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March 1967
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Wednesday, 1 March 1967 Kuala Lumpur → Singapore
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Dad in this morning at about 0730, and Mum said something to the effect that I should endeavour to be up by 0815—I did not object, as I had in fact intended to get up there and then, but instead lay in bed, waking up gently—a far more civilised way than suddenly springing out of bed and doing everything immediately. Eventually got up, and did a bit of tidying up—my room has been in an abominable mess of late—and then had breakfast, over to the office in Mum's Mini, and there got the Citroën, and over to pick up Lim, to my surprise, rather early.

Offset, offset, how I hate thee². Mum eventually got me to go and set up the machine, and all was going beautifully for the first 2 pages, but then the plates began to take up ink, and I got a bit fed up with the whole affair. Had to ring up Stephen, who had his usual answers ready, but eventually persuaded him to come over and see for himself.

Meanwhile, Dad got me to ring the Indian Information Service, and see what we could find in the way of the information about the trip through India. Fellow who told me he was Mr. Singh—which must, surely, be the most common name in India—asked me to come down, and he would see what could be done thus. Meanwhile, had to ring up Gurdip Singh and tell him that we had found a rather lucrative job for him selling essence of chicken, and could not contact him. Then Stephen arrived, so down to the IIS and got 1 8different booklets, all free of charge, on travel through India—even a road map of the road between Delhi and Srinagar.

Back to the office, and then helped Lim check out of the Kowloon Hotel, and back home, shortly to be joined by Mum and Dad, and the tyre of the Mini (the one we whipped) was flat—damn: they obviously did not do too goo a job—unless Dad punctured it again. Anyway, had to take the thing over to the Merlin Service Station to have it fixed up, and over to the office where Mum was screaming her head off because I had not carried out her instructions to the letter and had the original tyres retrod. Ah, what the hell. I note also that I have already been enrolled in this Outward Bound Course—what the hell!

Off after that to take some stuff back to Robert and argue a point about the MSS bill—oh, Christ: the fuss that Mum kicks up about small points. I only hope nothing happens about the tyre we whipped. Might be rather difficult to get out of.

Eventually Mum simmered down, and took advantage of the fact to take Lim out the the airport, as he had intended to take a taxi. Back to the office—Mum had just about completely calmed down by this time, and so back home for tea and to pack, and off, rather late, at 1830, and then checked the tyre pressures, and off. Lousy drizzly weather, and it took us over an hour to get to Seremban, where we had makan, after which Dad took the wheel (and, for all I know, put it in his pocket). Woke near Gemas, had coffee at Segamat, and drove from there to Singapore. Put in at the Station Hotel at about 0130 hrs, and out like a light.


Thursday, 2 March 1967 Singapore
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Up this morning extremely early, at 0545, in order to take Dad out to the airport, which was rather difficult in view of the late night we had had. Managed nevertheless, and had a sort of breakfast with him there before heading off back again, and tried to book into the Mayfair, but they are fully booked, and the bloke was suggesting a nearby brothel, where I could stay, so decided that I might as well continue at the Station Hotel. Got back to the hotel at about 0730, and had nothing really to do until 0900 hrs, and so decided the best thing I could do was to go to sleep for a while, and did so, waking at 0930, and on consideration, decided that I might as well do my shopping before taking the car in to Eastern Auto Co., and so down to Change Alley, where I tried to get the tape recorder fixed, but with little success. Equally little success at finding a Miranda Sensorex. Bought a pair of sunglasses, and then to the Oriental Emporium, the place Mum and Dad were telling me about which sold only goods from Red China, and up to have a look at the photographic equipment. They had a couple of enlargers there, the larger of which looked fairly interesting, though not as well equipped as the Krokus, and not all that good value for money. I liked the other one, though: portable, packed away into a little wooden case, provide complete with safelight and low voltage transformer. Very convenient indeed, and only $72—it might be worth disposing of my old Gnome, which is not going to be much use any more if I am going to be travelling all over the place.

Took the tape recorder along to Nanyang [Watch Company, in North Bridge Road], where they said they would be able to get it repaired, and then along North Bridge Road a bit further, and found a Miranda Sensorex, and examined it at length. I do not like it much—if it were a stopped down version, it would be perfect, or nearly so, though I prefer the bridge metering system, but this full aperture thing is a bind.

What an opinion! If there was one thing the Sensorex had going for it, it was the more advanced metering system.

Over to Eastern Auto Co., and told them what I wanted done with the Citroën, and the bloke there took me out to a grotty little place which tripled as a PAP branch and a driving school, and there we argued it out. Then they took me back to the hotel in another Citroën, and out for lunch, which I had at a Magnolia Snack Bar in Raffles Square.

After that, searching for a slide rule. Found a rather interesting Hamuri [?] one, for only $30, but thought that it had little which the Faber had not, when it was all boiled down, so off to search for Prager [?], the Faber agents, whom I finally found in a dingy little corner of town, and bought, for only $22.50, a 2/83, and back to the Oriental Emporium, where I bought some film and paper. Then back to the hotel, and slept until 1900 hrs, when I vaguely woke up, and hung about in my room for a while before going downstairs to buy a couple of magazines. Up and had a look at them for a while, and then down again to have makan. After that, out to take some photos of the town by night, and ended up paying a fortune in taxi fares—I am still not sure how they managed it.

Despite everything, late to bed.


Friday, 3 March 1967 Singapore → + (½ hr) → Kuching
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Woke up at 0700 hrs, though I had got to bed rather late, and had not intended to get up until 0800. Still, I felt wide awake when I did wake up, and so up and applied myself to writing up yesterday's diary, which I had left slip somewhat. I had scarcely finished this, at about 0745, when in came the bloke with my breakfast, and this I downed fairly quickly, despite the fact that it was not very appetising—at least it was filling. Then set to and tried to get all my barang packed together, and then off to pay the bill, and unfortunately had to break a $20 American bill, at an exchange rate of only $2.90, which I considered bad.

Off then to Paya Lebar Airport, in a brand new taxi—only done 440 miles, completely unscratched, and the driver actually drove carefully—though it is rather irritating doing only 40 mph [65 km/h] on the open road. Finally got to the airport and checked in, and, rather to my surprise and definitely to my pleasure, I was given a first class boarding pass. Had plenty of time, so bought a couple of airletter forms and wrote letters to Paul and Jennie—though I had to buy a Bic for this, as I had run out of ink.

All up in the air, in a Comet first class, which is very good. The refreshments are also excellent. I must try and fiddle this more often. The plane developed hydraulic trouble—not enough oil or something—in flight, with people consequently pulling up floor boards and shining torches underneath. Glad to hear that such faults are not peculiar to the Citroën.

Dad met me at the airport, where it was pouring with rain, and I managed to get out pretty quickly, though my case was the last to be unloaded. Down first to home, and then to the open market for makan, after which up to the office. Dad introduced me to the two people he has working for him there—Chye, the draughtsman, and Miss Lau, the secretary. Chye had a Faber-Castell 2/82 Slide-rule identical to the one I had last year. Out of adjustment, so before long showed him how to fix it up—it is considerably improved now.

Spent most of the afternoon on a chart working out reinforced concrete tables, or rather, part of one table about rectangular beams. It certainly is a time-consuming job. Not helped by the fact that Dad is more or less playing it by ear, and wanted several changes made along the line.

Ah, the fun we had before we had computers!

Home quite early—about 1745, in order first to go to the local Supermarket—I did not previously know of its existence. Home, and had tea, which is of the usual pattern. After that, spent a bit of time talking generally, and somehow managed to go upstairs and go to sleep when we really intended to go out and have some makan. Out eventually for makan, however, and had some rather grotty prawns just around the corner. I reckon we ought to go to the Open Market more often—makan is better, as well as probably being cheaper.

Late night—Dad is extremely busy.


Saturday, 4 March 1967 Kuching
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Up at about 0730 hrs this morning—oh, how I hate having to work!—and downstairs to where the girl Dad hires was making an abominable mess of some eggs that she was trying to fry, and so Dad took over. We still had the problem of eating them, but that proved less difficult than we had expected—they tasted, strange to say, more or less normal.

After that, down Sekama Road way to have a look at some sewers in phase 1, which, owing to recent completion of the scheme, were smelling rather badly, with consequent complaints from many directions. After that, to the Post Office to clear the box, and there was a letter from Jennie awaiting me. Had then to drop Dad at the office, and down to the Ford agents at Batu 2½ Rock road, and left the car there for greasing and oiling, and got a lift back in a Toyota crown, which has the same gear positions as the Citroën, though the fellow was driving it more like a Zodiac (presumably because he doesn't like non-syncro first gears). Read my letter from Jennie on the way, and then back at the office had to carry on with the monster table of rectangular beams. Finished that by about 1100 hrs, and was just about to write a letter to Jennie when Dad suggested that I went down to the bank before it closed, and the Post office while I was at it. Accordingly did so, and arrived at the bank about 30 seconds before it shut. Then back, and had just started on a letter when Dad suggested I went across the road for a medical exam, and then back again, and got in a few more lines to Jennie before I had to go with Dad to lunch at the Neals—curry, apparently, don't much like to go out for that sort of makan, as it tends to drag somewhat. OK for Dad, who knows them well, but I feel that I have to keep my best side outwards, and make a good impression, etc, etc.

