Month: May 2013

Gespräche mit J.C. auf Deutsch 19: 31. Mai

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Jede Woche treffe ich mit meinem Freund JC, mit wem ich Deutsch lerne. Unser Zweck ist Deutsch zu üben und wir besprechen immer verschiedene Themen. Diese Blog handelt von unserer Gespräche. Bevor jedes Gespräch bereiten wir jetzt ein bisschen.  Wir gebrauchen ein Buch, dass kategorisiert Worten nach Thema, aber wenn wir ein Wort nicht kennen, benutzen wir auch ein Wörterbuch.

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Sind wir verrückt? Heute sprechen wir über Religion, die ist ein sehr schwieriges Thema. Aber zuerst sprachen wir über JCs Urlaub in Frankreich. Er hat mit seiner Frau gereist, und sie wurden in einem Bauernhaus unterbringen. Es war in der Nähe von Champagner, aber sie hat nur ein bisschen getrunken. Ihrer Wirt hat einen Weinberg mit 1000 Quadrat Metern von Rebe, und trinkt selbstgemachten Wein. JC spricht Französisch, aber seine Frau hat nicht die Verpflichtung diese Sprache zu lernen. Sie mieteten auch ein Auto, das natürlich hat das Lenkrad auf der gegenüberliegenden Seite als in England oder Malaysia. Er wurde meistens nicht verwirrt, ohne wenn gelegentlich er drehen mussten.

Und jetzt, Religion und Ethik. Wir haben einverstanden, dass um die Welt die Leute meistens ehrlich und gut sind. In Vietnam sind zu viele Leute unehrlich, und man muss sehr vorsichtig sein. Wenn man nicht sorgfältig ist, betrügen sie ihn.  Jedoch, in Malaysia glauben wir, dass die Leute besonders ehrlich sind, und ein gutes Gewissen haben. Ist es weil es gibt so wenige Gerichte, die Unehrlichkeit entmutigt? Ist es der Einfluss der Religion? Wir wissen nicht.

Hier gibt es viele Religionen: Der Islam, der Buddhismus, der Hinduismus, das Christentum, das Judentum (obgleich Wikipedia schreibt, dass nur zwei Juden Malaysian Reisepässe halten.) Hier gibt es auch viele Rassen. Ist es tolerant hier? Ganz tolerant, obwohl die Politiker Religion und Rasse als eine Strategie von teile und herrsche verwenden.

Es ist schwierig, mit Muslimen sozial mischen, da Muslime keinen Alkohol trinken müssen.  Und hier ist der Islam sehr streng. In anderen Ländern trinken Muslime Alkohol, manchmal nur zu Hause, manchmal in der Öffentlichkeit – es hängt von dem Land. Übrigens, habe ich neulich eine Forschung gelesen, die hat gesagt, dass Leute die trinkt Alkohol,  länger als Leute die trinkt nicht, leben.  Viel länger.

Und vielleicht ist der Islam so streng hier, weil die Wahabi aus Saudi-Arabien Geld gegeben haben. Wir wissen nicht, was Pflichten die Muslime haben. Müssen sie fromm sein? Sie sollen fünf mal pro Tag beten. Sie müssen folgen Ramadan. Sie essen zwischen Morgen-und Abenddämmerung nicht. In Norwegen muss die Fastenzeit sehr schwierig sein. Besser in Antarktis.

Wir sprachen im Allgemeinen über Gott, Götter, der Himmel und die Hölle, der Teufel, die Glauben den Vorfahren, die Bibel, die Zehn Gebote und die Sünden. Gibt es Wiedergeburt? Wenn man sterbt, geht die Seele sofort zu Himmel oder Hölle, oder muss man bis den Urteiltag warten? Muss man seine Tätigkeiten rechtfertigen. Was ist ein tugendhaft Mensch? Verändern die Antworten für den Islam, das Christentum…? Wer hat die Bibel geschrieben, und in welchem Jahrhundert?

