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I surprised myself by going to bed at ten a.m.  and waking up just before 5 a.m., in time to watch the Tai Chi brigade.

This is new to me, getting up before the sun rises, but it seems a very tolerable time to wake up in the tropics.

I’m in the land of George Orwell. He would have woken up before sunrise too, had a shit, a coffee, then continued the day protecting the Empire.

My aims aren’t so lofty. I’m just up early for the sole reason that I went to bed early.

Could this be a new career move? Who knows…

Borne wakes up early, or is it that it never went to bed?

It’s mostly the Chinese out on the streets, power walking or shuffling along.

One guy bangs a hammer against the light poles. I have no idea why. Is it a wake-up call. I’m still mesmerized by the morning and don’t fear for one moment he’s going to dong me with the hammer. It’s far too early to worry about shit like that.

The whores on bikes get on their bike after their KFC fix. The tall one on the back is eyeing me up. I’m outside the hotel having a smoke and watching this rare occurrence called the morning. Fuck, it ain’t easy. It’s even more difficult to watch the old Chinese bend down to the knee and do some piston punches to some old dance style Chinese music.

I take another deep drag of my cigarette, thinking, will my bowel movement come on earlier than usual. Then the girls leave on their bike and one is giving me the rubberneck.

‘Just a ladyboy,’ says the night receptionist.

Ladyboy or not, I’m still getting the attention. It must be my new white teeth.

I have a lot to thank Dr. Augusta for, don’t I?

Back to the Chinese aerobics, it takes me back to the motherland, back to the parks and the Tai Chi, back to the cherry blossoms and calligraphy.

He was from Surabaya. An old man, not much older than me, and with stumps for teeth, I’m feeling better about my teeth every day I’m staying in Borneo, and I chatted with him.

Then his family arrived, his two daughters and wife.

We spoke about things, like fucking in a Chinese cemetery in Surabaya.

I’m really glad some things get lost in translation.

Then I told the staff at a computer shop that he was stupid for quoting me the wrong price. Even his female colleague agreed with me. If I did this shit in Thailand, I said, I’d be a dead man.

Minding my own business, eating a bun with pork mince, and boy did it give me the runs, a Chinese customer pulled up in his car to buy some of the tasty treats.
 
He pulled me aside, knowing I was from Australia.
 
‘I studied in Monash, Australia, you know,’ he said and patted me on the back.
 
Monash is a fucked Universtiy and Australia is fucked too.
 
He didn’t reply so I repeated myself.
 
I’ve been to better Universities than Monash, so I felt qualified in what I was saying.
 
The guy sat in his car for five minutes, his windscreen tinted so I couldn’t see if he was eating or preparing his Glock to pop off a fat foreigner who earlier that day weighed himself in at 110 kilograms at a hotel gym. Of course I didn’t work out.
 
I kept on waving to him from Eddy’s stall and making jokes with the toothless seller.
 
The man who studied at Monash eventually drove off.
 
What is it about bragging about studying and working in Australia?
 
I just don’t find it worth bragging about.

 

 

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