I Grow Up (To the Relief of My Parents)



By 1979 Malaysia had started to change. Dr. Mahathir Mohamed was in the Cabinet and would become Prime Minister soon. Malaysia’s brain drain began then. Along with a handful of classmates, I was sent to study in Britain.

My most enduring memory of boarding school in Kent is the sound of the 30 bells that ruled our lives daily.

And the food – powdered mash potatoes, gummy tomato sauce and tinned ravioli – so bland compared to Malaysian fare. I still can’t eat ravioli.


Wayward child that I was, I opted to study Physics at Southampton University. Did I know another Malaysian studying Physics? Of course not! Never mind, I did so well that Southampton offered me a scholarship to continue to a Ph.D. If only I had known then that all dinner table conversation would cease whenever anyone asked what I did…
I never attended my graduation ceremony. I was too busy travelling around Europe on a cheap rail pass and staying in even cheaper hostels.
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