Wenn man über Religion spricht, kann man zwischen zwei Meinungen teilen: das Universum ist weltlich, gleichgültig, oder nicht. Dann gibt es eine Spaltung zwischen der Ansicht, ob ein Gott besteht, oder nicht. Usw.

Wir müssen mehr sprechen.

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Neue Wörter für mich:
unterbringen = accommodate
der Weinberg = winery
die Rebe = vine
selbstgemacht = home made
die Verpflichtung = committment
das Lenkrad = steering wheel
auf der gegenüberliegenden Seite
verwirren = to confuse
gelegentlich = occasionally
sorgfältig = careful
betrügen = cheat
das Gewissen = conscience
entmutigen = discourage
der Einfluss = influence
der Islam
der Buddhismus
der Hinduismus
das Christentum
das Judentum
die Rasse = race
tolerant
die Strategie = strategy
teile und herrsche = divide and rule
der Muslim (e)
die Öffentlichkeit = public
die Pflicht (en) = duty
die Morgendämmerung = dawn
die Abenddämmerung = dusk
die Fastenzeit = fasting time
fromm = devout, pious
der Gott, Götter = god, gods
im Allgemeinen = in general
die Hölle = hell
der Teufel = devil
die Glaube (n) = belief
die Seele (n) = soul
die Bibel (n) = Bible
die Wiedergeburt = reincarnation
der Vorfahr = ancestor
rechtfertigen = justify
das Urteil = judgement
das Jahrhundert = century
weltlich = secular
gleichgültig = indifferent
das Universum = universe
die Spaltung = schism
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http://german.typeit.org/ ist nützlich.
http://www.stars21.com/spelling/german_spell_checker.html ist auch nützlich.

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Hoi An, Vietnam, 2013 – Day 1

Hoi An was the reason I went to Vietnam. Originally I was just going to go there, but then my friend wanted to see more, so it became an epic trip, with Hoi An as one of the stops. Nevertheless, we spent three nights here, which was more than anywhere else in Vietnam or Cambodia on this trip. I am not overly keen on any of the Vietnamese towns or cities I visited, although I certainly found it interesting and enjoyable to visit once. The train journeys were what I really wanted to experience. However, Hoi An is the one place I would like to return to.

Hotel I found on the Internet the night before.

Hotel I found on the Internet the night before.

This hotel was very good. Per night it cost VND993,000 with service and tax charges for the cheapest twin room. It’s called Vinh Hung Riverside Resort.  It’s a few minutes walk to the town – or very quick by bicycle, but as a result very peaceful.

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The more expensive rooms were river view – this is pool view – but still you get a view of the river

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The view from the balcony

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The view from the balcony

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from this angle it looks like and infinity pool – but it’s actually quite long, too

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near the restaurant

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this restaurant came recommended

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on a quite back street

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prices were reasonable

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we chose the tasting menu – a selection of several dishes

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from the tasting menu

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from the tasting menu

The tasting menu was VND150,000 each, so with two beers, and a G&T the total came to VND410,000.

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the bridge across the river to our hotel

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hotel grounds at night

And that’s mostly what we did on Day 1 in Hoi An. Arrived from the train station early afternoon, swam a little, went for an early dinner, and had a wander around.

Five years in Malaysia

Five years ago today we arrived in Malaysia to live.  It went fast.

We already had our MM2H visa from a previous visit. We brought everything we thought we needed at first on the plane, but not so much that we incurred excess luggage charges.  At first we stayed in the Gurney Hotel, and went out with estate agents viewing apartments to rent, looking for a one year contract in a condo with facilities.   The plan was that during this one year we could decide if we actually wanted to live in Penang, and travel elsewhere in Malaysia to see if somewhere else would be better. And if we decided to stay, then we could start considering where, and what kind of property to buy.

We found an apartment in Batu Ferringhi, and stayed for one year.  Then we moved down to a condo near Queensbay Mall, and lived for a little over a year there.  Having a friend in Balik Pulau we often visited there, too.  Thus we experienced living really in three areas of Penang, the stay in Gurney Hotel giving us an idea of Pulau Tikus, and we had a view on Balik Pulau, too.  Some travel in Malaysia convinced us that for our purposes Penang is the best place for us to live.  We thought that by now we could judge a suitable property for us, and we found a house in Pulau Tikus.

