August 3, 2011
I am losing my mind. Racism is at an all time high. This week I’ve been honked at, yelled at, scared by passing motos, and I’ve been called “white” by so many Malay kids I lost count. Last night Elder Forsyth and I had 15 minutes to kill so we bought some yellow watermelon and sat on a curb to eat it. We left our bikes across the street, locked to a sign post. And before I continue, you all need to understand that Malaysians have this thing they do when they call “dibs” on a tree in a park, or a corner of a street, or the flowers from a certain bush. Of course they have absolutely no legal right to any of these things but are prepared to protect them until their dibs is challenged by someone else. Back to my story. As we’re eating our yellow watermelon on the curb, a lori (Malaysian for “truck”) pulls up, and the driver has the audacity to tell us to move our bikes from this pole because they need the street corner to sell-deep friend bananas. It really put me off, but I remembered that I’m more than just a white guy in Malaysia; I’m a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so I went over and moved it. Rather than thank us or at least smile, this guy was grumpy, rude and loud. He kinda got up in my grill as I walked by so I stopped and turned to look at him. If my facial expressions conveyed my emotions, I must have looked absolutely horrifying. Maybe it showed because as soon as I turned to face him he immediately said, “Sorry, lah, sorry” and his attitude completely changed. My patience has been tried.
On Thursday a little band of miscreants followed us while we were contacting. As we would try to talk to someone they would yell. Then, a little fat kid dropped the F bomb. It was the proverbial straw and I wasn’t having it. I rode up on him, stared him down, and said with as much kindness as I could gather up, “Hello, I’m a white guy, a missionary. How are you?” I think he almost peed his pants. It was great.
For P-day today we went to the Niah Caves again. Elder McCormies didn’t go last time so we went back with him. On the way there we asked a Malaysian man if he was a taxi. He told us he was and proceeded to pile us into his car and drove us to the wrong place. We kept telling him on the way there that he was going the wrong way but he ignored us. Instead of taking us to Niah Caves he took us to Niah Cave Inn. It wasn’t as much a language barrier as it was a pride thing. He finally got us to the right place and, after we explored the caves for a few hours, we called him back. He hung up so we called back and told him we were ready. After waiting for more than 30 minutes we gave up and found a Chinese uncle who was a licensed taxi and he took us home. We passed the Malaysia guy on the road and the Chinese guy wanted us to switch because we originally called the other guy, but the other guy was really mad and just waved us on. Whatever! His fault for being so late and not having a taxi permit. It was a lot of fun overall. Got some more great photos.
Our investigators are all doing really well. We even have one more one date — Charles. He’s the grandson of a less-active and I just assumed he was baptized. Turns out he isn’t. But on September 10th he will be!
I am loving Miri right now. I have a visa run on the 19th of this month. Elder Forsyth does too. Also, we have a training this Friday that I’m pretty excited about. I love you guys and love serving the Lord here in Miri!