July 2007


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Taylor’s College sent the staff to Pangkor Island this past weekend. Before we went I looked at the map and saw there was a pretty decent highway going north. We didn’t take it. Instead we took the “milk run” and went through every little town between here and the island. The road was paved, but the road bed was thin to non-existent. Erin wisely took her Gravol, but I was reaching for mine before we got there.

The hotel was not exactly as advertised either. The rooms were worn, the walls pockmarked with patches and the beds mostly unmade. The menu consisted of seafood or fish, that is if there was any left. Bill had rice and salad dressing for lunch once. I caught on and started eating with the earlier Muslim crowd. I don’t think I stood out, do you?

The beach was dirty, the water was murky and the tourist town stunk. I don’t mean metaphorically, I mean literally. There was an anchovy store every ten metres and the town reeked of them. Not even durian can compete with the smell of anchovies drying  in the hot Malaysian sun. They offered to leave us there to shop for three hours, but we politely declined.

What was fun was the games and the laughs we had. And it was great to get away for a couple of days. The school paid for our trip, so I really shouldn’t be critical. On the other hand we aren’t booking a return trip anytime soon. We’ve been to some great places since we arrived in Malaysia, but unfortunately this wasn’t one of them. One star.

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This weekend we visited the awesome Batu Caves, the sacred place of the Hindus in Malaysia, which are situated thirteen kilometers north of K. L. They consist of three main caves and a number of smaller ones. The caves are made of limestone and stretch 400 meters deep into the rock. You have to climb 272 steps to enter the Temple Cave or Cathedral Cave which is the best known and largest of the caves. The ceiling is 100 m above the ground and this huge chamber is lighted by daylight from several holes in the ceiling which is 100 m above the ground.

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 All the way up the stairs, you are greeted  by long tailed-macaque monkeys, which are very friendly, especially if they think that you have food to offer.

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Happy Birthday Nicole and Jonathan! 

Throughout our children’s lives we have prayed that God would bless each of them with a godly life partner who would love and support them and challenge them to be the best that they can.   Having you, Nicole as a daughter in law. is certainly all we could ask for Jon. 

We are so proud of you both.  We stand at times in awe of the maturity and carefulness that you display in the life decisions that you make and in the loving and joyful manner in which you parent Benjamin.

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One of the newer attractions in KL is the Aquarium which is part of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center at the base of the twin towers.  The highlight is a transparent tunnel with a moving walkway which takes you under the Living Ocean exhibit.  Huge sting rays, tiger sharks with sharksucker fish attached, and beautifully colourful fish swim over your head.  There is a Living Reef tank packed with coral and multi coloured fish that make us long to get to the islands for some snorkelling.

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I was sent on a mission by a member of the Child Development team from CPRI.  She wanted me to find her a monkey for her office.  Here you go Leslie, I have found the perfect little guy for you.  He is a Marmoset and will only be 18 cm long and weigh about 400 grams when full grown.  I warn you though, he loves to climb and can run fast.  Run it by Amy and see what she thinks.

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Twenty one years ago this month we arrived in Bangladesh when Liz was two and the boys were four and five. Steve started teaching right away in the MK school, set up an ESL class for hospital staff and led a mid week Bible study. It was a wonderful year for us as a family.  The work was rewarding and important, but by October  we were feeling burnt out and homesick.

In our stress and loneliness we were encouraged and ministered to by Carol Stagg, Aunt Carol to our kids. Dick was the medical director of the hospital, demonstrating the love of Christ with his care, courtesy and kindness in a needy land. Carol had, and still has, the gift of hospitality, encouraging and blessing all who ever had the privilege of entering her home. We will never forget how she miraculously produced a ham for us at Canadian Thanksgiving, and a 17-layer torte, washed down with A&W root beer. Or her house magically decorated at Christmas, with her tree bejeweled with light and a special gift for each of our children nestled beneath its branches.

Her ministry was made all the more remarkable by her indomitable courage. You see, Carol suffers from lupus, a cruel disease which was made worse by exposure to sunlight. Yet in obedience to God, here she was in Bangladesh, where the temperature at midday would rise to 40 degrees Celsius, ministering for Christ in love to all who came her way. We were humbled and strengthened not only by what she did for us, but for her remarkable example of Christlikeness.

Now this dear saint and friend has been diagnosed with lung cancer. We know that she will face this new trial to her health with the same determined spirit, and will continue to witness of God’s sustaining presence in the midst of suffering. We would ask for your prayers for this faithful servant of Christ. May He be merciful to one who has borne so much for Him.

We have now decided that it is time to learn something of Bahasa Malayu, which is the national language of Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and is even used in some parts of Indonesia.  I am spending a few hours each morning doing an online course.  I hope to pick up enough language to function successfully  if we should get an opportunity to travel to the east and north, where Malay is more dominant.

We have had a lot of fun trying to understand the “Manglish” that is spoken by our Malaysian friends, although I think that Steve has developed a few extra gray hairs trying to reconcile this language with his degree in English. 

Manglish is a form of English in which the sentence structure is more like the Malay or Chinese structure, and tenses and pronouns just aren’t used.  The pronunciation is so rapid fire that many words are unrecognizable and often compressed into one word (tingwat= What do you think?)  If you want to stress something you just repeat it (Can, can = Will do that).

On top of this they put suffixes on the end of every phrase for emphasis, most often “lah”. (It is so hotlah)   To make it  a question add “kah”,  and if you are Chinese use “ah” (So cheap ah) as an exclamation.  Most nouns can be used as a verb if need be, so  if someone cuts you off in traffic you “horn”  him.  I still really have to concentrate to follow a conversation especially in a group setting where it is not unusual for people to flip between Manglish and Bahasa Malayu.

How about:  baiwanfraiwan or betayudonlah  or  yusobadwan

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