After that, out to have a look at some building, collect a couple of new tyres, and then back to the office, where I continued my letter to Jennie for a while, before I got a bit bored thereby, and so went on to making a table of Mrc for T-beams, which did not take me as long as had I expected, and then got back to my letter to Jennie, and after a while, finished that. I fear that she will find it terribly boring. Still, what the hell—half a loaf is better than no bread, or whatever the saying is.

After that, back home, and had what might be referred to as tea, and what might again not. Anyway it dragged considerably, as Dad and I were considering our itinerary through India and subsequently through the rest of Eurasia, and eventually we came to the conclusion that we just did not have enough time to see all the wonders of the world by this means, and that we should have to cut down on sight-seeing considerably if we wanted to make it to London by mid-July.

Out for makan at the open market, and had a rather unpleasant nasi goreng, though Dad rather liked it. Somehow, late to bed.


Sunday, 5 March 1967 Kuching
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Up later than usual this morning, as there was not much work in the offing, nor the girl downstairs to make a noise ruining the eggs, and so it was about 0920 before I stirred much from the bed. Then Dad suggested that we made a trip to the market to get ourselves some fruit for breakfast, and eventually organised ourselves sufficiently to get down to the market, find a parking space half a mile further on, and walk back.

Fruit at the market was not very wonderful—found a quite good papaya, and rather nice looking, if rather small, pineapple, as well as some bananas. Sarawaki pineapples apparently have quite a good reputation—Eileen has heard of it, though Dad has not.

Then up to the office, and there, according to Dad (I waited in the car park), Chye had already arrived, and was working busily, despite the fact that he had worked last night until about 2130, and seen us arrive for makan. There must be something wrong with that bloke, though it is obviously for Dad's good.

Then home, after clearing the P.O.Box, and had breakfast, the preparation of which was a job in itself, and eventually got down to it, and tucked heartily in, and I was left to wash up. As I observed to Dad at the time, I have never enjoyed washing up except when doing it with Jennie.

After a while, upstairs, where Dad was on (or rather, at) the drawing board, and sat around for a while thinking Mini-Cooper. After a while, Dad went off for a curry makan, and I off to sleep, and woke about an hour later, at 1330, and so decided to eat, and boiled myself up some Frankfurters, until they split—I shall be more careful in future—and then tried to work out the bore of the Mini-Cooper engines on the basis of what Sonny told me of the modifications on his Cooper. In the end I worked out that the bore was 1.92 cm [? that makes no sense], so obviously either a) Sonny has got his fact wrapped, b) I did not catch what he said c) one of my assumptions is wrong.

After that, Dad back, and up on the drawing board again, and carried on a bit of a conversation there, before he suggested that we went to the Kuching Club for makan tonight, and to see the film there as well. Agreed, as I have been rather bored as well.

Agreed to leave for the club at about 1845, and, at 1755, off to sleep, and woke at 1910, rather to our confusion, and did not arrive at the club until about 1935, just in time to see the end of an Australian Weekend.

The feature film was “Lady Killer”, which I have seen at school a long time ago (I must check when). I had just about forgotten it, and found it just as funny this time.

Makan was also good, though we had a job getting the right wine—They must have been thoroughly sick of me by the end.


Monday, 6 March 1967 Kuching
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What variation existed in life before, by virtue of the fact that it was new, has now ended, or very nearly so, and life has settled into one long monotone. This morning, just before breakfast, a fellow entered, who appeared to be the Clerk of Works of Kenyalan Park [sic; should be Kenyalang Park], Michael Wah, with the news that the piles they were putting in were just going down and down and down.

Off to the office, and there arrived before Chye, which seems odd. Fairly quickly, I was given yet another table to do, the same as that marathon first table, except that I had to do it for a different value of pcb, whatever that is—some measure of the strength of the concrete, I think. Anyway, it was increased from 750 to 1000, which made it more or less necessary to do the whole thing all over again.

On, ever on, with this, though I have been finding it difficult to work of late, and the window in front of me provides ample invitation to mentally digress. I have been thinking Cooper-S a lot lately. Dad once said that he might buy me a mini. I wonder if I could persuade him to make it a Cooper-S. It would be rather fun tuning the thing up, etc, etc, until it really moved—is it 114 mph that a hot Cooper-S will do? Seems likely enough.

Off, eventually, for lunch, which here is early, between 1200 hrs and 1330 hrs, and home to look for the P.O.Box key, which we could not find. Off, with Dad inventing some interesting oaths, to the open market for lunch, and then back up to the office by about 1300 hrs, and did little, as I did not feel like plunging into T-beams right away.

Eventually decided that I could go downstairs and see what literature was to hand, and so downstairs, under the pretext of looking for a mother's day card for Mum

According to the headings in the diary, Mother's Day in the UK was on the previous day.

and found neither. Over then, at Dad's suggestion, to the Rex Bookstore, and again, nothing much was available, but eventually bought a postcard to send to Mum, and then out with Dad to Sekama Rd to see them driving a few piles, which, in fact, went in considerably better than the previous ones, and had obviously hit something solid by the end of it all.

Back home to change shoes, which were covered in mud, and then to the Post office to get a duplicate key for the P.O.Box, and then back to the office, to, finally, get down to the T-beams, and dragged along, and after a while decided that a graph would be much more use anyway, and so drew a graph for As min [?] for rectangular concrete beams, and after that called it a day, and decided tomorrow to do Mrc for T-beams, which is also a linear function.

Over to the Supermarket to buy some Kleeneces, and forgot to buy any food, so Dad and I returned accordingly to an almost bare larder, and then had tea—Dad seems keen to see the erotic carvings at Khajuraho in India, as he reiterated today.

After that, off to sleep, and to the open market for makan at 2100 hrs. After that, back, and reading “Prelude to mathematics” until quite late—about matrices.

I bought this book in Kuching on 11 August 1966, so presumably I had left it there and found it again when I returned.


Tuesday, 7 March 1967 Kuching
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Overslept somewhat this morning, doubtless owing to the late night last night, but this was still rather confusing, as we had some air freight to send off to K.L., and the flight left fairly early.

Had breakfast quickly (this was facilitate by the fact that we have very little food), and then off to the office, and downstairs to the MSA freight office, where Dad had to fill in 3 forms (in duplicate) before he finally got the right one.

Then upstairs, and decided it would be most profitable to all concerned if I were to spend the morning drawing graphs of various functions of RC beams, and so on the Qmax of Rectangular beams, and then two separate axes of Mrc for T beams, which, fortunately, are linear—frr concrete beams, it is second order, and so I can't draw a graph of it so easily.

Did this on the drawing board, outside, next to Chye, and the place was bubbling with activity. In fact, my work was considerably interrupted by the fact that I was constantly being introduced to blokes coming in and going out.

Eventually finished the graphs, and then down to look for some lens cleaning materials, as my lenses have been rather neglected of late—dangerous. Eventually came lunch time, but it eventuated that Dad had an appointment with Andrew Tan ad 1200 hrs, and that took the best part of an hour, so we did not get down to the market until about 1250 hrs.

After we came back, Dad decided that he had better go back home and work on his drawing for Barry Taylor there, and so first finalised a few things at the office, while I looked downstairs, and at the Rex Bookstore for some books to read, with little luck.

Then home and dropped Dad, and picked up my photographic gear, and off down town to take some photos, and after a bit of wandering about decided to go up to the Electra House car park, and took quite a few photos from there, and also from the roof. I had almost forgotten how useful that 400 mm Soligor is for candid work. In fact, I used every lens I have, and used up quite a bit of film into the bargain, before exhausting the subject matter, and so headed up to Sekama road and there took a few photos of the completed phase 1 houses, and was just leaving when arrived Micheal [sic] Wah, apparently rather surprised to see me there alone, and said he would have a look around the homes and see which was the tidies for the inclusion of these photos in the CDC report.

Back to pick up Dad, and after a brief stay in the office, ascertained that nothing much was wrong, and so to the Supermarket to buy some food, and also bought a book “The horsy set”, which I proceeded to read when not preparing food—Dad was busy, and so we were having makan at home, and I cooking it. The book was rather good and definitely stimulating. Later on discussing women in general with Dad.


Wednesday, 8 March 1967 Kuching
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Ah. life grinds on and on and on. Dad woke me at 0730 hrs this morning, and I took a singularly long time to regain consciousness, and eventually staggered downstairs for breakfast.

More airfreight to be sent off this morning, again to Mum, though this time for Zaiman Taylor. At any rate this time Dad knew which forms to fill in, even if I had to sit upstairs in the office developing the paper in the ammonia box, while he checked in the cover. Made it on time, anyway, which is the main thing.

After that, back up in the office, and Dad gave me some square columns to calculate, and then it occurred to me that my brain was not yet functioning properly, and it took me about half a dozen tries to get the theory correct. Using this slide rule of mine is like programming a computer

What would I have known?

—but it makes it a damn sight easier to use once I have thought out the basic programming.

Eventually things were going more or less OK. In this particularly table the values were the sum of two products, which, unfortunately, cannot be done in a single operation by any slide rule I have seen or thought of. Ah well. In to see Dad was a bloke doing a thesis on mass housing in Malaysia for Melbourne university.

Then Dad had to go down to blow up MSA about the air freight Mum had to collect from Subang yesterday, and while we were down there he decided to move about a bit and see what sort of clothes were available that would be suitable for the Outward Bound Course. Eventually got measured up for some K.D.s in green and white, and then spent a lot of time looking for jungle boots, with very little success.

Then for makan, and Dad to the Rotary Club, and I ended up locked out of the office, and had to wait until Miss Lau arrived to let me in.

