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Greg's diary
December 1966
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Thursday, 1 December 1966 KL
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And come in another month - day follows day, and the weeks, months and years follow suit, and before I know it, my childhood will be gone. But 'tis not a wasted childhood - these 4 volumes should testify, at least in part, to that.

I suppose one can't really be blamed for being late into the office if one is only doing so in order to take the boss to work, but it still does run against the grain to always be doing things behind time. I don't suppose I could be classed as a very fastidious or punctual bloke, but it does irritate me to be always behind time.

Did little in the office in the morning - yesterday's glorious weather has deteriorated somewhat, and in its place is some singularly miserable stuff. Mum got me to go down and pay the town council for some services rendered, which did not take long - it is rather degrading, at times, I feel, to be an office boy with 3 'A' levels.

Back to the office, and decided to go home and get my glasses - my eye (left) has been twitching a lot, possibly because I have not been wearing my glasses. At home, Eileen got me to take her to the Batu Road market, and, while I was there, checked on a few accessories from Yuens. Roofrack $100, new exhaust pipe (of which it is desperately in need) $60, and reversing light only $20, which I think is worth getting for that.

After lunch, back to the office. I thought, not so long ago, that Mum had forgiven me, or at least given up complaining, about the Driving lessons, but she had a bit to say on the way to the office.

Did little there for a while, until Mum got me to go home to get her typewriter, and while I was at it, delivered a brief to H.G.Wong's solicitors, and then back, where I was told to wait around for a while before taking a bloke down to the Commissioner of Oaths at the High Court. What with the amount of swearing that goes on in this office, I suppose it is quite necessary. In that time, however, wrote a letter to Lokman.

After that, in the middle of the rush hour (1630), took this bloke down to the Commissioner of Oaths, and discovered that H.G.Wong had long since given up in despair, and so back to the office. There Mum told me how desperately unhappy she was that she had reared a 3rd class individual like myself. Just to complete everything, Dad rang up, which strangely enough led (I don't in fact know if it was relevant) to a reconciliation between Mum and myself, and the letter we eventually sent off had a happy ending.

In the evening, did the usual nothing, apart from search out some Christmas presents for Jennie. I will have to give her something extra. Mum has constipation - bad.

Friday, 2 December 1966 K.L.
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And life goes on, on and on. Fortunately, today something different happened to relieve a little of the monotony, as I had to go to Gestetners to learn a little more than I already know about offset lithography. I might have known I would be late - with Mum around to help, I could hardly miss - but managed to arrive at Gestetners (in Jalan Birch) only 10 minutes late. Then had a bit of fun trying to find the offset department, and eventually found myself in a dingy little room with two Gestetner 201s in it, which the were preparing for active printing, and so they gave me a book describing Gestetner offset materials, and told me to read that.

A little later Francis (the bloke who has been doing most of our printing for us) came along, and ran me over the controls of the model 200, of which they had a couple of specimens. At least I now know what went wrong when I tried to run off an old master the other day.

After that, spent some time watching them printing some parish magazine covers - 6200 copies required throughout Malaysia.

Off at 1230 for lunch, stopping at the office to tell Mum about longrapid[?] offset, which will produce metal plates for use in Mum's Luxacopy machine. As it happened, however, I did not get round to telling her until we got home for lunch, anyway. I also told her that I was a bit fed up with just sitting around watching them do their job, and I would rather come back to the office and have a go on the machine there, where at least I could get a bit of practical experience, and so, when I got back in the afternoon, I told the blokes this, and then, after they had let me mess around with their own 200 (in fact, it belongs to the Dog), gave me some blank and preprinted masters, and after swimming to the car (it has been raining again) back to the office, and there had a go, and, to my great joy and astonishment, got some quite acceptable prints, and was quite heartened by the whole thing. Ramli also seemed rather interested, and did his best to help (cleaning the blanket with priming solution for instance).

The priming solution appeared to be intended for the paper plates.

After that, back home, and had tea, after which was reading “The Maltese falcon”. In my room, and before too long came a knock, which proved to be Gurdip Singh, who had just finished his HSC today, and was now on a binge celebrating the fact, and, as I discovered, was about to invite me to come and see “The Long Ships” with him, but I had to go to a pantomime practice, into which I had been forced by Mrs. Partridge, and a bit of a farce it all was, too, and even the girls did not seem to be particularly inclined to talk to me. I must meet a couple of them off-stage sooner or later. Popped into Gurdip's after. Devi was there - had quite a conversation with her.

Saturday, 3 December 1966 K.L.
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Up a little late again, and did little for a while when we got into the office. Tried to write up for yesterday, without much success, and several times suggest to Anna that she ought to give me a master to print so that we could get it over and done with, and eventually persuaded her to give it to me, after I had cleared all of the cotton wool out of the rollers of the machine, and then along to get the thing run off, and ran into a couple of snags with the water control first of all - the whole thing was so waterlogged that it was dripping all over the blanket and the innards of the machine, and I had to clean the whole thing out. I was just about set to run off the stuff that Mum wanted when she reminded me that I had a cholera vaccination down at the Chartered Bank Building, and so had quickly to go down there and get my jab, and then go back to the office, by which time the man from Gestetner was there, getting results which were little better than those that I was getting, but eventually got something, and so I left it, and got down to checking the books in readiness for the proposed merger between Dad and Ron Huish next month - I wonder just how much good this will do.

This never seems to have occurred.

Eventually back home, and there got myself a sort of lunch, and then rang Mum and told her I should like to go to the Lake club and get a bit of a tan, as had I hoped. Unfortunately, the sun did not stay out all the time, and towards there end there was a bit of atmospheric haze, and doubtless much of the UV was consequently absorbed.

In any case, I got a bit bored just lying there on the deck chair which I had managed to procure (they are getting very rare now - I think people must be whipping them, and the club can't be bothered buying any more). Rang up Mum and arranged to be home at about 1600hrs, and then had a shower, got dressed, and over to Gurdip's house, where, as usual, he was out. This time, however, I did not see Devi either, but Gurdip's brother, who told me he would tell Gurdip I called. Home, and after a while, when Mum got back, she got me to go down to Supermarkets and do some shopping for her, and when I got back, she was out cold, so had some tea while watching TV, and shortly later, makan, and then over to pick up Gurdip, who told me Devi could not come because his brother would be there, and so a couple of wild goose chases to look first for some friends of his, and then for Jill and Jenny Goodwin, and missed out on all 4. Pity. Did little at Jacky's - danced with Debbie a bit. Then down Brickfields way to have some makan, and very good it was too, though it took a long time to come. Not home until 0115 hrs.

Sunday, 4 December 1966 K.L.
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Despite my good intentions, I did not wake up this morning until at least 1115hrs, which I blame entirely on Eileen for not bringing the tea into [sic] me, but giving it to Mum instead - come to think of it, I could blame Mum as well for not bringing in the tea either.

In any case, when I finally staggered semi-consciously out to read a rather fuller-than-usual Asia Magazine, I found that Mum had just beaten me to it, and had some coffee already there waiting for us, and so I heartily joined in, and refreshed myself thus, and at the same time partook of papaya and a limited quantity of toast, before the bread gave out.

Then Mum decided that it was about time she went over to the office and did some work, and shortly later I considered it worthwhile going and taking some photos around town. Stopped first at the Masjid Negara, and was just about to take a photo when I was interrupted by Devi Kaur, who wanted to know what I was doing - as if it was not obvious. Gave her a lift back, as she was making allegations to the heat of the day, and there once again, Gurdip was out, and I had another quite long conversation with her before it occurred to us that I might have to be getting on, as lunch approached, but when I got home, discovered Mum was still at the office, and so I decided to get down to writing up my diary for the last couple of days - I am terribly behind lately - and just about had it finished by the time Mum came home for makan.

After makan, Mum said that she would consider my plea to be allowed to set up my photographic stuff if I tidied up my room, so, not surprisingly, I set about this task, and accordingly ended up with it quite tidy by the time Mum suggested to go out to the site of the new home at UK heights, and this we did, taking Eileen with us, and took a few photos of Iggy [monkey] in a more plausible terrain.

Then out to Ayer Panas to Eileen's house, and by the time we got there it was pouring with rain, and the little kids about there frightened the shit out of Iggy - all over the seat covers. Phew! What a stink!

Eventually back home, having seen Eileen's family, and removed the seat covers. Then into my room, and let Mum go over it, and while we were at arrived Gurdip, who had some suggestions about our proposed trip to Singapore on Saturday. Then back, and set up the darkroom after Mum had done a certain amount of purging. Did little in the evening - no chemicals yet.

Monday, 5 December 1966 K.L.
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Again in compliance with Mum's wishes I went (late) to Gestetner's this morning, and this time learnt even less than did I last Friday. It is exceptionally boring just sitting there watching blokes printing - in fact, it is decidedly deadly, especially as, as this morning, they carried on as if I were not there. Now I suppose, the first time one sees an offset lithographic machine in operation, it must be absolutely fascinating, but after one has already learnt as much about the thing as have I, the sight of 2½ of the things coming out every second is terribly monotonous, and nearly put me off to sleep. Admittedly, it was not quite all like that - we did have a demonstration for the people from Johnson's, who were not particularly impressed, and it eventuated that NCR also make an offset machine for $4000, as opposed to the £6900 for the Gestetner, but it seemed rather a weak argument.

