Greg
Greg's diary
September 1968
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Groogle

Sunday, 1 September 1968 KL
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Woken up at about 10am by Dad, and as I gained consciousness it occurred to me how crook I was feeling - must have been those olives I ate last night. Told Dad so, and he got me some water to take some Enterovioform with. Then I half-dozed, half read until he came in again, a bit later, dressed in his bathing togs, and asked me to come into the pool with him. Told him again I was feeling crook, and, as nearly always happens on such occasions, he got snaky with me - why the hell? It almost seems that he thinks it is my fault or something. In any case, after a while I went downstairs and sat on the edge of the pool, but Dad soon went inside to do something else, so after a while I went into the house again and upstairs, then next door to Bev's room, where Dad was writing out dozens of letters to all the people with whom we have accounts, cancelling them either from today or the 10th September. Feeling even grottier than before, probably because of lack of food, so got Bev to make me a cup of Bovril - I couldn't eat anything solid. After that reading outside - „The Tree of Man“ must be one of the dreariest books I have read in a long time. Eventually to my room and went to sleep, though this was somewhat disturbed by Bev and Dad, who kept coming in and locking the door after them, so that on each occasion I had to get up and unlock it again. Eventually I got a bit of rest, and then woke up again at about 1900. Dad came in round 1930 and asked if I would like some makan - by this time it sounded like a good idea - and so I had a shower, and we went down to the Dog, where I amply made up for not having eaten all day. Dad really is taking all this trouble with Mum seriously - heard a few things about the way she had mishandled him, especially w.r.t. the Dillon affair. At times like this, I wonder if it would ever be possible to love Mum again. Back home, where I looked at the prospectus for Engineering from Uni. College, London - the only course I am qualified for is Chemical Engineering - old rut, here I come. Still, I have time to think about it all.


Monday, 2 September 1968 KL
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The atmosphere over the last 10 days has gradually been becoming tenser and tenser, and today it finally snapped - or rather, something in Mum did. She woke me at 7am fiddling around in the store off my room, and then, to add insult to injury, she turned the air conditioner off and opened the windows. By way of protest, I locked the door, shut the windows, and turned the air conditioner on again., which did not please her very much, and she got Dad to get me to open the door so that she could turn it off again. Then followed the argument which Dad (who has the most experience of these matters) always follows the sinister silence - this time even more drawn out. It was, however, no more logical, and I paid little attention to it all. We had to get into town, and all this talking apart from having little effect, was wasting time. Eventually we managed to get under way - the starter of the car has been playing up again, this time definitely the starter, I think the starter ring has come disconnected, and the shaft is just spinning. In any case, it has been getting worse since we returned from Singapore.

In town, to various banks, where, while parked, I ascertained that the relay system was operative. Then Bev wanted to go shopping, and after a few more things, Dad and I went up to Ah Yoke's - he was not there, and the engine still seemed in the same condition as before, though his wife gave us the interesting information that the main bearings were unobtainable. Then home, Dad in in none too happy a mood about the money spent on the old grey mare and on his situation in general. Had some makan, then into town again to get more money, and also picked up Bev, and left my watch for overhaul - $20, ready on Saturday. Hell of a lot.

At home again, we barely had time to say hello before we were off again with some letters to post, reciprocal cards to get and Bev to fit at the dressmakers - all this irritated me somewhat, as I had to balance the wheels of the car. Got to the place in Ampang Road where I have this stuff done, but they were none too pandai, and after 40 Minutes of messing around with a Repco rapid wheel balancer, said the suspension was too soft, and it would not work. Thereupon set to work doing it myself, manually, and it took me as long to do all 4 - the Michelin X on the front wheel needed something like 12 ozs, and must be way out dynamically, as it all went on the inside of the rim.

After makan, went to see “The Right to be born” - not very good, but made its point. The Family Planning board also very much in evidence. Changed the left side wheels when I got home, before I buggered the front wheel bearing.


Tuesday, 3 September 1968 KL → Penang
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Dad came in round 0610 this morning, and for once, I managed to get up pretty snappily, despite the comparative lack of sleep. It was a pretty slow grind before we left the house - possibly the touch of a woman, or the fact that we were disorganised. In any case, we did not get away long before 0700, and then we had to get some air in the tyres. Getting out of KL was not too slow, though I was not yet fully awake and did not feel too much like pushing it. Fortunately, however, the road stayed comparatively clear most of the way until Ipoh. On the Toll road to Slim River, I replaced the Michelin X with the old XAs - as I feared, the dynamic imbalance was far too great at 90 mph [145 km/h]. I suppose we wil just have to hope for the best until we get the car done up in Singapore - looks as if a couple of new XAs will be part of that.

Dad woke up shortly before Tapah, Bev shortly later - by this time the weather had turned inclement, and was doing its best to wash us off the road. Carried on fairly uneventfully to Butterworth, but our time (over 5 hours) was nothing like as good as last time 2 weeks ago. Just before Butterworth, as I was doing 90 along the road, Dad stuck his head out of the window and lost his glasses. Nothing like a laugh.

In Penang, we went to the Club, and were fortunate enough to get in, so we had lunch there - astounded myself by not being able to eat it all - and then I took Dad to the office before coming back to the Club with intent to read „The 3 Hostages“ by John Buchan, which I started yesterday, but my lack of sleep caught up with me. He woke us up a bit later and said Chor and Ah Lian were downstairs, so down to have tea with them - fortunately they did not stay too long. Had a game of croquet with Dad and Bev - hell of a game, but rather amusing. These suggested that we played something a little more refined, so into the bar for a game of billiards - we were fantastically out of practice, and after a bit of discussion changed the game to snooker, which was not much better, but rather to my surprise we got moving, especially with the help of some acquaintance of Dads who came in and gave us a few tips on the subject. We finished the game pretty quickly - I beat Dad by 4: 62-58, mainly accounted for by fouls. Then got Bev and went for makan, which was quite good. Sat up reading “The Three Hostages” for a while while Dad did some work.


Wednesday, 4 September 1968 Penang → KL
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Dad woke me at about 0820 and suggested I made it snappy. Somehow or another, I was able to do this - of late, Bev seems much more sleepy than I, and insisted on sleeping on while we had a rather indifferent breakfast - I used to complain when we got this sort of porridge at school, and also on the menu was the unqualifiedly worst haddock I have ever had the misfortune to eat. Then took Dad into the office - cranking the car was a bit of a novelty when the need first became apparent, but now it is just one hell of a bind. The engine was singularly reluctant to start, and also the suspension had settled overnight, so everything was a long way down. Dad had a go eventually, and with my aid in setting the choke and throttle got the thing started with only one compression. Then into town, where I dropped him and returned. Tried rotating the wheels, but all seem pretty bald on the inside, so we might just as well lump it until we get to Singapore.

For some reason my father never replaced tyres until they were close to falling apart.

Then upstairs and continued reading the book - it is funny: I rather like the style, but by modern standards at any rate the plot is somewhat weak, and he has by no means all of his facts right - this would, I suppose, be forgiveable at the time it was written. Checked out of the room at about 1230 and then carried on reading the book outside, and finished it - I can't the end is very much in keeping with the rest of the book.[sic] Then rang up Dad and asked him if he wanted any makan, and he suggested I pick him up, which I did, accompanied by Bev. Then we went to Poshnis and had a pretty good north Indian makan, after which I departed to grease the car, while Bev and Dad went shopping. Across the ferrey at about 1530 and then underway to KL - it all gets a bit boring the 2nd (or 4th?) time round. Weather could have been a bit better round Kuala Kangsar and I have decided that carrying a cargo of sleepers has a decidedly soporific effect. In any case, we stopped in Ipoh and had tea at the club there, and then went on into the night, leaving me ample cause to curse all those bastards who never knew what to do with a dipswitch (or, in extreme cases, a light switch.). Got back to KL at about 2050, and had some sateh at Jalan Campbell, then home and early to bed.