In the afternoon, not much to do for a while, and then Dad decided to get me doing some duplicating, and so off to get 2 reams of the cheapest looking paper I have seen anywhere—looked like bog paper, at $2.00 a ream.

Then back, and tried to pump some of the stuff through the little Gestetner 105, which is a bastard to use, and the Gestetner stencils are not much fun either. I would honestly prefer to operate the offset 200 than this.

Eventually it was all over, and I had cleaned up the copious quantities of mess which had been generated, and off to the Supermarket, where I bought another book, “The L-shaped room”, about a bird turned out of her house by her father because she is pregnant, and lives in this hovel. Finished “The Horsy Set”, which degenerated greatly, and then started this, which is considerably better than the other one.

Early bed—Dad off to Sibu tomorrow.


Thursday, 9 March 1967 Kuching
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Dad off to Sibu this morning, and so I had to get up early with him to take him out to the airport, and I do not trust the roadholding of that Zodiac at the best of times, let alone at the worst, such as now, and it was about 0720 before we arrived at the airport. Had some coffee, and then the plane left, more or less on time. Back home myself, and did not particularly feel like rousing [?] the little girl to get me some breakfast. I must be more careful getting up like this to go out to the airport—this is not the first time I have arrived back to find my fly buttons undone.

Sat at home for a while, reading “The L-shaped room”, and eventually off to the office, where I gave Chye a sketch that Dad had given him [sic], and then worked out Dad's 9×12 column strengths for him—it amuses me that they should be should be stronger here than in Sibu. Then on with the book which is much better than “The horsy set”, which degenerated greatly towards the end. Eventually not much before lunch, finished it, and was then faced with the problem of what to do this afternoon, and decided that I would just have to buy another book, and, as Chye had nothing for me to do, go home and read it there.

Chye wanted me to have lunch with him, and so down with him to the Hong Kong café on the mezzanine floor and had the ordinary makan there. I think I would much rather had had a plate of mee at the open market for 20% of the price, but I suppose I had to let Chye have his due, and in any case, he paid.

Then down to the Rex bookstore and spent 40 minutes walking round trying to chose a book—it worries me of late how long it takes me to decided on sch things. I seem to have lost the ability to make my own mind up. Anyway, I usually end up making a reasonable choice, and this time it was “The Angel in the Corner” by Monica Dickens. Home, where the girl was still working, and blew her up for not making my bed—apparently she had washed the sheets and forgotten to dry them.

Then started on the book, but before I had got very far, it occurred to me that I was very tired, and so quickly went off to sleep, and dozed for half hours at a time, until about 1530. When I next looked at my watch, it was 1735, and Dad had been due to arrive at the airport at 1650, so sped out in that direction with all speed (fortunately the roads were dry) and met him coming back half way, and took him back to the office. Not surprisingly, he was not very happy, and kept saying how he had thought that all sorts of horrible things had happened to me. Eventually back home, after dropping Chye at his hovel, and then had tea.

At about 1850, Dad suggested that, as we were due out for makan at 1900 hrs, we had better get moving, and did so, arriving at the restaurant about 5 minutes before our hosts, and had quite a good makan, even if we did overeat somewhat.


Friday, 10 March 1967 Kuching
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Slept in quite late this morning, not entirely unintentionally, though Dad was rather put out by the fact that neither of us woke up until 0920 hrs, and so quickly up and did the necessaries, and then to the office, where we arrived at about 0950, and I promptly sat down and continued “The Angel in the corner”, into which I have been making great inroads. The weather was lousy, and there was very little else to do, though I find it rather difficult to concentrate on anything sitting there looking out at this rather wonderful site over the Open Market below to the meandering Sungei Kuching to the hills beyond—truly a picture postcard landscape, if ever I saw one. Besides the book is rather depressing—though I like Dickens' way of putting everything down without pronouncing judgement, and assuming that nothing is really wrong, but at the same time letting the actions of the characters leave grave doubts in the mind of the reader.

Michael Wah in later on, and he said he would rather I got my photos of the interior over the weekend, and so we suggested Sunday afternoon as the best possible time, as Sunday morning we are going out in the speedboat—I hope the sun shines—and on Saturday we are going up to second division.

Eventually off, rather late, for lunch, and to MSA to make my place booking and get the ticket, and then had makan, after which checked on my clothes which I was having made at a tailors in India St, and they said they could hurry it up and have them ready by 2030 hrs tonight. Then back upstairs, and changed the back wheels of the car in preparation for the trip tomorrow. I would much rather the easy method of the Citroën than this, which took about 4 times as long.

Back to the office then, and continued with “The Angel in the corner”, which progressed from bad to worse, until the eventual climax, and than God a happy ending, if one was prepared to project beyond the end of the book.

Then Dad got me to do some duplicating for him—he must know I can't stand these Gestetner machines, especially the little 105 to which he keeps referring, much to my irritation, as the “offbeat”, which surely should only be applied to offset machines.

After that, downstairs to return a copy of “Traveller's digest” to MSA, and buy another book, “The Heart of London”, by Monica Dickens. I could not, however, get down to reading it—not, I am sure, because it is boriing, but because I feel there is too much in the last book to digest. It worries me, to say the least.

Home, and had tea, and then out to get my new clothes, and some minyak for the car. The clothes are quite good, and pretty fantastic value at $30 for the lot—one could pay that much in England for a single pair of pants off the hook. More talk about women in the evening, but got a comparatively early night.


Saturday, 11 March 1967 Kuching → Serian → Melugu → Simanggang → Skrang → Kuching
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Up early this morning for our proposed trip, and sort of quickly struggled through breakfast, such as it was, for, as Dad pointed out, we were already almost as we got up, behind schedule. Stopped first at the post office, mainly because Dad thought the prospect of a letter from Jennie might cheer me up (though I was by no means uncheerful). As, however, I had expected, there was no letter from her, and so, with no skin of whatever part of my anatomy is most likely, off in the direction of Serian. It was not raining, but progress was slow to begin with because of the amount of traffic on this lousy road—the only, and best highway in 1st division. These roads are certainly a change from West Malaysia.

As Serian, stopped and took a couple of photos, as well as having some coffee, and as I had not quite recovered from my short sleep last night, let Dad take over the wheel, while I, to Dad's astonishment—for the road is far worse after Serian, without any paving, went to sleep. Woke up with an enormous valley in front of us, and so took a couple of photos, and on to Melugu, where Dad had a cursory look round and got the scheme manager to show me round some of the longhouses nearby, and I got a couple of good (I hope!) photos of these, including a couple of an enormous bag of human (or very near-human) skulls. Fascinating.

Then on to Simanggang, capital of 2nd division, which is little more than a hamlet, despite the Government offices. This place is one of the most sparsely inhabited pieces of arable land I have seen anywhere in the world—the potential for expansion is enormous. Had makan at Simanggang, and then pushed on to Skrang, 34 miles away, and across some terrible roads—the surface so poor that the car cannot even tread properly half the time, and cornering is farcical.

Eventually got to Skrang, where there was little to see. Went into some of Dad's prefab longhouses, by way of comparison, and took a few photos there—I fear that a lot of the character of the longhouse is lost, and they were notably smaller, though more hygienic, and not nearly so dark and dingy. Then Dad took the wheel again, and examined the sites for phase 2, and then off again, and once again I went off to sleep—poor old Dad just does not understand how I do it. Woke up about an hour later and after a while Dad decided that it was about time I relieved him, and thus back to Kuching, though just outside Serian we had a hell of a job getting past a lorry, though by this time the road was surfaced, for he kept right in the middle of the road, damn him. Got so damned annoyed that I bent the spindle of the horn shaft with the result that it took it up of its own accord from time to time.

Eventually back home, and had tea, which dragged on for a long time, mainly because both Dad and I were reading books and could not be bothered to tidy up the mess. Eventually out to the Open market, and had some sweet and sour fish, though I felt a bit guilty about not being able to do justice to it, as Dad is so fond of it


Sunday, 12 March 1967 Kuching → Santubong → Kuching
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Up again today at an early hour, and down for a quite breakfast of the ingredients usual at such times, and then down to Blacksmith Road in the car, to where the boat should have been. It was not; plenty else was happening, but nothing concerning our boat, so off and went to Mr. Chin's house, not far away, and there he was just fixing up the boat, so tied it on the back of the car (fortunately it has a towing flange; otherwise I don't know how we would have made it), and down to the jetty, and with a fair amount of susah, etc, launched the boat and then headed off downstream to Santubong at the mouth of the river, and a long way it seemed—I reckoned on about 8 or 9 miles, and there was plenty to keep us occupied in that time, for there was lots of rubbish floating around in the water, and Dad gave me the warning that they could easily shear off the propellor [sic] if we hit them, and though we had a spare propellor, this was obviously not a very desirable state of affairs.

Eventually got to Santubong and went ashore there, and to a local coffee shop—the place is a hole, and rather different from most towns I have been to because it has no roads. Had a Tiger each at the shop, and then back into the boat and out towards the sea, but Dad got a bit chick because he knew there were rocks in the vicinity, and so landed on an island on the other side of the estuary, and then off again, tried another island, got bogged down in mud, and over to Santubong again, and had another Tiger, and then walked a couple of miles while Dad looked for somewhere private to have a crap—he ought to be careful how much of that All-Bran stuff he eats.