The difference in currency is significant. £6900 in those days was $52,000.

Eventually knocked off for lunch, and first to Eastern Photographers to buy some photographic chemicals, and took a bit more care with the prices, now that I have to pay cash out of my own pocket money. At home, Mum did not arrive until quite late, and when she did, I told her that I could not stick much more of this messing around at Gestetner's, and that I would rather stay at the office, where at least I might be of some use.

As soon as I got into the office, I was given some masters to be run off, by Anna, and so started, but the things kept taking up ink, and so, again, we had to send for the man from Gestetner, and meanwhile I finally got round to packing the Christmas present for the Halletts - doubtless they will not arrive until well into the New Year, but that is merely misfortune.

The bloke from Gestetner's arrived, and turned on the thing, and the master went black. At least, then, it was not my fault, but this bloke knew what to do, and ran off the prints for me. Then looking for Mum to say goodbye, and we could not find her, and it eventuated that she had been in the bog, being sick as a dog, and did not feel to well for some time after she got back.

Later down to the Post office, and posted the parcel, and then back to the office, eventually made Mum leave - I don't know why she doesn't have the sense to know when to stop.

To Supermarkets, and later back home, and developed a Pan F - soft - and an ORWO NP10 - hard as rocks. Not a very encouraging effort.

Tuesday, 6 December 1966 K.L.
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And another day with little of interested to relieve the monotony. Mum claimed that she was feeling dead, and so did not get up in the morning. I took advantage of this to sleep in myself, and finally up at about 0930, and slowly got ready and went down to the office, where I arrived at 1030hrs, and was promptly told that they had had Eugene Phoa on the phone, and that he wanted her to go up to Kuala Trengganu on Thursday, as they would be likely to have something to do over the Pantai Timor [east coast] weekend.

The states of Kelantan and Terengganu on the east coast of Malaysia have the weekend on Thursday and Friday.

Got them to get her a booking on Thursday, and then out to go down town, and there got the lens for Dad's Canon, and I must confess that it is a lot better, and my health certificate from the doctors. It looks as if I would have difficulty getting a jab for yellow fever. Seeing as though it is not essential and might have some nasty effects the first time, one wonders if it is worthwhile.

I think the reason for the difficulties is that yellow fever is not endemic in Malaysia, so they didn't have the vaccine. The interest was probably related to the planned overland trip to London.

Back home just as Mum was coming to life, and together examined the National service act, 1951-1965, and it looks as if I am exiled from Australia until I am 30, or at any rate until conscription is lifted. But I probably will not be able to go back to Australia until 28/IX/1978. A long time to go yet.

The National Service Act provided for conscription of 20-year-olds born on certain days (selected as a lottery, 9 birthdays every 6 months). As it happened, my birthday never came up, but the National Service Act is one of the reasons why I didn't return to Australia at this point.

After a while Mum went so far as to get up, and arranged my life for the duration of the afternoon, by giving me dozens of errands to do.

First down to Naina's to pay last month's account, and was greeted warmly by the blokes down there, who, although they did not recognize me, recognized the name when I presented the kira.

Naina Mohamed was a combined grocer and chemist's shop in Medan Pasar. They delivered food for us, but I had got to know the people there - mainly from East Pakistan - round 1960, and had spent some time with them socially. I wouldn't have known these people personally.

After that over to the Malay Handicrafts centre in Jalan Mountbatten, and got a blowpipe, which cost me a good $2.00 less than we had been quoted. Up Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, and there took Mum's radio to be fixed, and payed the kira at Kee Huat Radio for the next month or so, and after finally locating the “World Optical Company” (KL - and only, I suspect - branch), got mum's sunglasses, and then back to the office.

Then managed to persuade her that I needed some E2/E3 chemicals for developing my Ektachrome, and down to take Ramli on an errand, and bought some corks at Naina's, and then out to Kodaks, and got the kit. Dropped Ramli at the office, and eventually managed to get home myself as well, after going to the Supermarket and the Headmaster of the International school, and finally had tea at the more or less usual 1900hrs.

After that, preparing for the E2, which we would be doing tomorrow, and also over to see Ahmad to enlist his help in doing the job.

Back home, and despite every attempt, the usual late night. I wish I could do something about it.

Wednesday, 7 December 1966 K.L. Images for 7 December 1966
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Oh, life is getting to be a grind again! I wish something would happen in the near future which would give me something to profitably fill these pages with - not no, just the same old office tedium every day - with, of course, a few exceptions, such as today.

Slept in for quite a while this morning - I really must be careful about this. I am sleeping far too often, and there is doubtless some sinister reason therefor.

Eventually went to the Supermarket to do some shopping for Eileen, and then back to the house to start preparing the E2/E3 chemicals, and Eileen asked me to take her down to the bus station after that, and so down, asked her if it was Foch avenue, and she said yes. When we got there, she changed her mind, and decided it was Malacca St. On the way up Ampang road, saw a Chinese funeral - in fact, got held up by it - and of course did not have my camera with me. Pity. Saw one bloke with a Leicaflex. Rang up Mum at home, and told her I wanted to follow it, and then back up, but only got one photo before I lost it, and after I had gone [sic], looking around a bit, went to the High St. police station and applied for a certificate of good conduct, which will apparently be sent in due course.

I think this was what the Germans call a Führungszeugnis, which links incorrectly to the English Criminal record, and it was required for university entrance.

Then back home for lunch, and prepared my room for the Ektachrome developing, and conditioned the air to what I thought would be the right temperature, and then had makan, after which Ahmad rang up, and then came over, and we started pretty quickly on the first one, and the temperature behaved itself beautifully. Hardly strayed from 23,9°, and no trouble at all, though it soon became evident that the air temperature in my room was about 20.5°, and we had to warm up the chemicals before we put them in the tank, though then they were alright.

The development temperature for the E2/E3 process was very critical. It was specified at 75° F, which corresponds to 23.89°, and I think the tolerance was ±0.5° F (about 0.3°). This was the first time I had developed reversal film in Malaysia. In England we had the opposite problem, keeping the developers warm enough.

Finished the first film, loaded the second one, and 20 minutes later started developing that one - not at all a bad time. In fact, the whole process was going very smoothly indeed, slightly to my surprise, as I feared that we might have a bit of trouble in confined spaces, without running water (tap water was at 29°) and with a fellow as inexperienced as Ahmad. Still, not even a minor crisis, and I must confess that Kodak chemicals give better colour balance than ours do.

After that, Ahmad went home, and I rang up Mum to see if she would object to me going out to finish my EH [High Speed Ektachrome]. She did, and so I stayed at home and took a couple there, and finished off tidying up my room at the same time.

Then out to Bilals for makan with Mum, and back home again to do nothing. I am very glad about the Ektachrome, and it is very heartening after recent colour casts.

Thursday, 8 December 1966 K.L.
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I am again suffering the effects of a late night - that LIR I developed last night took too long, and as a result I slept in this morning, and woke up only when Mum rang up from the office to say that Stephen was at the office, and she wanted me to be in the office to see what he was doing, and so I sort of slowly rose and eventually, 40 minutes later, rolled up, while Stephen was just setting the machine up. Then ran off a couple of rather grotty prints, and then started messing around and decided that the blanket cylinder was loose, and so proceeded to tighten it, and I returned to Mum's room, while I took a couple of photos of what was going on below.

This did not last long, however - Mum decided that I ought to watch the bloke fix up the blanket roller, as it might be of some use to me in some bizarre circumstances. Bizarre is indeed the word - the last thing I want to know about is the innards of an offset lithographic machine.

Eventually persuaded her that I had some stuff to do downtown, and she said that she would like me to do something for her at the same time, and proceeded to give Ramli a lot of work to do, and by the time she had organized us, there was no time left to get the stuff. Tried to get some NaOH, but it is now a controlled poison, and I could not get hold of it. So much for my poor E2.

Sodium hydroxide was a popular way of attacking people.

Home for lunch, not to be joined by Mum, and after that after writing about a page in reply to my matinal letter from Jenny (sorrie - Jennie) over to pick up Ahmad and then back home, and started on the E2, and ended up doing each step in the first film at the same time as yesterday - but the delay down to 10 minutes between the two films, thought, which is not bad, though I should have liked to have made it 7, and had we been more careful with D1 [first developer], we could easily have made it. The EH came out quite well, though I did not have much chance to do anything about it before tidying up and taking Ahmad home, and going over to pick up Mum to take her out to the airport to meet Dad, and on the way out she managed to find something to bitch about, so that by the time we got there, it was all I could do to keep my temper.

