General Musings


In a Book Appreciation Club I belong to, members started discussing all the Book Nerd Problems that we faced. Some were downright hilarious, all utterly Malaysian, and absolutely true!

So I thought it might be fun to share it with all of you.


Here you go:


  • Finding something to eat for lunch that won’t splash and spray all over my book.

  • Wanting to read on a long road trip…. but gets nauseated 

  • Hoping the movie adaptation will be as good as the book and getting disappointed every single time. frown emoticon

  • no time to read.. but have to work to get money to buy more books to read

  • Definitely ‘Too many books, so little time”.

  • My daughter, an only child, says she has many frens. I asked “Where??”, she replied ” All my books, they are my best friends, and I guess I hv thousands of them..”

  • I can never sell my daughter’s books without permission, for I think book nerd loves reading same book repeatedly.

  • I hv to smack my girl sometimes bcos she reads inordinately, sometimes oblivious of danger, sleeping time and meal times. And I am really mad when she leaves her school work to the last minute.
  • Reading my book while stuck in a traffic jam, while waiting for the lift
  • Staying up late to read till the early hours of the morning . …on a working day. Yikes! ‪
  • Worrying abt which bag i have to use bcos it must be able to fit the current book I’m reading.
  • ‪Going on a trip n worrying whether I brought enough reading material. What happens if i run out halfway?
  • Going to KLCC n worrying abt not hvg enough time in Kino bcos I’m always rushing.
  • Finally – having to use 2 hands to eat laksa and also hold a book open at the same time!
  • My daughter reads during meal time, even stands to read during the meal
  • Reading during Hari Raya! (the Muslim equivalent to Christmas Day)
  • Can’t eat without a book, a habit since I was a kid. Makes my food taste better.
  • I brush my teeth with the book propped up on the shelf in the bathroom. I guess my mom should have smacked me then!
‪Now is eating time, and still my girl must hide books, shun me, and sneak to kitchen. I was rather mad, firstly, bcoz it isn’t good for digestion, second, it takes her almost 1½ hours to finish, third, that makes her oblivious of importance of real timing in life
  • My most pro move is being able to read while stirring the pot, while watering plants and while vacuuming. The last very unsuccessfully, unfortunately
  • Finding a hairdresser who will let me read my book during the haircut, rather than engaging in meaningless conversation!! Any recommendations??
  • Talking too much and excitedly about a book only then to realize I talked TOO MUCH and being socially weird. Hahaha

  • I need that kind of hairdresser too but they always insist to remove my specs which render me blind – how to read? I need to go for LASIK — need permanent solution
  • Searching for a book nerd’s group for children between age 9-10, let them meet and chat over the same books, over and over…

  • Exam week is coming but I’ve got to start with a new book ahhh… all the time

  • Misplaced/lost my books more that twice, when asked everyone in the house they told me, no one steals your book, saying that books aren’t worth stealing. Gahh that hurts!!! my books are *in smeagol’s voice* my precious

  • Getting neck ache from sleeping on your book after reading in bed
  • My middle girl sometimes reads upside down. Seated on the plush single-seater sofa, feet up against the sofaback, torso against the seat, and head jutting out below with the book suspended between her thin hands… *Haih*
  • Agonizing over which book to get because you can’t remember which of that author’s books you already own…

  • My elder girl will go inside the book…. Call out to her 10 times also cannot hear wan…must rampas the book…lol..then she will be like “ah.. Wat mummy, I nvr hear u calling.”… Ahyoo wat to do…
  • ‪When I was a kid…I will read under my blanket w torch light… And my mom will always catch me….lol…and now I do it too w my book light under my comforter…… Can’t sleep without reading..
  • When reading on my mini ipad in bed at night, I fall asleep and the ipad slaps me on the mouth, causing a lump/bruise to emerge around my lips where it fell. Next morning, my office mates give me a look as if I’m a victim of domestic abuse 

  • Books including hardcovers n phones n tablets falling on my face too. Lol. Oh, i do tht pose on the bed n sofa too…book nerd ‘yoga’. Keeps the blood flowing to me ‘ead!

  • Haha, book nerd yoga reminds me : after hours spent sitting around reading, I felt guilty for not doing any exercise so I started figuring out exercises that I could do while reading – planking is good, so is down-dog with leg lifts
  • When I’m reading while walking towards the office every morning after I had my breakfast. Nearly bump into the signage ehehhehe.
  • Always sneak a look at the book when the traffic turn red also
  • Having to wait to discuss a book with a friend when you’ve finished ina day but they’re not finished in a week!


Kuala Lumpur & Malaysia

I travelled by taxi in Singapore a few months back and got into a conversation with my driver. We conversed in English the entire time and, while negotiating the best traffic route to take me to my destination, the taxi driver uttered surprise when I explained I was not local so I’d have to trust him to take the most efficient path.

“But you speak English so well. And you’re cultured. Like a Singaporean!” the taxi driver exclaimed.

“Uh, yeah…” I replied, “Many Malaysians do. We don’t live in trees, you know? You’ll be pleased to know your neighbours drive cars, work professional jobs and live in brick houses!” I added, tongue in cheek.

That was a comical situation alright, but not as uncommon as you’d think. This was in our neighbouring country, Singapore. What kind of reaction do you think I get from folks I meet in Europe and America?

When I lived in UK in the 80s, the only English locals who’d heard of Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia were those who followed the news because some unfortunate Brit sod had got himself arrested in Kuala Lumpur on drug possession, and everyone in the Western World was debating the mandatory death sentence that Malaysia imposes on convicted drug traffickers. More recently, the reason my friends in Florida are familiar with Malaysia is due to the unfortunate series of flight disasters involving Malaysian-owned airlines.