Back to Kuching and tied up the boat until the tide came in, and then home, where Dad managed to find us some eggs to scramble, and had these, along with a couple of heiße Würste, for lunch.

Then along, rather against my will, to the Sekama Road site, where we were supposed to meet Micheal [sic] Wah, but without much success, and so decided to go down and drag the boat in, and then off to Chin's place, and left the boat, and back home. Dad went straight off to sleep, and I sat downstairs reading “The Heart of London”, and then decided this was pointless and joined him, and was out like a light almost before my head touched the pillow.

Woke up at 1810, and got Dad out of bed, as we had arranged to get up at 1800, and got dressed and over to the office, where I watched quite a glorious sunset while Dad tried, to no avail, to contact Mum, and then off to the Sarawak Club to see what they had in the way of a flick, which was “Pepe”. Somehow it just does not seem the same film as it was when it first came out, and we left for makan before it finished. Makan as last week, and we had the rest of the same bottle of wine, before it turned completely to vinaigre.

I was about 12 years old when I first saw “Pepe”. A lot of the difference was probably in me, as I think I thought (but didn't write down) at the time.


Monday, 13 March 1967 Kuching → (-½ hr) Singapore → K.L.
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Up early yet again—at any rate, I am getting in some pretty good training for the Outward Bound course, and will not find this crack of dawn business so difficult. As soon as I got up, of course, I had to pack, and so off downstairs and collected all my stuff together, and finally got all my stuff packed, and so down to eat a couple of cold, congealed fried eggs, and then off to the office, and on the way Dad lost his temper sufficiently with the brakes to bend the whole brake lever, making it more than usually difficult to operate the thing.

Eventually, at the office, contacted Mum, and she sounded none too happy that Eileen was away, and she had to look after the animals, and said that I would have to find my own way back from the airport tonight. Took some photos at the BDCC office, and then off to the airport, where Dad gave me $200, which was not bad payment for my services, and then off to Singapore.

At Singapore, cleared immigration and customs pretty quickly, and put my barang in the cloak room, and then down to Eastern Auto to see the car, and they have not done all that much with it yet, though it seems that what they have done represents the greater part of the labour involved. They showed me how to change the gearbox oil, and then discussed what further I wanted, and was going to stay to meet a bloke who is also doing the trip, in a rather older Citroën than ours, but he did not show up.

Then got them to drop me off at Raffles place, and to the Oriental Emporium to have a look at the little enlarger thing that they had there, which looked quite good, except that I had no idea how to fit a lens on to it. They also suggested that it should have a 9V power source, but I saw no evidence of this. Eventually decided that I had better take the head away, to ascertain if, in fact, it was Leica screw, as I suspected. One fellow had an adaptor [sic] which fitted it to Pentax, but wanted $18 for it, and subsequently I tried a few Leica and Canon lenses, none of which fitted. Eventually bout the adaptor for a short period of time to try out my Super-Takumar on it, and it worked very well—in fact, it is quite bright, and the diffuser is quite mild, followed by two condensers. Bought the enlarger, and then contacted O'Connor's, who assured me that they could supply me with adaptors for only $8, so out there, and got one for $6.40, and then back down to their workshops to see if they could change my top plate, but no go. Back, and disposed of the $18 adaptor—it was, in fact, Pentax—and then off to Nanyang and saw what they were doing with the tape recorder, which was not much, and after a bit off looking round bought a 2× Auto-Soligor [tele]converter, and then off to the airport. Also saw a Krokus 3 enlarger—$180 with 100/4,5. Plane was delayed, late back, and dropped the enlarger at Robert's, and then home.

I suspect that my mother was not supposed to know about the enlarger.

Mum was very pleased to see me, and quite late to bed, after all our talking. Letter from María Cristina del Castillo.


Tuesday, 14 March 1967 Kuala Lumpur
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Well, fair enough, the habit of early rising made me fairly wide awake at 0645 hrs this morning, though I was quite able to quell the effect, and go back to sleep. But after 25 days, starting tomorrow, of getting up at the crack of dawn, what then?

Mum in and started messing around about 0800. I don't know how long it would have taken her to wake me, but in any case, I felt like getting up, and did so, even to the extent of offering to feed the animals. Fortunately, I was spared this ordeal. Then we thought of having something to eat ourselves, and so Mum conjured up a mess of scrambled eggs, which was quite sufficient for my liking. Having coffee, I suggested to her that, as we were due at the Belsham's at 1000 hrs, we had better hurry, as otherwise we were unlikely to make it. Ah, optimist that I am! Eventually she managed to choose a rubbing for Mrs. Belsham, and then off to the office, where she stayed, literally, 5 minutes—I was quite astonished. Work must have slackened off to a tolerable level.

Then took Mum to the facial hair beauty salon, and off to Guy's with the rubbings, and he was out, but had left me a message to the effect that he would be back within half an hour, and that I was to make myself at home. When he got back, I gave Mrs. Belsham the rubbings, and then off town to Bata's to buy some jungle boots—no difficulty at all—and picked up Mum, who promptly made me wait 20 minutes in the Odeon Car Park before I had to take Guy home again, stopping at the Dog for a drink on the way.

Then picked up Mum, and home for lunch, and somehow got from her permission to collect Guy and Robert, and bring them back home, and so off to pick up Guy down the new Kenny Hill Highway, and doing 50 in a Mini beat everything on the road. Why do people move so slowly here? I could have done 85 along there in the Citroën—I can't wait until it is back here again.

Picked up Robert, and then back home, and sat down to have a drink and found out in more detail what trouble Guy had been in, and then decided I that had better do something about developing those photos for CDC, and so got out the Perutz 21, and loaded that into the tank while Robert and Guy went to get the enlarger, and they came back, and we effected a minor repair before I finished developing the film, and made a couple of prints with the enlarger. Quite OK, though a bit dim—I ought to remove the diffuser—and I don't like the masking frame much. I think I shall keep my LPL wherever possible.

Then took Robert back, with instructions to get my Pentax [?] cleaned, and dropped Guy as close to the Dog as I could in the rush hour traffic.

Then home, and picked up Mum, and later she had a business meeting with Tan Sri Nik Kamil, Tengku Ghazali [sic; he spells his name Tengku Razaleigh] and Dato Nachiappan about promoting P.C.B. Damn them—why can't they leave good alone?

This was the beginning of the Resort PCB. Nik Kamil and Razaleigh were part of the plan because the PCB was land reserved for Malays.

Off in the evening to see Phyllis Cumming off to Singapore on the first hop back to Wales. They will never be cumming [sic] back. Packing later on.


Wednesday, 15 March 1967 Kuala Lumpur → Ipoh → Lumut
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Up at about usual time this morning, and sat in bed for a while wondering why the alarm clock did not go off, and came to the conclusion that I probably had not pulled the thing out, and so got up and started preparing for my train journey. God, how I hate trains! Eventually got the remainder of my stuff packed, and more or less carried out my functions between frequent fits of sneezing, and managed to persuade Mum to get me some breakfast, and ascertained that the train left the Station at about 0850, so left thither, after walking into a door, at about 0820, and arrived, rather to my surprise, rather before Guy, and bagged us some space to sit, and then chatted with Mum until the train started to pull out, with all this wonderful adventure ahead of us.

After a while, Guy suggested that we see if any beer was available, so walked, without finding anything, to the other end of the train, and then came back and discovered the next carriage in the other direction was a restaurant car, and so had a booze every hour, which activity also provided us with such things to do as racing our bottles down the table, and throwing them out the window. As we became more mellow, we even considered trying to unhitch the rear portion of the train, and it looked rather difficult while we were in motion, and so we left it. Arrived in Ipoh at about 1300 hrs, more or less on time, and just about managed to down our beers before we got off the train. Found the bus easily enough—not very difficult, as it was the only bus there—and put our bags on it, and were told that we were leaving at 1430 hrs, and so off into town to have some makan, and had some mee soup, as well as the nasi goreng we got on the train. Then looking round the town trying, with very little success, to find a birthday card for Jennie—I shall have to get Mum to choose one, and send it up here for me to send off.

Then along to the station again, and bought a copy they had of “Das Beste aus Readers Digest”, and proceeded to read that on the bus, while they tried to find the last few, and then off at last in the direction of Kuala Kangsar, and I went of to sleep, which I consider a pretty fantastic feat under the conditions, and woke up about 30 miles further on and more or less engaged in conversation with the bloke sitting next to me—a Chinese bloke who told me he was called Sonny. Before too long—in fact far too soon—it became excruciatingly uncomfortable, but it took us about 70 miles to get to Lumut, and eventually got there, and did our best to get in. 4 orang putehs [“white men”] there, and we are divided into 5 watches, Samaritan, Steadfast, Vigilant and a couple of others I can't remember. I am in vigilant, and am reminded that this is the meaning of Greek Γρεγωρ [sic; should be Γρηγόριος], and Guy's is Steadfast. Most of the evening was spent finding out what all our duties are. I have a feeling I will like all this, though not so Guy, who feels like chucking it all.


Thursday, 16 March 1967 Lumut, etc.
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Up this morning at what was, for the moment, the unusual hour of 0600 hrs, though I fear it will become all too familiar in the near future. I suppose by the time I get back to KL, I will not be able to stay asleep after about that time. Anyway, it is, to say the least, rather confusing to get up before the sun, and we cracked dawn round what Mr. Fucker [sic; his name was Tucker, of course, but that's what we called him behind his back] fondly calls his “parade ground” learning how to present the colours (National flag and state flag), and as a result missed our matinal run and swim, which, I feel sure, should be fun when finally we get round to it. Then got down to the fun of cleaning out the pit bogs, which are decidedly unpleasant, as they are pits. To make matters worse, I forgot to clean my hands beforer going in to breakfast, and this put me even further off the terribly grotty stuff we have.