Back straight to the office, where Mum got Dad and me to staple together newsletters, and eventually home, later followed by Mum and Dad. Projected the Ektachrome in strips. I think the EX [Ektachrome X, 19°/64 ISO] is better than the EH [23°/160 ISO], and will order 100 ft of EMS [Medium Speed Ektachrome, effectively Ektachrome X] as soon as possible.

The bulk purchase was to be used for the Asia trip that started on 24 April 1967

Late as usual to bed - more bitching.

Friday, 9 December 1966 K.L. → Ipoh
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And on with life. Dad ensured this morning that I woke up early, and after discovering there was no makan available for me, off pretty quickly to the office, and there spent a while replacing the seat covers on the car, and it strikes me that either they have been badly damaged, or they have been made with an extraordinary lack of symmetry. Then up to the office, where Mum was bewailing the loss of her list of agenda, and so home and rang through what it was all about.

Then back to the office and picked up Mum and Dad, and off to Subang to see Mum off to Trengganu, and then, after the flight was called (almost as soon as we arrived) up to have a cup of coffee, in accordance with our tradition, and saw the plane off. One of these days I expect to see a plane take a nose dive further up the runway and burst into flames.

Then back to KL, and left Dad at the office, and back down town to buy some materials for the offset, and then back to the office, where I arranged a lot of the stuff for our trip abroad with Dad, and then back home for lunch, after helping Anna with the NZIS newsletter, and had lunch. Letter from Paul - 3 pages of small print, hilariously funny. That bloke knows what he is on about, no matter what they may have thought at school.

After lunch, got to the office, and almost immediately was asked to take the remaining 450 NZIS newsletters to the NZ high Commission, and while I was at it, dropped Dad at the Bank to get the guarantee in respect of the carnet. He said he would be some time, so while I was at the Police Coöperative building, had a look at some Pentax 10×50 binoculars - not bad, especially for the $88 they are asking for them. Then down and had a fill of petrol for this trip tonight, and to pick up Dad, who was hopping mad having been waiting in the torrential rain for 25 minutes, and back to the office, where I picked up some stuff, and down to post a letter to Paul and Jennie, and thence to the AAM, where I discovered that I needed the registration book for the ICMV and the carnet, and so out and trying to get out of the underground car park badly dented the side of the car. Back, and told Dad, off to Yuens, who quoted about $50, and then back, and fairly quickly home, had tea, packed, and off, and had makan at Serendah, after deciding Rawang was dead.

Got locked in a skid further on, on a wooden bridge - lousy weather. Rather fun, though a little unnerving.

From memory, the bridge was soaking wet, and a bicycle pulled out, requiring me to brake heavily. The car swung 90° to the right and stopped on the road at the other end of the bridge without damage. Of course, if I had judged the road conditions correctly, it wouldn't have happened.

Eventually quite late into Ipoh, booked in at the Station Hotel, where Dad met an old friend of his. Small world.

Saturday, 10 December 1966 Ipoh → Penang
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Bloke in as requested at 0645 this morning with morning tea, and followed shortly by breakfast, and then we packed up pretty quickly, paid up and down to a car covered in bat shit, which was rather disconcerting, and then out and headed north, while Dad told me about his family background in general and about the life of the late George Lehey [my grandfather] in particularly. It suddenly seems to me that he had a lot more personality, and even ability, than was made out to be the case, and the picture I had of Dad's childhood needs pretty radical alteration.

Stopped at Simpang for kopi [coffee, roasted with butter and sugar in a typically Malaysian style], and Dad took over the wheel, and on with the story, and the same time made some very slow progress northwards, and so also was it that Dad was late for all his appointments - first at Tommy Lim's factory at Simpang Ampat, and then on to Penang through all sorts of obstacles, including a 10-15 minute wait at the level crossing south of Butterworth.

Arrived in Georgetown at 1130hrs, and straight to the office, where Chor [Kai Guan, the head of the office] had a couple of blokes lined up for interview by Dad for the job of draughtsman, and then, after the decision had been made, off to the house of Freddy Brunton of Island/Peninsular, and spoke at length about a fancy staircase that Dad had designed, and which the engineers had begun to mess up. Then down to the Penang Sport club, of which it eventuated Freddy was the chairman, and had lunch at his expense. Then out to the site, and Chor lent me his VW to get back into town in - they are fantastic little cars (though they are not really all that little). Then got the Citroën, and found my way to the Ambassador hotel, where we were booked in for the night, and checked in. Down the road to look for some auto 200's, and found, after a lot of haggling about the price, a 200/4 Auto-Soligor for $165 - which is still higher than I would have liked it, though I don't know what the prices would be like if they were available in Europe. Bulky things.

Back to the hotel, and started writing a letter to Jenny Jennie, and, intending to go up the hill, went off to sleep.

Woken at about 1800hrs by Chor, who wanted the keys to his VW, and so down, where he had agreed he was, and discovered he was still at the office, and so over, and gave him the keys, and eventually persuaded Dad to come home, and on the way back nearly got struck by lightening [sic] - hell of a flash/noise.

Makan was going to be a small thing, but the contractor doing the Island & Peninsular stuff invited us upstairs for makan, and so had steak up there. Met the contractor's younger brother, who attached himself to me and decided to show me round Penang tomorrow. Finished my letter to Jennie later.

Sunday, 11 December 1966 Penang → K.L.
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Bloke in this morning, too early for my liking, with the tea, at 0730 hrs, and I very nearly slept in again, until Dad belted me and brought me to my senses. Then up, and managed to order breakfast for consumption on the premises (our room, to be precise) from the Coffee House (an associated venture).

Dad off shortly later, which I had to wait for this Liu fellow, the brother of the contractor. Pretty well on the dot he called me on the phone, and down, where, to my surprise, he was waiting in a 1963 white ID19 - same as ours, except it was the standard model. Saw a procession going along nearby, and got a couple of photos, and was then taken to see the Dragon boats, due to be launched this afternoon, and took a couple of photos before being taken on to the Botanical gardens, where the monkeys had been scared off by the unwonted number of tourists. Accordingly up Ayer Itam way, and there was one hell of a crowd waiting for the hill railway, but eventually we got up, and had a look round - there is one hell of a view from up there - and I managed to find the notice [?] I was looking for, in front of the police station. But it is no fantastic place, and I don't know if, even so, it was worth the wait for the train at the bottom. It might even have been easier to walk. Down, and got the bloke to take me back to the hotel, and there thought about packing up - I was slightly irritated that Dad had not turned up - and then the phone rang, since Dad was calling me from the Sports Club, where once again Freddy Brunton was shouting us makan, and so I arranged to check out later, and caught a cab to the club, where eventually we had T-bone steaks.

Back pretty quickly, Dad and Chor to the office, and I to the hotel to check out, and then to the office, where Dad had said he would be waiting for me, but, of course, he was not, and I had to go up and wait for him. All this stuff makes me sick. Eventually, though, he was free, and across the ferry, and as far as Simpang Ampat before we had to stop again, and Dad into Tommy Lim's factory, and rang him up. Then off again, and let Dad go off to sleep - this car is particularly suitable for such things, since we can let the seats down. The road was crawling with traffic, though occasionally I managed to get up to 80 mph [130 km/h], and quite a few fellows stayed with me.

Bypassed Ipoh through Tasek [spelling? I can't find this place on the map], and had makan at a grotty little place in Kampar, which I hereby vow never to visit again, and then on, and just as we were coming to the toll road, got hit by a cloudburst, which was rather inconvenient, as I had hoped to pick up a bit of time there. Still, we did not do too badly, and arrived home at 2220. Letter from Else - Irma Riepling and Erwin Söhl are dead!

These were relatives in Germany. I think Irma was my father's aunt once removed, and Erwin was his second cousin.

Monday, 12 December 1966 K.L.
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Why the hell does Eileen still bring the tea in to me? She ought to take it to Dad when he is here. It is, after all, little to do with me.

Dad eventually came in this morning, and poured some for me, and then both of us up and fairly quickly out. Woman next door was trying to get Eileen to pay her electricity bill for her, so I volunteered to do it for her. Then along (in the Mini) to the Merlin, where Dad and I had a haircut (very much against my will), and then on to the office, and thence down Batu Road, and to the N.E.B., where I was kept waiting quite some time while they found her bill. Paid it, and along to Globes [Globe Silk Store], where I bought a couple of shirts and a couple of singlets, and then to the Dog for refreshment.

Back to the office, where Dad made me go home and change, and then back (in the Citroën) and worked out a visa list for the countries we are going to, and down to the AAM with the ICMV/Carnet application forms - met the bloke I pranged up on 12/IX/1966, who, surprisingly, was pleased to see me.

To the Australian High Commission to find out about visas, and the person in charge was Carmel Paull, who was anything but helpful, but suggested I tried a travel agents [sic].

Back to the office, thinking about an electronic rev counter, and then to the Supermarkets, got some makan, and out to the airport to meet Mum, who was overjoyed to see me conventionally dressed - she doesn't have to rub salt into the wound.

