Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy New Year!

Well not quite, but this is my last post at Novel Spaces for 2009, so I thought I'd better get in that greeting before I continue.

I hope all of you are enjoying the holiday season. Christmas seems to get better every year here in Johor. It's not the capital, or even the state where the country's capital is located, but there's no doubting the effort behind the locals in trying to get into the spirit of things. Last year, all we could find were various bedraggled artificial trees at Tesco, Carrefour and a few at Jusco (three of the four big supermarket chains).

This year, the range at smaller shops has significantly increased but, as is usual in this country, the biggest changes are those reserved for food. Frozen turkeys? Not a problem. Have a hankering for some yuletide pastries? The local supermarket bakery has been carrying stollen, panetone, cranberry muffins, and a light sponge-based fruit cake. The sushi section (sushi is BIG here) has been producing an "Xmas series" in various sizes, all on festive Christmas-themed trays. And there have been specials on still and sparkling wines. (This last point is of particular interest to me as I consider alcohol to be one of the major food groups.)

I have some issues with the various Fatwa Councils and the way Islam is sometimes interpreted in Malaysia (banning yoga??? sentencing a (Muslim) woman to whipping for drinking a beer??? legitimising divorce by SMS??????????), but everyone seems to get right into the swing of things when there's a festival on, regardless of how much public censure may emerge from the mouths of the hardline muftis. Hmmmmm. Maybe there's hope for the country yet.

In any case, greetings from the Equator to all of you. Have a safe and happy New Year and I'll be back in January. Who knows, maybe I'll even discuss writing! Take care.


Maria Zannini said...

That's interesting. why do you suppose supplies are easier to come by this year?

And they banned yoga? Whatever for?

At least your food choices are opening up. It sounds wonderful.

Happy New Year, Kaz. Wishing you the very best for 2010.

Jewel Amethyst said...

Happy New Year! It's nice to learn little tidbits from other cultures here on this blog. Even though we are writers, we are people of different cultures, tastes and interests so we need not write about writing for every blog.

Hope you have a wonderful, successful writing and publishing experience in 2010.

Liane Spicer said...

Happy New Year, Kaz, from my side of the equator! Is your weather as lovely as ours, with clear skies and cooling breezes that smell of the north? I've dragged my old comforter out as the nights are getting crisp. (Crisp, for us in the tropics, being in the 60s and 70s.)

Fascinating stuff you've got across there. Divorce by SMS?!? Great material for the pen!

Kaz Augustin said...

Thanks for your good wishes, ladies! I'm sorta out of action with my finger bandaged like a kid out in the snow, but truly appreciate your sentiments.

Maria, I think the choices have opened up because Johor is developing right in front of our eyes. It's like living in SimCity! LOL And some muftis believe that yoga will lead to Muslim apostasy, but Hinduism this time, hence the ban. If it's any consolation, everybody groans when they hear about this fatwa, even the Malays (all Muslims) themselves.

Malaysia is a weird and wonderful place, like every other country on Earth. It's a great experience living here and I'd actually like to read more about the other places where others reside. (You're really good about this, Liane; I LOVE reading your posts!)

ratu said...

Hope you have a wonderful, successful writing and publishing experience in 2010.