It’s been months since I last wrote, but it seems like years. Maybe that’s because we’ve entered 2004 AD, the Chinese Year of the Monkey, and, today, the year 1425 of the islamic calendar, all within two months. The first of Muharram is a public holiday in many states in Malaysia, including Sarawak, so I’m enjoying a three-day weekend. It is good timing for the family too, since Friday was my daughter KakYang‘s first birthday. I can take advantage of the lull to finally update this site.
It has been a hectic few months, for a lot of reasons. My wife survived her doctoral defense. The certificate is in the mail. It is hard to imagine that she’s finally done. She’s been working on that project for the entire length of our marriage. Now that it is over, now what?
Well, did I mention we’re expecting? Our next child is due next month, so we’ve been making frequent trips to the hospital. (Our Malaysian birth control technique was not so effective.)
I managed to secure a one-year work visa, which was no easy task, so I can transition from the Wing & Prayer(TM) fiscal model we bought our house on to one a little more grounded in reality. And my father and uncle are coming to visit in early March, so I’ve been hustling to settle my work commitments enough to take a small vacation.
We had another flood around Chinese New Year, which is exactly when it flooded last year. That flood was the worst flood to hit Kuching in 40 years. Thank God, this year it was only the worst flood since last year. Oh, wait… That Monday, I left for work and became stuck in the worst traffic jam of my life. It took me 3 hours and 20 minutes to go 5 kilometers. That is less than 1 mile per hour, my dear friends. My left leg was literally throbbing in pain from working the clutch on my rapidly aging Proton Wira. The only traffic jam that was remotely comparable was back in Detroit when a guy in a suicidal rage drove his car off the edge of the I-96 freeway down the banks into the four lanes of traffic below, hitting several other cars and killing a few people. That one was pretty bad too, though I wasn’t driving. But I have no grounds to complain really. Our house was untouched by the flood, although there were homes within a kilometer or two of us which flooded right up to the ceiling. Parts of town that did not flood even in 1963 were affected this time around.
Everyone seems to have their own theory about why the floods have been so bad, with many people blaming the Barrage, a lock on the Sarawak River. Personally I think it is all the building and land clearing in the wider catchment area. If same volume of rainfall runs off quicker than before, you’ll get higher peak volumes at the mouth, which is right where we are.
I received a number of great emails about the website over the hiatus, which I’ve been criminally slow to respond to. Thank you to everyone who has written, and forgive me if I haven’t gotten back to you yet. I hope I won’t be so long in updating again. I’ve got a number of pictures I’ve been wanting to share. As soon as I can get the bare minimum of text to accompany them, I’ll be posting them here.