Home, and had makan, which, owing to the trip to the airport, was quite late, and then back to the office. There discussed with Mum and Dad the possibility of finding out information from travel agents. Ran up Carmel about a second passport for Israel, and that is apparently little difficulty.

In those days, Arab countries would not allow anybody to enter if they had an Israeli stamp in their passport. We had planned to drive from Jordan into Israel and back out again into Syria. The stupidity apparently applied even when entering Syria by road from Israel. The solution was a second passport, valid only for Israel, where they could put the stamps.

Down to Guthrie-Bousteads (apparently I should have gone to Mansfields, but I got it wrapped), and there found out plenty about the requirements of the various countries, but unfortunately not enough, and so will probably have a fair amount of writing letters to do.

To see Carmel again, and got the passport application forms, and back to the office, where I proceeded to fill them in, and then waited around doing nothing until I managed to persuade Dad that it could wait until tomorrow. Further complication, now that Mum wants to come, and Dad rather hopes that the idea will wear off.

At home, got some cleaner and cleaned some of the grime off the car - there is a hell of a lot there. We will probably have this thing spotless when we arrive in Madras, and have a prang 10 miles out of town.

Glazed some of the 20×24's [inches, i.e. 50x60 cm] of Jennie that I made at KCT. Came out very well.

Tuesday, 13 December 1966 K.L.
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Managed, by some supreme effort, to wake up vaguely on time this morning, and took some tea in to Mum and Dad, rather than having Dad come and get it from me. Then up, and had goodly helpings of nanas and papaya for breakfast, and then got ready to go, when Mum said to us that she would be ready in 5 minutes. Accordingly Dad outside and tried to show me how to jack up the car, but discovered that the cable to unfasten the bonnet had come disconnected, and so could not get the spare wheel out.

Eventually came Mum, and off to the office, and then took the car up to Yuen's for a myriad of minor repairs, and the addition of a reversing light. Back home by taxi, and took the Mini over to the office, and up there to discuss safety belts, and agreed to go and see Borneo Motors, who were not very helpful, though they had the belts I was looking for. Would not send a bill, after I had checked with Mum and Dad about getting them fitted, and so left it for the morning. Also rather a nice Spider air horn - hell of a noise. Home after taking Eileen shopping to try and get a film developed, but would not load properly. Devi Kaur rang up and wants me to go to the filcks with her (and, unfortunately, Gurdip) tomorrow, and so asked Mum and Dad, with little result, at lunch. Also spoke to Dad and agreed to buy a Spider horn if they would give it to us for $37.50.

After lunch, over to the office, and there was Francis from Gestetners running off ICT intelligence tests, and got me to do most of it, and we were using metal plates, which were quite easy to use (though I rather miss the smell of the plate priming solution). Ran off about ¼ of the total, and then Francis had to go, and Mum would not let me go on by myself, so down to the Supermarket to buy some necessary Vim, and other things while I was at it, and then back to the office, over to Borneo Motors, and bought the Spider, and took it to Yuens to have it fixed. Saw the reversing light on the car - that is quite a nice small thing, and very unobtrusive (until turned on, presumably). Also they were doing a bit of hammering out, and I rather hope the thing will look a bit better after it has been reducoed as well.

Back to the office, where all hell had broken loose because I had not tidied up the offset monolith immediately Francis had finished with it (despite the fact that Mum had told me not to touch it when he was not there). Still, Mum was in one of her too frequent tempers, and nothing would convince her that I did not have two brains to rub together (not surprising - who has?).

Out with Dad to the Borneo Co. job, and then back home, by which time Mum had cooled down.

Developed the Pan F taken in Penang in the evening.

Wednesday, 14 December 1966 K.L.
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Eileen does irritate me bringing the tea into me in the mornings, even in in the near-unconscious state I am in at that time of the morning. This morning I went back to sleep pretty solidly, and only partially woke up even when Dad suggested he might buy me some bellows for my Pentax. Eventually woken up by the phone - that almost never fails to get me out of bed. It was Dad, who wanted to know what was happening, and eventually he decided to catch a cab and let us have the car - Mum was also still in bed.

Eventually over to the office, and it occurred to me to write to Bev and tell her what was happening, and so first tried myself to find out what was going on at Harpers, which was difficult, as they did not know themselves. Rang up Malaysian Airways, who were a little more helpful, but nothing definite, nonetheless.

Then Mum gave me some letters to dispatch, and accordingly took them along - one to Carmel at the Australian High Commission. To pick up the Citroën, which was due by this time to be ready, and, when I picked it up, got the shock of my life - the suspension was kicking all over the place, and it was almost impossible to drive the thing. Went over and shouted hell out of the mob at Yuens, who got their bloke onto it, and he said it would cost $50-$100 to have it fixed, and so rang up Dad, who told me to get them to go ahead with it, and we would just not pay when we got the bill. When I got back to the office, Dad had already contacted Yuens, and was draughting a letter to them re the thing.

Eventually home, and rang up Daljet/Devi, who had changed their minds and now wanted to go and see “The Яussians are coming” at 1515, and so, after a bit of discussion with Mum, arranged to pick them up and take them to the flicks.

This I did, after dropping Mum and Dad. It was a stinking hot afternoon, and had difficulty parking the car to boot, and so a bit late into the flick.

I wonder what Daljet or Devi would do if I tried any funny stuff, as they would probably put it, with them. I rather fear that they would not take it too well, though there is, of course, only one way to find out... The film was very good - surely it must have appealed to their sense of romance as well?

Took them back home via the dressmakers, and then home, after calling the office from the Dog. Mum was not very happy that I was back so late, but did not kick up too much of a fuss about it.

Prepared tea, after which Mum and Dad went shopping down Petaling St. way, and I sat at home doing nothing, and then back, and out to get the car and some makan. The former is going quite well... while doing the latter, saw Sonny, who was enquiring about Bev.

Thursday, 15 December 1966 K.L.
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Dad, according to my wishes of last night, ensured that I was awake this morning, by using just about every trick in the book, and so up and had breakfast, and then the two of us over to the office. When we got there, stayed in the car for a while removing our grotty, semidecomposed SC sticker, cleaning the windscreen with acetone, and applying a new sticker which I got at the Dog yesterday.

From the context “SC” must mean Selangor Club (the Dog).

Then up to see Dad, who gave me a list of things to do, and first down to Vanguards, where I bought some electrical fittings, but also had a look round for things which would be of use to me for electronic purposes, and discovered some little P.C. [printed circuit] boards going for about $2.00 each, with space for 8 transistors and associated components, which looks rather interesting. Must see about building my electronic rev counter sooner or later (though I have my doubts about the design).

Then to Caxton's, bought some ink, to the Dog, and then up to pick up Mum's radio, and back to the office after looking through some books on electronics. Of course, I suppose I could always transistorise the ignition of the car.

Back to the office, and wrote a letter to Bev, and tried to find out from Harpers what the onward travel arrangements were like - proved not to be very good - and then home.

After lunch, Dad back to the office first, and Mum and I considered the purchase of a car radio for him, and then both over to the office, where she said she had something for me to do for her, and so kept me waiting for about an hour while she decided that the letter I wrote to Bev was confusing and ambiguous, and eventually, at 1600hrs, down town to the Post office to atone for myriads of sins, and then to Vanguards, where I priced some meter movements, which were terribly expensive - about $15 each - and not what I wanted anyway, as they were about 10 times the size of the ones I had in mind. Also priced some car radios, and rather took a fancy to a Mitsubishi job, about which, however, I should like to find more.

Then back to the office, and discussed it with Mum, and also with Anna, who told me about a much cheaper radio with apparently similar specifications, which she had put in her car at some time recently.

Eventually back home, and shortly later came Mum to tell me to go and pick up Dad, who rang as soon as his name was mentioned, and it eventuated that he had put off his flight until tomorrow.

Gurdip rang - he always seems to choose inconvenient times - and wanted me to go out. Unfortunately, no go.

Friday, 16 December 1966 K.L.
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Up very early this morning when Dad woke me at 0620 (or 2250 last night G.M.T.), and suggested that I might like to drive him out to the airport, and so up and got dressed etc., but breakfasted not, and then, when Mum was ready, out to the airport.

When I got up to the building after parking the car, they had already called Dad by name, and by the time we got downstairs they were actually boarding - at 0715, a good 15 minutes before the flight was due to leave - it took off 5 minutes early, while Mum and I were having breakfast.

My father had developed a habit of ignoring the calls for boarding, because they were always so early. In the end he waited until they called him by name, a clear indication that they were ready for him.

He wasn't the only one. One day, he and a friend were having coffee upstairs. The flight was called, time went by - nothing. Finally they went down and asked if there was a problem with boarding. “Oh, no, sir, the plane is half way to Penang. We have booked you on the next flight in 20 minutes”.

Then back home, and right in the middle of the puasa rush hour traffic. At home, took the steering wheel housing off the car, and araldited it together, and then took Mum to the office, and to the immigration department, where I was rather disillusioned. Suddenly the address “No fixed abode” does not seem so funny.

