Home Day 23

The laziest Christmas in the world
I wake up at noon, and laze around until we have lunch at 2pm. We go back home, open presents, and the family watch UP, the Disney cartoon. Halfway through I fall asleep on the new L-shaped red sofa. I wake up and it’s dinner time. We go to Ah Lim, the local seafood restaurant. It is of course a 5-minute walk from my house, but because we are Malaysians we drive out in two cars and park right outside the premise.

Back to Butterworth
After dinner, I go on a little road trip to drop my cousins, who had spent Christmas with us, off in Butterworth. Butterworth is an industrial town on the mainland of Penang, presumably named after Mr Butterworth, yet another left-over from the British colony.

I was born in Butterworth, but Mum and Dad moved the entire family out to Penang island when I was two. My early memories of Butterworth involved a lot of sponge and asthma. I was running around in my father’s sponge factory with my sisters, playing hide and seek between blocks of foam, pressing the bra cups, inhaling the chemicals. There were pink and yellow blocks of foam, and they were warm and crusty before being sliced, medium or thick.

One evening, I had a nap while Dad was in his makeshift gym in the factory, and when I woke up I had about a million mosquito bites all over my body. They were so numerous it looked like I had measles. Dad took me to the clinic and the medicine tasted like Sprite.

As we drive past, I think to myself that there is nothing in Butterworth for the tourist, unless to take the sleeper train to Bangkok. Wikipedia tells me there is a bird park, but no one has ever brought me there. The town is so industrial, the factories look like mars reactors in Total Recall.

We pass a bustling area full of lights and people. Karaoke girls in open-air kopitiams are performing on stage, garlands hanging on their necks. Next to it, trendy eateries and cafés cater for the younger crowd. Shady KTV nightclubs line the end of the row, and I dare not say anymore about Butterworth.

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