So, I thought for today’s post, I’d give those unfamiliar with Malaysia and considering a visit a brief introduction about my country, and Kuala Lumpur, it’s capital city, my place of birth and residence.

In a nutshell, Malaysia is a country of almost 30 million citizens (demographics as at 2015), geographically situated in South East Asia. Malaysia’s main body of lands are the Malaysian Peninsula (just below the tip of Thailand) which houses 11 of its 13 states, of which the federal and commercial capital is Kuala Lumpur and administrative hub Putrajaya, and the two states Sabah and Sarawak sit at the northern part of Kalimantan island. Neighbouring nations are Thailand, Burma (aka Myanmar), Cambodia and Vietnam to the north; Indonesia, Singapore and Australia to the south; and Philippines to the north-east. 

Due to its historical significance as a commercial meeting place for trade in the 18th century, Malaysia is a hodge-podge of cultures. Its population is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, consisting of Malays (approx. 45%), Chinese (approx. 43%), Indians (approx. 10%) with many other ethnicities making up the rest. The official religion is Islam, although many citizens practice other faiths; the most common, after Islam, are Buddism, Christianity and Hinduism.

The name “Kuala Lumpur” originates from the Malay words ‘Kuala’ (which means confluence) and ‘Lumpur’ (which means mud), thus signifying the geographical confluence or meeting of two rivers that run through in the city: Sungai Gombak and Sungai Klang (you guessed it, ‘Sungai’ means river). Malay is the country’s official and national language, although many other languages are spoken amongst natives including English and dialects of Chinese and Indian. 

Those who keep track of global architectural developments would know that the Petronas Twin Towers, which looms over the Kuala Lumpur skyline, was recognized as the world’s tallest building from 1998 to 2004. Kuala Lumpur is quite the center for retail, with over 70 large shopping malls and thousand of smaller retailer outlets offering the latest haute couture to the most intricate handicraft. Malaysians are also known for our warm hospitality and love for food. Because of the blend of cultures, you’ll find delicacies from all the main ethnic groups and other nations here, including Malaysianized versions of these too.

Apart from the Kuala Lumpur metropolis, our country is home to the most beautiful rainforests and beaches. Western tourists regard Malaysia as a one-stop center for world travels since we have a bit of all Asian cultures in one melting-pot. Plus, currency exchange with major Western currencies is decent AND the majority of our people speak English.

So, that’s a quick introduction to my beloved capital city and country. We are a civilized society. And, I assure you, we don’t live on trees unless we’re on a bird-watching stint.

My apologies for not having any of my own pictures of the Kuala Lumpur skyline to show you at this point. Instead (because I’m a foodie) I append below a few pictures of Malaysian delicacies to whet your appetite!

Just do a simple Internet search to find out more! And I hope you’ll consider visiting our land of beauty and multi-culturalism!




Human Nature – Caution and Distrust

 by Tina Isaacs


I got talking with one of the writers in my #MYWriters community – both of us moderate an online community on a voluntary basis – about how distrustful and unnecessarily suspicious some people are.

When organizing a meeting to facilitate the exchange of books, she has people approach her with comments like: “How much you charge? Nothing ah? Sure there is a catch wan…” Like they’re waiting for a surprise drawback whenever someone does something genuinely kind for them.

It got me thinking about my own voluntary work, both within the legal community – I reckon lawyers are a privileged bunch who should spread their knowledge to those who have little or no access to legal representation – and within the writing community (a writer friend roped me in to mentor and motivate either new writers who lack the basic writing knowledge or those who need the external push to make sure they achieve progress on their manuscripts – like a gym buddy). This got me musing about how some people had looked at me with surprise when I speak of the voluntary work I do, like “what does this girl want out of this?“. 

Yes, I don’t charge a fee. No, I don’t expect you to buy me dinner either. No, I don’t intend to sell you life insurance once we know each other better. I definitely have no plans whatsoever to sign you up as my Multi-Level-Marketing downline. And I have no expectations that you buy box-loads of my books once they are released.

I just genuinely want to help you because I know what it’s like to be alone, with no one to turn to, with no one to motivate me in this lonely path I’ve set for myself. And heck, why not spread this positive spirit around? The more good writers there are out there, the better the state of our publishing industry, isn’t it?

Same goes for providing legal assistance. Isn’t it good that people don’t wander around acting to their detriment just because they don’t know what their rights are? Isn’t that better for our country, for the human race in general? And NO, I’m not going to surreptitiously send you a bill for legal fees somewhere down the line. When I say I’m helping, I’m just helping, y’all. We lawyers call it pro bono work, look it up!

Well, as my friend and I discussed, there is such a sad state of distrust out there.

I wonder, is this caution a natural part of human nature?

Is it the deplorable state of human relations and crime statistics that causes people to second-guess every offer for assistance, to think that every Good Samaritan has something up their sleeve?

I know there’s the saying that “Nothing is Free”. And I agree that in this day and age, it pays to be cautious. I’m a lawyer, for f-s sake.

But, I wonder what is wrong with a person who cast doubt against the whole world? Like my friend said, she doesn’t know whether to pity, feel sad for them, or get outraged at the whole situation.

Le Sigh…

Well, to all the Good Samaritans out there, my kudos to you for trying to make the world a better place. Don’t worry too much about the nay-sayers and the second-guessers. Just keep at it because you believe it should be done, and because it fulfills your spirit and soul to give something back.

Keep calm and spread positivism, my friends…