I had written the text “No fixed abode” in the front of the original of this diary.

It is a reality. I think Dad's idea of moving to Singapore is sound. Back and dropped Mum's car into Borneo Motors to have some safety belts fitted, and then to Rank Xerox, to have a paper master made of some of Mum's complimentary slips, and then back to the office, and after a bit of trouble, ran off some, which were not very good - and this was not much helped by the fact that the paper was not feeding properly.

This was pretty much the beginning of Xerography. The photocopiers were still far too expensive for most offices, and the quality wasn't as good. But the idea of being able to create a (fragile) paper plate as a photocopy instead of typing it in again was very attractive. Unfortunately, from memory, there were small spots of toner on the plate that weren't overly obtrusive on normal copies, but after running through an offset machine it looked like a spattering of black.

Then off for lunch, and at home did little. The steering wheel housing was more or less intact (which it should have been, considering how hot it is today). Mum finally conceded about safety belts for the Citroën, and let me take the Mini to Yuens, to see if they could fit similar belts to the Citroen, and they said they could, so back, and was promptly told my Mum to stay in the office all afternoon, as the only other person there was Cheong - Bow Chong has resigned, Munah and Ramli were puas [fasting], and Anna felt unwell, so all in all things were pretty grotty. Accordingly, sat down and wrote a rather long letter to Jennie. Having contacted Yuens about the painting, pulled a trump round about 1700 hrs, and got Mum to give me a cheque for $96 for a couple of BMC safety belts for the Citroen [sic], which I will get fitted tomorrow.

Then Mum kicked up a fuss about something or other, and so I decided I had better go and repair one of her toy telephones, and back home, back to the office, fixed it (she had put the batteries in the wrong way), and then went and bought another couple of sets for her, and took them home.

After that out for panto practice, which is getting boring. Saw Gurdip after that, and off to Campbell road via the Dog for makan. Trying to palm off the old Citroen on him.

This was a 1954 Traction avant, specifically an 11C.

Saturday, 17 December 1966 K.L.
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Woken up by the phone this morning, which proved to be Mum calling from the office to say she thought it was about time I put the car in for servicing, and so staggered out of bed and washed, dressed, and out. At Jalan Ampang/Campbell traffic lights, bumped into Gurdip (figuratively), but was so dopey as yet that it did not dawn on me until he had passed.

Dropped the car at Yuens, and then got a taxi back to the office, and it suddenly dawned on me that I still had immigration to clear before going any further. Meanwhile, Mum had had confirmation of Bev's flight ML2511 from Bangkok to K.L. on Friday next, so all is well in that direction. Wrote a little note to Dad to that effect, and Mum promptly grabbed it and rewrote it. Out, to Yuens, for my passport (which was in the Citroën) and then to the immigration department, where they kept me waiting for 1½ hours trying to find when Bev came into the country, and then granted me 6 months here. I have had being in exile - whither yet?

Back to the office, and Mum pounced on me and got me to tidy up some papers she had just printed on the Olympia - the carbon copies seem to have been dreaming - covered in grot. Then, finally, at 1330, back to Yuens (or tried to - got there at about 1400), and picked up the Citroën, to which they have not fitted the safety belts, and will not until Tuesday, when they will also reduco.

Back home, and had lunch, after which I expressed my desire to go out somewhere and get away from it all, and so then let Mum go to sleep, posted some letters for her and to the Lake Club, where I saw a bird who is in the pantomime. I never realised before how top heavy she is. She said hello to me, anyway, so I might start to consider her - I did not even notice her as a person at first: just the contents of that Büstenhalter.

Got bored there, and off to the Pavilion to see “The Last of the Secret Agents”. Not particularly funny: the idea was good, but I am sure I could have treated it better.

Then back home, and Mum had gone out, so had a look at the Spider horn, which has been sounding a bit hoarse lately, be ascertained, after a bit of trouble, that both horns were sounding, and that the hoarse noise was coming from the compressor, which, unfortunately, is closer to the front of the car. Then Mum back (from the dressmakers), and had tea, and I managed to persuade her to come to Supermarkets.

Home, washed and had makan and picked up Gurdip and later Devi and Daljet, and to Jacky's, where I got somewhere (not far) with both of them, and had a comparatively enjoyable night with them, though I still have a long road ahead of me. Planned a party for 27/XII.

Sunday, 18 December 1966 K.L.
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Waking up at 0920 this morning, it occurred to me that I was due at a practice for the pantomime at 1000 hr, and so quickly did the necessary, and even got Eileen to prepare me a “cooked breakfast” (as the Halletts would say, and distinct from a raw breakfast), and still managed to arrive at La Salle school on the dot of 1000hrs. This degree of punctuality, however, was rather offset by the fact that the place was locked up, and there was clearly not a soul there. Accordingly went down to the Town Hall, where there was a TV Malaysia mobile transceiver outside, but whatever was going on inside, it was not the panto. Back to La Salle again, and the place was still deserted, so went to Lokman's house, and got him up out of bed, and then had a talk, and eventually off to look at La Salle again, and then to the house, where I discovered one of the tires [sic] on the car was just about bald, so changed it, and then in, and Lokman suggested that we undertake to build something electronic - such as a walkie-talkie. Might not be a bad idea, I suppose. Might even manage to incorporate the thing in the car.

Then took Lokman home, as Mum was indicating in no uncertain terms that she wanted to have makan, and Lokman is fasting this year, so back. Had a look at a radio he had there, which might supply some components, but I don't want to use mini-octal valves, as replacements would be difficult. I think possibly a transceiver might not be a bad idea, though I told him at the time that I don't like it too much.

At home, after lunch, decided, as I had to work out a bit for the party, to go around and see how people were, and what they were doing. Saw Sonny and others, including Debbie Smith-Mitchell, at the Golf club, nobody at the Lake club, and arrived at Gurdip's house just as he was going out with Rani and Jun. However he more or less forced me on his sisters, who were, apparently, pleased to see me. Daljet seems to be getting rather keen on me, more so than Devi, though last night it would have appeared the other way round. Still, another complication is that they want to buy me Christmas presents, which means, mainly, that I will have to get some for them (and Gurdip, for that matter). What can I give them?

Home, and a bit of a blowing up from Mum for losing my sunglasses (though personally, I am rather glad, as they were falling apart). Then a torrential storm, in the middle of which I had to float Mum's car to the garage.

Did little in the evening - Daljet had said that she would ring, but I heard little of it. Recorded some tapes for the party - whom will I have? B.R. indicates that Daljet is for me, but not so Devi.

Monday, 19 December 1966 K.L.
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Woke up none too nicely by Mum screaming at me that I would arrive late at Gestetners if I didn't hurry. Crawled out of bed pretending I didn't know I should have gone, and not pretending not to be annoyed because of it. Gulped down my breakfast, and then over - I wish Mum wouldn't tell me to be careful every time I go out in the car - and arrived only 10 minutes late, and then spent 50 minutes waiting for Stephen (who has been to hospital) to come along and tell me and the other bloke, Suleiman, what to do about it all. First thing he did was explain what it was all about, and then, as the ink had dryed [sic] up in the inking unit of the machine, he asked me to take the inking unit out for washing, which was new to me. Anyway, eventually, we got the thing out and washed it, and then could not get in back in properly, and Stephen spent over an hour making all sorts of adjustments to the thing before he was satisfied that it was again in working order and capable of being put back into the machine. Then he gave us a few masters each to mess around with and after that we started printing. He was quite happy with my attempts, and expressed his opinion that I should be able to go back to the office and do some printing anytime I wanted to.

Off for lunch, and Eileen told me that a malay [sic] bloke called Ulin rang up, and so I swore at her and told her to get the number next time, and rang up Gurdip, whom it proved to be. [Gurdip is Sikh, of course] He wanted to ask me out to the flicks, “The Bible”, and so asked Mum about it all, and she said yes, and that she would pay, and so booked some seats for all of us (Thaljiet [sic] and Devi as well) and back to Gestetners, where I ran off another couple of masters before Stephen came back. He made me clean out the thing, and then in came a bloke from Rank Xerox and asked for some masters to be run off. I did not wait to see the end - I was rather frightened that I would have to clean out the monolith again - and so off to the office, and cleaned out the inker of machine there, and then over to Gurdip's house, and there picked up the three of them, and could hardly keep a straight face the whole way there, with Thaljeet grinning at me in the rear view mirror. The flick was quite good - I was sitting next to Thaljeet, but got almost nowhere, though we had a fair amount of chat in the film. I must find somewhere to be alone with her.

Home after the film, and took a few photos of the 3 of them, mainly a passport photo of Thaljeet.

Over to Lokman's after makan, and discussing the Walkie-Talkie I had been working on.

Tuesday, 20 December 1966 K.L.
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Although, theoretically, I am now on holiday, I had to get up quite early this morning in order to put the car into dock, and so timed it that I arrived at Yuen's just about at opening time, and then got them to do the necessary there, and they said something about painting it today and fitting the belts tomorrow. OK by me, as long as it is finished by tomorrow evening.

