September was relatively quiet because even though my flatmate was back, she was out a lot visiting friends, family and going on road trips throughout Malaysia. So I spent my time reading her four Harry Potter books, beginning with The Philosopher’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire. I’d actually read the first three before some years back whilst I was still in Singapore, but have forgotten plot and details.
In September I also visited a friend at Rimbun Dahan, an arts residency near Sungai Buloh. It was eccentric to say the least, but a good hideout for writers and artists wanting solitude and a dedicated place, time and frame of mind to work on their project. I also travelled to Gopeng for a weekend retreat, and visited a dredging ship called TT5 for the first time in my life! What an experience, and what a good look into Malaysia’s tin mining history.
In the writing world I had two small wins: my drabble, or 100-word short story, was featured in Insignia Stories’ “Southeast Asian Fantasy Drabbles” anthology. Big thanks to Kelly Matsuura for picking my piece, “Phi and the Mermaid” based in Satun, Thailand. My second win was being longlisted for the Quiet Man Dave Writing Prize 2020. I was the only Malaysian on the list, and though I didn’t make the shortlist, it was still a confidence booster for me to know that UK readers in Manchester appreciated a story like “Adorable”.
In October I took a colleague out to one of my favourite Japanese restaurants in SS14. I had my usual saba fish set, and treated her to a salmon set as it was her last day at work. Work wise things were very quiet for the past months. In my freelance work, I met Malaysia’s new Country Director of our organization, and had a good meeting with her. After that, my day job was closed for a week as we worked from home, and I took the opportunity to drive home to Penang and literally work from my “real” home there.
In Penang, I celebrated my Mum’s birthday at home by cooking a lasagna, and took my sister out to celebrate her birthday at a Mexican restaurant in Love Lane called Holy Guacamole! We also celebrated an early All Soul’s Day by visiting some ancestral graves at the Western Road Protestant Cemetery.
In October I continued my Potter mania and finished Order of the Phoenix, the Half-Blood Prince and the Deathly Hallows, even bringing the last one with me back to Penang. Once I got home, I read two other books, which were “Winnie the Pooh” by A. A. Milne and “The Secret of Happiness” by Billy Graham. In total, I read seven books that month.
In a couple of week’s time I shall be reviewing my November and December. After that, I want to leave 2020 behind and be thankful for a new year.