After breakfast, continued with the cleaning up, and then off to parade, as the call it, with about the most cursory inspection I have ever had. Then we were all weighed in—according to this thing I am 6'3", which is about 3" off the end of the scale. Interview with the boss, in which I was made quartermaster for our watch, and then down to launch the whalers. At least things look like being more fun now, even if we did get into a pretty average mess. When we got back, we were given a brief description of the rest of the day's activities, and then left to our own devices until lunch, which was ikan bilis curry and our first good meal since we have been here. After that, plenty of kit to get for each man, and pretty terrible it is too, and also I discovered that the police will not allow us to wear jungle green in the jungles, which is a bloody nuisance, and I wish to hell they had told me first.

The background was the continuing threat of communist terrorists. It wasn't a big threat, but for some reason they seemed to use jungle greens. And that is what I had had made specially in Kuching.

After that, eventually got permission to wear my jungle boots, and then off for a short 7 mile expedition round the nearby jungle, just to se what we were up to, and I was given charge of the compass, which, for what it was worth, was rather fun. Eventually staggered back to the school in probably the quickest time of the 5, despite derogatory comments from various of our instructors. As soon as we got back, we were order to change into our bathing togs, and into the sea for far too short a time, and then back and, apart from the photo of the school, had a fair amount of spare time until the lowering of the colours at 1830 (although Sonny decided to drill us for about 10 minutes before that).

After that, again a bit of spare time in which I found some bog paper and a convenient bush, as I can't stand the bogs, and Guy found one for a smoke.

Lecture on first aid in the evening. Quite good.


Friday, 17 March 1967 Lumut
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And again up at the same time, though this time we had a little variety in that Mr. Allen, who had been entertaining some british soldiers in the small hours of the morning, cam in at about 0520, just as people, for some inexplicable reason, were beginning to get up. It seemed that he and the warden had been unable to sleep owing to the combined noise of some dogs chasing a bitch on heat, and Sonny Khoo shouting out drill orders in his sleep. He appeared baffled that I had slept soundly all night right next to him.

General unsettlement in whatever was happening in the morning, and the next effect was nothing. Supposed to be cleaning out the jambans [toilets] again, but got out of it by preparing packet lunches with Sonny. Interrupted by breakfast, and then back to the kitchen, almost immediately after which to a meeting of captains and ¼ masters with the boss.

After all the inspections and stuff prepared for and down to the boat, where we got about half a ton of equipment, and spent the next half hour to hour paying less and less attention to Mr. Allen fixing the stuff on, and eventually ended up talking to Guy, who was similarly fed up with perambulations. As he said, this place as great as long as you are doing something, but it is really dead when you are not. Still, it does not last too long.

Eventually pushed off, and discovered that I had, mainly by accident, seated myself in the No. 1 oarsman's seat, and so everybody else had to take the time from me. Anyway, we are supposed to take the initiative here, so it will not do me too much harm.

After a while the other blokes had become sufficiently coordinated with me to satisfy Mr Allen, and so we changed over, and I took the tiller, which has, I feel, rather a pleasing feel, or touch: quite heavy, but comparatively firm.

Eventually stopped just off Pangkor Island, but could not land because of rocky surface, and so had makan, and then off under sail to see how to use the things. It is, I thing, rather interesting to see how it is done, and I think it is probably quite possible to work out mathematically what the angle of the boom should be. I do not quite understand the jib, though.

After that, landed on Pangkor a bit south of where we had makan, and filled up our water bottles from a stream nearby. Off again, while Mr. Allen gave us the mizzen mast to mess around. Its main use seems to be to prevent the boat from drifting too far sideways.

Back at school, we were immediately lumbered with “maintenance”, and this involved for Chris, Ali, Harun, and myself the digging up of a 4 ft cube of sand as a rubbish pit and then sat round for a while until the canteen opened.

Usual routine in the evening, and as such scarcely worth mentioning. Lecture was about jungle expeditions.


Saturday, 18 March 1967 Lumut
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And yet again up at the same time, but this time, instead of all the messing around on the parade ground, went off straight to the athletics field, and roused [?] that twice. These Asians do not seem to be up to much athletically—Guy and I came first, with the rest of the school about 50 yds behind us.

That's really saying something. I have never been athletic.

Then in for a dip. I wish to hell they would let us in for more than about 1½ minutes—how can one enjoy that?

Up then again, and for the third day running had cleaning out the bogs. I am finding it more and more difficult to get out of this odious chore, and I suppose I will soon have to submit and clean one or two of the things out. Karam [?]

Captains' and quartermasters' meeting, with Mr Khaw (or something), with no points raised, and then off to inspection, and all the preparation which that entails, and then off, eventually, down to the boat shed to learn a few things about the operation of a canoe, and discovered pretty soon that there is more to a canoe than meets the eye, and first we were taught how to get into the thing in deep water—all this aquatic training is not helped much by the fact that half the watch cannot swim. Did a bit of paddling round with Rahim in front of me, and spent the rest of the time getting a suntan, as well as another splinter.

Up for lunch, and arrived a little late for a nasi goreng,. I must confess either the standard of food in this place is going up, or I am getting used to it, either being extremely convenient.

After lunch, had a bit of spare time, which I spent doing my best to wash some clothes, and despite the fabulous Fab laundry bar, did not get very far. Then down yet again to the boat shed—that place must be over a mile away, and I am getting sick of marching to and from it all the time.

Down at the boat sheds again, did all the myriads of necessary preparations for launching the launch, and then off, yet again, to sea, this time (not surprisingly) on the launch, and were shown the operation of the motor (which appeared to be a 3 cylinder diesel job), which, apparently, was considered difficult.

Then off to the Dindings river, various people taking the tiller and the engine, and learning the whistle code, while the rest of us scraped paint off the ship with lumps of coral.

Eventually back and put the boat away, while Syed, our instructor, told us that women don't have balls between their legs. Then back, and fortunately, arrived too late for maintenance. I can't wait until this course is over. Compared notes with Guy until lowering of the colours, while we discussed the possibility of going to church this morning, and thus getting out of some of the routine. It looks as if we will be allowed to.


Sunday, 19 March 1967 Lumut
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Palm Sunday

Up yet again at 0600, only today this was somewhat unusual, as apparently on Sundays we are normally entitled to sleep in until the fantastically late hour of 0700 hrs. Up, and almost as soon as I started washing, in came Ali Hassan and tried to wash his pants in the basin. Got a bit fed up with it, and shoved him back, and he nearly stood on a centipede. When I pointed it out to him, he nearly jumped a mile.

Usual after that. Before our dip, it was announced that we could go to a [church] service if we wanted to, but we would have to find our own way to church. Checked up with Guy, and we decided to leave by foot at about 0730 and hitch if we could. Accordingly had an early breakfast, and off. After walking about 20 minutes, a car came along, and stopped at our thumb, and went into Sitiawan, where we found the church, with a service going on in it, and then found a bog behind a coffee shop. After that, had some food, and shared a beer, and along to the catholic church, which was the only one with a service, and stayed there long enough to get our palm fronds before going back to have another beer, and further back to the school.

At school, nothing of much consequence was going on, and I was shoved in for maintenance, after which had a bit of athletics to do, and rather surprised myself by doing the 880 in 2 min 50 seconds, and coming first in the group (even if just by 1 second). Then back for makan—boy, was I dripping with sweat—and the usual preparations therefor.

After makan, the whole school had to go around the obstacle course, and it seems that Vigilant were the only watch which had not done it before. Accordingly the 3 other watches present at the time went round, and then came our turn. All these obstacles look pretty harmless—and some of them are: I got over a wall without the help from another bloke that I should have got—but some of them are funtentically [?] difficult. Got back, and there was no water to cool us down, as Adventure had been busy cleaning out the water tank.

After getting some drinks from the canteen, off down to the beach, where we had to proved that we could swim, which was rather difficult after the obstacle course, but did it, and then sat round talking to Guy about cars while Mr. Allen taught the others how to swim.

After that wrote a letter to Jennie, and then with Guy to the Warden's house, and asked him if he would like us to tune up his Morgan car for him (I think it is a 4/4—looks like an MG TC or TD).

In the evening, lecture from Mr. Allan on first aid instead of concert practice. That bloke goes on for hours.


Monday, 20 March 1967 Lumut
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Oh, these early morning wake-you-ups really get me down. Admittedly, you need them to wake you up properly, and I might even get in the habit of carrying on with them when I get back to K.L., and life is not so strenuous. This morning, Mr. Allan decided to take us and made us to some P.E. as well, just to make us more exhausted. The net effect, however, is the same: after the thing, I get so bloody exhausted that it is difficult to carry on after that.

After that, duty 1, which makes a change from cleaning out the bogs, but it is much more work, as we had to lay the table and wash up for the whole school. To make matters worse, when, after inspection, when I got back to the dormitory from the galley, old Kwan and turned out my scob [locker], saying that it was like a “bloody lavatory”.

Nothing to do then, as we had to go down to the boat sheds, and there messing around with prams (or is it praams? That is the way they spell it here, but then I don't think they are very good orthographers). Apart from the fact that only one of the 3 boats was big enough for me to fit in, and the rowlocks are badly designed so that the oars keep slipping out of them, the things are great fun. Lost one of my oars out near the BC II, and the others were baffled when I managed to retrieve it.

