It's been two months since I last sat at my desk in Kuala Lumpur and a long trip to the UK for family reasons has demonstrated to me that there are significant differences in the way that the UK, so long seen as progressive and Malaysia, long seen as behind the curve, function.
I'm in the UK. It's surprising how quickly one becomes an alien in one's own land: putting petrol in a car at a Sainsbury's filling station, I stood trying to work out where to put my card for prepayment. Then I found the sign: "at pump payment coming soon."
It is often said that there are no coincidences. But unless one believes in some kind of grand-master who manages the minutiae of the lives of all creatures and things on Earth, and beyond, sometimes it is clear coincidences do exist.
Shhhh. "How does that make you feel - identifying suspicion in money laundering and terrorist financing"(1) has gone through final editing and pre-press and is now in proofing (which is a bit of a technicality because it's been proofed in its final print format several times during production). Looking good to pop out of this final stage later today (tomorrow in the USA) Why "shhhhh?" Now it's all in someone else's hands and I'm going to sleep for three days.
Much to my shock, the book has now grown to the point where it has to be reformatted to take account of its new thickness (that is in the number of pages, not the stupidity of the author).
So all the graphics that were carefully sized are now in the process of being resized as part of the pre-production process. Oh, and we've got the ISBN numbers but I'm not sure if that means it can be pre-ordered. I'm a bit hazy on the practicalities, partly because I've reached the point of doing nothing except writing. If I could have Nescafe's Blend 37 on a drip, I would. (1)
Ten days ago, I had two chapters outstanding. After writing one of those, now I have three outstanding. Each piece of research seems to spawn at least one more.
I'm feeling all loved up this morning and it's not just because it's Valentine's Day. Sitting in my study, looking out across the rooftops of Kuala Lumpur to the Petronas Twin Towers glinting in the early morning sun, the birds chirping (there are no trees so they nest high in the building - about 10 metres away from me) and, because most of the heavy work has been done, the air is clear of both noise and dust from the construction that has turned my part of the city something reminiscent of Hong Kong in the 1980s. Far below me, there's a Chinese Temple and today is the 15th day of New Year. So far this morning, the glorious melting pot that is central KL has given me the call for prayer from the nearby mosque, the call to mass from the nearby church and the drums and fireworks that are designed not to call but to repel evil spirits as the New Year finally gets underway after two weeks of festival. I'm one of, in global terms, the lucky few who gets to live where he loves to live.
Looking into suspicion for the new book "How does that make you feel?" an important source of material is in relation to stop and search. Add in profiling and predictive policing and it all starts to look a bit like the Tom Cruise film "Minority Report."