Once we moved into the house we talked to and got estimates from several builders, then had a small area of the house boarded up – the kitchen, and we lived there while the house was worked on.  Then we changed living quarters to upstairs so the kitchen could be worked on. This may have been uncomfortable, but as we were living there we could more easily and accurately decide how best to renovate. Then, at last, it was all done.

Since then we have been living comfortably. Meanwhile, Penang has generally been improving, with the exception of traffic worsening. It is difficult for the state government to improve public transport as the responsibility is in the hands of the federal government. Some road improvement has been completed, and several bigger projects are in the pipeline, so eventually it will be better.  Drivers’ manners seem to be improving, too. The island has become cleaner, many heritage buildings have been cleaned or renovated, bicycle paths are planned, and partly already implemented, etc. Anyway, I have written about this before.

As it is, Penang is small, and everywhere is only a few minutes drive away, so I visit the petrol station for a top up perhaps once a month. I would like to walk, and sometimes do, but the footpaths, while also improving, are still either non-existent, poor, or are parked across by inconsiderate drivers, forcing you onto the busy roads. I’d also like to cycle, but near home there are no facilities, and the roads are far too dangerous.  But another major reason for doing neither is the heat.  If out walking in the middle of the day, it is prudent to take it slowly, drink liquids, and wear a hat. I have ignored this a couple of times, and been repaid with heat exhaustion.  And you don’t exactly arrive anywhere looking spiffy.

Another point is that after a few years here, I am noticing I am feeling the effects of constant 12 months a year heat.  I really need to go somewhere cool for at least a week, perhaps longer, at least once a year. Even the Cameron Highlands or Chang Mai would probably be OK.

Living in a house, and liking to be surrounded by plants, means being annoyed by mosquitoes, despite having electronic devices to discourage them, and screens on all windows.

After the election there has seemly been a lot of unrest, but that hasn’t affected us at all.  The only precaution we took was not going out on election night – but even that caution may have been unnecessary.

I could ramble on, and have covered many things in previous blogs, but we still consider Malaysia to be a good retirement choice.

Hue, Vietnam, 2013

I had planned two nights in Hue, but reduced that to one due to time constraints.  I think it would actually also be fine to totally skip the town. There is not so much to see, I thought. Having said which, it is a quiet, relaxed town, which you can enjoy.  It would also have been easy to spend more time there, perhaps cycling out into the countryside a bit, too. It was inexpensive to stay, and to eat as well.  I enjoyed our soujourn there. Here are a few photos.

Troung Giang Hotel

Truong Giang Hotel

$25 a night for a twin

$25 a night for a twin

comfortable, at a low price, ina an almost new hotel

comfortable, at a low price, in an almost new hotel

pretty impressive carrying ability

pretty impressive carrying ability

Hue Imperial City - about 20 minutes walk from our hotel on the other side of the river - or five minutes by taxi

Hue Imperial City – about 20 minutes walk from our hotel on the other side of the river – or five minutes by taxi

This is the main tourist attraction. Get there early in the morning and it’s peaceful. After 10AM the tourist hordes arrive in busloads. I don’t remember the opening time exactly – perhaps 6.30AM.

ticket

ticket

the band

the band

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nice dragon

nice dragon

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walking alongside the Fragrant River

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traffic

traffic

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in the main restaurant street

in the main restaurant street

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quite nice

quite nice

and the cheapest beer in the area

and the cheapest beer in the area

DMZ was the busiest bar around

DMZ was the busiest bar around

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Retirement to Penang – could I afford not to? May 2013 update.

UPDATE MAY 2013

Research by Bacs Family Finance Tracker claims household bills in Britain have increased by 40 % since 2007. Well, I retired in mid-2007, and moved to Penang in May 2008. Just one more reason for my thinking below.