Thursday, 5 September 1968 KL
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Back it is to the old grind, even if only for a little while - I somehow can't face the fact that we are going to be here at all, we might just as well be in a hotel. Still, I do have a few things which I must get round to doing, mainly concerned with developing some films, especially Eastmancolor and Ektachrome. Dad woke me shortly before 0900, which made last night's the longest sleep I have had for some time, yet I took a correspondingly long time to wake. Down after a while to where Dad was supposed to have some breakfast ready, but of course he had not yet got round to ordering it - it was only toast anyway, when it came. Then he made some phone calls and we left for town, filled up, and off to Port Swettenham to look for a man on the M.S. “Waitaki”. Guthries told us we would have to get a launch, which we did, and then arrived on board, where I found it to be a cargo ship, and Les Matthews, the bloke we were supposed to contact, a steward and a queer - he came up after a while, apparently pissed, with the news that he refused to have anything to do with any barang which we wanted him to take to Lalita Rajasingham because somebody (Mum) had written him such an insulting letter. Then the purser (possibly his boyfriend) chimed in, etc, and off we were back to KL eating some rambutans which I had bought rather too hastily for a good choice in Port Swettenham. In PJ, Dad went to seem some authorities or another, got nowhere, and we ate at the A&W drive-in nearby, which is not up to much. Back home, where we did not stay long enough to do much, then back into town again for the afternoon session. Dropped Bev in Batu Road while we left the iron for repair, then off to the British council to find a bit about university entrance - seems beset enough with red tape. Then collected some stuff of Dad's from the storeroom that is now Burroughs Wellcomes, then off to Ah Yok's to see how the car was getting on. He had not been able to get piston rings or main bearings, so he had stuck some springy stuff underneath them to take up the play - he reckons it ought to be almost as good as new parts, though I have my doubts. All should be ready tomorrow - he had the engine in place, without rocker cover, and manifolding still to be done up, as well as a few other things. At least he has stuck a gauze across the ram pipe, which out to keep the butterflies out of it all. Then off home, stopping for tea on the way at the Dog - we seem to have had our share of queers today: we bumped into Tengku Mizan at the Dog. At home, I went upstairs after another tea, and carried on reading Innes „The White South“ - much better than I had hoped. Also wondering about a 4wd Ami 6. Carried on reading late into the night.


Friday, 6 September 1968 KL
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Up again early, despite the late night, and pretty soon Dad had me getting ready to go into town with him again - the main item on the agenda being an UCCA form and the filling in thereof. Accordingly along to the Dog, where we parked the car and off to the Ministry of Education in Bangunan Persekutuan where, after a bit of searching round, we found a rather helpful bloke who gave us an UCCA form without their stamp on it and also lent me the UCCA handbook for a couple of hours. Then I went off to the Dog, while Dad did a bit of shopping in town - I keep getting a wierd sensation that today is Saturday. After filling in a dummy form (which was hampered by Carol Syme, who suddenly has decided that I am a desirable person),

My recollection is that she exhibited a particularly low décolleté, and if I had the time I would have spent it with her. As it was, I agreed to meet her in England in about two months.

Dad and I went off home, he swearing about the things he forgot to do. Almost as soon as I got home, I was given a brush and a tin of paint and told to paint my wardrobe, while Dad proceeded to make a mess of the UCCA form.

After lunch into town again and picked up my old grey mare [Citroën Traction], who seems to be in much better condition, though now in need of running-in. To the Dog, got another UCCA form, and to Eastern Photographers, where I bought a tank and sold another to an American who was of the opinion that a Corvette has better road-holding than a Déesse. Then off home, where we had tea and I set down to developing a couple of films - ortho, not completely fogged, and 16 mm for Dad (thus the new tank).

Spent the evening doing a pretty fruitless lot of printing, though the others liked it.


Saturday, 7 September 1968 KL Images for 7 September 1968
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Woken up early again - this is what comes of acting as Dad's syce. Had breakfast as usual, then set off into town. Rang up Ah Yoke about the speedo cable - mine broke last night. The car seems to be taking a hell of a time to start in the mornings lately - could be something to do with the petrol feed. Off first to the FLDA, where Dad had something to do, then to Ah Yoke, where after a bit of messing around we decided that Yuens must have taken the speedo cable out of the other car for some reason, and Ah Yoke tried with little success to repair the old one. In the end we left the cable with him for collection on Monday - hope he manages to repair it. Then to the Dog for a drink - Dad bought a bag for Bev and then joined me. In the meantime I was waylaid my Mike Syme, who wanted to see Dad. Dad came later, and we had a beer in the Long Bar, nowadays sadly depleted. We followed it up with a couple in the Underdog, where Mike finally got to speak with Dad. Then Dad wanted to drive my car, which I let him, with good results - he too has fallen back in love with it, and proposes to have it really well done up. Picked up my watch on the way back - for $20 they really have done a good job, it looks like new and has a 12 month guarantee. Then home, where we had a further grog each and then set to work cleaning out all the mess in the 2nd servant's room. That took most of the afternoon, and involved the burning of a large quantity of coloured hair spray, though we found some good tins with which we sprayed Iggy - what a laugh!


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In the evening we got a bit of rest, and after makan Bev and Dad suggested that we went to the Dog for some drinks, which we did. Stayed some time there, then off back home again, dropped Bev and Dad, and off again to the Cathay to see the midnight show of „Prudence and the Pill“. While waiting I met this Yank again who way buying the tank yesterday - introduced himself as Les Weigam. Showed him and the 2 females with him my car, which delighted all of them - one of them wanted to know where she could get one - rather nice bird called Jenny Wilson (or is it Jennie/Jeni/Jenni?) - I am a little afraid of getting mixed up with J. no 4 or 5. In any case, I offered her BC1293 for $200 as is, and she seemed interested, though she has trouble through being in the Peace Corps, as they are not allowed cars. Then to see the film, very good, though I had trouble getting Jen out of my mind - very sweet. Gave her and the other girl a lift home after the flick, then tried to get Jen to come out and have a look at the car tomorrow, but she was busy, and will go back to Malacca tomorrow, from whence she will call me. Late home.


Sunday, 8 September 1968 KL
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Dad woke me far too early this morning, though I did not get up until I was told that breakfast was on the table. Spent a considerable amount of time after that trying to tidy up the 2nd servants room, which activity was not helped by the fact that I was still half asleep. Dad was also in no good mood and swore madly at the slightest provocation - and these were easy to find as he tried to fit some shelves in the pump house and garden store. I don't know why he didn't make them just the tiniest bit longer - as they are, they are far too small.

Eventually we got more or less through all that mess and I had to take Bev into town to buy some fruit. This time I primed the petrol pump by hand: no wonder the thing takes such a long time to start: the pump leaks madly, and it took me 5 minutes to get anything out of it. Then finally off to the Pasar Besar, where Bev bought her fruit, to the Dog for a drink, and home again, where I had a shower and put on a sarong. After a makan of the most tasteless chicken legs I have ever eaten, I made up for my lack o sleep last night and came down again just in time to hear the results of the Malaysian Grand Prix - I thought Graham Hill had been in it, but there was no mention of him, and some Indonesian bloke won. Then came the question of makan, so bought a curry at Bilals. In the middle of eating that, the lights went out - at least we were prepared this time. It seems that half of KL was blacked out, but fortunately this time it only lasted half an hour. Did not get to be at all late - “Big day tomorrow”, as Dad would say.


