I did not do as much editing as I had planned during the Chinese New Year break, but I’m happy to report that I  did quite a lot this weekend: Finished the line edits for the latest incarnation of one of the mss I’m working on. I’m now looking forward to additional material from the author.

Oh, my calendar app has sent me a reminder that my monthly mortgage payment is due, except that … there is nothing left to pay! Yes! We took a thirty-year loan (groan), but, with the money from my Singapore Central Provident Fund and the sale of one of the two flats we own in USJ, we’ve paid off the mortgage. What a relief. That will make a big difference as I was paying RM2,784 every month (double groan)!

Tomorrow, I’m going to start my new schedule. Martin’s job at MalaysiaKini means I have to do the after-school run and I’m going to experiment with moving my editing hours to the afternoon/evening. We’ll see how it goes.

I am supposed to leave for Taipei on Thursday. As I’m still coughing coughing coughing, I am dreading travelling, especially the five-hour flight, but I suspect I am being a wimp about this. After all, I don’t actually feel sick, I just sound like I’m at death’s door.

I have not been reading much, but I have started Fun Home by Alison Bechdel and am enjoying it.

Yesterday, I watched Somm on Netflix. It is a documentary about five blokes preparing to sit for the Master Sommelier exam and gosh, it was pretty intense. After it was over, I decided that I should maybe educate myself about wine, not to the level of a sommelier, but at least beyond being able to distinguish between red and white. Haha, well, that’s roughly the level I am at now. I think I prefer white wine (but I don’t think I’ve drunk enough of either to say for sure) and that I like Chardonnay better than Sauvignon Blanc, but that’s pretty much it. No harm reading up and paying more attention from now on.



Caturday: Felix the Cat


I have no idea why but I woke up this morning thinking of Felix the Cat. I was not, as a child, particularly fond of Felix and even now he seems unremarkable. A real-life Felix might be an improvement … but I have never seen a white-faced cat with a totally black body and head. Tuxedo cats usually have a white bib and paws, which Felix does not.

He’s also quite a thin cat. I am not into the lean and hungry look as far as cats go. That cocky grin is also annoying.

I didn’t know til a few minutes ago that he was created (in 1919!) by an Australian cartoonist called Pat Sullivan (I was addicted to the Australian series The Sullivans, but that’s another story), and looked quite different in the 1920s …



He appeared in animated silent cartoons from 1924 and looking like the cat above, and didn’t transition to the Felix we are more familiar with until the 50s, when his show started airing on American TV.



I’d planned to catch up with work over the Chinese New Year break, but of course I’ve, instead, been in a walking-dead state, coughing like a hag, feverish, unable to focus.

I am supposed to leave for Taipei on Valentine’s Day and right now, the last thing I feel like doing is get on a plane. Imagine coughing the entire flight. My fellow passengers will lynch me!

Fingers crossed I will be better by then. Six days to go!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Reads 2018

I am no longer clued in enough about book publishing dates to take on this week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt: Upcoming Releases I’m on the Fence About. I have a vague idea of some books that are coming out this year, but nothing definite. These days, unlike when I was writing book reviews and managing the books pages of a newspaper, if I do know a book’s release date,  it’s because I’ve heard it on a podcast, read it somewhere, or someone more knowledgeable has told me. It’s more likely I hear about ‘new’ books after they’ve been published — via an interview with the author, a review or recommendation.

Anyway, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl‘, but today I am posting my ten favourite reads from 2018. Late, I know, but then it’s never too late to read these books.

My ten favourite books, in no particular order:

Top Ten

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

The Nakano Thrift Store by Hiromi Kawakami

Manazuru by Hiromi Kawakami

Provenance by Ann Leckie

The Magicians of Madh by Aditi Krishnakumar

Bird Cloud by Annie Proulx

Murder While You Work by Susan Scarlett (Noel Streatfeild)

The Tale of the Bidadari by Stephani Soejono

Enormous Changes at the Last Minute by Grace Paley

Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng

And if I had to narrow it down to my favourite five …

Top Five

The Nakano Thrift Store by Hiromi Kawakami

Provenance by Ann Leckie

The Magicians of Madh by Aditi Krishnakumar

Bird Cloud by Annie Proulx

Murder While You Work by Susan Scarlett (Noel Streatfeild)



Caturday: Behemoth

By Viktor Yegimenko, featured on The Master & Margarita website.

Behemoth is the large black cat from The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.

He is a demon, part of the Devil’s posse, a cruel and violent beast who walks on twos, carries a pistol and loves chess, vodka and pickled mushrooms. Not a nice kitty at all, but I rather admire him, maybe even want to be him.