The ‘South Asia Tsunami disasterâ’ did not hit me at all, though it’s no surprise at all that some were concerned about me (thank you) being out here in Malaysia while surprising travesty occurred in this region.. we were headed (in my uncle’s car) towards Penang (island in Malaysia) from the mainland (coming from Kuala Lumpur, the capital city) when I heard the news reports on the radio about an earthquake that had claimed lives in Sumatra (which hosts the Indonesian capital city of Jakarta, where I lived my first four years) and had affected several other neighboring countries.. a couple hours later, my aunts and uncles started calling our cell phones, warning us that a huge tsunami had struck (varying reports of the tsunami size and magnitude of the earthquake and death toll) and that we might not be able to cross Penang bridge (or might not want to)..and be concerned for our lives and whatnot. Ultimately, we crossed the bridge without incident (the strait between mainland and Penang would’ve been/was quite sheltered from any tsunami waves..) and went straight to the hospital to visit my grandfather. We got most of our news about the Earthquake/Tsunami disaster(s) from the television there.. That was yesterday. Today we did drive past Batu Ferringhi (major tourist spot here on Pulao Pinang (Penang Island) since it’s on the beach and such..lots of eating places and everything too) on the way from hospital to my uncle’s house.. and it was very plain to see the damage.. e.g. where once was a restaurant is now nothing.
But thankfully my family is well and I am well. The death toll is climbing and we are paying attention to reports of possible additional dangers from aftershocks.. but we are okay.. do not worry.. though thank you.
Aside from that, my grandfather is mostly well, though not out of hospital yet. My brother and father donated blood today; I would’ve also, but apparently I have quite low blood pressure. this is news to me. it all makes good sense, but nonetheless.. they insist that low pressure is a very good thing.. the only thing wrong with it, they say, is that I shouldn’t give blood. I wonder whether my body subconsciously knew that this was how it could protect itself from getting pricked and losing a pint of blood. rather selfish of my subconscious, then.
The food here is as good as always; Penang even better than KL. that’s same with the drinks (stafruit juice, green apple and orange juice and Malaysian ice coffee), and with the fruits (langsat/dukong and mangosteen) so far too.
Mosquitos remain my not-friends.
My mother’s staying the night with Kong-Kong tonight. I spent a good amount of today with him.. he didn’t talk much after this morning, but it was nice just to be with him.
My cousins (those few that I’ve seen) are wonderful. the two youngest ones (about age 3?) are still carryable.. which is a nice surprise for me as I’d kind of resigned myself to having missed out on the whole babyhood/childhood of my cousins.. well they’re not babies anymore; as my dad described, “they’re amazing little people”; but I can still watch some babyness before they grow up like all the rest.
Several of my other cousins are scattered in the world at universities.. two are in Australia; I’m considering a ‘sidetrip’ over there while I’m out here we’ll see whether that makes sense to do (and whether they want me there!)..
I’m really quite tired, actually—it’s 11:57pm on Monday, December 2004 in Penang, Malaysia as I write this.. it’ll be considerably later by the time I send this..
I’m trying to keep a fair record of my thoughts and stuff while I’m out here.. but online time (crazy crazy snail-crawling-through-glue-and-other-slow-things slow dialup, though very appreciatedly shared by my uncle) will be sparse here..
anyway, I mostly just wanted to say that I am well and fine, and do very much appreciate the sentiments of concern.. ‘hope everyone else is very well.