Back to Denmark House, and opened up the office, and rang up Thaljeet, mainly to find her I/C [Identity Card] number, but also found out how to spell her name. Filled in an application for a driving license, and then home, where Mum was just contemplating getting up, and printed a couple of passport photos for Thaljeet.

Then Mum said something about going to the hairdressers, so took the opportunity of taking her (after a long wait at D.H.), and along to Gurdip's house, and he was away, but spoke at length with Thaljeet, who gave me an HP3 127 to develop for her, and then back and into town for some shopping.

Found absolutely nothing of interest (apart form a tin of hypo clearing agent) and so to the Dog, had a drink, to the Lake Club, had a drink, and, finding no talent at either of these centres, back to pick up Mum, who directed me to the Market, said she would be 3 minutes, and was 30 - boy, was it hot, too!

Eventually home for lunch, and quite late at that, partially owing to the fact that Mum was intent on finding some substitute for a Christmas tree, and eventually used a casuarina branch, which she does not like, but which I think is better than that gold-painted twig we had last year - she does not.

After that came Lokman, and he and I then went to the British Council library, where we examined books on transistor circuits, and then decided that there was not much there, and so to Jubilee, where we also did not find quite what we were looking for, and so to Vanguard to enquire about a few prices - transistors are better than I had expected - and got hold of the Pope Semiconductors manual for 1962/3, and they let me take that home for my examination. Then Lokman left me, and Mum out shortly after that, and I sat down to working out a more sensible circuit than those which I have produced to date, working mainly on what Pope suggest were good values. Then, feeling exhausted, had a bit of a snooze until I was woken by Mum hammering on the door.

Shortly after that, while I was reading “The Big Nickelodeon”, she came back again, and we had tea, and then had makan, not much later, after which I developed Thaljeet's HP3, and then over to Lokman to discuss the circuit with him. This could be quite good.

Wednesday, 21 December 1966 K.L.
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Mum fortunately forgot about my date at Gestetner's this morning, and so let me sleep in a while, and so eventually up at about 0915 and took my time abut getting dressed etc. I am again getting depressed - I sometimes wonder if a life of the Western type would ever really suit me. The idea of working for Mum definitely drives me up the wall.

Over to the office by foot, intending not to stay there long, but Mum thought otherwise. I am obviously going to get little in the way of holidays here - I wonder if it would not be a bad idea to suggest the fact that I am being made to work without a permit to the immigration department. In any case, after some waiting around, it was suggested to me that I ran off one copy of a paper plate, and so out there, and had no end of trouble with the thing because, I think, the fountain solution was too weak - the master eventually fell apart, and the machine did not seem to be working too well anyway. Nevertheless, got a reasonable print out of it, and then managed to persuade Mum that I had some stuff to do in town, and she came down with me while I posted some letters, returned Vanguard's catalogue, and then to the Supermarket - I hate going there with Mum, as I never get anything done with her there.

Back home for lunch, and Yuen's rang up and said that one of the safety belts was faulty - so Mum tried to handle it. How can she be persuaded that she is not God almighty, the focus of everything, the king pin of society?

Over to Yuen's, got hold of the belt, and to Borneo motors, changed it, and took the new belt back, and then out to the airport in the Mini, which is an experience it will take me a long time to forget. Did 60 mph [95 km/h] in the thing, at which speed it was shaking all over, and I though the thing was about to fall apart. ¾ of an hour wait trying to get the thing despatched, and on the way back discovered I was all but out of petrol. Had to buy a gallon.

Stopped off to give Daljet/Thaljeet (I think she prefers the former) her HP3, and then was also given a rather nicely wrapped Christmas present, which looks like being chocolates, and then back to the office, dumped the car, and off home by foot. Then got the car from Yuen's - it looks as if it is new, now that the painting has been done up. I am not too happy about the safety belts, but they work.

Home again, and in the evening got bored, and so tried to think of a bird to take [or make?] out. Tried the Patons, but Jenny is not coming. Must ask Jill Goodwin out tomorrow night - if she will come.

Thursday, 22 December 1966 K.L.
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Woken by Mum at 0800 this morning, told to get a move on, and that my breakfast was being cooked. Accordingly up, and after breakfast pretty well straight over to Gestetner's where I picked up some offset ink and some tinned fountain solution, and then back to the office to set up the machine, and had a bit of trouble getting the fountain solution tin open. Eventually got that going, and then had trouble with the water - I always seem to. Trying to remove the scum from the plate and eventually Mum saw the mess I was making and called in Stephen who came over with a few of his sayings about offset monoliths, etc, and such comforting sayings as “Not to worry - just type a new master, that's all”, etc. Nevertheless, after he had adjusted the machine as he thought best, we did manage to get quite a bit of printing done. But this monolith depresses me - there seem to be so many little things that can go wrong with it, and only an expert can trace them. Still, we managed to have all 8500 copies ready by the time we left for lunch (only a little late, and having cleaned the machine).

However, although I got home in plenty of time for an early lunch (and boy, was I ravenous), Mum did not, although I rang her a couple of times. She eventually got home at about 1410, and hardly ate any makan then (which was good, because I had already eaten a goodly portion thereof).

Then she said something about paying bills at Supermarkets, and so took $400 odd, and off to the office, where I had a bit of an argument with the accountant (well, not really - just found a bit of red tape through which to wade), and then out in search of “Glamourette”, and in the process ran into Jun, Rani, Daljet and Devi Kaurs, and had a bit of a chat with them. As I feared, Devi also has a present for me, but did not at the time deliver it. I shall just have to give them the AA8860 [the Traction avant] to share amongst themselves.

Then downstairs, after getting Mum some slacks, and did some shopping. To the office, and was promptly pounced upon to do some stapling together of newsletters - we are not doing badly this time - and by 1730 hrs, less than 10 hrs after we started, all was finished.

Then to the Dog for tea, a thing that I do not think I will do again in a hurry, and then out to the airport via Damansara road, to meet Dad, who says he has had “a pretty gruelling time” these last few days. Then back home - Dad likes the seat belts - and had a few drinks before going out to Bilal's for a makan.

Home again, watched TV etc, and did little. Spoke a bit with Dad, who is apparently getting keen on photography again - wants to make neg albums commercially.

Friday, 23 December 1966 K.L.
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Dad in this morning, to find out if I was prepared to take him up to Kenny Hill this morning for some long-overdue site visits, and so pretty quickly up, etc., and then waited around doing little until Mum was ready, and, despite everything, over to the office, where I worked out our mpg average - it is fantastic: 33 mpg on long trips, 25 odd (or less) in the town.

Finally out to Kenny Hill. The mat under the clutch is coming adrift and fouling the clutch, which drives me mad, and my swearing at it drives Dad mad. Eventually we got to the Belsham house, where Dad was doing some extension, and met the son and heir Guy Belsham, who is a nice enough bloke, and had a bit of a chat with him. The place is terribly built, and doubtless will do Dad's reputation little good.

Then away from there, and to the Borneo Company job, and while I was fixing up the mat, Dad disappeared, and so tidied up the exterior of the thing somewhat. Then back to the office, Dad swearing like murder about the house, and was promptly, after wading all the way back to Denmark house, asked to go and pick Mum up at the Dog, and so round town. Had coffee with her there, and then back to the office, where I bought some Christmas cards for friends, and then, after getting registration book of the old Citroën AA8660, put it in an envelope as a Christmas present for Gurdip and some of his sisters.

Then home for lunch, after which, in the Christmas spirit, Mum and Dad a) decided to let me have the afternoon off b) decided to pay me $100 a month - which is lousy, considering Lokman gets $170 without his HSC results. Still, I am not complaining much.

Off to post some letters for Mum, and took the iron down to be fixed, and then to the Lake Club, which was devoid of anybody I knew, and so to Gurdips, where I gave the envelope to Daljet, she gave me a film to develop, and Devi gave me a present which I suspect is a B. O. stick, and then to the Supermarket to buy some ham, home, to the office, and took Dad out to the Borneo Co. house again, and this time went round with him and Tuck Chui, and shortly met Mrs. Bridge, who is a bit of a bitch, and who drives Dad crazy - he finds it all he can to to be civil to her. She asked me if I was taking over from Mr. Fam [Bow Chong]. So much for her ideas of standards, etc.

Home, via the office, and prepared to have tea when Mum called and Dad went to pick her up, and so I had a bit of a snooze until tea.

Pantomime practice in the evening - I do not seem to be likely to have more than about 7 free evenings before 13/I/1967.

Saturday, 24 December 1966 K.L.
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Roll on Christmas! Today up at a comparatively normal time, and had a usual breakfast, and discussed the morning with Dad and Mum, and they said that they had some work to do in the office, but that Dad wanted to to come shopping with me at 1000hrs, and so off to the Supermarket to get some non-hardening cement for the clutch mat, and then upstairs to look for a brandy balloon for Dad, and saw a beauty there for $27.50, and then down to see what Robinsons had to offer, which was nothing - in such a hurry I forgot to tip the bloke. To the office, via Donald Moores, where they had nothing, and discussed it with Mum, who recommended that I bought the one at the Supermarket. At the shop noticed the proprietresses daughter, called Sylvia - very nice. I wonder where I can find more about her.

