mainly to get something to eat. I wear trousers, because of the mosquitos.

The TV in the lounge of the hotel shows the aftermath of the tsunami. Malaysia is quite fine. The most damage was in Penang and the northern provinces. There are 5,000 houses destroyed on the coast. It is still a major damage, yet Malaysia suffered a remarkable small death toll: 68. The peninsula Malaysia was well "covered" by Sumatra.

The news bulletin shows the news with a local tint. The Malaysian president visiting Sumatra, Malaysian aid forces at work in neighbouring countries, Malaysian companies supporting emergency funds. I read similar reports on the Internet in the Dutch news. It is a small world. Every country has its own view on the news.

Back in the room I enjoy a bit of the tax-free-whiskey, process my final ideas of the day, take a last shower, light up a mosquito coil, switch off air co, open the windows and get under the sheet. Tomorrow is another relaxed day in the sun.


Well, some folks ask me what I am doing in Malaysia if not for holiday. I actually do not know. Everything is just relaxed here. I am just working, escaping winter. Next week holiday will start, down under in Australia. In the end the big nothing will be perfect for doing nothing.

Till next nut,