After that, back for lunch, and there had again to set the table. At least 2 watches were out for the whole day, so we did not have that problem to contend with. However, washing up is still a lengthy process, whichever way you look at it.

Then down again with Mr. Kwan, this time to the athletics field, where he loosened us up first before sending us up the 100 yds, which I did in 14,0 seconds (good for me, considering it is less than half as much again as the world record, or I think it is). Then a few bouts of throwing things about, in which I made a lousy showing. Old Kwan can put the shot further than I can throw the javelin (well, nearly). Anyway, I consider it all a waste of time, brought over from the time when the Greeks had these things as a warm up to their homosexual practices.

After that, anyway, we had to go round the obstacle course yet again. This thing is getting more difficult every time, and today I was pretty exhausted after the set [?].

Then in for a swim, and then Kwan left us to play around, and I left the others to their childish games, and after that Kwan pulled us out, and up to the school, where we managed to get out of maintenance, which I think ends today anyway.

After that, talking with Guy for a while. We are both getting completely fed up now.


Tuesday, 21 March 1967 Lumut (OBS) → Kampong Bharu → OBS
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Oh, God, how depressing this 0600 hrs rising becomes! It makes it worse when, as was the case this morning, I am in the middle of a dream about Jennie when I am upwoken, and I think the reason is that, in my heart of hearts, I am by no means reconciled with the idea of getting up so early, and consequently am still in the middle of the most pleasant dreams at such times. Still, I wonder how many dreams have been dreamt and then forgotten, because I have not been sufficiently conscious to remember them. This morning, to make matters worse, Syed was peed off about something or another, and vented his wrath on us helpless inmates, bu making us run 4 times round the track, which I calculate to be damn nearly a mile.

After that, back at the school—the organisation of this place is terrible: we have been here for 6 mornings, and 5 times we have done duty 2. Today I had the job of cleaning out the bogs, which I think is a bit nasty, but set to it with something approaching a will. Old Kwan never takes more than a fleeting glance, anyway—not that I blame him!

Pep talk from Allan—he is a bit fed up with the marks Vigilant has been getting of late. Letter from Mum arrived, but no time to read it properly—something about the photos for CDC.

Down to the boat shed for the day-long canoe expedition, which was to take a course of 18 miles, and fairly quickly set off, with Rahim bowing for me—not very convenient, in fact, for he is not a very good paddler, and kept veering to the side in which I was paddling, and every so often he stopped for a breather. We all did on the other side of the Dindings river, and gathered lots of shells, which Mr. Hertzlett vows are edible—I am not quite convinced, but gathered quite a few on the off chance.

Up then to Kampong Bharu, 9 miles away from the boat sheds, passing the country's famous flour mill on the way, and by the time we reached Kampong Bharu we were obviously exhausted. In fact, I was quite convinced that we would never get back. Arrived about 1230 hrs, had makan, and a short sleep, and then back, leaving at about 1400 hrs. Past the flour kill, I thought we would never make it, and we slipped right back, and stayed even behind Ng and Chin until we hit the river mouth, where there was a pretty strong current and heavy waves, and so we gave of our best, and forged ahead, and landed on the other side to bail water. Finally got back 2nd—the currents for the last 3-4 miles were about 4 knots against us.

After getting back (at about 1825—missed colour parade) did little. Too exhausted in any case.


Wednesday, 22 March 1967 OBS
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Up at the usual time—at least I am getting used to it. Today, fortunately, it was not so bad—Captain Shamshuddin was taking us, and sent us only once round the course, and decided that the tide was too low to swim, and so sent us away to have a shower, without first having had a swim.

Usual there, and today, for a change, doing duty 2 again, and I was given a shower room instead of 3 bogs—life is possibly getting better, and in any case, I had enough time left over to wash (badly) some of my clothes. Of late, I am getting must more and more exhausted.

After that, in to breakfast. Than God I am finally getting used to the food they serve for breakfast—or at any rate, am getting more able to stomach it.

After breakfast, in the quiet room, and there read a bit, and back to the dormitory, all the time keeping an eye out to see if the office was going to open so that I could get some money out. No go, however, so down, still broke, to the boat sheds, the idea being to learn to sail in these little GP14 things, and the still smaller Heron. However, we had a fantastic amount of setting the thing up to do, and so all others were way out of sight before the boats were even set up. Then we were prevailed upon to bring the Whaler in, as it was leaking badly, and it was a hell of a job to haul it ashore. Then, finally, out in one of the GP14's, which brought back memories of nearly a year ago, and Jennie in particular, because the sails were made in Cowes, I.O.W.. Oh, how I miss Jennie now! If ever one was in need of transubstantportation [sic], it is now: what I would do to be with Jennie now!

Did little after that—just messing around near the boat sheds, and then had lunch, which, for a change, was bee hoon, but which was not improved much by the bananas (already peeled) placed in them.

After that waited around until Syed came back, for my part watching a hermit crab, and then off to sea again with Ali Hassan and little Syed, and did nothing much except lose my hat and balance (bloody nearly). Then hopped in the other GB14 [sic] with Sonny, and round a couple of times again. I have still quite a bit to learn about all this.

Out eventually, and saw the Bursar messing around with a couple of girls on the BC II, which annoyed me greatly, as I had had to get my money from him. Went and asked Kwan whether I would be able to get my money tonight, he said no, we had a good old argument, and I went back to the school furious.

Eventually, to my great surprise, collected my money from the bursar—my argument must have helped somewhat. Withdrew all my money while I was at it.


Thursday, 23 March 1967 OBS → Pangkor Island → OBS
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Oh, the depression of getting up every morning at 0600 hrs! I wish to God we could, just for 15 odd times, be spared the monotony of it all walking twice round the games fields, and wetting one's legs in the muddy, muddy sea. My bathing togs have developed a hole in about the worst possible position, in any case.

Preparations in hand for today's trip to Pangkor Island, and these were quite extensive. One can see the pace of the course hotting up—they never really let up; every day it gets harder, and I believe from Thug (Mr. Kwan) that the climax is the 30 mile expedition. That should be fun. Guy and I have been amusing ourselves in what few spare moments we have working out nicknames for a all the staff. These are the ones with which we have come out: Fucker for Tucker, Thug for Kwan, Rasputin for Shamshuddin, Snide for Syed, Horseshit for Hertslett, and Bulled Head for Mr. Allan.

Off eventually to the boat sheds for our ferrying across by launch, and while we were waiting, were revisited by Rasputin to drag is whaler onto the shore, so that he could recement it. Fair enough, I suppose—we are going off for Whaler II in it tomorrow.

Then over to Pangkor Island in the launch (I believe it is called the Philip Morris—bloody stupid name fr a boat in a school where we are not allowed to smoke). Landed at Kg. Sg. Pinang Kechil (I don't suppose there is much point in writing all this in too much detail—what should have happened is all down in my log book [which is long since lost]), and made for Pangkor Village, where we changed course, and walked across the island to Pasir Bogak, which is apparently the tourist centre of the place. Then started the climbing, which was hell—Thug kept up a thundering pace, and I was not the only one who could not keep up with him. In fact, Liew was sick halfway up the first (and worst) hill, and so had to rely on Tham to support him on the way back. The hills after that were quite easy—the scenery is quite beautiful. Met the other party about ⅔ way along, and then walked down to the stream where we went to on the 17th to get some water, and had some makan (bloody awful) and a rest while we were at it.

After that, on again back to KSPK, where we had a drink in a coffee shop, and then waited a) for the launch, after the arrival of which b) Samaritan watch, which took more than half as long again as did we.

After that, back to the school, and saw Guy there with a shirt and a dirty great “ME” written on it—bloody funny. After a while, up to the main school, and did nothing of much importance there. Got Bullet head to remove an ingrown toenail for me after colour parade.

Poor old Sunny—he gets worked up about the most inconsequential things, and offered to clobber me for calling him a silly bastard. I wish he showed me the same consideration as I showed him.


Friday, 24 March 1967 OBS → Allan Bay → Pasir Bogak
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Oh, this early morning uprising is really a farce (or a fart, as Ian Whatsit in Adventure watch seems to prefer to say). This morning was no exception, and we waited around for about 20 minutes before Rasputin finally saw fit to roll up and send us for his usual course round the fields and no dip—may the blessing of Allah be upon him! After that, talking to Sunny. He is still rather worried about me calling him a bastard last night (and countless other times), and in fact went to see Kwan last night and let him into the picture. I then reiterated my statement using the evidence of his action as further proof, and he apparently saw my reasoning. Te see Kwan nevertheless, and the usual racket formula (to be used when you don't feel strongly enough about a subject to think of anything else to say), but he did q say that he thought I was, of late, becoming a better sort of bloke to know. That was nice of him.

The usual matinal routine after that, rather lessened [?] by the fact that 4 of the 5 watches were preparing to overnight away from school, and eventually, after the “Balis” (as Ian W. put it) had observed the raising of the colours, off down to the boat sheds to launch Rasputin's whaler for the 3rd time this course. It really is in bad shape—there is a 15° kink in the mizzen mast, and, despite what Guy and his friends did the other day—when not adorning their clothes with aluminium paint, the thing still leaks like a sieve, especially around the centre board.

