Friday, August 12, 2011

Guest Post: Author Tom McLaughlin - Borneo Tom

Packed It Moved to a Tropical Island

Yes, I am one that did it. I packed everything into storage, rented my house and moved to an island called Malaysian Borneo. A big island to be sure but, the flavour of the tropical life, fine weather, delicious curries and wonderful friendly people, just the stuff dreams are made of. Male dreams, anyway.

Travelled. Took flights. Didn’t care where as long as they were cheap. Daughter came along on some of them. Hanoi, Rangoon, Mandalay, Bangkok and places that don’t have names. Or if they do, I can’t remember them. Got caught in a n earthquake, lost in some old world war two Japanese caves. Made friends with apes. God, their big. Met many scientists, though most of the time I didn’t know what the hell they were talking about.

I married a gorgeous island girl. No, not a teenager or a twenty something but a lady who couldn’t have kids. Her life was relegated to taking care of her brothers and sisters kids. Culture and all that. We had a big wedding in the kampung. Six hundred showed up. They wanted to see this white guy who married the unmarriageable.

I didn’t want kids. Had a vasectomy. I did my job. Have two beautiful daughters 27 and 22. Been there done that they say, whoever “they” are. Wife and I travelled. Did stupid things. Swam with jelly fish, walked around a rim of a volcano spewing poisonous gas, went looking for orang-utans in deepest darkest jungle. Many other adventures.

Wife got pregnant. Yes it’s mine. Vasectomy failed. Her womb moved to where it was supposed to be. Now have a son named Dzul. Happier than a clam. Was wrong about not wanting kids. Damn, at 60 too.

Write a book everyone said. Had time during her pregnancy. Wanted something different. No same old same old travel adventures ego sort of thing. Wrote sixty stories. Local guy down by the river illustrated them for me. You know, one of those dudes who sketches your face in caricature in about 15 minutes. God he did a good job.

Buy the book. Money goes to the local orang-utan rehab centre. They take the apes that have been recaptured from smugglers and teach them how to go back into the jungle. At least it’s something.


Tom McLaughlin left Maryland and now lives and works in Malaysian Borneo. He teaches biology, English as a Second Language and Literature in English at the prestigious Lodge International School in Kuching. His son Dzul is now seven months. Check out his web site and blog at www.

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