Home with the balloon, and then got hold of some of the carpet cleaner I bought the other day for the car, and did my best to clean the interior with that, and did not do too badly - the ceiling now looks a lot better, and so do the seat covers.

Mum and Dad home and all in for drinks, and then lunch, which dragged out somewhat, despite the fact that we had quite a long afternoon ahead of us. Eventually synchronised our watches (in other words, told her what the time was) and then down the Old Klang Road (and Lornie Road) looking for some orchids and umbrella plants for Mum, and I found a couple of the former, and Dad one of the latter, after which to the Supermarket, and bought there a book for Mum on orchids, after which back home to find a dirty great Kee Huat Radio van outside the house, and discovered that, since we were such regular customers, we were having a change of [TV] set for a new model - not at all bad going, though I suppose they must make some profit on it.

Then back to the Supermarket to get some liver - I have seen enough of that place to last me some time, and was glad to finally get out of it and back home.

There did little - a few presents remained to be wrapped, and then I contacted Malaysian Airways and confirmed that the 615 was 15 minutes late, and so hurried Mum and Dad on, and spent my time meanwhile tidying up my room, and eventually out to the airport, and just beat the plane in, and watched Bev coming out of the plane with another bird, an art student, who looked very nice. I am fed up about the cracks Dad made about her - he is beginning to get old-fashioned.

Back home with Bev, without a very enlightened conversation - she is no longer one of us, I fear. Expressions have changed somewhat. Had Christmas makan, and did not do at all badly - in fact, we all stuffed ourselves so full that we could hardly move afterwards.

Sunday, 25 December 1966 K.L.
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Dragged out of bed this morning by Bev and Mum, who grabbed hold of Dad at the same time, and had a cup of tea, after which we gave Eileen what presents had been bought for her, and then proceeded to open our own presents, not much of which was unexpected. Bev & I each got a set of bathroom fittings, mine fish - quite nice, but hardly an orthodox sort of Christmas present. Also got a couple of shirts and things for keys, etc.

Apart from that, nothing. Dad was thrilled with his brandy balloon, which was probably the only real surprise for him.

In the evening, he asked Eileen to fill it for him, and she put a whole bottle of brandy into it. After removing most of it, he managed to knock it off the side table and smash it. Not a happy Norman.

Then left that for a while, and set about putting some of my presents into use - cut my fingers on my old keyring in the process - and we were just about to sit down for breakfast when Devi rang to wish me a merry Christmas. I don't know why (unless bio-rhythm has a suitable answer) Devi always manages to miss it with me - I think she is trying harder for me than Daljet, but Daljet is doing better at it.

Over after breakfast, wished them a Merry Christmas, and in return was given a Tabac shaving stick from Jagjit, which was nice of him, and a better choice than Devi's Elizabeth Arden after-shave - again an example of failure: Daljet's chocolates were very nice.

Along to the dressmaker's with Devi, and she was making some sarky comment about my girl-friend, whom I wish I knew - the way she described her, she would be well worth having.

Home for lunch, which was cold left-overs from last night, and not even 2nd helpings of plum duff allowed.

After that, sat down for a while to recover, and then got hold of the 4 Michelins in the garage, and took one over to the service station to get them to change the spare tire for one with better treads, but the walls were broken, and so had to change it back again. Then took the 4 duds over to Gurdip's house, and gave them to him, together with the news that it would cost him $15 to retread the ones that could be retrod. Then he gave me some tea (with milk and sugar as from the pot) and suggested that I took him round to see all his friends, which I did, and promptly started to pour with rain. To add insult to injury, neither of the two friends whose homes we visited were at home, so I took Gurdip home, dumped him like a ton of bricks, and back home.

At home, people were sleeping, and I did a bit of ringing around to find out who could come to the party we are throwing on Tuesday, and managed to find almost a full complement. Good.

In the evening family what-not again. All very well, but we seem to have outdone the ritual.

This was the last time that my parents, my sister and myself celebrated Christmas together.

Very late to bed.

Monday, 26 December 1966 K.L.
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Early awakening this morning by Dad, who was keen for us to get up to UK heights (as Mum would call it) or Old Waterworks road (as it really is).

This was the site of the new house that my parents built about a year later. It's not clear whether my mother invented the name—probably not—but it is now known as Ukay Heights. My mother did invent the name of the street (Jalan Beverley, after my sister, but now called Jalan Beverly).

Accordingly had breakfast, etc, and later outside to find Dad chopping up wood to make pegs for pegging out the site of the house, and then agreed with Mum and Bev that we would go up there first, peg out the site, and that they would come up this afternoon.

Up to the site and had some fun trying to find the boundary pegs, and eventually, after cutting through about 30 ft of jungle, found the back peg, and started setting out our boundaries and just about then Mum and Bev rolled up in the Mini with some coffee, animals, and in particular Iggy.

Managed nevertheless to finish pegging out the site, showed Mum and Bev where the place would be set out, and then back home arriving round about the time the Cummings had left, but shortly they came back again with best wishes for a Merry Christmas and all that bullshit. After a bit of it, I felt somewhat overcome by lack of sleep, and so temporarily retired from the company, and was woken by Dad at about 1400 hrs to say that a bird wanted me on the phone, which proved to be Daljet and Devi (those two seem to be mutually interchangeable) to say that they could not come to the party tomorrow night as they were this afternoon going to Ipoh/Penang. Swore heartily and eventually they changed their minds, on the proviso that I took them up to Ipoh myself on Wednesday, which, rather foolhardily, I agreed to do, and after lunch, over to say goodbye to Gurdip, who was going nevertheless - or so I thought until I got over there, when I discovered that he had already travelled his quota these holidays, and so he would have to stay in KL the rest of the time, and after that, had to go down to the Cathay [cinema] to meet him and help out with the transport - what an almighty messup! Devi alone on the way - talking about my “girlfriend”, this time in a rather daring Cheongsam.

Eventually back home, and decided that, as the spark plugs of the car probably needed cleaning, removed the set, cleaned them in CCl₄, and put them back in, and drove around the block on two cylinders, which is a pretty fantastic feat, but before too long all 4 cylinders conked out, and so spent twilight drying out the whole mess, and eventually the thing was working again, but now the old judder has returned, as I discovered while delivering the maps for tomorrow round the Ampang road area.

Early to bed - Dad is feeling dead.

Tuesday, 27 December 1966 K.L.
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Up again with Dad, which was early enough for most purposes, and with him to the office. The car was still juddering a lot, to the irritation of the two of us. Eileen had been complaining about not havin back yet the iron that I had put in for repair on Tuesday, and so took down the one they lent me and asked for ours, which, unfortunately, was still not ready, and so took the old one back home, and then out to P. J., where I managed to find 54/16/1 (I hate the way they number everything in P. J.), and there they chucked a lot of clothes at me and asked me to try them on. I am obviously a difficult combination of shape and size, and then had quite a bit of taking in to do with the things. Awful looking costumes, anyway, but possibly they will be able to improve their appearance by the night of the dress rehearsal.

Back home and arguing with Bev about the finality of the list of guests for the party, and Bev was getting bolshy about the fact that Gurdip was coming, and almost refused to do anything about getting more girls. Over to Supermarket to get Dad a new brandy balloon - if only I had the nerve, I would have invited Sylvie Murphy, the bird who works at the Silvercrafts place there, who appears quite eligible, and all I need to do is find some means of meeting her.

Home again, and did a few phone calls, and more or less had things organised, until in the middle of lunch, we got all sorts of depressing phone calls, which ended up meaning we were 2 girls short, and eventually Bev rang up Becki Schroeder, who was able to come, and suggested that Angy might also be able to.

Then out to buy some food, with Bev, after which, when I arrived home, I had to phone Mum and was asked to go over to the office to get a key, back to the house, and get some jewellry from a drawer, and take it over to her. Then to the Merlin service station, where the bloke reckoned that we needed to have the distributor points cleaned, and said he would have that done this afternoon, and so left it there, and walked the short cut home, and helped Bev (to a limited extent) and did other necessaries, and the, after checking, over to the service station (in pouring rain, without a pyong), and back home. It is behaving much better now.

Picked up Gurdip at 1915, and then back home, as the others started arriving. The party was a flop, and I am now sick of Daljet and Devi - I don't know why, but it almost amounts to a revulsion. Met, however, Becki Schroeder, which probably makes up for it. People began to leave at 2230, and ended up with the last 4 of us drinking in the Underdog.

Wednesday, 28 December 1966 K.L.
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What a way to waste a day! After not getting to bed until about 0100 this morning, Dad got me up again at 0730 to drive Mum and him to the airport, as they are spending a couple of days in Penang, and so up, and as I was getting dressed, he told me that he thought the clutch was slipping, and I stoutly denied the fact.