Set off nevertheless, and, of course,there was no wind, and so took 20 minute turns to row. All this is not helped much by the fact that Rasputin has somewhat different orders from Bulltehead. Eventually, after about 75 minutes, landed at Allan Bay, named, apparently, in honour of Bulltehead in the north-western side of Pangkor, where I saw some rather mediocre coral and the finest, whitest sand I have ever seen on a beach. Landed there at 1120 hrs, and everybody started having lunch, and I even I succumbed (although the makan was terrible), after about 20 minutes. I have a theory that anything eaten out of a mess tin tastes twice as bad as out of a plate, especially if, as yesterday, you have been following it up hill and down dale for 12 miles. Still, I managed to keep most of it down, buried the rest, and by 1235 we were off again, taking a very erratic course to Pasir Bogak, where we have not been since yesterday, which is about 3 miles away. Arrived at about 1505, closely followed by Bullet head with Samaritan watch, and then got them to help us ground our whaler (fortunately it was high tide), and then bailed it out and let Rasputin and Ali Hassan get to with the blow torch that Rasputin had brought with him. Meanwhile, we had the problem of setting up the tents—what audacity is needed to call them that!: they are just plastic sheets for the top, raincoats for the ground sheet, and any old jungle wood for the rest. After a not-very-successful attempt at one for Sunny Chin and myself, I decided it would be too small for the lot of us, eyed some nearby rocks with intent, and then over after makan to contemplate the sins of the world. Back later on to get myself some cocoa, and ended up talking to members of Samaritan watch, next to us, who seem to be a load of queers.


Saturday, 25 March 1967 Pasir Bogak → OBS
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Woken up at 0000 hrs by Syed Mat Zain for my turn at guarding the camp, for what use that was, and so over to sit by the fire, for, rather surprisingly, it was quite cold. Accordingly sat down there for a couple of hours, interrupted only by such things as Bullet head asking for a pen, and lawyer from Samaritan, asking me to come over for a secluded midnight swim. Declined, and back pretty snappily at 0200 hrs when my watch finished, to discover that the tide had cut me off from my rocks, and had to wade through several feed of water, which left my pants wet for the rest of the night, much to my annoyance.

Finally was woken up (the first time this course after dawn) at 0630 hrs by people shouting at me from the mainland (which is a stupid thing to call any part of an island), and so over for breakfast, and despite my request, Liew had made the tea with milk and sugar, claiming that it had to be done, as the latter ingredients would not dissolve.

After that, a second emergency patch up job on the whaler, which was, if anything, leaking worse, and then set out for the sea—we apparently had to go round Pulau Pangkor Laut, no trouble, as the winds were quite good. Went to sleep as my crossed over [?], and woke up about an hour and a half later, and after a while it was decided that the wind had subsided sufficiently to require rowing, and so rowed, took a turn at the tiller (this was the best, as the biscuits had just been passed around, and Rasputin was sharing out the rest with me), and then back to rowing.

Eventually headed for lunch at a little bay, where, apparently, the treaty of Pangkor had been carved in rock in 1743, and honoured it by urinating on it.

In fact, the treaty was signed in 1874.

Had lunch at the same time—these blokes have no idea of how to cook rice.

Then set off again towards school, and left at 1330, after which Rasputin seemed to remember that we were not allowed to return to school before 1600 hours, and as the boat sheds were less than 2 miles away, quickly thought of a few manoeuvres to do up and down the Dindings Channel, and so off again to sleep (there was plenty of wind, and thus no need to sail).

After I upwake, noticed Mr. Allen's whaler (which we had left a long way behind) and the Burong Chamar [spelling?] II (presumably with the women on it) heading back, and so joined them, and, after tidying up, rolled up at the School at only 1640. Guy was nevertheless back, having followed Thug at his monstrous pace for 30 miles over the past couple of days, and was consequently exhausted. Before I had much chance to do anything, the warden pounced on me and asked me to make a paper boat for his daughter, but soon found the bursar to be more adept, and so left Guy and me to eat, and me to have my toes looked at by Bullet head, whom I have asked to get me a birthday card for Jennie. I chose the right bloke: he is looking one [sic] for his son (birthday tomorrow—same say as Jenny Paton). Films in the evening—waste of time.


Sunday, 26 March 1967 OBS
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Easter Day

Oh, luxury of luxuries! This morning we were actually allowed to sleep in until the fantastically late hour of 0700hrs—which seem to be late enough for everybody in the school except Guy and me, who still thought it too early for weekdays.

In for the treatment of my right little toe, which is septic, and thanks to Horseshits' minstrations came out feeling worse than when I went in, as well as being under orders to get a shave, as I looked, according to him, like a Viet Cong guerilla—except, as I should have pointed out, I was not allowed to wear jungle green. Had a shave, but for the moustache, which, however, looks pretty feeble on its own, and then off to find Guy and converse with him until approached the time for inspection, and after that raising of the colours, during all of which I was longing for Liliane—I suppose she is back in Malaysia by now.

After that, off to the athletics field, where we waited our turns to run the 880, and so off I set with great hopes, had an attack of asthma which lasted a couple of hours, an did the thing in 2 mins 52 seconds—what a waste of time.

While I was waiting to recover, coërced Liew to join Chee and me and go down to the Boat Sheds, or rather to Thug's house, and chop down a tree. Back up, had a shower, and then read a bit of “The Heart of London”, though it seemed out of place after so long a lapse.

After makan, sat about with Guy examining some army blokes whom Fucker had apparently called in to drag in the boat grounded near his house. After that, back to school, after a quick dip down to the beach for Guy to have a smoke, and then off to the games fields again for the field events. As I have already done the shot twice, I only had to throw the javelin about a couple of times, and then sit round doing my best to acquire a sun tan, and afterwards even went as far as to beg exemption from the obstacle course on grounds of my asthma, as well as the fact that I was feeling bloody weak, and unable to complete the thing.

After that, in for a swim, with the tide about as high as it has been since we have been here, and then back to the school for a shower, considering all sorts of plans for leaving this place, and discussed them with Guy. But I ask you [whom?]—what is the use of staying on when asthma prevents you from completing the course?

After that, sat around discussing the 4 day expedition—Guy and I bout intend to go on Burong Chama II [the yacht], despite what language Fucker may be wont to use.

In the evening down for a crap on the beach, and then concert rehearsal, which was a farce. In the evening, walked into Lumut after lights out with Guy and there had a couple of drinks. Boy, does beer taste good after all this time!—and met a couple of sailors, whom we told we had hitched from London, and got an offer of a bed on the “Bretwalde”.


Monday, 27 March 1967 OBS → Pangkor (around) → OBS
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I suppose that little expedition of ours last night was a mistake—I certainly thought so this morning at about 0555 hrs, when the lights went on, and I felt paralysed. Up nevertheless, by some fantastic stretch of my endurance—I suppose this does one good by ensuring that one goes on under any conditions. Guy was also not feeling very happy, mainly because his sprained ankle (his reminder of the 880 yesterday, though at least he got an honour (2"29")) had not been helped at all by the expedition, and he had to give up the run as a bad job.

After breakfast, had my foot attended to again, and then off to read a rather inspiring story in „Das Beste aus Readers Digest“ about a Christmas eve (1941) in the No-Man's-Land between the German and the Allied troops.

Then down to the boat sheds, and saw a girl going past in a car, and swear that she was Anna Ruszkowska—she smiled at me, too.

I mentioned Anna on 7 January 1967, where I spelt her name Rußkowska. That could be a word play. Ruszkowska sounds more plausible.

Then bade farewell to Guy, who is off on Whaler II today, which doubtless he will find boring enough to be able to ketch up in his sleep.

We, however, had a real live ketch, and, rather to my chagrin, Syed came along as well, and spent about 10 minutes trying to launch a rather large boat to get out there in. When we finally got out there, Fucker was already there, and quickly got down to business and told us what he expected of us, and gave us dire warning that we would catch the sharp end of his tongue if we did not carry out his instructions. Thus off under diesel (I presume) power, and had a fair conversation going with Fucker about the finer points of navigation, in which he also explained that yesterday's high tide was the highest in the year—that is fortunate; if it were not, the highest would flood the obstacle course, boat sheds, and Fucker's house. Around Pangkor gradually, anticlockwise, and before too long were sent down five at a time for lunch. I am, as was Syed, baffled by the speed with which everybody bolted their food—I think they were scared of being in the cabin for too long. After that, carried on talking to Fucker, who told me a bit more about Boris Wilson [my English teacher from King's College], including a few things that I did not know, such as the fact that for 1 course he taught at the Eskdale (I think) Outward Bound School, and set up a still in Fucker's room (he was also there). Apparently Boris is an expert brewer.

Around Pangkor gradually—I was given the wheel for a while, and it is certainly a difficult job in low wind. Meanwhile, Fucker was complaining about not having some piece of rigging essential to the use of a spinica [sic; should be Spinnaker], and so on. Complimented me on my steering, which rather pleased me, especially as he gave me another go afterwards, and nobody else was entrusted therewith.

Despite reports I have heard, he swore very little, though apparently he put off all the other members of our watch from applying for it as first choice. I am quite keen on it now.

Dead tired in the evening, and nothing to do, as Guy was away. Did my vest to dye my jungle boots black—hope it is OK. Bloody tired in evening—to sleep at 2130.


Tuesday, 28 March 1967 OBS → Damar Laut → OBS
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And on drags the happy (or not so happy) monotony of life, and so little is happening that it is hardly worth keeping a record of it. Of late, the fact that Guy is not about does not help much, either.