Monday, 9 September 1968 KL
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Dad woke me a little too late this morning, with the result that I had already tuned myself to a long sleep in, and found it difficult to wake up. Also felt a little crook, and did not have any breakfast. Instead sat around and watched things happen thick and fast, as Mum came down and fired Eileen on 24 hours notice. Eileen asked for a reference - one could see what that was likely to be. Offered to get Dad to write one, which pleased her more. Then off into town, and first to the PJ city authorities, where I ascertained that my oil consumption has been satisfactorily low - in the order of 1000 m/pt [0.35 l / 1000 km]. Then off to the Technical college, an old hunting ground of the Old Grey Mare, and had a fairly successful search for Pretham Singh, whom we showed the report we had written for UCCA on my behalf, and which he agreed to sign. Then to Kenny Hill and had a look round Syers Road, which has changed considerably since first we moved there 10 years ago. Then to Madam Wai's, while I changed my spark plugs for long nosed jobs. Then back home, and shortly after arrived Din with photo of self for (supposedly) adoring Bev. The authorities have finally come to name these streets, so that Jalan Beverley is now Lorong Lee Hin Neo No. 2, much to Mum's annoyance, which she had to modify in Sonny's presence - the latter had just brought Bev back from breakfast. Then I had to go off and take the form to Pretham Singh to be signed, and eventually got away, after hearing a dissertation on the Nuffield Programme. Then to the Mercantile Bank, got some money, posted my UCCA form, and off to Auto Accessories to buy a wing mirror, which was no easy job, as nothing seemed to fit, seeing as though the wing was too far aray and the door at an angle towards the front. Eventually got a clip-on job, which seems to be OK, and has the advantage that if it annoys me, I can put it elsewhere. Then to Ah Yoke, who was sick and had not been able to fix my speed cable, so I am taking it to Singapore to have it repaired there. Then to China Engineers, where I got some floor dressing for Dad, and home, where packing was in full swing. Eventually started getting my stuff packed and off in my bomb to get petrol. Home again, and Mum and Bev were there. Carried on packing for a while, then had makan and off to the airport to see Bev off - spent most of the time talking cars to Sonny. Then home again and loaded our cars to the gunwhales with barang, though somehow managed to leave the driver's seats clear. Late to bed.


Tuesday, 10 September 1968 KL → Singapore
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Dad woke me up at 0645, and as I came back to life, it occurred to me what a hell of a lot of work I yet had to do, and also that I was by no means well. Mum also got up for some reason, and cooked us breakfast - I will never quite understand her. We had nearly finished emptying the pool by the time we left, and Ahmad's wife came as the new amah - looks pretty thick to me. I wonder how long she will last. Then off to the service station, where Dad got some petrol, and off south, I as first in the old grey mare [Citroën Traction]. Dad kept pretty well up with me as far as Seremban, but then I lost him. Stopped and waited just before Tampin, and he came along 5 minutes after me, swearing about the gearbox falling to pieces. It appeared that the drive shafts have finally given up the ghost - the characteristic “clunk” on taking up the drive. Once he knew that, he seemed quite happy about the fact, and we made Tampin to Gemas in 35 minutes, quite astounding for the old grey mare. Stopped in Segamat for a bite to eat, then carried on at a hell of a belt - over a timed 15 minutes in southern Johor I took 15 minutes 10 seconds, as opposed to 15 minutes 3 seconds in the ID19 18 months ago - not at all bad.

I don't seem to have noted this in my diary of the time.

Nevertheless, the oil consumption is much higher than I previously thought, still round 120 m/pt

That's round 3 l/ 1000 km, very high. Over the 400 odd km from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore I would have used about 1¼ litres of oil.

Looks like another overhaul soon. Ran out of petrol 11 miles from Johor Baharu, and Dad had to go and get it. Then I discovered a flat tyre on the front right, and Dad's engine developed a vapour lock, and no amount of cranking or swearing would start it, so we got a couple of curious Tamils to help us. Then on to JB, where we got through customs without too much trouble, and on to the hotel, picking up a couple of thumbers on the way - they were pretty impressed with the car, not so I - oil consumption too high. Had a drink at the Orchard Hotel, then I took them into town, having fun weaving through the traffic in Bras Basah Road in the process. Back to the hotel, where I felt so dead bushed that I hit the sack until Dad woke me round 1915, and then prepared for makan, which made me feel grotty, and I had to have a Saridon to keep me human - that 8-minute pain relief claim is wrong. It only took 4½!


Wednesday, 11 September 1968 Singapore
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Woken up by Dad, still feeling pretty crook, and he let me sleep on for a while, still ringing me up round 1000 hrs to tell me to hop to it getting over to the office with some of his barang. Did that eventually, still feeling none too healthy, and nearly killed myself getting up the stairs of the Ngee Ann building. Eventually got there, where Dad was busy arranging my passage back to Europe - it looks like the “Orsova” (P&O) on the 28.IX., which is rather earlier than I expected. Still, I could do with seeing Lesley again, particularly after a rather delightful dream I had of her this morning.

Then off to Drs. Thompson and Thompson, saw a rather sick looking Dr. Stevens (or similar), who told me I looked none too good myself, and, after hearing my symptoms, decided to put me into hospital, which was a bit of a nuisance, but in a way I am glad that it has proven to Dad that there is more to it than just a stomach ache. Had something to eat, which made me feel worse than before, then picked up my barang at the hotel, and off to Gleneagles hospital, not far away. Admitted there into a 2-bloke ward, where the other bloke looked like a Japanese karate player with a split skull (he was, in fact, Japanese). Dad stayed for a while, after a while I was brought a longer bed (that was good of them) and then left a device for crapping into so that they could take a sample. Managed a bit in there, then deposited the rest on the bog across the hall. All seems a little disorganised here, one girl coming in and taking my temperature/pulse (both normal) as well as that of the karate player. A bit later on, after I had slept a bit, Dad came in and asked if I would like a brand new Ami 6, which was a bloody silly question, though even sillier was when he asked me if I were sure I wouldn't rather have a DS 21 Pallas. Anyway, it looks as if the bright side of this is that I will be getting a 1969 Ami 6. Then started to write a letter to Lesley on the pad he had brought - these tables they bring could be better, and I have to hold the things into place with my legs so that they don't run away. Carried on considering which Ami 6 to get way into the night, while it took me a long time to sleep, despite sedative.


Thursday, 12 September 1968 Singapore
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Woken up at the positively unearthly hour of 0600 this morning for temperatures - it was still dark. After a while tea was brought in - I thought excessive quantities of tea were bad for one, but they don't seem to subscribe to that view here. After tea I turned over and went back to sleep again, to be woken later by people wanting to make my bed, give me breakfast, and wanting to know how I had slept - this from an orang puteh nurse who could have been matron, but who didn't seem to regard 0600 as unearthly, eventually, however, conceding that I might have a point. Dad in a bit later, wanting to know the address of the Citroën agents, and then out again. I started up again on my letter to Lesley, but soon my lethargy caught up with me, and I went back to sleep, to be woken by the doctor, whose flu has become worse, and who can't work out what is wrong with me. Later had makan, spilt tea all over myself, and called the nurse, and in walked Dad with a whole lot of Citroën brochures, ranging from Dyane to Pallas, as well as a price list, colour card est and cloth sample set. Eventually found the colour I liked - in this light it looked almost black.

Also a couple of a double chevron with news of 2 new 2CV based types - the Dyane Méhari, which looks like Citroën's (very good) answer to the Mini-Moke, and the new Ami 6 (!). The latter has an entirely revamped engine knocking out 32 DIN HP at 5750 instead of the previous engine's 24,5 at 5500 - all without changing bore or stroke, though compression is up to 9:1, which would need at least 3X or 4X petrol. Still consumption seems comparable if not lower, and the new breaks now have a top speed of 120 as opposed of 110 odd. That out to knock the VW 1200/1300 mob.

Then supplied another crap sample and went back to sleep until Dad woke me again at 1800 hrs. I forget what he had to say, but soon in any case a bloke who proved to be Dr Patel, the surgeon, who said that nothing much seemed to be wrong with either my crap or my blood, and suggested he would have to stick a sigmascope up and have a look - I wonder what relation that has to an endoscope. It looks as if I shall have to miss the boat on Monday and either fly over or go over by boat on Friday. Dad took the details of the car I want - I am having the centrifugal clutch and armour-plated underside, amongst other things. Also decided on brown upholstery. Then Dad went off, I did a bit of writing, and a nurse came in and told me I was on starvation from midnight, tomorrow at 0530 I was to have my guts washed out, and at about 0930 Dr. Patel would perform his sigmascopy. Sounds all a little frightening.


