| Joe Charlebois | Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Norman M. Covert | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Edward Lulie III | Tom McLaughlin | Patricia Price | Cindy A. Rose | Richard B. Weldon Jr. |


The Tentacle

Tom McLaughlin

August 16, 2017
Researching the Chinese in Borneo
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – As most of you who read this column know, I have finished my two major writing projects – the History of the Sarawak River Valley, and  on Ali of Alfred Wallace fame.

August 9, 2017
Old Habits Become Expensive
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – I have gotten back into stamp collecting. I had put my book on Malayan stamps away for about 20 years and decided, during my last illness, to attack and bring it up to date.

August 2, 2017
The Entailed Cat and Silas Mariner
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – I had spent 10 years on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. This does not count the three years I had spent taking take of my parents after moving to Frederick, Maryland USA.

July 26, 2017
And the search continues…..
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Have you ever wondered where you came from? I have. I am Scotch-Irish on my father's side and Irish on my mothers.

July 19, 2017
A Chip off the Old Block?
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Dzul is number one in his class. After half a year, his report card showed he was the best. This has good and bad results.


July 12, 2017
Comic Book Rising Like the Phoenix
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – "Borneo Boys'" is back from the dead. Like Lazarus, it has been revived! I thought it was long buried, gone and forgotten.


July 5, 2017
End of Ramadan Festivities
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Hari Raya, the days celebrating the end of the fasting month (EID), was fantastic. Suriani worked at her parents' house on Saturday in the Kampong preparing the food and cleaning for the guests to arrive.

June 28, 2017
Renewal, Shopping and A Surprise
Tom McLaughlin

Pontianak, Indonesia – I have to leave Malaysia every three months to renew my tourist visa even though I have lived here for eight years. I just like getting out and exploring.

June 21, 2017
The End and New Beginnings
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Wow! All the world’s troubles seemed to come together last week. The building in London, the shooting in Alexandria, Virginia and the Trump and Company problems which seem to multiply. CNN sure was busy!

June 16, 2017
Prayers, the Birds and Trees
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – It is now past the cycle of the full moon and the month of Ramadan (fasting month) will be coming to end when the new moon is sighted in less than two weeks.

June 7, 2017
The Comforts of “Home” Arrive
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – How things have changed! For the first six years of our marriage, we would walk downtown to the small kedai's (shops) and bring back our produce and other goods we need for cooking the weeks’ meal. It was an arduous task because we ended up carrying a lot of groceries back to our home.

May 31, 2017
Jared, Jared, Jared, Tsk...Tsk...Tsk
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – I wrote a few months ago that you would be the savings grace of the Trump Administration. You come from a Democratic family and you are highly educated. The President listens to you.

May 24, 2017
Ramadan and Fasting
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Ramadan starts on Friday. It really doesn't affect me or my wife because I need to take medication and water during the day. This exempts me from fasting.

May 17, 2017
Back in the Classroom….for a Day
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – I was asked by somebody if wanted to teach again. They meant English as a Second language and not my beloved subject, biology.

May 3, 2017
“Tell me, Daddy, what color is God’s skin?”
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Probably one of the more interesting facets of the Malay world, which I married into, was the subject of skin color. I really didn't pay much attention to the fact that the Malay skin ranged from almost white to a deep chocolate color.

April 26, 2017
Fossils and Borneo Bargaining
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – As one wanders around the downtown area, indeed, the only place I do wander, there are usually tables set up between the sidewalk and the curb that sell either cake lapis or what I call jungle Viagra.

April 19, 2017
Schools, Studies and Progress
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – My son Dzul is now about one quarter of the way through Primary One, first grade for the Americans. He’s still very short for his age group, but I am very proud of the extraordinary progress he has made in his studies.

April 12, 2017
Goodies from the States
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Many people here ask me what I bring back from the States and why. My first reply is shoes like Nike, Puma and other brands. "Why should you bring those back when they are made over there" is the reply. Well, it's not that simple.

April 5, 2017
Seatmates and 24-Hour Flights
Tom McLaughlin

I boarded a flight back to Borneo from Seattle to Dubai aboard Emirates Air. The attendant asked if I would like an exit seat. This meant I could stretch my legs as far out as they would go.

March 22, 2017
Tribulations of Calf Birthing on the Plains
Tom McLaughlin

The Elizabeth Ranch, Northeast Montana – They thought it was dead. The heifer had been straining for hours to give birth, but the calf wouldn't move.

March 15, 2017
Basketball Champs and a Seal in the Cold
Tom McLaughlin

Malta, Montana USA – The cold is the worst. And then the snow. Temperatures hovered around the -22 C (0 F) for most of the week. Sometimes it went to -25 C (-6 F). So bitterly cold for this guy from the tropics. I didn't leave the house.

March 8, 2017
Grueling Travel to a Warm Welcome
Tom McLaughlin

Malta, Montana USA – It was a grueling 26-hour flight, air time, from my home in Kuching to when I landed in Billings, Montana. I travelled from Kuching-Kuala Lumpur-Dubai-Seattle-Billings, and then a three hour drive to Malta.

February 15, 2017
Publication, Mumps and Clothing
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – I finally got my article published. Sort of. It went on a website written by a friend who writes about Alfred Wallace. ( It took me seven years to research and write and would take over a year for a journal (magazine) to publish it.

February 8, 2017
“I’m so confused…..”
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – As a liberal Democrat, there just some things I don't understand about the Trump people. This has to do with those who voted and support him.

February 2, 2017
There’s Something About Mary…
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Damn she was funny. I can remember a bunch of us guys gathering in the basement dorm to watch the series. It had a couch, several chairs and the television set.

January 27, 2017
Reading and writing and arithmetic
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – In the afternoons we have “Daddy School." My son Dzul finishes up at about 1 P. M. on Monday through Wednesday, while on Thursday it's noon and Fridays end at 11:30 for everyone to attend Friday prayers at the mosque. I don't have a clue why they dismiss early on Thursday.

January 25, 2017
School days, school days, dear old golden rule days
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – It had been about 25 years since I went through the process of the beginning of school for one of my own.

January 11, 2017
“Lovely” New Friends and Schooling
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – The girls! Oh, good lord! The girls! About 50 of the most beautiful Swedish and Danish students have moved into my building for six months. They are here to take courses in management and engineering from a local university in some sort of exchange program.

January 6, 2017
Fishing on the Sarawak
Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Night time fishing is rare in the river in front of my condo. However, there is one boat out there every night, and the owner fishes until long after I go to bed. I know because when I have get up during the night, he is still there.

January 4, 2017
Christmas in Sarawak
Tom McLaughlin