Saturday, August 25

Finding my playmate

From 1972 to 1978 or so I lived in Singapore and Malaysia; first as an exchange student, then as a expatriate hence presumptively expert computer programmer. The exchange student part was in SUNY Stony Brook's program at 南洋大学 (that's Nanyang University to you) where I learned the Mandarin that I still barely retain. Typical of desperate male Nantah students I visited Singapore U., where I met girls who were not too traditional to date me, including the girl that I also still retain (as my wife, Phylis -- another story). After not quite two semesters at Nanyang I dropped out, then worked three years in Singapore, got fired for being ang moh (that's another story), had my visa canceled and fled to Kuala Lumpur by overnight train with Phylis and Honky the cat.

I didn't have a job (although I did three days later) and so to make the money last we rented a room from a friend of Phylis' brother Patrick. His friend Moong lived far out of town in Kepong Bahru. We lived there for six months or so until Moong and his wife Lulu threw me out of the house, I think for being ang moh. (Phylis says they threw me out for being rude, but I'm not sure there's so much of a difference -- maybe that's another story.)

Moong and Lulu had a three year-old girl, Marsha, who was cute and thought I was pleasantly strange. We had no common language, really, but we got along quite well. I could wonder what sort of person she grew up to be, except that I saw her this year when we visited Malaysia in April. I'm quite impressed with how she turned out: singer, writer, lawyer, web designer, mother and so on. I have decided to take most of the credit for those results.

She blogged about our meeting here: See you 30 years later, kid.