Friday, 13 September 1968 Singapore
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After today I am sure of one thing - there are more pleasant ways of greeting a new day than being woken at 0515 with a hot maxi-enema awaiting me. I have never had an enema before, and the feel of this one gurgling its way up into my small intestine did little to help. Out immediately thereafter to the bog (they had thoughtfully left the door open), where it took me 25 minutes to dispose of it all. Then, just when I thought it was all over, they came round with another lot to rinse it all out - I must by the end of it all have had the cleanest gut in Singapore. No more farting for a few weeks to come.

Then back to sleep, this time with nobody to wake me for breakfast. Was finally woken by a not-too-pleasant nurse who took my watch, gave me an injection in (not up) my arse and asked for false teeth. Next thing I had some crazy apron and bedsocks on, and was transferred to a mobile stretcher and wheeled into an operating theatre, where Dr. Patel was waiting with his sigmoidoscope, a large chrome phallic symbol. He stuck that in, put in a pump and messed around for five minutes, during which time I came to a pretty firm conclusion that I had no homosexual tendencies, and then pulled it out again and said that he could not find anything wrong with me, so it looked like a BaSO₄-enema on Monday.

Dr Stephens in later on to tell me the same thing, also that he thought it were psycho-sematic. Balls. Then having just been told nothing was wrong with me, I was told by nurse I was on a low-residue diet. A bit later Dad walked in, looking, feeling and acting dead beat, so I gave him 100 mg caffeine and asked him to get permission for more food from Stephens. He also brought more fabric choices - seems the P.O. protection includes PVC upholstery similar to that now in Dad's ID. Good - looks more durable than the cloth. Then Dad off again, and I had just got off to sleep when he came back and said I was leaving hospital, and coming back on Monday for the BaSO₄ enema as an out patient. Then packed up all my stuff, Dad paid some exorbitant rates, and off to dump him at Collyer Quay, after which I went back and had a chat with Henry Ang about the Ami 6, and eventually, after a lot of hoo-ha, came to a conclusion as to what to have and what not, and when I finally got through, what with him typing out invoices and tryptiques and things in french, a language he does not understand, and I had paid $1000 deposit, it was 1820, an hour later than I had arranged to meet Dad. The latter was understandably hopping when I finally picked him up on Collyer Quay and we headed back to the hotel.

Looking back from 2016, it seems amazing that I would have gone there by car.

In the evening, out with the Phoa's for makan. Their hospitality is getting rather embarassing, especially as I am not yet feeling in the best of health, and don't think much of Hokkien food anyway. Finally home and read about Citroëns.


Saturday, 14 September 1968 Singapore
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Dad woke me up at some unearthly hour, saying that we had a hell of a lot to get through today, and dragged me out of bed, despite my protests. After a while it was not so bad and we went down and had breakfast, which, however, did not particularly agree with me. Carried on despite, and dropped Dad somewhere near the Lido theatre. Then down to Fitzpatricks, where I managed without too much trouble to get hold of some fairly large cardboard boxes, had a bit of trouble though getting them into the car. Than across the road to the office, where I was in for quite a long wait for Dad, who was himself not feeling in the best of health - something we had eaten yesterday evening apparently disagreed with him. Eventually we got in the car (a bit of a squash with the boxes) and to the hotel to dump the boxes. Then into town, and not as Hades it was, and parked in Collyer Quay, and then I went to SAS to explain my problem, that I wanted to go to Paris, not Hamburg, but they sounded pretty doubtful, even when I said I was not studying at the Sorbonne. Eventually they sent me over to UTA, where I eventually managed to do it for me, and then they said the ticket (which had to be rewritten) would be ready in an hour's time. Off back to Mansefields, where Dad had succeeded in getting my ticket to Kuching, and then off and dropped him at the US Embassy, going on myself to the Scott & English godown in River Valley Drive to get some light fittings for Dad. Came back, and after a lot of messing around, eventually got Dad and back to pick up my ticket, but there were further problems; I was not allowed to embark in Singapore, but had first to return to KL and then go via Singapore. Somehow kept my temper and got to talk with the manager, and we eventually fiddled it so that I am theoretically booked on the 007 from KL to Singapore, but in practice just throw the flight coupon away. Then back to the hotel and had a bit of a rest, after which back into town again and got my ticket, and removed all the stuff from Dad's car and tried to take some stuff over to the office, but had some trouble starting it; the ignition was apparently damp and needed some WD40 on it. The drive shafts are really hell now - the car is practically out of commission until Dad can get some more fitted.

In town, looked round at brief cases, but found little of interest. Back at the hotel, had a hell of a lot of packing to do, which kept us going quite a long way, with a bit of time off for makan. Brought a few touches of home to the hotel room - Dad's Kashmir carpet, beer out of steins, etc. Late to bed.


Sunday, 15 September 1968 Singapore
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Dad woke me up some time round 0730 and reminded me that he was due on the plane to Kuching some time round 0930, that that we had better get out to the airport.

How times change! Nowadays (2016) we would have had to be at the airport by 7:30.

Eventually got up, though not feeling in the best of health, and helped Dad down with his barang, which also involved removing the seats from the back of my car. It was raining like hell, as it had been since yesterday afternoon, and this made it all the more obvious how ineffective Ah Yok's attempts at sealing the car were. Had some sort of a breakfast, then off to look for a road to the airport - I thought Dad knew Singapore better than he seems to do.

This was Paya Lebar airport, of course, and the roads there were really not easy to find.

In any case, it took quite a long time, aswell as questioning at a service station before we found the right road. The rain was just pouring down, and the whole floor of the car was soaked. Eventually got to the airport, where Dad weighted in something like 45 kilos of baggage, and carried a further 15 odd. Apparently he used his usual blarney to persuade the bloke at the counter that there was nothing to worry about.

Eventually (late - probably because of the rain), Dad's flight was called, and I headed back into town and to the hotel with intention to sleep, but instead read this month's „Reader's Digest“, which kept me going all morning. Eventually went down and had some lunch, after which off to the Orchard Cinema with intent to see „2001 - a space Odessy“, unfortunately sold out, so on to the Cathay to see „Up the Junction“, which had already begun by the time I got in. Rather better than I imagined - one can identify well with the characters, and it had rather a better, if somewhat disjointed, plot than I had expected.

Then back to the hotel again, after a somewhat roundabout drive in which I encountered an Ami 6 with wind-up windows. I wonder how practicable that it. At the hotel, finished my letter to Lesley, then read on ad nauseam, having a break for makan. I could hardly get [it?] down, then back up to read until a surprisingly late hour.


Monday, 16 September 1968 Singapore
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Woken up by the receptionist, as requested, at 0800, and lay half asleep in bed until 0830, when I thought it was about time I went to the hospital. Got out pretty quickly, admittedly unhampered by any eating problems, as once again I was on starvation, and across to the hospital, where I was put back in the ward I left on Friday - it now had the full complement of 3 beds, the other bloke being a pommie kid who had gone to sea and got “all dizzy like” as a result - didn't seem to be much wrong with him. After a while came a giggling malay nurse to give me an enema, which apparently amused her. This time it was a one-man job (though she enlisted my help to hold the funnel - nothing like coöperation, but what a position I ended up in!). Then to the bog, where I had to produce another stool sample, which looked mainly like undigested food. Then I was told I would have to wait until 1130 for the X-ray, and so back to the ward, where I read a few magazines that sailor boy lent me, “Autocar” and “Private Eye” - this latter seems a little crude now, w.r.t. some of the magazines I have read. Then, at 1220 down for the X-ray, which was conducted by an Australian bird who reminded me of Lesley - as I then discovered, the enema I had upstairs had contained no BaSO₄ - I hadn't thought it had, but malay nurse thought so. The BaSO₄ was pumped in (and around) me in the dark, while another bloke looking at a fluorescent screen nearly pulled all the hair off my arse trying to get the tube back in. Then they pumped me up with air, which was not as uncomfortable as I had expected, though later on the bog I developed several air locks. Then more X-raying, and after toakking to matron upstairs I was given makan and then asked to go and see Dr. Stephens, who, however, was not in his office, and the nurse did not know what had happened to him. Left it at that and went to say hello to Sek Cheng, who had some stuff for me to take over to Kuching for Dad, if I would collect it tomorrow. Then to the Orchard cinéma, where I bought a ticket for “2001 - a space Odyssey”, and then back to the hotel, where I got a bit of sleep in, and then off to see the flick, which was quite good for the first ⅔ of the way, and then began to get a bit wierd. Finished late, and then I went back home, feeling none to good. Had makan in the room, and spent some time at the reading again, but earlier to bed.