Eventually off, and Dad decided halfway to drive - fair enough, I suppose: I wouldn't have wanted to run the risks that he does. This is what puzzles me: they reckon that young drivers have more accidents than those over 25, yet Dad can be so reckless. Baffles me - it seems to be borne out by a lot of people, too.

At the airport, Mum gave me a list of things to do, as well as an addition to her will, and then back, rang up Gurdip about our trip to Ipoh, which he wanted to do this morning - he wanted me to be there as soon as possible - had breakfast, and then out to the airport again with Bev to the airport [sic] to send off some air freight after Dad and Mum.

Back, to Gurdip's house - Devi told me that they had cancelled the trip: no skin off my nose. To the Lake Club, the long way (via the house) and did a bit of suntanning, in order mainly, to keep one step ahead of Bev, who is taking unfair advantage by using suntan lotion - I shall have see what effect it has. I must be really tired - I went to sleep in the sun, and not even the heat woke me.

After that, considering places to go for lunch, and changed and down to the Dog, where I discovered we would have to go into the dining room, and so gave that up as a bad job, and on Bev's insisting, to the Oasis, which has gone downhill since it opened. I suppose it is about time I carried a pair of shoes and socks about in the car, just in case they might come in handy.

Eventually home, where, to my surprise, Eileen was still about - why the hell did she not take the day off? It is going to be hard enough next week, when she goes into hospital to have whateveritis removed, I suppose, so why not lead up to it gently?

Slept all the afternoon, though had Bev woken me, I would have taken her to the Golf club, where I think she wanted to go. Still, I slept for a good 4 hours, with hardly any interruption until Bev woke me for tea at 1750; It occurred to me that the pantomime practice might be at 1800, so down through the flooded streets, and to an empty town hall, so back again, finished tea, and sat round writing my diary until makan, after which off again to the town hall, and the usual messup there. This could be quite good, though we still have a long way to go. This bird I have had my eye on seems to be responding - I think I overheard that her name was Sandra. I must find more about her.

Over to the Dog for a bite and drink after.

Thursday, 29 December 1966 K.L.
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Slept in a long time this morning, longer than Bev, who, of course, did not even thing of waking me, and so I finally crawled out of bed into the bathroom at about 0950 hrs, and shortly after that out to breakfast.

After breakfast, Bev seemed quite at home amongst her kind with Iggy, and so I left her at it, and got out Mum's Mini, and down to search out Lokman, who, however, proved to be outstation with his grandfather, and so back to town. First to look for some loose-leaf notebooks, which were prohibitively expensive, and so to Ubaidullas to book a passage on the State of Madras, but there was such a crowd there that I changed my mind and decided to ring. Up to Eastern Photographers, and had an argument with the blokes, who at the moment are pushing Perutz film with all their might, and there seems also to be a competition.

Down to Vanguard's, and priced this little walkie-talkie that we want to build, but it looks as if it is going to be expensive. I wonder how a valve job would go (not portable, of course).

Home, locked my keys in the garage, and had to break in to get them out. Bev said something to the effect that Liliane Gunton had rung up and invited her to the Lake Club this afternoon, and so I had to take them. Also had to take Eileen to the market, and did this after lunch, then to look for Liliane's home, which we eventually found, and to the Lake Club. Liliane is better looking now than she was 18 months ago—I wonder if the time is reif [sic] for another attempt (I have gone downhill since Lesley—but the pretty girls here all seem to be bitches).

Back from the Lake Club to pick up Eileen and take her home, and then back to the Lake Club again to read the Motor report on Earl's Court. Citroën have done little - the ID19 has been changed somewhat, now with power steering and a 1985 cc engine. More powerful as well, presumably. Michelin have brought out a new tire, the Michelin Radial XAS, which is probably the most revolutionary (no pun intended) thing since the pneumatic tire - asymmetrical tread, to improve road-holding still further.

After that, along to the dog to have a bite to eat and read about the state of Sweden's sexual morality, and then to the Town Hall to help put up the set, and let myself in for a lot more than I expected, and carried on pretty solidly till about 2040 hrs and by that time had helped out the tabs, painted Fitzwarren's shop, and helped put together the rail of the ship. Slipped off home, where Mum & Dad were back, had makan, and a family communion in Mum's room, with the usual assortment of ribaldry and anecdotes, etc.

Friday, 30 December 1966 K.L.
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Dad did something about arousing me this morning, but not enough - though I suppose, what with the amount of work, etc., that I am doing of late, it doesn't make much odds what time I get up.

Eventually woken by the phone at about 1000hrs (again) this morning and presumably, when I answered it, I did the right thing about it, although I can't remember what I did as I was yet more asleep than awake. After that, started to get dressed, and then Bev decided that she and Liliane would go to the Golf club, and that I would take her, so I decided that, in order that Bev did not take advantage of me, I would dictate that we go to the Lake Club. On the way (eventually) over to the office in Mum's car, discovered that we had a flat, and so off to Borneo Motors, pumped some air into it, and left it for a while, and as it had not greatly subsided, headed off down Ampang Road, saw Dad, chased[?] him, and got the car, and after getting some plans from the house, off to pick up Liliane, and thence to the Lake Club, where we did little. I am getting rather keen on Liliane again - I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had never met Lesley Cannings. Life could have been a lot different.

Saw Mum and Dad during makan, and while they were there, they did a car switch on me, and we ended up going to Liliane's home in the Mini. Down again (still in the Mini) and ran out of petrol before at all long, and so coasted down [Maxwell road, presumably], which was fine until we got to the roundabout by the Dog, where Liliane and I pushed, while Bev steered. Then Bev got out and pushed, while nobody steered, and we ended up hurtling down Jalan Raja with no way of stopping (until I hopped in and jumped on the brake). Got some more petrol (it only occurred to us then that we might be empty) and had the carburettor cleaned out, as something had clogged it - presumably grot left in the bottom of the tank.

Then did a bit of shopping, and bought a book for the car log, and some underpants, while Bev also bought some stuff. Home eventually, while Bev tried to tape some of the records that she had borrowed from Liliane, and in general did little. I got rather bored with their small talk, and hopped[?] in my room for a while, and had an argument with Bev when I came out about the steering of a car, and ended up giving her a driving lesson, after which we took Liliane (who said that Bev terrified her, but that she trusted me) home, thence back. Shortly later Mum and Dad home, and after that had to go off to the pantomime practice, which was rather frustrating, and did the finale first. They have built a dirty great staircase for the finale, which seems to me a waste of time. Did little else - went through the ship scene again, and did a bit of scene-shifting as the regulars had left.

Saturday, 31 December 1966 K.L.
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And yet again woke late this morning - thank God for the telephone, or I would never wake up. This time (yes, I can remember it) it was Liliane, who wanted to arrange some rendezvous at the Lake Club or the Golf club or something, and so this time I suggested the Golf Club, and Bev decided for me that we would be going to the Lake Club. Accordingly got ready, and Mum was not quite as slow as usual, though she insisted on washing some sheets for Eileen before we left.

At the office, Bev went up and got permission to get the Citroën from Dad, and out to pick up Liliane. Jalan Kuching annoys me - I am sure I would make 90 [mph, 145 km/h] on it if it were straight.

Eventually to the Lake Club, where it was a nice sunny day, and so decided to add a bit to my tan, and then on, trying in vain to get some deckchairs, and ended up on my towel. Packed up rather early, and off to the Dog, where they were preparing for tonight, and had makan there. Then Bev said something to the effect that she wanted a driving lesson, and so back home, got the Mini from Mum, and took her out to Kenny Hill, where I let her take charge of the vehicle for a while, and she did not do all that badly, when it is all boiled down. Then I decided that we would see what Liliane could do, and so finally persuaded her to have a go. She had never driven a car before, and did not do too badly, I suppose, at her first attempt. Eventually got tired of it all, and, as there was in any case, a mata² [police] car hanging around - and when I asked him how to get to Jalan Guillemard, he gave me the wrong way - and so headed off home, where we did not much. I am getting more fond of Liliane.

After a while of doing little, although we did manage to finalise our arrangements for tonight, took Liliane home, and then back home again, without much aim.

Decided, after a while, that I might as well fill in the logbook I bought yesterday for the car, and did that, and then out to the car, where I decided to clean the seats, as it was still not too clean, and did that, and left the windows open for it to dry.

Then into the house again, and developed a TX127 for Daljet by inspection, and then put it into a half hour wash, and began the preparations for the night. Took the Citroën, parents the Mini, and went to pick up Liliane, and then down to El Chico, where they had a $6 cover charge. Ended up at the Oasis, despite my protests, and had the usual sort of fare they serve there, and then to Jackys. Almost immediately a big Strine went off with Liliane, and I thought I had had it, especially as she appeared to like it, but butted in and all was well - she must like me: got me in a strangle hold in seconds. Kisses passionately too - they are forever getting better, especially this time. Bit of marijuana floating around - took some, but no effect.

Down to the Dog at 2330, and met Mum & Dad there. On the ...

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