New era

A young Bernice and I
For years, my cousin Bernice used to ask me, when will she be able to read my memoirs? 

I thought it was such a romantic idea to record my reflections for others to read but I never got around to it.  I was instead, busy writing for the media.  

When my blog was ready for its soft-launch, Bernice, now based in Wimbeldon UK and a mother of two boys, was obviously among the first who were invited to view. 

Uncle Roland, 80, mum’s eldest brother, and his wife, Aunty Elizabeth, used to work with the Kota Tinggi Hospital and they chose to retire in Kota Tinggi.  

He’s an avid reader of my nostalgia stories in Johor Streets and has the habit to underline and highlight words or phrases with pen and colour highlighters.  

But that was not all.  These pages are then sent out to be laminated so that they will handle better when he shows them to others.

Uncle Roland resting in Sultan Ismail Hospital
with visitors, mum and dad

While I was developing my blog in August 2010, I received tragic news that Uncle Roland was involved in a motor accident.  

He was apparently riding his motorcycle when he lost control of the machine and crashed into a tree. It had recently rained so he fell into a muddy ditch.

As a result of his crash, he suffered a slipped disc and multiple lacerations on his left foot.  

He received emergency treatment in Kota Tinggi Hospital before being transferred for admission to the Sultan Ismail Hospital.

When I learnt about the errand he was out for when the accident occurred, it broke my heart. Unknown to his wife, he went out that afternoon on a mission to laminate a duplicate set of my stories!

Just imagine Aunty’s shock when she received a call, telling her that her husband was involved in an accident when she thought he was having his afternoon nap!  

I later learnt that one of Uncle’s cousins visiting from Singapore was so impressed with his laminated copies of my stories that he graciously agreed to make a duplicate set for her.  

While it was humbling to know that my stories were rather popular, I felt so sorry that Uncle Roland had to suffer pain and discomfort in a long recuperation after that unfortunate crash.

In February 2011, I was sitting in the lobby of a beach resort’s spa in Port Dickson when two European ladies came in to enquire about the spa services.  

As the receptionist was leading them on a tour of the facilities, one of the ladies turned to me with a gesture like a query if my spa experience was good.  After she saw my thumbs up response, she went on her tour.

Tea at lobby of Santai Spa, Thistle Port Dickson

When the ladies were about to leave with a brochure in hand, I asked if they had time for a chat because I just came out from a most agreeable treatment.  

Soon I learnt that they were Irish and sisters, and one was married to a Malaysian while the other was on holiday here. 

When I introduced myself, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the local lady reads NST Travel Times regularly.  

In fact, she collects them in a stack and will refer to them when she and her husband needed any holiday ideas.  

Suddenly she recalled my name and my piece on Saigon/Ho Chih Min City and told me that based on my recommendation, they went on a holiday there in January! 

After they left, I sat there quietly contemplating the various ways my stories are being stored and how they remained relevant to different people.  

I was both amused and amazed that I should meet this lady who decided to go to a holiday destination after reading about my experience. More importantly, she too had a good experience.

Bernice and her keen interest to read my memoirs was always an encouragement and now I’m offering my readers a dynamic blogsite where I can update and respond to their comments.  

The launch of my blog on 11 March 2011 significantly marks the start of a new era.  

Now everyone can read a collection of my stories at their convenience and if only Uncle Roland was not so old-school (because he must read from a hardcopy), he too can read my blog to his heart’s content. 

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