Tuesday, 17 September 1968 Singapore
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Oh, what a wonderful life, when one has good resources at one's disposal and little work to do in return. I have come to the conclusion that I am lazy - I hate having to do things which don't directly concern me (maybe I'm selfish, or maybe I'm wrong - I don't know. In any case, I enjoy not having to do any particular thing at any particular time.). After a fairly late breakfast, off to Collyer Quay and then headed into Change Alley and the Arcade, first to look for a radio for Dad - he only wanted a little thing for local reception, round $40, which proved well-nigh impossible, as things in this class scarcely cost more than $20. Eventually, after a lot of running around, got a Sanyo job for $16.50. Reminds me of Mum's vintage 1958 job, which I think is also a Sanyo.

The 1958 model was the first transistor radio most of us had ever seen. It was about the size of a paperback book, and we confused people by putting it in a bookshelf and turning it on. They couldn't work out where the sound was coming from.

Things have improved since 1958 - this is half the size, make a less harsh noise, and I think Mum's cost $90 odd. I wonder what the next 10 years will bring... Then to look for a brief case, which proved to be unsatisfactory, as nothing looked very lasting, and this is one quality I require of a brief case. Decided to discuss the purchase of a Starflite or Samsonite job with Dad. Then bought the socket spanner set which I have had my eyes on for some time, then off to Dr. Stephens, where I was prescribed more Streptotriad and given a cholera jab, which messed up my arm out of all proportion to a cholera jab. Saw Sek Cheng, who gave me a couple of Fleur-de-lys towel rings, then back to the hotel Stayed there for lunch and for some time after, reading, dozing and listening to the radio, as my arm gradually stiffened up.

Then down to Collyer Quay at 16 hrs, to get my Streptotriad and collect my health certificates. I think I will keep the former until I have more gutrot, rather than waste them on a healthy me now. Back again to the hotel, where I for quite a while little did, eventually ate and decided to go and see a flick, „Because of Eve“, about sex education. Tried to find the Odeon, failed, took it out on the car and back to the Lido, where I saw „The Champagne Murders“, a most unsatisfactory dubbed french film. A couple of scenes in Hamburg, up and down the Reeperbahn at night, usw., but story was weak and acting weaker, and I was glad to get home.


Wednesday, 18 September 1968 Singapore
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Woken again at 0830, in the middle of a dream in which I was throwing hundreds of colour photos out and swearing at Sonny for having missed the floods in SE. England. Gradually got up and had breakfast, then again down to Collyer Quay, parked the car and across to the other side of the road to look for a pair of shoes. A look round Robinson's did nothing to lighten my spirits - the only 2 pairs I liked cost $65 and $95. After a bit of looking round, rather surprised myself by finding some in Change Alley - and even further surprised myself when the fellow a) offered them to me for $15:00 b) would not go down a cent on this price. Maybe he was making them particularly attractive to get rid of the odd size.

Then back to Dad's office and had a chat with Sek Cheng, in which, as usual, he tried to play down the Citroën. He could, if he knew where, but he keeps aiming at the strong points. Then back to the hotel - what else is there to do? Read at some length an Australian car magazine, and it occurs to me that there are things happening down under - I wonder if I will ever go back and join in?

Then had lunch, and decided to finally go of and see Because of Eve, having by this time located the Odéon - more or less where I had thought it was, in fact. The flick was a disappointment, even more so than „The Right to be born“, as it was 20 years old, and as good as not held together by its plot. However, the section on VD, apart from stressing “VD can be cured!”, really hit me - some of the photos turned my stomach. Thank God it can be cured! Also another Caeserian birth, in which it was stressed that the efficiency of “modern” caeserian technique (i.e. 1948), but it took 3 times as long as and was considerably messier than the one in “The Right to be born” - things have obviously looked up since I was born. So have girls.

Then back to the hotel, where it suddenly occurred to me that the Sinar [?] Iriawan Holden outside the pub must have something to do with Hengky Iriawan of Malaysian G.P. fame.

Up and wrote letters to Matin (long overdue) and Sonny, stating intention of seeing each of them next month. Read, had a bath, and was just contemplating makan at the Troïka when reception rang up and requested that I move upstairs into a single room. In the process, the zipper of my newly bought case (red China) broke, and I off angrily into town and came back even more angrily when I discovered that Oriental Emporium shuts long before the Selangor Emporium. Ate at the hotel.


Thursday, 19 September 1968 Singapore
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Bloke in again with the tea at 0830, and I slept on to make up for the half hour I had lost as a result of some idiot at the reception desk who rang up at 0600 to ask if I were leaving for Bangkok per Cathay Pacific. To add insult to injury, I knocked Dad's radio off the table in the process and chipped the case.

When I finally did wake up, it occurred to me just how much difference an extra half hour makes when one is getting up. I think I shall in future try getting up ½ hours earlier than usual and taking things correspondingly easier. Down and had breakfast, watching a French family stumble through an english style breakfast. Then off down to pick my bone with Oriental Emporium and finally ended up with only partial satisfaction, buying a more expensive leather one iwth the difference in price - at least the thing has no zip!

Also got a felt-tipped marker (a name which nobody understood), as well as some string, and then off to say hello to Sek Chang, who told me that Henry Ang had rung up and wanted to speak to me - rang him up and subsequently round, where he showed me a cable [telegram] from Citroën saying that the car would be ready by the 15.IX—but only either RHD with miles speedo or LHD with km - had to choose the former, will see what I can do about it later. They are going to have to change their tune if they want to build cars in India. Then back to the hotel, where I read until lunch. After lunch off to see „Inspector Clouseau“, which was not as bad as I had feared: there are some advantages in being a pessimist! After that, off to look for the Petaling [ship], and eventually came within red-tape distance of it, so back again, not in the best of moods, to the hotel, but then went straight past and to the Citroën workshop (really must get to know that fellow's name - I suppose one could refer to him as Lambert driving school. Gave a bloke there a long list of what to do with the car, while the taukeh brought out brand new radiator grille and hubcaps for my examination. Also had a look at the clutch of the ID, which is well worn, though the real thing is the bearing and toggles - so we're not really as bad as Rahmad (after all the car has done 45000 miles on this clutch, as opposed to 50000 on the last 2, and this one isn't completely gone). Also gearbox bearings playing up. Then back to the hotel, and discovered just in time that the boat isn't leaving until tomorrow. Caught the mechanic who was trying to take the car back - still puzzling about the gears - and took him back, then brought the car back myself.

Did little in the evening - odds and ends packing, paid my bill, arranged tomorrow, otherwise nothing.


