Thursday, November 30, 2006


Mr K-E is home drunk from champagne. But he says that drunkenness caused by champagne doesn't count. He's been to a posh do at Lincoln's Inn in the Great Hall. Lincoln's Inn is one of the four Inns of Court in London, which is where all the barristers hang out once they have been called to the bar.

He has had a nice evening drinking champagne and eating silly miniature food for example, tiny fish and chips and toy toad-in the-hole. For anyone not English, "toad-in-the-hole" is not a disgusting amphibian delicacy but sausage cooked in yorkshire pudding. It is a true "British" dish i.e. a bit bland but generally inoffensive. Also the "pudding" is misleading is because yorkshire pudding is not a pudding at all but a sort of savoury batter.

Here's a picture of a full size toad-in-the-hole

(Mr K-E says it looks more like turd-in-the-hole. No more champagne for you, Sir.)

Then after his do, he went the Bierodrome for more drinks before coming home to me. For supper, burger and chips from the local all-night takeaway. Ah, what class!

He is now rambling on to me about the plight of the Turkish bloke who works in the takeaway, who has to work from 3pm until 5am! Surely that's not legal?? Anyway, I had better get him (Mr K-E, not the Turkish bloke) to bed because he is rambling on and on in the way that drunk men do - which is funny, but we both have work in the morning. Good night.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dino Envy

Read something tonight scary on the bbc website.'s just like the Clive Barker story.

I was really jealous when I saw this picture of Lily Allen in her dino-suit. She went to Tokyo and she has a dino suit. Life's not fair.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Too lazy for housework

I ate something bad yesterday - so I was ill this morning. I had bad stomach cramps all night and it wasn't any better in the morning, so I rang work and told them I wasn't coming in.

Anyway, by 2 o'clock I was feeling better and a horrible feeling of guilt came over me, so I thought I should at least do something. Yep. Housework.

someone once said - oh there's nothing worse than a dirty house. Yes there is - cleaning!

I suppose you could say I'm spoilt, but most people in Brunei have some kind of domestic help and my family are pretty typical. We had a succession of live-in Filipino "amahs" (maids) to do all the household chores, cooking, ironing etc. It is still one of things that I miss most about Brunei.

But now that I live in England - there's no way that I afford a maid. Ok, I could get a cleaner for a few hours a week but to tell the truth I'd have to tidy the place before they turned up. So when people ask "who does the housework in your relationship?", I tell them the truth -No one. We don't exactly live in filth but there's always a mad scramble to clean before friends or family come round.

This afternoon I thought right I'm going to try out the new Dyson vacuum cleaner. Our old one died a few weeks ago (All household appliances die after 5 years. It's the law). Mr K-E took it apart, and said that he would buy a new motor for it. I had two problems with this

a) it's a lot easier to take something apart than to put it all back together again
b) I could never use it without being afraid that it was going to blow up

Anyway we bought the new Dyson ( a DC-14 if you are interested) from Currys despite my pleading to get it from John Lewis which is a proper shop, and not Currys which is a farce.

As the model was £50 cheaper in Currys, I had to give in. So we reserved the model on-line and drove to the Currys in Brixton to pick it up. Sounds simple right? Hahaha you fools!! We had to queue for half an hour in the "reserve" queue - all that time we could see that they had put aside the wrong model anyway. Then after we sorted this out and paid, the "warehouse assistant" had to and get the correct model. He spent half-an-hour trying to find it, going between the stockroom and the shelves although we could clearly see the correct vacuum cleaner on the shelf. Look it's this one. Maybe he thought we were trying to pull a fast one and get a more expensive model. Well it's cheap entertainment I suppose.

When I tried it out this afternoon it was so loud...especially when I used the thingie for getting into corners (Mr K-E says its called a wand). I did the hallway, the stairs and our bedroom. Then I changed the sheets. Then I gave up and watched Ready, Steady, Cook. That's enough housework for today.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Come to Brunei

Brunei was on BBC1 tonight, hooray. It was on Holiday, which is a holiday programme (surprisingly...). It was quite impressive, and showed off Brunei's strengths i.e. beautiful mosques, kampung air (the largest water village in the world) and fabulous untouched rainforests.

It was visited by someone called Saba Douglas-Hamilton, who described herself as a naturalist. There is a write up about Brunei in the holiday programme website here. So well done whoever organised it in the Brunei Tourism Department.

