My happy November was spent entirely in Penang working from home. There I ate lots of home-cooked food, took many jogs around the Sungai Ara park and discovered a new hiking trail near my house called Emperor Villa. I also had a few days out in George Town discovering new places on Lebuh Melayu; Bao Teck House for elite dim sum, and La Vie en Rose Patisserie for great coffee and croissant.
At home I binged loads on Netflix, watching all of The Crown Season 4 (2020), Beetlejuice (1988) and Dark Shadows (2012). I spent many hours in the kitchen utilising the oven, baking chocolate muffins, dinner rolls, raisin and cranberry rolls, banana loafs and a Victoria Sandwich. My main objective was actually to use up all the ingredients lying about, such as coconut oils, digestive biscuits and cupcake liners. It was a win-win situation for everyone!
In November, work was steady and kept me busy. I proofread an anthology, had many Zoom meetings and even clinched a new job for a nutraceutical company’s blog! Thank God for such writing opportunities that pay the bills. In November I completed a 2,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper painting, and also discovered a half-done word search book that I took to like bees to honey. That month, I also had my one and only mamak supper outing of 2020, at Subaidah Nasi Kandar in Taman Pekaka.
At home I read two books; Puffin Classics that I bought as a child but never read for 20 odd years. They were “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” by Mildred D. Taylor and “The Great Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The latter consisted of eight short stories, all of which I enjoyed immensely. In conclusion, November was a month of clearing childhood back log and utilising unused things lying around the house.
December rolled on with much anticipation on whether I was to stay on in Penang until the new year, or to return to KL as soon as the borders were opened. The situation was very volatile, as Covid numbers were see-sawing for weeks before there was any certainty. In the end, I decided to go back to KL, and in preparation for that, went to see my usual hairdresser Rain Ragazzo for a haircut, and to Room 18 Salon for highlights and colour. I even had time for a dental check-up.
In mentally preparing for no more Netflix, I swiftly watched The King (2019), A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood (2019), Won’t You Be My Neighbour? (2018), and Homecoming (2019) the concert film by Beyoncé. Once back in KL, I caught up with more films I’ve always wanted to watch but were not on Netflix. They were Cherrybomb (2010), Moonwalkers (2015), Knives Out (2019), The Lost Boys (1987), 360 (2011), What We Do in the Shadows (2014) and Clueless (1995).
The other big news in December was the launch of Home Groan: A NutMag Anthology featuring my story “The Goddess and the Sea”. My story about the adventures of Tua Pek Kong, Datuk Keramat and Kuan Yin was initially a play I wrote using an Inktober prompt. I then adapted it into a 3,000-word short story, and it now features as one of 22 stories, poems and artwork in this full-blown anthology with other Penang writers! You can order the e-book here priced at RM15, or a printed one at a later date for RM30.
In December I read one book only, a Christian self-help called “Envy: The Enemy Within” by Bob Sorge. Elsewhere I spent my month on shopping sprees in a bid to “close my accounts” for the year. After under-spending for 11 months, I let loose and spent a whole lot on cakes, lingeries, diaries, books, electronics and pharmaceuticals. My month ended with Christmas at my bosses’ place, New Year’s Eve at a cousin’s, and two lunches with good friends. Shepherd’s pie aplenty, but fireworks insufficiently.