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.