Friday, 20 September 1968 Singapore → (South China Sea) Images for 20 September 1968
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Woken as planned at 0700, and I must remember never to order kippers again when I am having breakfast in my room. Got everything worked out pretty well, and was downstairs with all my barang by 0800. Astounded even myself by loading it all into the back of the Old Grey Mare, which sagged considerably under the load - there must have been 2 m³ of barang there, probably 2,5. Down to the PSA, only slightly hampered by the partial lack of rear vision, and just made it to the gate as I ran out of petrol. Back in a taxi and got some more, then in and to the “Petaling” at 0830, where everything was in a shambles and I nearly got into a nasty argument with the harbour superintendant (as I discovered later) while trying to get the barang out of the car. Eventually discovered the ship was not leaving until 1300 hrs anyway, and so was satisfied to leave most of the barang in a godown until I came back. Then into town and had a chat with Sek Cheng, who must be getting sick of me, and then something to drink at the Mont d'Or, over to the hotel to pick up the rear seats, spare tyre and box of tools. Over to the Citroën workshop (bugger it - still don't know the name), and left the car there with the further instruction to use Castrol oils throughout, and to do something about the tyres. Then the old bloke took me down to the PSA in an Ami 6, which he let me drive - the clutch has been overhauled, and is pretty sudden. Think I scared the old boy by the way I was driving - he insisted that the Ami 6 couldn't stand up to that treatment, and it would fall over anyway.

From memory this was going down Bras Basah Road on the north side of the Padang.

Suggested that I get a Panhard Tigre, which might not have been a bad idea at that, but hasn't the space of an Ami 6. In any case, I don't think he is right about the car - just doesn't know its limits. As proof of that be the run of the 2 Ami 6's through the Common Market last winter - 58 mph [93 km/h] average?

On board the ship, little happened for quite a long while. We did not sail at 13 hrs, in fact, although we left the wharf at 15, we stayed in the harbour until 17.


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Read most of the time, then had makan with Captain Scott and “Sparks” Tan later on - the latter is very shy and contributes nothing to the conversation, but Scott seems an interesting enough bloke. For some reason I was a bit nervous in front of him - don't know why.

The “Petaling” was a small freighter, fitting the concept of a Tramp steamer. I was the only passenger.

In the evening, spent most of the time reading “Our London Office”, a not-very-interesting novel about an uninteresting Yorkshireman starting up a cosmetics factory.


Saturday, 21 September 1968 South China Sea
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I always manage to get bored at sea, and today was no exception - under the circumstances, however, it was hardly surprising, especially on a small boat like this. Bloke came in at 0800 with tea and an apple, asl well as the news that breakfast would be in half an hour. This was a fairly standard affair, and I spent a while during and after it talking to the captain, who was telling me about an exploding Boeing on which his in-laws were travelling.

Possibly BOAC Flight 712?

Then I went back to my room and on with “Our London Office”, and came to the conclusion that it was some way from reality - people just don't act the way this bloke suggests. Got bored by it all after a while and went off to sleep - Captain came along a bit later and suggested I came up on the bridge and have a look round - nothing fantastically enthralling, not even the radar, but it was quite interesting - while we were at it we passed a tiny island covered in birds and shit, and changed course from 84° to 80° - though when I looked at the compass, it was reading 82°. Then down again and a bit later had lunch - I was pleased to not that, according to the ship's chronometer, my watch was 2 seconds slow.

After lunch, more talking with the captain, then to my room again, thinking Citroën, and inevitably got a bit of sleep in until the bloke came in with the tea - I have been thinking about something I read recently in Reader's Digest: the suggestion that some people required sleep in small doses throughout the day, rather than in one large lump once a day. After tea, stayed awake until makan, which, for some reason, was half an hour late. Carried on talking to the old man for an inordinately long time, getting a drink out of him while I was at it. Then into my room, where I read a bit more and then hit the sack: very little else to do.


Sunday, 22 September 1968 South China Sea (+ ½ hr) → Pending
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Up again at 0800, which really is too early under such circumstances as these, but what the hell. Breakfast as usual, though the bacon did not seem to have kept too well, and I was glad when I had finished, although as usual carried on quite along discussion with the Captain after that, out of which, amongst other things, I gathered that we would be arriving at Pending about 2000 hrs tonight, and that I would get my passport, etc, back after the immigration officers had had a look.

After that, back into my cabin and finished “Our London office”, which was most depressing - this good-for-nothing tart with which this bloke had fallen in love got herself hooked on heroin and killed herself with an overdose - most unsatisfactory, and it seems that the main point in the story was to show what a lousy place London is, and what a good place Yorkshire is.

After that, got a bit of a rest, and then along came lunch, which the captain had decided should be curry, but which bore little resemblance to that stuff which I normally understand under that name. Besides, the consommé beforehand seemed somehow out of keeping. Captain bubbing [?] all over about the girl he had seen on a yacht with only a monokini on - apparently she had kept her back to him, though, even if the 1st mate had gone mad.

After makan, again little to do, and I slept a while - I must at some stage in the future do some experiments to control my sleep. I am sure too much of it is a bad thing. Woken for tea, and stayed awake, had a shower and considered life. Before too long, we entered the Sarawak river, and a while later the Captain called me up on the bridge to show what was going on. Not much was, in fact, apart from the skipper navigating his way up the channels, which can apparently be a little tricky. They turned the radar on after a while, after it got dark - fantastic device, gave a pretty effective map of the area, except for the parts in the shadow. Then we berthed round 2000 hrs at Pending, and waited all evening for the launch, which didn't come, so unpacked and hit the sack.


Monday, 23 September 1968 Pending → Kuching
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Woken by the tuberculoid steward at 0645 this morning, with the news that we would arrive in Kuching in about half an hour and I would have then to clear immigration etc - what I had to do with that, I don't know: the other bloke had my passport. Got up, though, and hung around for a while until we came into port, and pretty soon Dad came along and came on board, and even had breakfast. Then I got my documents back, and we got hold of a couple of porters to help with the barang. The customs blokes had a good look at everything and finally came to the conclusion that everything was in order. Got the car - the clutch release springs seem to have had it. Back to the flat and unloaded everything, then had a shower (absolutely necessary after that unloading!), and then we headed off to the office, where things have changed considerably since I was last here. I had comparatively little to do, but was given the paper to read, and subsequently arrived the mail with a letter for me from ICI in reply to Dad's letter of application for a job - they were pretty quick off the mark, and it looks as if it could lead to something. Filled in the form they sent, and also wote a letter, and then left the thing to be posted while we went down for lunch.

After a fairly average lunch in the open market, off with Dad to Keenyalang Park, which is anow getting well under way, and Dad's own designs, rather better than the other things, are now going up. Things seem to be generally hopping, and Lin Kee gave me a level and a staff so I could work out how to use the thing for contour work. Then off back into town, madly oversteering round all the corners - suddenly I can get the hang of cars that do this, and it no longer worries me. Back to the office, where we hung out for a while, while everything got rained out, and later to the club, whither we had invited Captain Scott this morning, but as I expected he did not turn up. We had just ordered makan and were settling down in the hornbill [room] reading a test report on the Ami 6 when Russell Gwilliam rang up and asked when we were going to roll up - apparently he had invited us out to makan this evening! His wife had a headache when we arrived, and there were just the 3 of us - apparently she had one last time. Dad came, too, to put things in perspective. She decided later, however, that things sounded too gay, and came out ans I spoke with her at some length - quite an interesting conversation, until she started talking about a case of food poisoning she had had in Manila, which completely turned my stomach.

I just had time to run out onto the verandah before I lost the entire contents of my stomach. We put it down to whatever it was that had had me in hospital the week before.

Then cleared it all up again, and carried on for a while - it was 0230 by the time we finally got away.

Russell's wife was called Gillian, and she came from Mevagissey (or “Fishy-wishy”, as Russell, slightly the worse for drink, kept calling it).

Tuesday, 24 September 1968 Kuching
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Woken up by Dad pretty early this morning, and felt too tired to get up - in any case, Dad seemed prepared to assume that I had a hangover to sleep off, which proved convenient at the time. Various noises, and he was gone, after he said he would be back for lunch. Almost before I knew it he was back, but it was only 1015, and he had a hell of a hangover - thank God I don't get anything much of a hangover under any circumstances.