After the usual in the morning, which I had to miss somewhat owing to chafed legs, which fortunately cleared up somewhat afterward. Then duties 1 & 3, as there were only 2 watches at school, and had to clean up up the front of the school. Got a bit of a blowing up from Kwan after breakfast for not helping wash up, another for wearing my black jungle boots, and more or less another for not taking the book at the colour parade—I was reading the talk of the day. Sunny told me that he was dumbfounded when I read it off word perfect from memory.

Then off alone by foot for Lumut, taking exactly the same route as we took the day before yesterday in the evening.

After arrival at Lumut—and this took a hell of a long time, because people like Ng Cheng Sing just cannot move faster than about 2 mph.—reported at the police station informing them of what harebrained scheme we were doing, and then across on the ferry to Damar Laut, and then a rather long walk to the 64½ milestone (from Taiping), where we messed around and finally started up as steep a hill as I have seen in a long time, and was quite convinced that it was the one we had to climb, until I took a compass bearing. On, ever on, and eventually up to the tiny station where we had lunch, despite my (admittedly rather misguided) protests, and then set off down again in the opposite direction, though some very thick jungle and then through a sort of swamp, where we found more leeches than I would have cared for, and managed to get the thing off with some patent chinese oil, which, however, made the thing bite me again in its death throes. Saw several others approaching me, but none quite made the grade.

Eventually out of the jungle, and to Damar Laut, where we made up for not enough drinking water by drinking far too much F&N pop, horrible stuff that it is—why can't they let us drink a daily glass of beer here? It does no harm, after all.

Back over to Lumut, reported to the Police again, and then off at a snail's pace as usual, to the school. After climbing over a hill (it was high tide) off to the school along the path. So faster was I than the rest that I gave them a five minute rest, and caught up with them in another 6.

After getting back, comparing notes with Guy, who has spent the last two days doing whaler II, and decided that the 3 day expedition would have to be BC II first choice, Whaler second. I hope I get on the BC II.

Into town again in the evening, and got fairly pissed in the process, which made a pleasant change from the usual.


Wednesday, 29 March 1967 OBS → Kg Pandok
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Oh, the morning after the night before—not that I had a hangover or such like, but when one only gets in the order of 5½ hours sleep, it is not surprising that one should be tired. Besides, my health seems not so good as when I arrived.

After the usual in the morning, Bullethead called me into to [sic] quiet room and blew me up for not being cooperative enough—I suppose he is right, though it is difficult to cooperate with these blokes. A think he said that rather puzzled me, and did not please me very much, was that Guy and I appeared out to stir up as much shit as possible. Warden also passed a ruling that nobody might wear jungle boots, which did not greatly please Horseshit with his bleached ones.

Thence off to Lumut by our well-worn way, and stopped a while trying to work out the way we had to go, and eventually up to the Police Barracks and beyond into probably the most terrible hill in the area, Bukit Ungku Busu, which has a beautifully well-defined track right up to the top (over 1000 ft), with a gradient of about 2 in 1. Had an attack of asthma rather less than half way up, and was seriously considering going back, and thence up again, slowly and very laboriously—nor was it much easier going down the thing, it was so steep.

Eventually ended up in a rubber plantation, which seems to be the only alternative to jungle round here, and then, after a bit of deliberation—in my moment of weakness, I handed Sunny the compass, and he obviously has some difficulty using the thing, or correlating it with the map—off to the main road, leading the school, and stopped at a little mosque substitute, which Ali Hassan tells is called a Madarasah (Kg. Padang Tembak), and of course, some water was provided. I gather the main difference between a masjid and a madarasah is that the latter is on stilts and the former not.

In fact, a Madrasah (current spelling) is a type of educational institution. But the word is used to describe this kind of place.

Thence along the road to Batu [milestone] 64, where we headed straight into the jungle, and up—always to the top of these hills, it seems. In any case, I fared better on this one (883 ft), only a little better than Ungku Busu, though I felt a bit better going down, apart from the fact that my pants were chafeing [sic] me.

Eventually came down near a quarry, having narrowly missed more leeches, and Syed decided that we might as well camp there for the night, mainly, I think, because he had a friend living nearby. Anyway, pitched our tent-substitutes near a rubber plantation, with plenty of mosquitoes and buffalo flies to feed off us, and as rough a surface as I have slept on. Besides, cooking our rice individually in our own mess times did not make for the best brew, especially as every time we fanned our fires, grit and sand got into the rice.

The watch arrangements (due to me) were convenient, as it ensured that no tent was full for more than 2 hours. Early night to make up for last night.


Thursday, 30 March 1967 Kg. Pundok → OBS → Lumut →
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Up at 0400 this morning—before even the rubber tappers—for my watch, and for a while sat about watching Ng, who was scrambling about feeding the campfire with leaves, and (one would expect) wondering why they burnt away so quickly. Eventually got a bit bored of watching him, and so went and gathered some wood myself—there was plenty of it about. After that, I must confess, he followed suit, though nothing I could do could persuade him not to put everything he collected directly on the fire.

Syed Mat Zain appeared at about 0545, for what purpose I am not sure, nor did I stay to find out, since I was tired, and they only needed 2 people on the watch.

After that, woke up again at about 0640, and got up, got some oats, and made myself a small quantity of porridge for the first time since I left school, and then tried to make some tea, with little success. Then got some more water, and did my best to cook some rice, which, apart from a rather liberal quantity of grit, was more or less OK.

Off then in the direction of a swamp and the coast, and little real climbing, though I was feeling pretty shitty, and could not really enjoy what should have been enjoyable scenery—besides, the sun was too hot.

After climbing over some rocks, had lunch in an abandoned stall in Telok Batak, which was terrible—my own fault, since I did not de-grit my mess tin before putting it in my Rucksack. Old Liew lost his temper with me for taking my beans before everybody else—why, I do not know, but it was rather amusing hearing him at his terms of abuse.

Then off again, and to climb a hill of 923 ft, right next to the 883 we did yesterday, and I was at the utmost state of exhaustion—in fact, Inche Syed thought that he would have to make up his mind whether to carry me up or down. Got bitten by a leech however, and my instinct for self-preservation triumphed, and so I set off again trying to do my best, and made it easily up to the top of the hill—or fairly easily, in Ali Hassan's track, and then down almost all the way to the 883 which we did yesterday.

After that, down all the way to the road, the way we came up yesterday, and en route made up with Liew, who apparently regretted his action anyway.

Back, very slowly, to school, where Allan (Bullet head) heard about my asthma, and sounded rather concerned about it—I might get out of the 30 mile expedition yet. Letter and parcel from Mum and Dad, and quite encouraging news.

Off to Lumut again in the evening, bought some cigars, and were tracked by a little Tamil alcoholic. When we got back, the warden had been around, and whipped all our belongings, so off to the main road to leave the ...


Friday, 31 March 1967 OBS → Sitiawan → Ipoh → K. Kangsar → OBS Images for 31 March 1967
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place as quickly as possible, and in the general direction of Sitiawan and civilisation, with an eye to getting a lift in that direction. Boy: if roads in England are dead by night, these have to be seen to be believed. In the whole hour, the only motor vehicle going our way was a taxi, which did not even stop.

My recollection, which I'm pretty sure is correct, is that in fact many cars went by, but we (correctly) identified them from the school and hid in monsoon drains. We were rather proud of not being caught.

Eventually made it to Sitiawan by foot, and lay down on the local equivalent of a park bench, and wen to sleep on it while Guy tried to work out how to be comfortable on it. Woken up again at 0500, and tried to get a lift, and eventually with an old Sikh in the direction of Ipoh, stopping at Ayer Tawar for a bit of breakfast. On the way down in the lorry (which was open, and at this time of the morning rather cold), discussed what we would do. I was more or less intent on getting down to K.L. to see Liliane again, but Guy was worried about his parents, so rang Fucker from Ipoh, and, strange to say, he was not at all annoyed, and wanted us to return post haste, and so rang up Mum (whom he had contacted, and greatly worried), and made it up with her, and then to the Station Hotel for a decent breakfast,


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Diary entry for Friday, 31 March 1967

 

and at the same time bought a couple of more recent motoring magazines than the ones they have here.

Back to school, first lift taking us to Kuala Kangsar. I always feel guilty going to sleep in a fellow's car, but today we had no choice, as we were so tired.

From K.K., on, after finding the route, and got a Peugeot which took us to Bruas, where we left it, and were again picked up by it a few minutes later on, and back all the way to the school, where we arrived just about in time for lunch—only 2 watches and the frigid atmosphere would have frozen a polar bear. Pushed off after that, and recovered our belongings, and did what we could with them in our semi conscious state, and to see the Warden about BC II, and down to the boat sheds to help set the boat up—quite a few preparations in hand, and a lot of cleaning—course 120 must have been the lousiest course on record.

Back, after helping Rasputin load some food into a pram, and then had a shower and lay down on my bed, sufficiently recovered not to want to go to sleep, and read my magazines—Citroën did not too badly in the Monte, though not as badly as last year.

It's not quite clear what this means. The previous year Citroën had won the rally.

Then briefing with the Warden about BC II, and I was put in command of the Starboard Watch, rather to my surprise, but also to my pleasure, and all our details were given. I think I will enjoy this.

This little escapade of Guy's and mine is the talk of the school—even the Warden is quoted to have said that it showed initiative, which is a good sign here.


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