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Living and working in London:

40% marginal income tax – perhaps comes to 25% of income; 20% VAT; council tax, petrol tax, energy taxes, water costing £70 per month, the cost of getting to and from work, cost of dressing for work, mortgage and interest… So the government takes most of the money, and then the banks and privatised money-gouging utilities get most of the rest…

…leaving just enough to live and have a holiday in the sun every year.

The only “saving” possible was paying the mortgage, but much of that was siphoned off by the bank as interest.

The cost of working was so high that it didn’t seem worth it. Basically I was working to survive in order to work. OK, I did enjoy my work, until near the end, but that is not the point.

Just the annual council tax alone in London can be the equivalent of three months living cost in Malaysia.

It’s almost as if it’s cheaper to retire abroad than to work and live in London. If you have equity in your property and you sell it, you can buy a nicer property abroad more cheaply, and then live on the difference for many years.

Well now I’ll be off to the cinema, where a ticket for the latest film will cost me £1.80.

Burger King Crazy Cowboy offer

From today for three days Burger King has a “Crazy Cowboy Offer”. It is served from 12 noon.

Burger King

Burger King

Now, I eat fast food less than once a year.  The last time was in Singapore early last year, where it was late, and only McDonald’s was open.  I wasn’t impressed.  I had thought that I should try Burger King as perhaps it could be better. Well, now was my chance, with their RM1.88 offer!

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I sidled up to the counter and asked for the Crazy Cowboy Offer.

“Huh?”

“The RM1.88 burger, please.”

It's pretty small

It’s pretty small

tiny, in fact

tiny, in fact

Now, I thought the idea of a promotion was to get new customers in, and so impress them that they come back, and even become regulars.  Well, look at the contents…

it tasted like it looks

it tasted like it looks

I couldn’t finish it. I really don’t know what the point of this is. Mrs. Tropical Expat more or less implied, “I told you so.” And, by the time they add tax, it is RM1.99 – so they take the liberty of collecting RM2. This has put me off fast food burgers for years. I’ll see how I feel in 2015.

 

 

Geoengineering / Chemtrailling Penang – a good day to stay indoors

It was beautiful weather when I awoke. Great – I’ll wash the sheets I thought, and sit in the earlyish morning sun while the washing machine does the hard work.

But as soon as I got outside and looked up I could see they had been spraying us.

here you see a big cross he's written in the sky which is feathering out, and a new spray trail he's laying

here you see a big cross he’s written in the sky which is feathering out, and a new spray trail he’s laying, as he heads from the top of the picture down

Now, I don’t live on a flight path.  Apart from this nefarious spraying I rarely see planes – just the occasional jet fighter from the Butterworth base – and they are so noisy you know when they are around. So this is not a bunch of planes leaving condensation trails – which happen to cross flight paths and write “X”‘s in the sky. From the location of the airport in the south of the island this also would make no sense.

here you can clealy see how the pilot has turned off the spray before the existing trail, then turned it back on again

here you can clearly see how the pilot has turned off the spray before the existing trail, then turned it back on again. I don’t know why he did, though.

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Here – laying another trail

So, it’s better to stay indoors, and not do the washing. What a waste of a nice day.  And I don’t know for sure what chemicals they are spraying us with, but my plants won’t like it either.

Obviously I can’t test to see what we are being sprayed with. One web site claims the following ingredients:

The following list of ingredients was born:

Aluminum Oxide

Barium Oxide (see recent study here)

Bacteria such as Anthrax and Pneumonia Nine chemicals, including Acetylcholine Chloride

Twenty six heavy metals including Arsenic, Gold, Lead, Mercury, Silver, Uranium and Zinc

Four molds and fungi

Seven viruses

Two cancers

Two vaccines

Two sedatives

E.coli Salmonella

Thorium

And another web site gives some information on how to clear the chemicals they sprayed you with out of your body. It’s too early for red wine and ice cream, so I will make some apple juice.

I have already got a sore throat from the time I spent outdoors photographing the trails.