If you haven't been to Brunei, it's well worth visiting. The set-up for tourists is not as developed compared to other places in SE Asia like Malaysia or Thailand but we are friendly, the food is delicious and the rainforests are lovely.

Here is a photo of showing Kampung Ayer (or Air in standard Malay).

Residents use "water taxis" to get to work, you can see them in the picture. The women who live in Kampung Ayer are expert at climbing up and down the wooden ladders to the boats wearing high heeled stilettos when they go to work or on their way to weddings. They make it look easy...

The only (very minor) issue to be aware of is: you can't buy alcohol in Brunei as it is a Muslim country - but if you are a non-muslim, you can bring in 12 cans of beer or two bottles of alcohol for your personal consumption. So buy your Jack Daniels at the airport duty free before you get to Brunei.

Paying for Electricity

This morning (on my day off!) the doorbell rang while Mr K-E was in the shower. It was the man from the electricity company come to read our meter. Normally our bills are all estimated bills, but once in a while the electricity company has to check that everything tallies up. Anyway, I got dressed and went downstairs to let him in - but he had gone. Drat. Now he's bound to come back while I'm in the shower.

This reminds me of the "electricity man" who used to come to our house to read the meter while I was growing up in Brunei. Brunei Darussalam (to give it its full name) is a small country in SE Asia on the island of Borneo. Most people have heard of the Sultan of Brunei, and they associate it with the Middle East. NO. It's NOT anywhere near Saudi Arabia.

Here's a photo of Brunei. (I'll put some more up hopefully)

When we were kids the system was like this - every month or so a government meter reader would come round to our house with his clipboard and record book. He would read the meter and then write out the bill, which my Dad would take to the town and pay. Anyway, when we were young, the only adult at home during the day would be my grandmother. This guy would hint that the bill was enormous and say things like "we will have the cut the supply soon, as the bill is so large". Complete crap of course. What he really wanted was a "tip" and in return he would write a bogus figure on the bill. He was absolutely blatant in the way that only minor civil servants can be - mock friendly with a whiff of official intimidation.

Sometimes my granny would give him some money or a packet of biscuits or a tin of Milo. And he would go away happy, leaving us with a bogus bill.

I remember that my father was never happy about this. He told my grandmother (his mother) several times not to give the "electricity man" any money. To tell the truth; the issue wasn't the bill itself (electricity rates in Brunei are but my grandmother's ingrained fear of "government" officials and how they could "make trouble" for you. (My family are Chinese and the majority population of Brunei are Malay - but that's a post for another day)

Looking back now, I wonder how many families used to give our meter man money or food? Did he try it on with everyone? I remember he had eight or nine children, and these guys don't earn very much, so he probably needed to supplement his income.

Anyway, when Brunei modernised it's electricity metering system all these dodgy practices came to an end. My grandmother passed away about 10 years ago - but the story doesn't end there. A few years ago, the Brunei government cracked down on people who weren't paying their electricity bills and as part of this, must have reviewed everyone's electricity bill for the last thirty years or so. My parents, to their horror, received a bill for nearly B$5000 (about £1500). My mother went to the Department of Electrical Services, and a very nice, well-educated young government officer explained that the actual meter reading at our house did not reconcile with their records. Well, we all know why that is - because in the 1970s and 80s, the "electricity man" was making up all the meter readings.

Apparently everyone on our street was affected. And thousands of other people in Brunei have been affected by the new government policies.

My parents have settled their bill now and for them everything should be all paid up electricity-wise. Although it has caused a lot of hardship for some people, I think this is a real step forward for Brunei. Non-payment of utility bills is a serious problem for the Brunei government, and part of the problem has been corruption at grassroots level. So although some people may feel the pain now, hopefully the whole country will feel the benefit in the future.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hello World

Hello world! I'm really excited about my first ever blog. I have to restrain myself from multiple use of exclamation marks. I have been inspired by great blogs that I have read, but it's harder than it looks.

To start off with the mu
ndane - it's Sunday evening and Ghostbusters is on TV. Had a lovely roast dinner (roast lamb, potatoes, parsnips, peas, carrots and gravy - yum) with hubbykins. Hubbykins is objecting to being called "hubbykins" on my blog. Hmmm, shouldn't really offend him as he is my one and only loyal reader. Will review suitable name for spouse later. Mr K-E?