Got up shortly after, while Dad carried on sleeping, and got hold of the Autocar I had whipped from the club last night out of the car - got a hell of a shock when I went downstairs and found the car had turned into a Mercedes Benz, until I realised Dad had used the thing already this morning (Oh well, I had just got up). To make matters worse, after I cam up again, and despite my precautions to the contrary, the door had snibbed shut, and I had to wake Dad to open it for me (that in itself posed quite a problem). Read further about the Ami 6 - they seemed particularly impressed by the road holding, though I must admit I think the thing understeers excessively - such was my impression after a case [?] in Collyer Quay, anyway - possibly with a little more pressure in the front tires we would even have a controlled oversteer on the overrun.

Such proved to be the case.

Then got hungry, and breakfasted on Ryvita and cheese, while Dad suddenly had a severe attack of cramp, while I ran all over the place trying to find some salt, which nearly turned his guts anyway. Eventually he was feeling a bit better, so off we went (at my recommendation) to Kenyalang Park, I experimenting further with the almost unrivalled (don't talk about VW) oversteer this Ford has. Then back to the office, where I was bored to tears for a while, not even having a break for lunch, since Dad was feeling so shitty. Read the paper, and time dragged on, and eventually I went off to get a new cylinder of gas, got the letters from the Post office - Shell are processing my application as quickly as possible, and have written to tell me so - no letter from Lesley, damn her. I wish to hell she would write. Then to Ting², otherwise the supermarket, and bought quite a bit of stuff. Got caught in the rain on the way out, then back up to the office, where the windscreen wiper tap gave up on me - at least the clutch is coming good, though. Then waited until the rain had stopped, and out with Dad and Ernest Neal to Kenyalang Part to have a rather depressing look round, while I contemplated the construction of a twin-engined 64 DIN hp. Ami 6 to cater for such rugged and slippery terrain - this after walking a couple of miles over it.

The back to the office, where Dad wrote out a cheque and I a letter (on Olivetti electric) to Henry Ang in payment of the balance on my Ami 6. Then home to makan, where I decided that baked beans were not very wholesome. Did little for the rest of the evening, bushed to bed.


Wednesday, 25 September 1968 Kuching
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Dad was obviously feeling better this morning, and it was scarcely 0800 by the time sufficient pressure came to bear to cause me to get up and perform the usual matinal function up to and as far as trying to get dressed, when I was somewhat confused (at this early stage of the day) by lack of clothes. Finally overcame that one, and headed downstairs to work out the breakfast situation, in which I was considerably helped by Dad, who was already there removing unsanitary and unsavoury parts of an overripe papaya, which we subsequently ate. Then off to the office, where I spent a time considering the possibilities of 4-wheel steering in my 4wd Ami 6, and came to the conclusion that not only was it feasible, it was almost the only way out - once I realise how to realign the steering geometry, as the differences between the wheels on each side would become more acute.

Then Dad ran me out to Kenyalang Park, and with a few words of encouragement, left me with Micheal [sic] Wah, a junior clerk of works, who took me out to the area which we were to level for purposes of earthworks, but much of the place was still covered in undergrowth, so we commissioned a bulldozer to flatten it, and headed off for lunch - that in itself was a bit of a problem, and after waiting a while we went back to the site, where still nothing much had happened, so finally got a bulldozer to head in our general direction, then off for some mee which somebody had finally bought on our behalf, and which we ate in the site office. Then back, where things had happened, and laid out the base line and stuff fairly accurately - much easier with this optical level than I had feared. Then came several delays, however, with the pegging out, owing mainly to lack of pegs, but eventually all came good, and all the pegging was over by only about 1550, so got Micheal to run me into the office - he was heading there anyway - but only slightly later off with Dad back again to have a look at the earthworks in phase 3 (or maybe an advanced part of stage 2), then back to the supermarket, where I bought another lot of stuff. Further to India St, where we bought some stuff we had been unable to get in the Supermarket, and then home, where we had tea and (in pretty quick succession, at least as far as I was concerned) makan, which was one of my (in)famous nasi gorengs, but rather to my pleasure, if contrary to my expectations, Dad liked it. Also downed a ⅔ pint of Victoria Bitter in the process, which I judged to be pretty similar to Holsten Edel, and definitely better than Tiger. Carried on in the evening without much of interest, but it mounted up, and it was pretty late before I hit the sack.


Thursday, 26 September 1968 Kuching
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Up a little later than usual - Dad apparently overslept, and as a result everything was a little more hurried than usual. Went downstairs and found Dad's servant girl actually mopping the floor - maybe the reason everything has been neglected is not so much because of her laziness as because of the fact that she was too nervous to ask Dad for the requisite materials. Still, we shall see.

Off with Dad to Kenyalang Park, where we found Wu and discovered that Chin was using his level for the while, but that it would be free from about 1000 hrs. Then looked for Micheal, whom we had seen, but who had apparently disappeared when he saw us coming. Eventually caught up with him at Ting's site office, but he did not know where Dad's autoset level was, suggested it was in the site office, where we searched futilely for a while until it occurred to us that Lin Kee was not there, either, and that everything might be in the office...

So it was, so all the wild goose chase was to little avail. Seeing as though I had to take Dad to the airport at 1130, I had put the levelling off until this afternoon, and so went with Dad to the office, where I hung around for a while trying to work out a mathematical relationship for steering geometry - this mainly for purposes of working out the adjustments for 4-wheel steering on an Ami 6. Then down with Dad for a pretty grotty haircut, and then back up to wait for him to finalise everything. Then off to the airport, Dad jubilant about the thought of having a chance to rebuild Kuching, what with the job the Borneo Company are giving him - this apparently is the land originally given by Rajah James (?) Brooke (the 1st, anyway) for the formation of the Borneo Company, and it is to be torn apart and rebuilt at a total cost of $5×10⁷. 4% of that [architect's commission] doesn't look bad. Dad left (as near as I can tell) OK, and I went back to the office, nearly bumped into Lin Kee on the way up the ramp (this after crashing the lights after waiting 10 minutes). Had a pretty good mee in the open market, then off to the site to look for Micheal again - same old problem. Eventually found him with his car, showing a mechanic what was wrong with it - clutch apparently needs adjustment. Up to the levelling site, where we referred to a TBM [Temporary Benchmark] about 100 yards off the site, then levelled the whole thing surprisingly fast - Dad had reckoned it would take 10 days with an Autoset level, but it only took from 1330 - 1630 - 3 hours - with a manual level with inverting telescope. That was hot work, however, and I was glad to get back home and wash down the taste of Coca-Cola (horrible stuff, and makes one's teeth all raw) with a tankard of Victoria Bitter. Then started on „The League of Gentlemen“, however soon overcame by tiredness - one of these days I must try rationing myself to two lots of sleep a day, one of 4 and one of 2 hours.

Woke up, and made myself some tea and started cooking a semi-tinned curry (tinned juice, just add meat and veg.). Then on with the League of Gentlemen, which I found all rather disappointing. There are too many factors wihch just weren't taken into account, and the one which actually led to their downfall was a little far-fetched.

Then started unpacking the barang I brought from West Malaysia, and succeeded in creating a lovely mess before going to bed.


Friday, 27 September 1968 Kuching
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Got up at about 0830, and downstairs in due course, to where the girl had (fortunately) not done anything with the mess I put there last night, but had apparently decided that our changed breakfast eating habits warranted some changed table-laying, which include 2 slices of papaya (as she didn't know Dad is in Singapore) and tea in the pot instead of water: pity she doesn't know how to make tea. This stuff was a concentrate, dilute 1+2 for me.

