Monthly Archives: April 2015

Cultural Faux Pas in Malaysia

4574810983_c151383d2c_zI was in Kuala Lumpur recently, just for an overnight stay. I didn’t bring much clothing with me, and I only had one pair of trousers – the one that I wore.
Unknown to me, the back had ripped open, which I found out much later after someone alerted me. Thankfully, I had brought a sarong along, for in case situations. It’s light, easy to slip into a bag. No hassle.
So I put it on at the hotel and decided to go out and shop for a new pair of trousers.
The people who were with me on that trip commented if I was serious about going out like that. I didn’t think anything of it, especially since the sarong is part of the Malaysian culture.Big deal. How wrong I was.
The moment I stepped into the mall, everyone made me feel like I had rabies. All eyes were on me. You could read their minds, like they were saying, “Which century are you from, man?”
I kept apologizing to every onlooker as I past them and explained that my pants had split, and that I am here to buy a new one. Cultural faux pas. You don’t go to a super cool mall in Malaysia wearing a sarong.


[photo: 1 World Sarongs]

What could be stranger than a dream?






I’m not sure how many of you can remember some of the dreams you’ve had after a year or so. I seem to be able to do that. In fact, some of my dreams are recurring that I have decided, if I could, to include them in future novels that I planned to work on. Strange.

Do I believe in dreams? I don’t know what to believe. The fact we are all in-built with a certain mindscape that keeps us moving between the conscious world and the dream zone should prompt us to wonder it’s real function.

I have taken naps in the afternoon only to wake up thinking it’s the next day — as if I’ve travelled into the future.  For a half a minute or so I really thought it was tomorrow.  I got all confused and I tried hard to think what day I’m in.

I’m not complaining about my dreams, both nightmare and nice ones are welcome. They work for me as a writer because you can use some of this stuff. Although I must confess there were occasions when it got really scary. I don’t mind being chased by a vampire but what gets me really stressed up in a dream are the ones where I’ve to take a school exam. I hate those.

I never die in my dreams. I seem to travel a lot and have the power to fly. I find myself in cozy towns with bookstores and cafes or travelling on a train along a silvery sheen between pristine snow mountains to end up at a remote cafe.

The horror ones include going to a town and then being trapped in a basement of a house full of vampires resting in coffins. My job is to get out before sundown.

I could be driving a nice car too, like a sports car, and I find myself always driving round and round in the same area in this particular recurring dream. And then there’s the forest with a stream that I would go to. There used to be one near my old house, and I regretted not exploring the terrain further. Now I can’t tell what’s real and what’s not. Was it there or not?

I’ve never flown a fighter jet. There’s no war in my dream. There’s a whodunit, and then there are times when I would end up in a park or island hopping. Always the same location, same dream, same people.

Of course, everything is in color. It used to be that my dreams were disjointed, not connected. But nowadays they appear to have a storyline.

Indeed, what could be stranger than a dream?


  • Keith Thomson

    Author of the New York Times Bestselling novel Once A Spy
    Khaled Talib’s novel Smokescreen is a cocktail of Deighton, Ludlum, Hitchcock, and two parts adrenaline.
  • Ruth Harris

    Million-copy NYT bestselling co-author of Hooked and Brainwashed
    Devious! Diabolical! Lurid! Intelligent and deftly plotted. Pick it up if you dare. Put it down if you can.
  • Jon McGoran

    Author of Drift
    In this action-packed thriller, Khaled Talib explores the little known relationship between Singapore and Israel, spinning a web of international intrigue that expands across the globe as inexorably as it tightens around his protagonist’s throat.
  • Jake Needham

    Author of The Umbrella Man and The Ambassador’s Wife
    I have published two novels set in the police and security services in Singapore, and I am here to tell you that SMOKESCREEN is nearer to the truth of that closely controlled little country than you might believe. It is a gripping and creepy tale of how governments can rig the way we all see the world.
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