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Grinding my gears

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Disclaimer –  I love Malaysia.  I wouldn’t have committed to being here for 2 years if I didn’t, but every now and then certain things remind you that it’s not all a bed of roses – and there’s nothing wrong with getting it out of the system.  The last week or so has been bitter sweet so I feel like having a bit of a pop at my adopted home.

I lost my phone a week ago at a chic little mountain eco-resort called the Dusun.  With logical but circumstantial proof I concluded that the staff simply did not hand it in, despite my checking with the owner.  It’s a real shame, but I won’t be back.  This weekend just gone, the Wife and I spent 4 days in the honeymooner’s isle of Langkawi for our 3rd anniversary.  Much of the experience was wonderful – the company, cocktails and stunning meal at the Bon Ton especially – but a lot of the time I felt frustrated, annoyed and disappointed in Langkawi.  Again, I would be reluctant to return.

Having reflected on my week, I was reminded of an old school-friend (writing as National Romantic) who lives in Finland.  He wrote a delightful and thoughtful note to me a few months back – about the ups and downs of living abroad – and it has once again struck a chord.  I connected immediately to how he was feeling about his adopted country.  As if to highlight cross-cultural differences, I am reading a book recommended by my Dad entitled Japan’s Cultural Code Words by Boye Lafayette de Mente.  Using Japanese cultural history, the author describes in detail the apparently invisible behaviours deployed consciously or unconsciously by the Japanese, and experienced by Westeners doing business in Japan.  For me the interest in what he says lies in the fact that being half-Japanese I recognise many of these behaviours in myself. Read the rest of this entry

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