After breakfast, off to the office to work out the calculations for yesterdays levels - all went fairly smoothly, though I made a couple of slips on the reductions. The total range of levels is only 25ft, as opposed to Dad's estimate of closer to 50. Then marked the levels on a plan, noting as I did that I had forgotten to take D50, but if anybody is really worried, we can do it later. Then out to the site, after doing a bit of shopping at Ting², looking for Lin Kee, whose VW I eventually found where I had dared not take the Zodiac, but he looked as if he could be ½ mile away. Gave it up as a bad job, and home, stopping in at the AA on the way - this is the second time I have been there alone for 5 minutes over. If anybody wanted to rob that place, they would have an easy job. Upstairs and came to the conclusion that, as far as I am concerned, anyway, there is no real substitute for a potato peeler. Got some peeled nevertheless, and while cooking them and some more meat into a curry, got down to tidying up the kitchen a bit further, and in the process discovered that the drainage hole on the floor is at the highest point (or very nearly so).

Malaysian kitchens always had a drain in the floor, so that the whole area could be hosed down.

Nevertheless, all looked OK, and I had my curry - this is good stuff, but a 75¢ tin is sufficient for at least 4 man/meal units if cooked up properly, and eating the stuff solid for 2 days gets a bit boring. How about 20¢ mini-cans?

Upstairs with intent to get a bit of a rest, and woke up after my customary hour was up, but nothing much was happening, and I was having a pleasantly erotic dream, so back to sleep for another 2 hours. When I finally woke up, downstairs, where the kitchen floor was still wet, but a few other things were dry, and so busied myself with these and also a vague tidying up of the living room - it is becoming increasingly apparent that we are going to have to some coöperative thinking abut the book problem - we have one hell of a lot of them here. Had makan - finally finished off the curry, but it took a bit of stuffing. Tomorrow I shall have to have nasi goreng for a change... hope I can bring some other recipies to function, this is getting boring.

Then started reading “Careful, he might hear you”, and had a bath, and read, etc, until hitting the sack - what a way to end your teens!


Saturday, 28 September 1968 Kuching
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And thus I enter another era of my life, chronologically at any rate - the main thing I feel now is a sense, however imagined, that, while legally being not yet an adult, I have left the ranks of children, and now am, in the words of some grotty pop song some years back, „Mister in-between“. Oh, what the hell, I feel just the same, perhaps a bit proud to have survived 2 decades, but all I did for it was sleep in this morning until about 1000hrs. Downstairs the girl had left the last busoh [rotten] lump of papaya for me to eat - the only things that would have anything to do with that are the blowflies. Also she seems to have taken my hint about the tea, which though still too strong, was not as bad as yesterday.

After breakfast, off to the post office, hoping to find at least some mail, but all there was was a bill from Swine Babi [nickname for Sime Darby; “babi” is Malay for pig], so off to the office, where I was more in luck - letter from Shell, requesting me to present myself for interview when I arrived in England, one from Lesley, apologising for not knowing my birthday and asking when it was, and a card from Sonny Rajah with a remarkably lifelike caricature of himself. Felt a bit ashamed at that, as I had not sent him a card. [His birthday is 27 September] Then to Ting², and did a bit of shopping, subsequently out to the site, where with the aid of my binoculars, I finally found Lin Kee messing about with a theodolite and he said something about coming in to the office in the afternoon, so I arranged to be there. Off home for a rather greasy nasi goreng, then to the office to write a letter to Lesley, who is getting a bit stand-offish again - that girl must be in a hell of a conflict about me. That took quite a while - I am baffled by the margin-setting device on this Olivetti Editor job. There seems to be no way of setting the right-hand margin. Switched over to the Studio 82 halfway, then off for a burnup round Kuching, which is no drivers paradise, especially in a Ford Zodiac, so eventually I gave it all up as a bad job and home to read some selections from Burton's (not-very-good) translation of the Arabian Nights.

After a while at that, decided to have some makan, and had just finished that when Dad arrived home early and wished me a happy birthday, and told me the extent of his job with the Borneo Company - it looks as if he could legally write off quite an expensive camera, such as a Hasselblad 500C, towards his practice. Spoke to him a bit about close-up work, etc, using my Edixa as an example. 'Twould be pretty good were he able to get a Hassel for equivalent of about $300.


Sunday, 29 September 1968 Kuching
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Michealmas [sic]

Late up again today - Dad had obviously had a hell of a tiring time in West Malaysia, and was thus sleeping it off. As a partial blessing, the girl does not come on Sundays, and we were able to control our own breakfasts, and did soe with great consumption of kippers - in fact, a total of 6 fillets. Then, just as I was settling back into my arabian Nights, Dad suggested that we head to the office and get some work done, to which I grudgingly agreed. First to the Post office, where I got letters from Henry Ang (receipt and letter saying I would get the delivery order on the 14th October - hoffentlich! - and from Matin in reply to my last letter. Poor bastard is obviously under the impression that I am continuing my studies in Hamburg - I hat to disappoint him, but suppose I will have to. Wrote him a letter on the Olivetti Editor - gradually getting the hang of that, though it is hell centering the Umlaute. In the meantime, Dad and Lin Kee compared the results of my survey with the previous one and came to the conclusion that I was 5 ft too low, which caused me to exceedingly swear, but comparison of the contours did seem to verify this, which makes it all rather confusing, as I can't possible see where I could have gone wrong. Swearing still at that as we headed home, and considered what we should have for lunch - tried the more expensive “Le-ka-ri” stuff, but after all the cooking, etc, came to the conclusion that it was not as good as the other stuff, and that it was mainly a waste of money - the only thing that is better is the presentation. Then carried on reading the Arabian Nights, but Dad soon hit the sack, and his will was too strong for me, so I followed suit. By the time I woke up, it was already 1800 hrs, so my idea I had of going and checking the survey this afternoon had had it - besides, it had been raining. Got up and after a while had a shower and with Dad (dressed) to the club to see the film, no the of chance that it was good. It was pretty mediocre - “The long ships”. That is not the first time I have seen a film here that I saw before at school.

After the film, with Dad to the Hornbill room for makan. I had just asked Dad whether the hornbill was identified with the Kenyalang, and he had said no, when the barboy chimed in with the fact that the Iban name for Hornbill was indeed Burong Kenyalang. Poor Dad. This place has declined a lot in popularity, as well as in the quality of food, though not of service.


Monday, 30 September 1968 Kuching
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Not so late up this morning, though I had not been able to get to sleep until in the order of 4am - possibly I should go along with this idea of sleeping 3 hrs twice a day - I did not feel particularly tired when I got up this morning. Downstairs, to where Dad had rather rashly got the girl to fry some kippers, which she did to the point of charring. Ate most of them, nevertheless. Then with Dad straight to the site, where he sank almost immediately in consultation with Lin Kee, while Micheal and I went back up to my old stamping ground, where I finally got moving after the malay bloke came. Took a bearing on the uncalibrated TBM somewhere nearby, and then off over to the earthworks to see whether it all added up, and closed on another TBM (No.6.), and then Micheal made some readings of his own, after which I to the office to work out the reductions of the levels. After that, up to Lin Kee, where I was told my next assignment - work out the contours for the earthworks associated with laying the sewers. Back to the site office, where I waited for Dad to pick me up, thence back to the house, where we finished off yesterday's curry - what was left of it. That we managed to spread out over a pretty full 1½ hour lunch break, then back to the office, where Lin Kee presented me with a plan of the area and worked out a grid on which to do the measurements. Doesn't look much fun. Down to the office, wishing I had a bird to accompany me, and then to pick up this Malay bloke who usually helps with this stuff, who seem engaged laying yet another TBM, and got him to cut us another 120 stakes to mark the grid with. I don't know whether he managed that, but we loaded the car boot to the brim with stakes, and took it down to the sewers and septic tanks, where we had just unloaded the car and ascertained what pegs were the when it began to rain, so I headed through the rain back to the office without any wipers, sweating like a pig owing to lack of ventilation - don't want to have to do that in a hurry. After a while there, and having achieved little of us, off to Ting² for more shopping, and then home, where I read the AA Quarterly magazine, „Drive“, which seems fairly interesting. Then started cooking makan, burnt the rice (not an error in judgement - turned it full on instead off off!), then picked up Dad, and made a Nasi Goreng, after which read, played the flute and conversed until quite a late hour.


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